Primate (religion)

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Catholic Patriarchal (non cardinal) coat of arms

Primate (from the Latin Primus, "first") is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority (title of authority) or ceremonial precedence (title of honour).

Contents

Roman Catholic Church

In the Western Church, a Primate is an archbishop (or rarely a suffragan - or exempt bishop) of an episcopal see (called a primas) which confers precedence over the other bishops of his own province, or over a number of provinces (possibly part of a province), such as a 'national' church in (historical) political/cultural terms. This precedence gives no additional authority over these other (arch)bishops, such as that exercised by a Metropolitan bishop (which they generally are, within the smaller or conterminous jurisdiction of a single ecclesiastical province).

The term is generally found in the older Catholic countries, and is now purely honorific, enjoying no single real right under canon law. The title may be vested in one of the oldest Archdioceses in a country, if it exists. As incumbents, especially nation's leading archbishops, are often elevated cardinal, a higher rank, and the national leadership is rather vested in the chairmanship of the national conference of bishops (often vested in his see; old-fashioned synods have become rare) the title is rather void for them. The see city may no longer have the prominence it had when the diocese was created, or its circumscription may no longer exist as a state/nation. Primates rank below Major Archbishop and Patriarch, as the Exarch originally did, and like these under the now far more frequent cardinalate (and within that college of true princes of the church they enjoy no precedence, unlike the higher ranks not even the right to join a high order of the sacred college).

At the First Vatican Council (Coll. Lacens., VII, pp. 34, 488, 726) the only (arch)bishops figuring as primates, in virtue of then recent concessions, were these (by country) :

A selection of primatial pretences in other countries (here grouped by modern states, but sometimes the claimed 'primas' had a smaller or overlapping territory) and their Roman Catholic primates (some historical claims are dormant or have been void for centuries; new titles can only be awarded by the Holy See):

In the United States, where an official primacy was never awarded, the Archbishop of Baltimore is sometimes called "honorary primate" -- since Baltimore was the first diocese in the nation, its bishop is granted ceremonial precedence before all the bishops (except those nominally created cardinals) of all other sees in the United States.

When England and Wales was split into three ecclesiastical provinces in 1911, the pre-existent Archbishop of Westminster was given certain privileges of pre-eminence constituting him 'chief metropolitan', but without the title of primate. Similarly the Archbishop of Seoul is often considered to be the primate of Korea, but such title has never been granted by the Vatican. Such 'analogous' use of the title is confusing and technically incorrect.

"Honorary" titles

The following are often called by the title "Primate" of the area indicated, for historical, or other reasons. However, the titles do not have official ecclesiastical standing:

Orthodox Christianity

In the Orthodox churches, Primate is often used in the general sense of the head of an autocephalous or autonomous church, but not as a specific title. Thus, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus', the Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa, the Archbishop of Athens, the the Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, and the Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland are all primates of their respective churches, regardless of their individual titles.

Anglican Communion

An Anglican primate is the chief bishop or archbishop of one of the thirty-eight churches (also known as provinces) of the Anglican Communion [1]. Some of these provinces are stand-alone ecclesiastical provinces (such as the Church of the Province of West Africa), while others are national churches comprised of several ecclesiastical provinces (such as the Church of England). Since 1978, the Anglican primates have met annually for an Anglican Communion Primates' Meeting at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is regarded as the chief (though primus-inter-pares) of the Anglican primates. While the gathering has no legal jurisdiction, it acts as one of the informal instruments of unity among the autonomous provinces of the Communion.

In stand-alone ecclesiastical provinces, the Primate is the metropolitan archbishop of the province. In national churches composed of several ecclesiastical provinces, the Primate will be senior to the metropolitan archbishops of the various provinces, and may be a metropolitan archbishop himself. In those churches which do not have a tradition of archiepiscopacy, the Primate is a bishop styled "Primus" (in the case of the Scottish Episcopal Church, "Presiding Bishop", "President-Bishop", "Prime Bishop" or simply "Primate". In the case of the Episcopal Church in the United States, which is composed of several ecclesiastical provinces, there is a Presiding Bishop who is its Primate, but the individual provinces are not led by metropolitans.

The Moderators of the United Churches of North and South India, which are united with other originally non-Anglican churches, and which are part of the Anglican Communion, while not primates, participate in the Primates' Meetings.

