Diodes GIFs Cliparts
In church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. In the later organization of the Roman Empire, the increasingly subdivided provinces were administratively associated in a larger unit, the diocese (Latin dioecesis, from the Greek term , meaning 'administration'). Christianity was given legal status in 313 with the Edict of Milan. Churches began to organize themselves into dioceses based on the civil dioceses, not on the larger regional imperial districts. These dioceses were often smaller than the provinces. Christianity was declared the Empire's official religion by Theodosius I in 380. Constantine I in 318 gave litigants the right to have court cases transferred from the civil courts to the bishops. This situation must have hardly survived Julian, 361363. Episcopal courts are not heard of again in the East until 398 and in the West in 408. The quality of these courts was low, and not above suspicion as the Bishop of Alexandria Troas found that clergy were making a corrupt profit. Nonetheless, these courts were popular as people could get quick justice without being charged fees.
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