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Proistamenos - Vicar
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In the broadest sense, a vicar, from the Latin: vicarius, is a representative, deputy, or substitute; a person who acts for someone else or is an agent for a superior. Linguistically, vicar is the root of the English prefix "vice," similarly meaning "deputy" as used in vice president, vice admiral, and vice chairman. Vicar is used similarly in the Orthodox Christian Church as a term for a representative or deputy of a bishop. Such a person may be a priest or another bishop who represents a senior bishop or a patriarch.
A bishop who is a vicar usually bears in his title the names of both his titular see, that is usually of a smaller town within the diocese to which he is attached, as well as the see in which he is a subordinate. For example, Bishop Ignaty (Punin), the vicar bishop under the Diocese of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, is titled "The Rt. Rev. Ignaty, bishop of Vyazemsk, vicar of the Diocese of Smolensk," wherein Vyazemsk is a smaller town inside the territory of the Diocese of Smolensk and Kaliningrad. Normally, only large dioceses have vicar bishops, sometimes more than one.
Usually, bishops who are vicars in the Russian Orthodox Church do not have an independent jurisdiction, even in their titular towns, and are subordinate to their diocesan bishops; though some of them de facto may have jurisdiction over some territories. Also, in the Russian Orthodox Church, some vicar bishops may be styled "archbishops" or "metropolitans" as honorary titles. In some Orthodox Churches of the Hellenic tradition the term "chorbishop" may be used instead of "vicar bishop." Occasionally, a priest may be assigned to a position as a vicar to a bishop.
An example of the assignment of a "senior" bishop as a "vicar" is that of Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America who served as the Archepiscopal Vicar for the Diocese of Atlanta after the death of Bishop Philip until Metr. Alexios was elected the new bishop of the diocese. The Metropolis of Atlanta also has several priests assigned as vicars to assist Metro. Alexios.1
- His Grace Ignatii, listing at the Orthodox Research Institute