Religion Past and Present

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(165 words)

[German Version]

Greek ἔξαρχος, leader, was originally a military rank (officer) in the Roman Empire. In the time of Justinian I, the exarch commanded a major, exposed army unit. From the 6th century onward, exarchs in the western Byzantine Empire were the military-administrative governors of a region called an exarchate (Ravenna). In the 10th century, an exarch was the head of various Byzantine craftsmen's guilds. The title exarch was applied in the church to a leader with episcopal functions. In the 4th/5th centuries, the exarch was the first bishop or patriarch of the major church…

Cite this page
Schneider, Johann, “Exarch,”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 26 February 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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