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A title originally used by civil and ecclesiastical rulers. An ecclesiastical exarch was a metropolitan with jurisdiction beyond his own province, the most important of whom were those of Ephesus and Caesarea. "Vicar Apostolic" in the West has replaced the title "Exarch." The name today is given to the heads of the Russian and Greek Catholics of the Byzantine Rite, and to the Melkite patriarchal vicar of Jerusalem. Some Ukrainian bishops in North America today are called exarchs. (Etym. Latin exarchus; from Greek exarchein, to begin, take the lead.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.