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Sankt Laurentii kyrka
Diocese of Linköping, Söderköpings kommun, Sweden
Pope Pius XI (left) blesses Bishop Stephen Alencastre as fifth Apostolic Vicar of the Hawaiian Islands in a Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace window. In Roman Catholicism, the pope is the bishop of the Diocese of Rome, creates the other Catholic dioceses throughout the world and chooses their bishops.

A diocese, from the Greek term διοίκησις, meaning "administration", is the district under the supervision of a bishop. A diocese is divided into parishes (in the Church of England into benefices and parishes). This structure of church governance is known as episcopal polity. The word diocesan means relating or pertaining to a diocese. It can also be used as a noun meaning the bishop who has the principal supervision of a diocese.

In the Latter Day Saint movement the term "bishopric" is used to describe not the ward or congregation of which a bishop has charge but the bishop himself together with his two counselors.

An archdiocese (or archiepiscopal see or archbishopric) is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or have had importance due to size or historical significance. The archbishop may have metropolitan authority over any other suffragan bishops and their dioceses within his ecclesiastical province.

A diocese also may be referred to as a bishopric or episcopal see, though strictly the term episcopal see refers to the domain of ecclesiastical authority officially held by the bishop, and the term bishopric to the post of being bishop.

Especially in the Middle Ages, some bishops (e.g. prince-bishops) held political as well as religious authority within their dioceses, which in practice were thus also independent or semi-independent states.

Diocese sections
Intro   History   Catholic Church  Eastern Orthodox Church  Church of England and Anglican Communion  Lutheranism   Church of God in Christ   Churches that have bishops, but not dioceses  Churches that have neither bishops nor dioceses   See also   Notes  Sources and external links   External links  

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