ecclesiastical province

A territorial administrative division in the Church, consisting of several dioceses under an archbishop, the metropolitan, who derives this dignity from his own episcopal see, to which by designation or approbation of the Roman Pontiff it is attached. Provincial organization was early favored by doctrinal and disciplinary troubles necessitating frequent regional synods of the bishops, usually presided over by the bishop of the capital city of the civil province (eparchy) or of the see regarded as the mother-church of the rest; it was formally recognized by the Council of Nicaea (325).

New Catholic Dictionary

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