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The Catholic Eastern Churches

A number of technical terms appear in this section. The term “eparchy” is the word used for “diocese” in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. The two terms are used here interchangeably. An “Apostolic Exarchate” is the eastern equivalent of an Apostolic Vicariate in the Latin Church. It is a group of Eastern Catholic faithful that, because of special circumstances, has not been fully established as an eparchy. It is located in an area outside the territory of an Eastern Catholic Patriarch or Major Archbishop, and is headed by an Exarch (bishop). An “Ordinariate” is an ecclesiastical structure established for small groups of Eastern Catholic faithful, perhaps of more than one church sui iuris, in an area where they do not have a hierarchy of their own. In these cases the Ordinary will often be the bishop of a local Latin diocese. An “Apostolic Administration” is similar to an Ordinariate, but in this case the Apostolic Administrator governs vicariously in the Pope’s name.

In the following presentation, the Eastern Catholic churches are grouped according to their provenance. It begins with those that have no direct non-Catholic counterpart, and then considers the Eastern Catholic churches that correspond to the Assyrian Church of the East, the Oriental Orthodox, and, finally, the Orthodox churches.

The Congregation for the Oriental Churches
Prefect: Archbishop Leonardo Sandri (born 1943, appointed 2007)
Secretary: Archbishop Cyril Vasil’, SJ
Via della Conciliazione, 34
00120 Vatican City State

Last Modified: 25 Mar 2015

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