Episcopal see

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.[1][2]

Phrases concerning actions occurring within or outside of an episcopal see are indicative of the geographical significance of the term, making it synonymous with "diocese".[3][4][5][6]

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.[7] This symbolic chair is also known as the bishop's cathedra, and is placed in the bishop's 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[8]

The term "see" is also used of the town where the cathedral or the bishop's residence is located,[7]

The episcopal see of the pope, the bishop of Rome, is known as "the Holy See"[9] or "the Apostolic See (capitalized).[10]

See also


  1. ^ , s.v. "Episcopal see"Modern Catholic DictionaryJohn Hardon,
  2. ^ Hansard report
  3. ^ Priory of Little Malvern
  4. ^ (Church House Publishing 1993 ISBN 978-0-71515750-3), p. 103Together in Mission and MinistryThe Church of England,
  5. ^ : "Ordinance of William I Separating the Spiritual and Temporal Courts"The Avalon ProjectYale Law School,
  6. ^ (CUA Press 2010 ISBN 978-0-81321138-1), p. ixSermons on the Liturgical SeasonsSaint Augustine,
  7. ^ a b The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005, ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), s.v. "see"
  8. ^ For instance, Communiqué of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
  9. ^ Merriam-Webster Dictionary: "holy see"
  10. ^ Merriam-Webster Dictionary: "apostolic see