Primate (pronounced /ˈpraɪˌmeɪt/) is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority (title of authority) or ceremonial precedence (title of honour).
In many countries, the Primate is based in a city other than the capital. This often reflects historical circumstances, with the Primate located in what had been the capital when the country first became Christianized, and with such geographical disparity helping to preserve the Church's autonomy from the secular government.
Roman Catholic Church 
Latin-Rite churches 
In the Western Church, a primate is an archbishop—or rarely a suffragan or exempt bishop—of a specific episcopal see (called a primatial see) which confers precedence over the bishops of one or more neighbouring ecclesiastical provinces, such as a 'national' church in historical, political, and cultural terms. Historically, primates were granted privileges including the authority to call and preside at national synods, the jurisdiction to hear appeals from metropolitan tribunals, the right to crown the sovereign of the nation, and presiding at the investiture (installation) of archbishops in their sees.
The office is generally found in the older Catholic countries, and is now purely honorific, enjoying no effective powers under canon law except for Esztergom (Gran) in Hungary. An exception is Poland, where the new statute of the episcopal conference states that the Primate of Poland is durante munere a member of the Perpetual Board of the episcopal conference and he has honorary precedence among Polish bishops (e.g. when carrying on liturgical ceremonies). Polish primates also actively wear cardinal's vestments, even if they have not been nominated cardinals, a privilege granted by the Holy See. The title, where it exists, may be vested in one of the oldest archdioceses in a country. The see city may no longer have the prominence it had when the diocese was created, or its circumscription may no longer exist as a state, nation or country — for example, the Archbishop of Toledo originated as the "Primate of the Visigothic Kingdom", while the Archbishop of Lyon is the "Primate of the Gauls".
Some of the leadership functions once exercised by primates, specifically presiding at meetings of the bishops of a nation or region, are now exercised by the president of the conference of bishops: "The president of the Conference or, when he is lawfully impeded, the vice-president, presides not only over the general meetings of the Conference but also over the permanent committee."  The president is generally elected by the conference, but by exception the President of the Italian Episcopal Conference is appointed by the Pope, and the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference has the Primate of All Ireland as President and the Primate of Ireland as Vice-President. Other former functions of primates, such as hearing appeals from metropolitan tribunals, were reserved to the Holy See by the early 20th century. Soon after, by the norm of the Code of Canon Law of 1917, confirmed in the 1983 Code, the tribunal of second instance for appeals from a metropolitan tribunal is "the tribunal which the metropolitan has designated in a stable manner with the approval of the Apostolic See".
- Carthage, Africa ancient, Pope Leo IX: 1893  
- Prague - Bohemia (1344-),
- Buenos Aires, Argentina (the title was granted under Pope Pius XI on 29 January 1936).
- England and Wales
- Rome, Italy
- Gniezno Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1418)
- Lund, Scandinavian
- Palermo, Sicily
- Salzburg, Austria
- Antivari, Serbia
- São Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
- Gniezno, Poland
- Tarragona, Spain
- Gran, Hungary
- Mechlin, Belgium (1560)
- Armagh, All Ireland
- Venice, for Dalmatia
- Dublin, Ireland 
- Quebec, Canada
- Baltimore, USA, given precedence at the request of the First Plenary Council of Baltimore, basically an honorific primate
- Archbishop of Seoul, Korea
Regular clergy equivalent 
In the modern confederation of the Benedictine Order, all the Black Monks of St. Benedict were united under the presidency of an Abbot Primate (Leo XIII, Summum semper, 12 July 1893); but the unification, fraternal in its nature, brought no modification to the abbatial dignity, and the various congregations preserved their autonomy intact. The loose structure of the Benedictine Confederation is claimed to have made Pope Leo XIII exclaim that the Benedictines were ordo sine ordine ("an order without order"). The powers of the Abbot Primate are specified, and his position defined, in a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and Regulars dated 16 September 1893. The primacy is attached to the global Benedictine Confederation whose Primate resides at Sant'Anselmo in Rome. He takes precedence of all other abbots, is empowered to pronounce on all doubtful matters of discipline, to settle difficulties arising between monasteries, to hold a canonical visitation, if necessary, in any congregation of the order, and to exercise a general supervision for the regular observance of monastic discipline. The Primatial powers are only vested in the Abbot Primate to act by virtue of the proper law of its autonomous Benedictine congregation, which at the present is minimal to none. However, certain branches of the Benedictine Order seem to have lost their original autonomy to some extent.
In a similar way the Confederation of Canons Regular of St. Augustine, elects an Abbot Primate as figurehead of the Confederation and indeed the whole Canonical Order. The Abbots and Superiors General of the nine congregations of confederated congregations of Canons Regular elect a new Abbot Primate for a term of office lasting six years. The Current Abbot General is Rt. Rev. Fr Maurice Bitz, Abbot of St. Pierre, and Abbot General of the Canons Regular of St. Victor.
