a bishop (griech.: επισκοπος, episkopos = chief, custodian, literally Allesüberblicker, guard; observe out episkeptomai =, supervise, visit; Leaning word from that 2. or 3. Jh.) is in many Christian churches religious a dignitary, that religiousand administrative line of a certain area has, which covers usually numerous local municipalities.

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old persons church

in the new will designates bishop (episkopos) just like oldest one (presbyteros) and deacon (diakonos) a guide function in the local municipality, whereby itno continuous rank differences between bishop and oldest one gives to be used and the expressions often exchangeably.

From this developed then since approx. 100 n. Chr. the three-way of religious office bishop, oldest one (Presbyter) and deacon with different office functions. In the oldest reportsif the bishop of the directors/conductors of the local municipality was, and led the celebration of the Eucharistie preached. It was supported by a committee of oldest ones and of deacons. These office functions are, with different designations, until today in most Christian churchesavailable. After the Apostoli age it came starting from the second century beside the further existing local bishops more and more also to bishops, who led the supervision across several municipalities. In such cases then Presbyter led as representatives of the bishopthe you air low eggs in the local municipalities, the deacons were the coworkers of the bishop on municipality-spreading level. The range of such a bishop became diocese or Diözese (of griech. oikos = house, see. Economics, ecology; Diözese is called approximately “administrative district”) mentioned and coveredusually a city and the surrounding villages; the city was the bishop seat. (When Germany was christianisiert, there were no cities, therefore the Diözese became rather large rural districts. This very day the Diözesen is here much larger than e.g. in Italy,where there were correct cities already in the antique one.)

in the argument with shedding tables currents developed three standards, in order to differentiate the true Christian faith from deviating teachings to: the canon of the writing, the generally accepted Glaubensbekenntnisse and the episcopacyas office of the teachings and the Liturgie, which stand in the tradition of the church. In the consequence it came with the bishops to different areas of responsibility, whereby some bishops, usually those a province capital, a supervision function over the remaining bishops of the areait got from which then a ranking of Patriarch, Metropolit or archbishop and bishop developed (church province).

orthodox church

the orthodox church follows in its understanding of the bishop office closely that the Roman-catholic church.The orthodox bishops stand like the catholic in the apostolischem Sukzession.

To the liturgical clothes of orthodox bishops belong to the Roman-catholic Pallium appropriate Omophorion, the Mitra provided with a cross and the Epigonatium [1], carried on the right side

, itthe three-way office understanding gives, and with the office for bishop different statuses from the bishop to the Patriarchen.

The orthodox church knows however no religious hierarchy of the bishops: Patriarch and Metropolit are only primus inter of pares in the Bischofskollegium, not hierarchical superiors, and a bishopis not bound within his own Diözese at instructions of a superordinate bishop. On the other hand a local Synode decisions can meet, to which the local bishop is bound, and which are decisions of ökumenischer or panorthodoxer councils also for Patriarchen binding.

There bishopsin the orthodox church in the Zölibat, priests and deacons live however are, come most orthodox bishops usually married from the Mönchstum - a verwitweter priest can however likewise become bishop.

The choice of the bishops is in the individual orthodoxChurches differently regulated, however the collective agreement of the population becomes by the call Axios! (Greek for “it is worthy “) seen as important part of the consecration. The resignation of bishops due to pressure from the population is likewise more frequent thanin the catholic church.

The sizes of the Diözesen differ very strongly between the individual orthodox churches; for example the small Greece has more than large Russia over 80 bishops .

In contrast to the Roman-catholic church the Sakrament is that Firmung not the bishop reserved but is celebrated directly after the baptism by the priest.

Roman-catholic church

coat of arms of Roman-catholic bishop </br>identifiable by the green bishop hat (galero) with twelve laterally down-hanging Quasten (fiocchi),as well as at the bischöflichen cross put up behind the coat of arms sign.

With the office for bishop (episcopacy) it concerns the highest stage of the Weihesakramentes. The bishop must have been geweiht first to the deacon and then to the priest. The appointment, relieving orTransfer of a bishop takes place alone via the Pope, before whom the bishops have their religious area of jurisdiction (of this fundamental church-legal regulation however in the detail frequently exceptions are made, so e.g. within the range of the Prussia concordat and in the diocese Basel). Afterwardsbecomes it of bishops - i. D. R. three - with the agreement of the Pope to the bishop geweiht. (Only exception: To the Pope to be selected each male, unmarried Roman-catholic Christian, who able and will is, can to the bishop von Romto be selected. If the selecting is not bishop or a layman, he is geweiht still in the Konklave to the bishop von Rom, and is thereby a Pope. However Urbans VI. come of since the choice. 1378 all Popes the Kardinalskollegium.) a Roman-catholic bishopis always male.

