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A suffragan bishop is a bishop subordinate to a metropolitan bishop or diocesan bishop. He or she may be assigned to an area which does not have a cathedral of its own.

Catholic Church

:Main article: Bishop
In the Catholic Church, the word "suffragan" is generally used only to refer to a diocese in relation to the metropolitan archdiocese of its ecclesiastical province, e.g. the Diocese of Anytown is a "suffragan diocese" of the Archdiocese of Anycity. If the phrase "suffragan bishop" exists in the Catholic Church, it would apply to the diocesan bishop of each suffragan diocese. It might also apply to auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese and the suffragan dioceses.

Anglican Churches

In the Anglican Churches, the term applies to a bishop who is a full-time assistant to a diocesan bishop, for example, the Bishop of Jarrow is suffragan to the Bishop of Durham (the diocesan). Some Anglican suffragans are given the responsibility for a geographical area within the diocese (for example, the Bishop of Selby is an area bishop within the Diocese of Yorkmarker). The practice of appointing such bishops can be traced to the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534. Suffragan bishops in the Anglican community are nearly identical in their role to auxiliary bishops in the Roman Catholic church.These Bishops tend to look after those parishes and clergy within their jurisdiction who conciously object to the priestly ministry of females. This concession was made in 1992 following the General Synod's vote to ordain women.

The Church of Ireland has no Suffragan Bishops, not even in the geographically large dioceses or in the two archdioceses.

In the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, Suffragan Bishops are fairly common in larger dioceses, but usually have no specific geographical responsibility within a diocese, and so are not given the title of a particular city. Thus Barbara Clementine Harris was titled simply "Suffragan Bishop of Massachusetts".

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