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The Greek word dioikēsis (housekeeping, government) quickly found its way into the official vocabulary of the Roman Empire in the sense of an administrative district. It first denoted individual parts of a province, then a larger unit consisting of several provinces. In the East the latter sense came into use for a division of the church. In the West the church retained the older Roman understanding and used the term for a bishopric (Bishop, Episcopate).

Today the word has become a technical term in canon law and ecclesiology. For the Roman Catholic Church, local, or “particular,” chu…

Cite this page
Grote, Heiner, “Diocese”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 30 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_D312>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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