After catholic view the lehr and line authority continues in the bishops, which transferred Jesus the twelve Aposteln. In a continuous “number of the hand presenting “(Apostoli Sukzession) are all today's bishops with the Apostelnconnected. Thus the office for bishop belongs to the so-called “göttlichen right”. The bishop von Rom has the highest service of the unit as a successor in office of the Petrus after catholic faith (S. Pope).

Residenzialbischöfe (local bishops) become and Titularbischof from each other differentiated.

The Residenzialbischof is Chief of a Diözese and holds the full Regierungsgewalt over her. As such it has the highest lehr and right authority in its diocese and is alone the Pope (S. Hierarchy) responsible. For the administration of the Diözese several stand for the bishopAn official in the bischöflichen Kurie to the side, among other things the Generalvikar (the general and Permanent Representative of the bishop, its order is freely posed to the bishop), the Official (by the bishop and is owner of the tidy court force is ordered, must priests be andlegal knowledge) and the chancellor (chief of the bischöflichen registration department) has. Priest and layman committees have advisory function. See also regional bishop conference, Synode.

Bishops can support the local bishop, who are Titularbischöfe at the same time. Titularbischöfe are bishops, their Diözesen today no moreexist (e.g. in the Orient). For this reason they cannot seize over this a possession and exercise no jurisdiction force. Titularbischof is excluding an honour rank.

An archbishop is a chief of an ore diocese and has as such the same rights and obligations howall residing or Diözesanbischöfe. As Metropolit of the church province it has in accordance with. To ensure church right that the “faith and the church discipline are protected exactly are to communicate”, and “abuses to the Pope”. It has a concrete line force in the Suffraganbistümern howevernot. He is not also superior of the Suffraganbischöfe. Some Roman-catholic archbishops carry the title of a Patriarchen (e.g. Venice, Jerusalem, Lisbon); these are however pure honour titles. The only real Patriarch of the Roman-catholic church is a Pope in its function as Patriarchthe west. Over the catholic east churches it does not have authority as Patriarch; there usually own Patriarchate exist.

The bishop is in the catholic church the first donor of the Sakramente. The further Sakramentenspendung by priests is a delegation action, ofBishop goes out. Reservations are it the Priesterweihe, the Firmung (in the exceptional case at priests delegatable) as well as the passing on of the Bischofsweihe.

The office for bishop is an office on lifetime. But with completion 75. Lebensjahres are all bishops in accordance with. CAN. 401 §1 CIC continue to offer to the Pope the office renouncement (see: Altdiözesanbischof).

Insignien of a bishop, the so-called. Pontifikalien, are Mitra, staff (elucidation of the Hirtenfunktion), ring, and chest cross Pektorale. Such Insignien are in addition, with nichtbischöflichen office-holders with special Jurisdiction, like for example abbotts. Archbishop Metropoliten carry additionally to the described Insignien the Pallium, which to them by the Pope one lends. To the privileges also the address “high-worthiest Excellency” belongs.

oldcatholic church

after oldcatholic understandingthe office for bishop is the highest office of the church. The office for bishop is further bound at an actually exisitierende Diözese or regional church after this understanding. Herein the old-church principle comes to the expression: nulla ecclesia sine episcopo, nullus episcopus sine ecclesia (no churchwithout bishop, no bishop without church). For this reason there are bishops in the oldcatholic church only for completely special reasons (e.g. serious illness or high age of the present bishop).

A condition for the Bischofsweihe is also in the oldcatholic church,that to Weihende from a bishop to the deacon and to the priest one geweiht before (this must not necessarily have happened in the oldcatholic church). The following steps are to be kept:

  1. To Weihende must of the committee of a Diözese destined as it ora regional church (Synode or cathedral chapter) to the bishop to be selected. This is the today's form of the old-church bishop choice “by the acclamation of the Klerus and the people” (by acclamationem).
  2. The Bischofsweihe is done via presenting both hands throughanother in the apostolischen Sukzession standing bishop, as far as possible under Assistenz of two of other bishops.

Characteristic of a old-catholic bishop is thus that it is selected and geweiht. If the first step is missing (thus for instance with Vagantenbischöfen, in addition,the consecrations carried out by Marcel Levèbvre) is formally correct the Bischofsweihe, but carried out not valid. Against it to Weihende valid selected, if those is not carried out consecration however (still), he can exercise the bischöflichen functions nevertheless valid.

In the oldcatholicChurch exists also the possibility of giving the Bischofsweihe to women (after the Mariaviten before 1939 practiced). None attributes itself the existing Weihelinien to the female Apostel (Junias, Priscilla among other things), the exclusion of women of the priesterlichen andhowever sociological and no theological reasons have bischöflichen office after old-catholic conviction excluding. Besides the Diakonenweihe is pour-moderately occupied by women in the old person church.

Finally no bishop Macht over one has after old-church tradition (Ignatius of Antiochien)other bishop, and each bishop exercises his powers only in his own Diözese. Therefore the archbishop of Utrecht enjoys an honour priority in the oldcatholic church, but only because its chair is the oldest oldcatholic bishop seat of Western Europe.

With entranceinto the retirement (usually with that 65. Lebensjahr) can exercise a old-catholic bishop further its function, as far as its forces permit it, for it however regularly a successor is selected and geweiht.

Insignien (registration numbers) of a old-catholic bishop are (as in the Roman-catholic church) Mitra, bishop staff, ring and Pektorale (chest cross). Contrary to Roman-catholic Metropoliten the archbishop however no Pallium carries.

In donating the Sakramente the priests the bishops are to a large extent on an equal footing. Like it the traditioncorresponds, however the Sakramente remains the Firmung, which to the deacon and to the priest and in particular the Bischofsweihe the bishop reserves consecration. If a bishop is present in the service, then the honour priority and thus the line you air tables of the celebration are entitled to him as well asany donating of other Sakramente (baptism), which are not expressly reserved it. For seelsorgerlichen reasons a bishop in the old-catholic church can donate the Sakramente at any time in the municipalities of his Diözese, approximately with a marriage ceremony or a Krankensalbung.

OldcatholicPriests and bishops are not obligate a zölibatäres life to lead.

Anglikani church

the anglikanische church knows likewise the Bischofsweihe and a bischöfliche hierarchy with Primas, archbishop and bishop, whereby the Primas of the Church OF Englandhonour for the sake of as head one regards, however in relation to other churches is instruction-entitled. Anglikani bishops stand according to prevailing opinion likewise in the apostolischen Sukzession (whereby this is denied however by the Roman-catholic church).

The Diözese is the substantial unit within thatanglikanischen church. The highest committee of each anglikanischen church is the Bischofssynode, the meeting of all bishops of the church. A anglikanischer bishop may exercise its functions only in its own Diözese.

Anglikani bishops are often married, in few anglikanischen churches can alsoa Mrs. bishop become. The bishop choice takes place after the statutes of the church concerned, usually via a committee from priests and laymen.

the Methodists ranked themselves Evangelist methodistische church in the start time of the Methodismus among the Anglikanern, of themBishops in the apostolischen Sukzession stand, and took the Sakramente in the anglikanischen church.

With the declaration of independence of the United States a time came for the Methodists in the USA, where there were no anglikanischen bishops in attainable proximity. Decreasing/going back upthe orthodox tradition for example in the Patriarchat of Alexandria in the third century, where the Presbyter selected one the their to the bishop, defined John Wesley the methodistische understanding of the office for bishop: between a bishop and an oldest one (Presbyter, minister) there is no differencein the Weihegrad separate only one difference in the function: a bishop is a Presbyter, which has a leading function opposite the Presbytern of its region. From therefore it the office for bishop can be temporally limited in a methodistischen church, and the bishop is at expiration of its term of office Presbyter like every different one, for example a municipality leads - there is however also local church orders, in which the choice of a bishop on lifetime is possible. The first bishops of the methodistischen church became from JohnWesley and some other ordinierten clergymen of the anglikanischen church selected. In the methodistischen tradition there is thus no apostolische Sukzession of the bishop office.

The office for bishop in the Evangelist methodistischen church in Europe is landspreading in many cases: the northEuropean parish covers for examplethe Scandinavian and Baltic countries, the Southeast-European France, Central Europe without Germany, the Balkans and North Africa. Germany had to become from political reasons in the thirties-years of the last century a separate parish and until today its own parish remained.

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Lutheri churches

in the lutherischen regional churches both in Germany and in Northern Europe there are the office of the bishop for a region or a regional church is responsible usually and opposite the ministers of the local municipalities a line functionhas. This office is usually called bishop, besides the designation national bishop is common. The independent Evangelical-Lutheran church (SELK), as one of lutherischen free churches in Germany, is led of a bishop. He is bishop of its church for thoseentire Federal Republic of Germany.

