ARCHBISHOP. The name of a chief bishop. The attentive reader of the Acts of the Apostles, noting that nearly the whole mis sionary energy of Saint Paul was expended upon the cities and chief towns rather than on the villages and the country districts, will be prepared to learn that there were flourishing churches in the leading centres of population, while, as yet, nearly all other parts remained pagan. So however, was the evan gelistic spirit prevailing that a number of younger and less powerful congregations were called into being. The pastors of these new churches being called bishops, that term no longer appeared a dignified enough appellation for the spiritual chief of the mother church, and about A.D. 340 the Greek title of archie Ptscopos was introduced.
An archbishop is often called a metropoli tan. He exercises a certain supervision over the bishops of his province, who are called his suffragans; convenes and presides over them in provincial councils, receives appeals against their decisions in matters of discipline and, in the event of the death of one of them, pro vides for the administration of 'the diocese. In the United States the Roman Catholic Church is the only one which has dignitaries of this rank, and in 1900 the entire country comprised 14 archdioceses, Baltimore, as the first estab lished see, having the dignity of primacy.
In England the early British churches were, in large measure, swept away by the Anglo Saxon invaders, who were heathens, and the country consequently required to be recon verted. The great southern centre from which this was done was Canterbury, then the capital of Kent, where King Egbert gave Augustine, the chief missionary, a settlement. In the north, York, the chief town of Northumbria, where King Edwin built a shrine for Paulinus, became the great focus of operation for that part of England; hence the two archbishop rics now existing are those of Canterbury and of York. The prelate who occupies the former see is Primate of all England, while his brother of York is only Primate of England, the supe riority of the see of Canterbury, long con tested by that of York, having been formally settled in A.D. 1072. The former is the first in dignity after the princes of the blood; the latter is not second, but third, the Lord Chan cellor taking precedence of him in official rank. In Ireland the same distinction holds for Ar magh and Dublin. When the Catholic hier archy was established in England in 1850•West minster was constituted the metropolitan see.