This article forms part of the series
Clergy (Christian)
Russian Orthodox Episcopal Ordination
Major orders
Bishop - Priest - Deacon
Minor orders
Subdeacon - Reader
Cantor - Acolyte
Other orders
Chorepiscopos - Exorcist
Doorkeeper - Deaconess
Episcopal titles
Pope - Patriarch - Cardinal - Catholicos
Archbishop - Metropolitan
Auxiliary bishop -

Chorbishop - Titular bishop
Major Archbishop

Priestly titles
Archimandrite - Protopresbyter
Archpriest - Protosyngellos
Diaconal titles
Archdeacon - Protodeacon - Hierodeacon
Minor titles
Monastic titles
Abbot - Igumen
Ordination - Vestments
Presbeia - Honorifics
Clergy awards - Exarch
Proistamenos - Vicar

A suffragan bishop is a bishop subordinate to a metropolitan bishop or diocesan bishop. He 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. These bishops tend to look after those parishes and clergy within their jurisdiction who conciously object to the priestly ministry of females. 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. 

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