Jargon Buster

Words used in the ecclesiastical or religious hierarchy:

A Diocese is the district under the authority of a diocesan bishop. There are 44 dioceses in the Church of England.

A Diocesan Bishop is the title given to the highest Order in the Anglican Christian Ministry and oversees a diocese.

An Archbishop also has his/her own diocese, but is also the chief of the clergy in a whole Province. In the Church of England there are two Archbishops: Canterbury and York.

A Suffragan Bishop is a bishop in a diocese who is junior to the Diocesan Bishop and acts as his deputy. He/she may also be called an Area Bishop where a diocese has officially divided into areas, such as Chelmsford Diocese.

Assistant Bishops are often retired and do not have quite the same status as a Suffragan Bishop. They help out within a diocese on a short-term contract or informal arrangement.

A Bishopric is the office of bishop. The period of time during which a person serves as a bishop is called an episcopate. Similarly, an Archbishopric is the office of Archbishop.

A Dean is the head of a corporate body called a Chapter, which is responsible for a cathedral. Each cathedral has a Dean who lives in a house called a Deanery, normally situated in the cathedral close.

An Archdeacon is a senior priest appointed by the bishop. Archdeacons carry out legal and administrative functions on behalf of the bishop in areas called archdeaconries.

A Canon Residentiary is a senior priest. Each cathedral normally has between two and four Residentiary Canons depending on its size.