Anglican primates may be attached to a fixed See (e.g., the Archbishop of Canterbury is invariably the Primate of All England), he or she may be chosen from among sitting metropolitans or diocesan bishops and retain their See (as with, for example, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia), or he or she may have no See (as in the Anglican Church of Canada). Primates are generally chosen by election (either by a Synod consisting of laity, clergy, and bishops, or by a House of Bishops). In some instances, the primacy is awarded on the basis of seniority among the episcopal college. In the Church of England, the Primate, like all bishops, is appointed by the British Sovereign, in his or her capacity as Supreme Governor of the established church, on the advice of the Crown Appointments Commission.

It should be noted that in the Church of England and in the Church of Ireland, the metropolitan of the second province has since medieval times also been accorded the title of Primate. In England, the Archbishop of Canterbury is known as the "Primate of All England" while the Archbishop of York is "Primate of England" (see also Primacy of Canterbury). In Ireland both the Anglican and Roman Catholic Archbishops of Armagh are titled "Primate of All Ireland", while the Archbishops of Dublin are titled "Primate of Ireland". The junior primates of these churches do not participate in the Primates' Meeting.

Regular equivalent

In the modern confederation of the Benedictine Order, all the Black Monks of St. Benedict were united under the presidency of an Abbot Primate (Leo XIII, Summum semper, 12 July, 1893); but the unification, fraternal in its nature, brought no modification to the abbatial dignity, and the various congregations preserved their autonomy intact. The powers of the Abbot Primate are specified, and his position defined, in a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars dated 16 September, 1893. The primacy is attached to the Abbey and International Benedictine College of St. Anselm, Rome, and the Primate, who takes precedence of all other abbots, is empowered to pronounce on all doubtful matters of discipline, to settle difficulties arising between monasteries, to hold a canonical visitation, if necessary, in any congregation of the order, and to exercise a general supervision for the regular observance of monastic discipline. However, certain branches of the Benedictine Order seem to have lost their original autonomy to some extent

Notes

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Sources and references

es:Primado
Catholic Patriarchal (non cardinal) coat of arms

Primate (from the Latin Primus, "first") is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority (title of authority) or ceremonial precedence (title of honour).

Roman Catholic Church

In the Western Church, a Primate is an archbishop (or rarely a suffragan - or exempt bishop) of an episcopal see (called a primas) which confers precedence over the other bishops of his own province, or over a number of provinces (possibly part of a province), such as a 'national' church in (historical) political/cultural terms. This precedence gives no additional authority over these other (arch)bishops, such as that exercised by a Metropolitan bishop (which they generally are, within the smaller or conterminous jurisdiction of a single ecclesiastical province).

The term is generally found in the older Catholic countries, and is now purely honorific, enjoying no single real right under canon law. The title may be vested in one of the oldest Archdioceses in a country, if it exists. As incumbents, especially nation's leading archbishops, are often elevated cardinal, a higher rank, and the national leadership is rather vested in the chairmanship of the national conference of bishops (often vested in his see; old-fashioned synods have become rare) the title is rather void for them. The see city may no longer have the prominence it had when the diocese was created, or its circumscription may no longer exist as a state/nation. Primates rank below Major Archbishop and Patriarch, as the Exarch originally did, and like these under the now far more frequent cardinalate (and within that college of true princes of the church they enjoy no precedence, unlike the higher ranks not even the right to join a high order of the sacred college).

At the First Vatican Council (Coll. Lacens., VII, pp. 34, 488, 726) the only (arch)bishops figuring as primates, in virtue of then recent concessions, were these (by country) :

A selection of primatial pretences in other countries (here grouped by modern states, but sometimes the claimed 'primas' had a smaller or overlapping territory) and their Roman Catholic primates (some historical claims are dormant or have been void for centuries; new titles can only be awarded by the Holy See):

In the United States, where an official primacy was never awarded, the Archbishop of Baltimore is sometimes called "honorary primate" -- since Baltimore was the first diocese in the nation, its bishop is granted ceremonial precedence before all the bishops (except those nominally created cardinals) of all other sees in the United States.

When England and Wales was split into three ecclesiastical provinces in 1911, the pre-existent Archbishop of Westminster was given certain privileges of pre-eminence constituting him 'chief metropolitan', but without the title of primate. Similarly the Archbishop of Seoul is often considered to be the primate of Korea, but such title has never been granted by the Vatican. Such 'analogous' use of the title is confusing and technically incorrect.

