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The seat or cathedra of the Bishop of Rome in the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano

An episcopal see is, in the usual meaning of the phrase, the area of a bishop's ecclesiastical jurisdiction.<ref>John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary, s.v. "Episcopal see"</ref><ref>Hansard report</ref>

Phrases concerning actions occurring within or outside an episcopal see are indicative of the geographical significance of the term, making it synonymous with "diocese".<ref>Priory of Little Malvern</ref><ref>The Church of England, Together in Mission and Ministry (Church House Publishing 1993 ISBN 978-0-71515750-3), p. 103</ref><ref>Yale Law School, The Avalon Project: "Ordinance of William I Separating the Spiritual and Temporal Courts"</ref><ref>Saint Augustine, Sermons on the Liturgical Seasons (CUA Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-81321138-1), p. ix</ref>

The word "see" is derived from Latin sedes, which in its original or proper sense denotes the seat or chair that, in the case of a bishop, is the earliest symbol of the bishop's authority.<ref name=ODCC>The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005, ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), s.v. "see"</ref> This symbolic chair is also known as the bishop's cathedra, and is placed in the diocese principal church, which for that reason is called the bishop's cathedral, from Latin ecclesia cathedralis, meaning the church of the cathedra. The word "throne" is also used, especially in the Eastern Orthodox Church, both for the seat and for the area of ecclesiastical jurisdiction.<ref>For instance, Communiqué of the Ecumenical Patriarchate</ref>

The term "see" is also used of the town where the cathedral or the bishop's residence is located.<ref name=ODCC/>

The episcopal see of the pope, the bishop of Rome, is known as "the Holy See"<ref>Merriam-Webster Dictionary: "holy see"</ref> or "the Apostolic See".<ref>Merriam-Webster Dictionary: "apostolic see</ref>


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