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In the hierarchy of the early church and the medieval church, “primate” refers to a bishop of the Latin Rite midway between a patriarch and an archbishop. The primate could summon councils and crown kings, and he had oversight over other bishops.

Today a primate, either by tradition or papal appointment, has only honorary rank (1983 CIC 438). The archbishop of Salzburg was primate of Germany, and after 1945 the primate of Poland came to the fore as spokesperson for the church in dealings with the state. In the monastic world (Monasticism) the abbot primate has a similar position (Religious …

Cite this page
Stein, Albert, “Primate”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 06 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_P.144>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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