Coadjutor bishop

A coadjutor bishop (or bishop coadjutor) is a bishop in the Catholic, Anglican, and (historically) Eastern Orthodox churches whose main role is to assist the diocesan bishop in the administration of the diocese.[1][2] The coadjutor (literally, "co-assister" in Latin) is a bishop himself, although he is also appointed as vicar general. The coadjutor bishop is, however, given authority beyond that ordinarily given to the vicar general, making him co-head of the diocese in all but ceremonial precedence. In modern times, the coadjutor automatically succeeds the diocesan bishop upon the latter's retirement, removal, or death.

Roman Catholic Church

In the Roman Catholic Church, a coadjutor bishop is an immediate collaborator of the diocesan bishop, similar to an auxiliary bishop.[3][4] However, unlike auxiliary bishops, coadjutors are given the right of succession to the episcopal see. When the diocesan bishop dies, retires, resigns, or is reassigned, the coadjutor automatically becomes the next bishop of the local Church (diocese). Until then, the diocesan bishop appoints the coadjutor to act as vicar general. He needs to be a bishop, and, in a now-discontinued practice, held a titular see until his succession.

In modern church practice, the appointment of a coadjutor is usually done in cases where a diocesan bishop feels that he will not be able to continue in his position for health reasons or impending retirement. In such cases, the Pope may assign a coadjutor in order to give him time to become familiar with the diocese that he will eventually take over. For example, Bishop Dennis Marion Schnurr of the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, was named Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2008 to succeed aging Archbishop Daniel Edward Pilarczyk.

At times, the appointment of a coadjutor is used to discreetly remove a diocesan bishop who has become involved in scandal or other problems. An example of this occurred in the Archdiocese of Dubuque in the 1940s, when Archbishop Francis Beckman involved the archdiocese in what turned out to be a dubious mining scheme. When the scheme fell apart and resulted in serious financial problems for Beckman and the archdiocese, Bishop Henry Rohlman, of Davenport, Iowa, was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Dubuque. While Beckman was allowed to retain the office of Archbishop, it was made clear to him by the Holy See that the actual power rested with Rohlman.

Prior to the reform of the Code of Canon Law in 1983, a distinction was made between coadjutor bishops cum jure succesionis ("with the right of succession") and those without. Some coadjutors were appointed with the right of succession, and others were without such a right, usually in archbishops with particularly large dioceses who also held other important posts and to honor certain auxiliary bishops).

For an example of a coadjutor without right of succession, see John J. Maguire, coadjutor archbishop of New York (1965-1980). Now, every coadjutor who is appointed has the concomitant right of succession.

An Apostolic Vicar may also have a coadjutor, who, like him, will be a titular bishop.

Anglican Communion

In some provinces of the Anglican Communion, a bishop coadjutor (the form usually used) is a bishop elected or appointed to follow the current diocesan bishop upon the incumbent's death or retirement. For example, in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, when a diocesan bishop announces a retirement, a special diocesan convention is held to elect a coadjutor. Usually, the coadjutor serves with the incumbent for a short time before the latter's retirement, when the coadjutor becomes the diocesan bishop. Bishops coadjutor are also appointed in the Reformed Episcopal Church.

The role of 'assistant-bishop' (with no expectation to succeed the diocesan see) in the Church of England is fulfilled by a suffragan.

There have been bishops coadjutor in the Anglican Church of Australia without the right of succession to the diocesan see.


  1. ^ Patrich, Joseph (2001). The Sabaite Heritage in the Orthodox Church from the Fifth Century to the Present. Peeters Publishers. ISBN 9789042909762.
  2. ^ Hamilton, Bernard (2016-12-05). The Latin Church in the Crusader States: The Secular Church. Routledge. ISBN 9781351887052.
  3. ^ "Canon 403 §3". 1983 Code of Canon Law. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Archived from the original on 15 January 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Canon 403 §1". 1983 Code of Canon Law. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Archived from the original on 15 January 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
Anglican Diocese of Brisbane

The Anglican Diocese of Brisbane is based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The diocesan bishop's seat is St John's Cathedral, Brisbane. The current Archbishop of Brisbane is Phillip Aspinall, who was formerly the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia.

