Diocese and archdiocese are two territorial areas in Christianity. Diocese is a territory under the pastoral care of a bishop, whereas an archdiocese is a large territory with a group of dioceses. In the Roman Catholic church, the pope is the only one with the authority to create, divide, or merge dioceses. Moreover, we can divide all dioceses into parishes, each with its own church.
Key Areas Covered
Archdiocese, Diocese, Church
What is a Diocese
Diocese is a district under the pastoral care of a bishop in the Christian Church. This district includes a group of parishes under the supervision of a bishop. Each of the parishes in a diocese is overseen by a priest. Furthermore, the parish church serves as the religious center of the parish, the place where the congregate comes for weddings and baptisms. There are nearly 3,000 dioceses in the Catholic church. The bishop is assisted by his main deputy, a vicar general. This deputy should be an ordained deacon, priest, or bishop. Moreover, the coadjutor bishop holds the right of succession and liaises in administering the diocese.
The origins of the concept of dioceses date back to ancient Rome, where a diocese was a political concept rather than religious. In fact, the word diocese has the Greek root dioikesis, which means “government, administration, or province.” Ancient Rome had many dioceses, and each of these was made up of many provinces. Once Christianity became the Roman Empire’s official religion, the term gradually came to refer to religious districts.
What is an Archdiocese
An archdiocese is a district for which an archbishop is responsible. Therefore, an archdiocese is under the jurisdiction of an archbishop, who has the authority over the bishops whose dioceses are situated in the archdiocese within his ecclesiastical province.
Naturally, archdioceses tend to be more significant than dioceses. This importance is mainly based on their size and historical origins. An archdiocese is a larger territory than a diocese and includes a collection of dioceses. There can be more than one archbishop in an ecclesiastical province. But it’s important to note that only one archbishop has the title: Metropolitan of the See. Furthermore, the purpose of the archdiocese is to foster common pastoral action and cooperation within a geographical area.
Difference Between Diocese and Archdiocese
A diocese is a district under the pastoral care of a bishop in the Christian Church, while an archdiocese is a district for which an archbishop is responsible.
A diocese is under the jurisdiction of a bishop, whereas an archdiocese is under the jurisdiction of an archbishop.
A diocese oversees several parishes, while an archdiocese unites several dioceses within a certain defined territory.
Moreover, an archdiocese is naturally more significant than a diocese due to its size and historical origins.
In brief, the diocese and archdiocese are two territorial areas in Christianity. The main difference between diocese and archdiocese is that a diocese is under the jurisdiction of a bishop, whereas an archdiocese is under the jurisdiction of an archbishop. An archdiocese is naturally more significant than a diocese due to its size and historical origins.
1. “St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh – geograph.org.uk – 528966” By HENRY CLARK (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Archdiocese of Salzburg, circa 1700” By Lubiesque – Own work. Based on a variety of maps and sources. (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia