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Christianity /

In Christianity, a defined region under the administration of a bishop. An archdiocese is a diocese of prominence to the simple diocese.
A diocese may also be called a bishopric, an episcopal area or an episcopal see.
The distinctions between a dicoese and an archdiocese varies. In most cases, an archbishop resides over an archdiocese, but an archbishop may well reside over only a diocese. In some cases an archdiocese is so defined only from tradition or because of its size, and overseen by an archbishop who has no more privileges than the ordinary bishop.
Certain churches are defined to dioceses, like the Armenian Catholic Church with its 3 archdioceses and 3 dioceses, the Chaldean Catholic Church with 4 archdioceses and 7 dioceses while the Coptic Catholic Church with 5 dioceses.
The word comes from the administrative units, the tax-collecting districts, of the eastern Roman provinces. The Roman diocesan structure was adopted by the Roman Catholic Church in the 5th and 6th centuries, and the bishop assumed the position of the former Roman praefectus.
The original designation of the Eastern Orthodox churches was parish administered by a bishop, the diocese was administered by the patriarch. In most regions this would gradually changed with dioceses becoming areas administered by the bishop. The number of dioceses to an archdiocese is not necessarily high, in the Roman Catholic Church there is about 4 to every archdiocese.

By Tore Kjeilen