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Explanation of terminology and abbreviations

The abbreviations in the list of ecclesial jurisdictions are from Norwegian. Here is an explanation.

As a general rule, the ecclesial jurisdictions are organized in a Metropolis (or ecclesial provinces). The Metropolis are organized around a Metropolitan Archdiocese (metr.) and a number of Suffragan jurisdictions (suffr.). The Suffragan districts usually have the rank of a diocese (bisp.) - and when nothing different is indicated in the list, this is the case. But they might also be Prelatures (prel.).

There also exist Archdioceses (erkeb.) which are not at the same time Metropolitan Archdioceses, i.e., Archdioceses without any Suffragans. The Oriental rites usually use different names than the Latin rite: Archeparchy (erkeep.) = Archdiocese; Eparchy (ep.) = Diocese. But the structure is usually the same as for the Latin jurisdictions.

There are 21 Oriental Catholic Churches, and in some parts of the world the jurisdictions overlap, often in such a way that there may be more Catholic episcopal sees in one and the same city.

There are also other ecclesial jurisdictions of a lower rank, which usually are not organized within any Metropoplis. They are usually found in areas wherein the numbers of Catholics is low, or political reasons or reasons of "ecclesial diplomacy" it has not been found opportune to establish "normal" structures.

These jurisdictions of a lower rank are: Apostolic or Archeparchial Exarchates (ap.eksark., erkeep.eksark.), Ordinariates (ord.), Apostolic Vicariates (ap.vik.), Apostolic Prefectures (ap.pref.), Apostolic Administrations (ap.adm.), and Missions "sui juris" (misj.).

That leaves four categories: Patriarchates (patr.), Major Archeparchies (stor-erkeep.), Territorial Abbeys (abb.) and Military Ordinariates (mil.ord.). The Patriarchates are - with four exceptions - to be found the Oriental Catholic Churches. The Patriarch is the head of the respective Church. The exceptions are some Patriarchates within the Latin Church - Jerusalem, Lisboa, Venezia and the East Indies (previously there was also a Patriarchate of the West Indies). In the Latin rite, these titles have practically no real importance any more, but they testify to the position of the particular See some time in past history. A Mayor Eparchy is almost the same as an Oriental Patriarchate. A Territorial Abbey is an abbey with its own distinct territory, over which the Abbot has episcopal jurisdiction. Military Ordinariates are jurisdictions for military personell and their families. They exist cumulatively with dioceses - i.e., their territory usually covers the entire nation, and its personal jurisdiction over its members even follow the troops to their bases and missions abroad.