Anglican Communion 
An Anglican primate is the chief bishop or archbishop of one of the thirty-eight churches (also known as provinces) of the Anglican Communion. Some of these provinces are stand-alone ecclesiastical provinces (such as the Church of the Province of West Africa), while others are national churches comprising several ecclesiastical provinces (such as the Church of England). Since 1978, the Anglican primates have met annually for an Anglican Communion Primates' Meeting at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is regarded as the chief (though primus-inter-pares) of the Anglican primates. While the gathering has no legal jurisdiction, it acts as one of the informal instruments of unity among the autonomous provinces of the Communion.
In stand-alone ecclesiastical provinces, the Primate is the metropolitan archbishop of the province. In national churches composed of several ecclesiastical provinces, the Primate will be senior to the metropolitan archbishops of the various provinces, and may also be a metropolitan archbishop. In those churches which do not have a tradition of archiepiscopacy, the Primate is a bishop styled "Primus" (in the case of the Scottish Episcopal Church), "Presiding Bishop", "President-Bishop", "Prime Bishop" or simply "Primate". In the case of the Episcopal Church in the United States, which is composed of several ecclesiastical provinces, there is a Presiding Bishop who is its Primate, but the individual provinces are not led by metropolitans.
The Moderators of the United Churches of North and South India, which are united with other originally non-Anglican churches, and which are part of the Anglican Communion, while not primates, participate in the Primates' Meetings.
Anglican primates may be attached to a fixed See (e.g., the Archbishop of Canterbury is invariably the Primate of All England), he or she may be chosen from among sitting metropolitans or diocesan bishops and retain their See (as with, for example, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia), or he or she may have no See (as in the Anglican Church of Canada). Primates are generally chosen by election (either by a Synod consisting of laity, clergy and bishops, or by a House of Bishops). In some instances, the primacy is awarded on the basis of seniority among the episcopal college. In the Church of England, the Primate, like all bishops, is appointed by the British Sovereign, in his or her capacity as Supreme Governor of the established church, on the advice of the Crown Appointments Commission.
It should be noted that in the Church of England and in the Church of Ireland, the metropolitan of the second province has since medieval times also been accorded the title of Primate (see section "Roman Catholic" above). In England, the Archbishop of Canterbury is known as the "Primate of All England" while the Archbishop of York is "Primate of England" (see also Primacy of Canterbury). In Ireland both the Anglican and Catholic Archbishops of Armagh are titled "Primate of All Ireland"; while both the Anglican and Catholic Archbishops of Dublin are titled "Primate of Ireland". As both of these positions pre-date the 1921 partition, they relate to the whole island of Ireland. The junior primates of these churches do not normally participate in the Primates' Meeting.
- "Primate". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- John P. Beal, New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law (Paulist Press 2002 ISBN 978-0-80914066-4), p. 595
- John P. Beal, New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law (Paulist Press 2002 ISBN 978-0-80914066-4), p. 1631
- "Africa". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Hierarchy". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Archdiocese of Prague". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- Episcopal Conference of Argentina: "Arquidiócesis de Buenos Aires".
- Agencia Informativa Católica Argentina: "El nuevo arzobispo de Buenos Aires es Mons. Mario Poli"
- Esquiu, 16 December 2012, p. 14
- "Canterbury". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Ancient See of York". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Archdiocese of Westminster". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Reorganization_of_the_English_Hierarchy". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913..
- "Bordeaux". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Bourges". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Archdiocese_of_Aix". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Grenoble". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Archdiocese of Rouen". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Mainz". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Sens". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Armagh". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- James Murray, Enforcing the English Reformation in Ireland (Cambridge University Press 2011 ISBN 978-0-52136994-7), pp. 41-43
- "Archdiocese of Gnesen-Posen". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Archdiocese of Cagliari". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- By royal grant ( "Scotland". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.) but refused by the Holy See (http://books.google.ie/books?id=ZZTk5S-kLcoC&pg=PA69&dq=Barrow+primacy+%22refused+by+the+papacy%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=i86dUfiuCeay7AaqhYHwAg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Barrow%20primacy%20%22refused%20by%20the%20papacy%22&f=false G.W.S. Barrow, Kingship and Unity (Edinburgh University Press 1981 ISBN 978-0-74860104-2), p. 69]
- "Toledo". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Archdiocese of Gran". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Mechlin". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- MacGeoghegan, James, The history of Ireland, ancient and modern (1844), James Duffy, Dublin, p. 337
- "Archdiocese of Baltimore". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
Sources and references 
- Catholic Encyclopaedia (also other articles)
- Catholic Hierarchy
- Westermann Großer Atlas zur Weltgeschichte (in German)