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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. What is a "metropolitan?" I heard the word used in the following term: "metropolitan bishop."

A. 1. In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop (or simply metropolitan) pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis (then more precisely called metropolitan archbishop). Before the establishment of patriarchs (beginning in AD 325), a metropolitan was the highest episcopal rank in the Eastern rites of the Church. They presided over synods of bishops, and were granted special privileges by canon law and sacred tradition.

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