Episcopal see

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The episcopal see (Holy See) of the Pope in Basilica San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome

An episcopal see (Latin: episcopalis sedes) is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral.[1] The seat is also called the bishop's throne, especially in the Eastern Orthodox Church.[2]

The term is also used of the town or place where the cathedral is located,[1] giving rise to expressions such as "the Episcopal See of Gibraltar".[3]

The bishop's seat is the earliest symbol of a bishop's authority,[1] and the word see is thus often applied to the office or authority of the bishop, or to the area over which the bishop exercises authority. This usually corresponds to a diocese, as in the expression "built within the see of the bishop of Worcester".[4] However, the word see is also used to identify the ministry of a suffragan bishop, as in the expression "the see of Ebbsfleet".[5]

The episcopal see of the pope, the bishop of Rome, is known as the Holy See.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005, ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), s.v. see
  2. ^ For instance, Communiqué of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
  3. ^ Hansard report
  4. ^ Priory of Little Malvern
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Merriam-Webster Dictionary