"Honorary" titles

The following are often called by the title "Primate" of the area indicated, for historical, or other reasons. However, the titles do not have official ecclesiastical standing:

Orthodox Christianity

In the Orthodox churches, Primate is often used in the general sense of the head of an autocephalous or autonomous church, but not as a specific title. Thus, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus', the Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa, the Archbishop of Athens, the the Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, and the Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland are all primates of their respective churches, regardless of their individual titles.

Anglican Communion

An Anglican primate is the chief bishop or archbishop of one of the thirty-eight churches (also known as provinces) of the Anglican Communion [2]. Some of these provinces are stand-alone ecclesiastical provinces (such as the Church of the Province of West Africa), while others are national churches comprised of several ecclesiastical provinces (such as the Church of England). Since 1978, the Anglican primates have met annually for an Anglican Communion Primates' Meeting at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is regarded as the chief (though primus-inter-pares) of the Anglican primates. While the gathering has no legal jurisdiction, it acts as one of the informal instruments of unity among the autonomous provinces of the Communion.

In stand-alone ecclesiastical provinces, the Primate is the metropolitan archbishop of the province. In national churches composed of several ecclesiastical provinces, the Primate will be senior to the metropolitan archbishops of the various provinces, and may be a metropolitan archbishop himself. In those churches which do not have a tradition of archiepiscopacy, the Primate is a bishop styled "Primus" (in the case of the Scottish Episcopal Church, "Presiding Bishop", "President-Bishop", "Prime Bishop" or simply "Primate". In the case of the Episcopal Church in the United States, which is composed of several ecclesiastical provinces, there is a Presiding Bishop who is its Primate, but the individual provinces are not led by metropolitans.

The Moderators of the United Churches of North and South India, which are united with other originally non-Anglican churches, and which are part of the Anglican Communion, while not primates, participate in the Primates' Meetings.

Anglican primates may be attached to a fixed See (e.g., the Archbishop of Canterbury is invariably the Primate of All England), he or she may be chosen from among sitting metropolitans or diocesan bishops and retain their See (as with, for example, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia), or he or she may have no See (as in the Anglican Church of Canada). Primates are generally chosen by election (either by a Synod consisting of laity, clergy, and bishops, or by a House of Bishops). In some instances, the primacy is awarded on the basis of seniority among the episcopal college. In the Church of England, the Primate, like all bishops, is appointed by the British Sovereign, in his or her capacity as Supreme Governor of the established church, on the advice of the Crown Appointments Commission.

It should be noted that in the Church of England and in the Church of Ireland, the metropolitan of the second province has since medieval times also been accorded the title of Primate. In England, the Archbishop of Canterbury is known as the "Primate of All England" while the Archbishop of York is "Primate of England" (see also Primacy of Canterbury). In Ireland both the Anglican and Roman Catholic Archbishops of Armagh are titled "Primate of All Ireland", while the Archbishops of Dublin are titled "Primate of Ireland". The junior primates of these churches do not participate in the Primates' Meeting.

Regular equivalent

In the modern confederation of the Benedictine Order, all the Black Monks of St. Benedict were united under the presidency of an Abbot Primate (Leo XIII, Summum semper, 12 July, 1893); but the unification, fraternal in its nature, brought no modification to the abbatial dignity, and the various congregations preserved their autonomy intact. The powers of the Abbot Primate are specified, and his position defined, in a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars dated 16 September, 1893. The primacy is attached to the Abbey and International Benedictine College of St. Anselm, Rome, and the Primate, who takes precedence of all other abbots, is empowered to pronounce on all doubtful matters of discipline, to settle difficulties arising between monasteries, to hold a canonical visitation, if necessary, in any congregation of the order, and to exercise a general supervision for the regular observance of monastic discipline. However, certain branches of the Benedictine Order seem to have lost their original autonomy to some extent

Notes

<references />

Sources and references

es:Primado eo:Primaso fr:Primatie it:Primate (ecclesiastico) la:Primas nl:Primaat (persoon) pl:Prymas ro:Primat ru:Примас sv:Primas (biskop) eo:Primaso fr:Primatie it:Primate (ecclesiastico) la:Primas nl:Primaat (persoon) pl:Prymas ro:Primat ru:Примас sv:Primas (biskop)

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