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In the Eastern Christian Churches the name for an ecclesiastical province. It is contrasted with an exarchate or civil dioceses, of which it is a subdivision. Known already in the early fourth century, its official head is an eparch, sometimes called the metropolitan, who can veto the election of the bishops of the dioceses in his eparcy. (Etym. Greek eparchia, province; from eparchos, prefect.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.