WikiNow lets you discover the news you care about, follow the topics that matter to you and share your favourite stories with your friends.

© WikiNow

The word diocese is derived from the Greek term διοίκησις meaning "administration". When now used in an ecclesiastical sense, it refers to a territorial unit of administration. In the Western Church, the district is under the supervision of a bishop and is divided into parishes under the care of priests; but in the Eastern Church, the word denotes the area under the jurisdiction of a patriarch and the bishops under his jurisdiction administer parishes. This structure of church governance is known as episcopal polity.

Global boundaries of Roman Catholic Diocese and Provinces.
Original global boundaries of Roman Catholic Diocese and Provinces, Catholic Geographic System. Dioceses
Saint Lawrence Church, Diocese of Linköping, Sweden.
Pope Pius XI (left) blesses Bishop Stephen Alencastre as fifth Apostolic Vicar of the Hawaiian Islands in a Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace window. In Roman Catholicism, the pope as the bishop of the Diocese of Rome, creates the other Catholic dioceses throughout the world and chooses their bishops.

The word diocese is derived from the Greek term διοίκησις meaning "administration". When now used in an ecclesiastical sense, it refers to a territorial unit of administration. In the Western Church, the district is under the supervision of a bishop (who may have assistant bishops to help him or her) and is divided into parishes under the care of priests; but in the Eastern Church, the word denotes the area under the jurisdiction of a patriarch and the bishops under his jurisdiction administer parishes. This structure of church governance is known as episcopal polity.

The word diocesan means relating or pertaining to a diocese. It can also be used as a noun meaning the bishop who has the principal supervision of a diocese. A diocese also may be referred to as a bishopric or episcopal see, though strictly the term episcopal see refers to the domain of ecclesiastical authority officially held by the bishop, and the term bishopric to the post of being bishop.

An archdiocese (or archiepiscopal see or archbishopric) is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or have had importance due to size or historical significance. The archbishop may have metropolitan authority over any other suffragan bishops and their dioceses within his ecclesiastical province.

In the Latter Day Saint movement, the term "bishopric" is used to describe the bishop himself, together with his two counselors, not the ward or congregation of which a bishop has charge.

Especially in the Middle Ages, some bishops (e.g. prince-bishops) held political as well as religious authority within their dioceses, which in practice were thus also independent or semi-independent states. Two vestiges of this remain: the Catholic Pope is, ex officio, the monarch of the State of Vatican City and the (Catholic) Bishop of Urgell, Spain, is, ex officio, the Spanish Co-Prince of the Co-Principality of Andorra, which is located entirely within his diocese. (The French Co-Prince of the Co-Principality of Andorra is, ex officio, the President of France.)