An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


The principle that bishops are ordained (consecrated) into a college. It is based on the assumption that bishops succeed the apostles collectively, not individually. As a consequence each bishop is responsible not only for a diocese but also for the universal church. The mode of exercise of this responsibility varies with circumstances. While bishops are equal within the episcopal college, the principle respects the traditional primacies, as of the Bishop of Rome, the oriental patriarchs, regional and provincial primates, and notably, in the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury. By extension, collegiality is a principle at work in the college of presbyters (presbyterium) within a diocese, and among ministers and people in a local parish.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.