ARCHPRIEST, in the Christian Church, originally the priest who presided over the presbyters of a diocese and assisted the bishop in matters of public worship. Where, as in Germany, the dioceses were of vast extent, these were divided into several archpresbyterates or rural deaneries, the office of archpriest ulti mately becoming synonymous with that of rural dean. In Rome, the office of archpriest of St. Peter's developed into that of cardinal-vicar. The Roman Catholic clergy in England were under an "archpriest" from 1598 to 1623. In the Lutheran Church in Germany the title archpriest (Erzpriester) was in some cases long retained, his functions being much the same as those of the rural dean.