Titular bishop

A titular bishop in the Roman Catholic Church and also in the Orthodox Church consecrated a bishop who does not conduct its own diocese in contrast to the diocesan bishop, but assumes other duties or functions.

The titular designation stems from the fact that, according to Catholic tradition, each bishop is consecrated in the name of a diocese. When the titular bishop is a lost historic diocese. Analog transmits a Titular the name of an extinct Archdiocese ( Can. 376 CIC).


Depending on the task titular bishops (mostly auxiliary bishops ) distinguished or Titularerzbischöfe (mostly Apostolic Nuncios or Curia, bishops ). A titular bishop (or titular ) has no jurisdiction over a diocese; the title on a extinct diocese expresses the equality of all bishops. So a titular bishop has the same rank as a diocesan bishop. He may attend general councils of the Church and is usually also a voting member of the local Episcopal Conference.

The rank equality does not mean equality of power of governance ( teaching and legal power of attorney). An auxiliary bishop is subordinate to a diocesan bishop. Both, however, can perform the same actions consecration of a bishop. The position of auxiliary bishop was especially made ​​clear by before the 2nd Vatican Council, that he always had only one guest status in the diocese and the bishop of another diocese was treated.

For the most part these extinct dioceses had perished by the spread of Islam in North Africa, Asia Minor and the Near East, and after the separation between the Eastern Church and the Western Roman Church.

Because of their conquest by other faiths these defunct dioceses of the Roman Curia as in partibus infidelium ( Abbr: i p i. ), Ie in the territory of the infidels, or shorter in partibus ( Abbr: i p referred to. ). Only when in these areas again lived through the Orient Mission of the late 19th century Catholics in 1882 by Pope Leo XIII. Today the common name " titular " or episcopus titularis introduced; However, many of the older usage was common until well into the 20th century.

The Roman Catholic Church has about 2000 Titularbistümer. However, these are not all occupied.

The Orthodox Church has titular bishops. These permits can be obtained from an ecumenical consideration among other things, to bishops who work in the Western European diaspora; because the Orthodox churches ordain anyone in general to the bishop of a city that was Catholic at the time of the schism. In overseas (especially in North America) are, however, used today mostly the names of the actual episcopal sees, even if there should be Roman Catholic bishops there already. The Office of Auxiliary Bishop plays in the Eastern Churches are not essential, especially since the confirmation there may also be donated by priests and administrative positions are often filled by laymen, which two essential tasks of Western auxiliary bishops omitted.

Historical development

In the Roman Catholic Church can only be bishop, when the head of a diocese (the principle of relative ordination ). In the Middle Ages, many bishops had from their dioceses, especially in Asia Minor, the Middle East and North Africa flee because they were fallen by the conquests of the Muslims in the hands of other faiths. The European bishops took this exile bishops and took advantage of their consecration powers and transferred them to represent half the episcopal functions in their dioceses. A little later they started, because you did not want to do without this support in the episcopate guide to consecrate bishops on these no longer existing dioceses. This was often (especially in the Iberian Peninsula) viewed as a kind of claim title, which should indicate that the - albeit barely seemingly realistic - Hope has not given up on a re- Christianization of these countries.

Were these Titularbistümer until the mid 20th century, almost exclusively in North Africa, the Middle East or South-East Europe, one has (especially in Italy and the Iberian Peninsula) recorded in recent decades also vanished dioceses from other parts of Europe and America under the Titularbistümer.

Were the titular first rather a solution found from the plight of the exiled bishops, so this institution established progressively during the High Middle Ages and was becoming more important as many diocesan bishops of their residence requirement did not comply because they their either by positions at the papal curia or as a consultant monarchs were prevented, etc. to meet their primary responsibilities as a bishop, or because they are often presided over by Ämterkumulierung several dioceses at the same time. Moreover, brought the decline of church discipline in the late Middle Ages, especially in the times of the Great Western Schism, often people in the Episcopal rank, which it never thought seriously to receive episcopal consecration, but regarded this position rather than a basis for their career.

In all these cases it was therefore obvious to use for the actual management or administration of the diocese or for the conferral of the sacrament of Confirmation and titular bishops. Even the ever-increasing authority of the papal curia apparatus required for certain functions (eg the Apostolic Nuncios ) an ever- increasing number of titular bishops.

Due to the tightening of the residence requirement for diocesan bishops and the restriction of offices cumulations, which were decreed by the Council of Trent, there was indeed a reduction in the number of titular bishops. On the other hand, the expansion of the missions from the 16th century led to an increase again the same as the function of the Vicars Apostolic, which effectively created the position of Mission Bishops, is occupied by titular bishops. Also the built in mission territories Prelatures were led by titular bishops. Also, it was during the 17th and 18th century customary to transfer diocesan bishops who renounced for health or other reasons at their office on a titular see.

Due to these circumstances, the number of titular bishops increased, so that the current practice of giving only a limited number of defunct dioceses as Titularsitze, was abandoned more and not later than the beginning of the 20th century and finally to the creation of a comprehensive a list as possible of Titularbistümern led to have in this way sufficient title for the required functions. The strong expansion of the church hierarchy led but from about 1960 to increasing bottlenecks, particularly because of ecumenical considerations a large number of Titularsitzen, which are also available as Residenzialsitze of the Orthodox Churches in use, should no longer be granted. Moreover, the introduction of an age limit for diocesan bishops ( age 75 ) led to a proliferation of old bishops.

One therefore different from 1971 from some categories of titular bishops, thus re-establishing availability. First, the Altbischöfe were urged to resign on etwaig already awarded Titularsitze and awarded them the title of emeritus Episcopus N. ( sis) ( Former Bishop of N. ). Some years later, the prelates of the Territorialprälaturen were also the same consecrated to their Prälaturtitel, no longer as before, to a titular see. Since 1998, the military bishops are titular bishops no longer ( except Austria ). Recently, the coadjutor of bishops and archbishops are also ordained no longer a titular see, but ( Archi - ) Episcopus Coadiutor N. ( sis) used ( ( arch) bishop coadjutor of N. ) as a votive title.

Currently, the only German is the titular diocese Chiemsee, in Austria there with the Metropolitan Archdioceses Tiburnia and Lauriacum and the Titularbistümern Wiener Neustadt, Aguntum and Virunum five Titularsitze. Wiener Neustadt is assigned traditionally to the Austrian military bishop.


Johannes Dyba was appointed during his time at the Vatican Titular Archbishop of Neapolis in Proconsulari. Later he served as diocesan bishop, the diocese of Fulda. Earlier it was retained in such cases, the Titular Archbishop Titularerzbistum be next to his Residentialbistum, since the mid-20th century, however, " Archbishop - Bishop of N. " in such cases, the title bestowed.

In exceptional cases ( per hac vice ) of the created title Archbishop is not connected to a Titularerzbistum ( historically extinct archbishopric ). Since each title of bishop must have a titular, the title is connected to an already existing titular.