Patriarchal Vicar

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In the Antiochian Church when a diocese is newly created it is usually kept under the direct control of the patriarch until it becomes self-supporting.

The patriarch exercises direct control on the diocese through a Patriarchal Vicar bishop. It is always a consecrated bishop who is appointed patriarchal vicar. The patriarchal vicar exercises control over the diocese on behalf of the patriarch and under the supervision of the patriarch.

When the diocese is capable of being self-supporting, it is usually granted a bishop who administers in his own right. The bishop is thus a ruling bishop who has the right to sit on the Holy Synod as a full member.

Patriarchal Vicars are not members of the Holy Synod.

When a self-supporting diocese achieves sufficient standing it may be elevated to archdiocese. The ruling bishop of an archdiocese is always an archbishop or a metropolitan.

In the Antiochian Church a metropolitan ranks higher than an archbishop, in accordance with original Church practice. A metropolitan is often called metropolitan archbishop to differentiate him from the metropolitan bishops now found in the Greek Churches.