Archbishops have been and still are heads of some of the independent (autocephalic) churches with a status of an archbishopric or archdiocese. An archbishopric consists of eparchies (areas under the authority of a bishop). Prior to becoming a patriarchy, in 1219 the Serbian Church won an autocephalic rank of an archbishopric.


The first among the bishops. The word bishop comes from Greek еpiskоpоs, from a verb еpiskоpеin – oversee, supervise.


The Orthodox Church today has bishoprics in Cyprus, Crete , Finland, Japan, Czech Republic, Albania (Archbishop of Athens is the Archbishop of whole Greece).


During the development of Church itself, the reputation of the bishops of the Roman provinces’ capitals grew with an increase of the number of Christian communities, thus spreading to minor towns and villages. Bishops of the provinces’ capitals were called metropolitans. They organised church assemblies which they chaired. An archbishop is the same as a metropolitan with honours and authority.