Under the lutherischen churches in the USA some of a bishop are led (e.g. ELCA), with others (e.g. Evangelical-Lutheran Missouri Synode) is called the leader Präses.

There is no separate surgery for bishops, these becomes intheir office imported. The function is seen not as higher religious rank, but than a kind minister in the church-leading service. It gives no reserved Sakramente to the bishop and in Germany no apostolische Sukzession (this is however z. B. instill receive to the Scandinavian countries).

Evangelist office holders usually become of the Synode (church parliament) for a certain time or on lifetime (usually up to 65. or 68. Lebensjahr) selected.

In most Evangelist churches the office becomes both ofMen and exercised by women. In the SELK is reserved it men.

reformed churches

most reformed churches have a presbyterianische structure, in that the line of the church not with a bishop but at a committeefrom oldest ones is, which can be called Presbyterium, Synode, or general assembly. These oldest ones are usually laymen, their office however as religious office seen and often give it a special surgery for oldest ones.

The oldest ones are limitedcontrary to bishops on leading functions, the Sakramente is however usually administered by ordinierten ministers - with the oldest ones however the responsibility the church is in accordance with the tradition to lead, which lies in episkopalen denominations with the bishop.

Exceptions of this rule are into the Eastern European reformed church (for example Hungary), which the function bishop, similarly as in the Lutheri churches. In the reformed regional churches in Germany the highest church-leading person general or Landessuperintendent is called (Lippi regional church), Präses (Rhine country, Westphalia, reformed church), church president or president and/or secretary (Bremi Evangelist church).

The reformed churches of Switzerland are organized presbyterianisch and know no bishops.

Kongregationalisti denominations

Kongregationalistischdenominations, for example the most Baptisten and Pfingstgemeinden structured, know no übergemeindliches office for bishop. They stress the autonomy of the local municipalities and consider the terms bishop and oldest one synonymous. Most of these municipalities know however under different designations the functions of thethree-way office on district level: there are a municipality leader (episkopos), a committee of oldest ones (presbyteroi) and dia.-conical functions. They justify among other things with reference to Apostelgeschichte 20.17-35 (farewell speech of the Paulus before the oldest ones of the municipality Ephesus; particularly see thoseVerses 17 and 28). That the office for bishop was originally a function of the local municipality, will their judgement also at old catholic practice clearly to connect the bishop title with a place name.

Neuapostoli church

the Neuapostoli church (NAK) knowsthree office classes: Deacons, priests and Apostel. The Apostel, in the Apostolat in summary with the Stammapostel as head, forms the highest office hierarchy.

Under the priesterlichen offices the office stage of the bishop is the highest. Bishops become usually, like also thoseApostel, directly by the Stammapostel ordiniert. They partly support their Apostel in honorary activity, partly also in the firm service of the church. The priesterlichen offices in the NAK accomplish services, donate the Sakrament of the holy water baptism and the Sakrament of theHoly communion, new members accept the church members to the church, segnen to Konfirmationen, engagements, weddings, wedding anniversaries and accomplish funeral services.


  • a bishop however irreproachably, man of only one woman, soberly, should be moderately, with dignity, guest-free, skillfullyin the instruction, no boozer, not violent, but good-naturedly, not contentious, not money-greedily, one, its own house well manages and obedient children has in all respectableness. Because if someone does not know to manage its own house, as it is for thoseMunicipality of God ensure? It should not be newbaptized, so that it do not blow itself up and purge to the judgement of the devil. It must have in addition, a good reputation with those, which outside are, thus it does not geschmäht themselves and notcatch in the loop of the devil. (1. Tim. 3,2-7 shown after the Luther Bible (edition 1984))


  • Johannes Neumann, Günther gas man, Gerhard Tröger: Kind. Bishop I. The catholic office for bishop II. The historical office for bishop III. The Evangelist office for bishopIV. The synodale office for bishop. In: Theological material encyclopedia 6 (1980), S. 653-697
  • the bishops of the holy Roman realm 1448 to 1648. A biographic encyclopedia, hrsg. of Erwin Gatz under co-operation of Clemens Brodkorb, Berlin: Duncker & Humboldt 1996, XCVIand 871 S., ISBN 3-428-08422-5
  • Adalbert Erler: Legal short text books. Church right. A study book. 4. Edition, Munich: C.H. Beck, 1975.
  • Martin Leitgöb: From the Seelenhirten to the way leader. Soundings to the bischöflichen self understanding in 19. and 20. Century. The Germanikerbischöfe 1837-1962. Rome: Herderto 2004, ISBN 3-451-26458-7

see also

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Wiktionary: Bishop - word origin, synonyms and translations

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