Major archiepiscopal churches are the oriental churches governed by the major archbishops, assisted by the respective synod of bishops. These churches also have almost the same rights and obligations of patriarchal churches. A major archbishop is the metropolitan of a see determined or recognized by the Supreme authority of the Church, who presides over an entire Eastern Church sui iuris that is not distinguished with the patriarchal title. What is stated in common law concerning patriarchal churches or patriarchs is understood to be applicable to major archiepiscopal churches or major archbishops, unless the common law expressly provides otherwise or it is evident from the nature of the matter" (CCEO.151, 152). The Ukrainian, Syro Malabar, Syro-Malankara Catholic and Romanian churches are the four major archiepiscopal churches in the Catholic Church.

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