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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A suffragan bishop is a bishop subordinate to a metropolitan bishop or diocesan bishop. He or she may be assigned to an area which does not have a cathedral of its own.


Anglican Communion

In the Anglican Churches, the term applies to a bishop who is a full-time assistant to a diocesan bishop, for example, the Bishop of Jarrow is suffragan to the Bishop of Durham (the diocesan). Some Anglican suffragans are given the responsibility for a geographical area within the diocese (for example, the Bishop of Selby is an area bishop within the Diocese of York). The practice of appointing such bishops can be traced to the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534. Suffragan bishops in the Anglican community are nearly identical in their role to auxiliary bishops in the Roman Catholic church.

Suffragan bishops who look after those parishes and clergy who consciously object to the priestly ministry of females, usually across a whole province are known as provincial episcopal visitors. This concession was made in 1992 following the General Synod's vote to ordain women.

The Church of Ireland has no suffragan bishops, not even in the geographically large dioceses or in the two archdioceses.

In the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, suffragan bishops are fairly common in larger dioceses, but usually have no specific geographical responsibility within a diocese, and so are not given the title of a particular city. Thus Barbara Clementine Harris was titled simply "Suffragan Bishop of Massachusetts".

Roman Catholic Church

In the Latin Church, a suffragan is a bishop who heads a diocese. His diocese, however, is part of a larger ecclesiastical province, nominally led by a metropolitan archbishop. The distinction between metropolitans and suffragans is of limited practical importance. Both are diocesan bishops possessing ordinary jurisdiction over their individual sees. The metropolitan has few responsibilities over the suffragans in his province and no direct authority over the faithful outside of his own diocese.[1][2]

Bishops who assist diocesan bishops are usually called auxiliary bishops. If the assisting bishop has special faculties (typically the right to succeed the diocesan bishop) he would be called a coadjutor bishop.[3]

See also


  1. ^ "Metropolitan". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Volume 10. The Encyclopedia Press. 1911. pp. 244-45. Retrieved 2009-Dec-06. 
  2. ^ "Canon 435-36". Code of Canon Law. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 2009-Dec-06. 
  3. ^ "Canon 403-10". Code of Canon Law. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 2009-Dec-06. 

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SUFFRAGAN (Med. Lat. suffraganeus suffragator, one who assists, from sujJragari, to vote in favour of, to support) in the Christian Church, (I) a diocesan bishop in his relation to the metropolitan; (2) an assistant bishop. (See the article BISHOP.)

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