The diocese stretches from the south-eastern coastline of Queensland, down to the New South Wales border, and west to the Northern Territory and South Australian borders. The diocese currently markets itself as "Anglican Church Southern Queensland" (ACSQ). The "Anglicare Southern Queensland" brand is also heavily promoted by the diocese.

Assistant bishops in the Diocese of Sydney

The assistant bishops of Sydney are the assistant bishops in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Australia. They each assist the Archbishop of Sydney by maintaining delegated episcopal oversight over a particular geographical area.

Prior to the formation of the current "regions" arrangement in around 1967, the archbishop was assisted by a number of suffragan bishops with no particular geographical area (nor expectation to succeed to the diocesan see). The first regional see created was that of Parramatta, whose first assistant bishop was consecrated in 1967. In 1969, the first Bishop of Wollongong was consecrated. The Southern (aka South Sydney) and North regions followed in 1972 and 1975 respectively. In 1993, the fifth regional see, Georges Island, was created.


The term coadjutor (or coadiutor, literally "co-assister" in Latin) is a title qualifier indicating that the holder shares the office with another person, with powers equal to the other in all but formal order of precedence.

These include:

Coadjutor bishop, or Coadjutor archbishop

Coadjutor vicar, or Coadjutor apostolic vicar

Coadjutor eparch, or Coadjutor archeparch

Coadjutor exarch, or Coadjutor apostolic exarchThe office is ancient. "Coadjuter", in the 1883 Catholic Dictionary, says:

One who helps a prelate, or a priest holding a benefice, in discharging the duties of his bishopric or benefice. Coadjutorship may be of two kinds: one temporary and revocable, allowed on account of sickness or other incapacity, and implying no right of succession; the other perpetual and irrevocable, and carrying with it the right to succeed the person coadjuted. In this latter sense it is expressly forbidden by the Council of Trent; nevertheless the Pope, for special causes, sometimes concedes it, the plenitude of his apostolic power enabling him legally to dispense with the law. If a coadjutor is required for a parish priest, it is for the bishop of the diocese to nominate one; if for a bishop, the nomination belongs to the Pope, any usage to the contrary notwithstanding. In the case of a priest, if the incapacity is temporary or curable, he must appoint a vicar or substitute, not a coadjutor. The various infirmities which justify coadjutorship—serious and incurable illness, leprosy, loss of speech, &c. —are specified in the canon law. In the case of a bishop, the terms "administrator " and "suffragan" mean much the same as coadjutor, the differences being, that the administrator's function ceases when the bishop resumes charge of the diocese or dies, and a suffragan assists the bishop in things which relate to his ministry, but has no jurisdiction; while a coadjutor has jurisdiction, and his rights may, as we have seen, by special Papal permission, subsist after the death of the coadjuted. Various points affecting the precedence, dignity, and ceremonial attaching to a coadjutor bishop have been settled from time to time by the Congregation of Rites.

Another source identifies three kinds of coadjutors:

(1) Temporal and revocable.

(2) Perpetual and irrevocable.

(3) Perpetual, with the right of future succession.It describes:

As regards temporal coadjutors. Since a cleric who enjoys a benefice cannot be deprived of it on account of old age or infirmity, it is fitting that he should have someone to assist him in the work. This substitute or coadjutor has a claim in justice to share the fruits of the benefice in a reasonable proportion. The sacred Sess. xxi. canons only speak of parochial churches; and the Council of Trent orders the bishops, as delegates of the Holy See, to provide parish priests, who are ignorant but of good life, with coadjutors and vicars, and to assign these a sufficient share of the fruits of the benefice. As regards benefices without cure of souls, it is not the custom to give these temporary coadjutors, as the end in view can be attained by other means.

As regards perpetual coadjutors. The Council of Trent forbids absolutely perpetual coadjutors except for bishops and abbots, and this only under the conditions—viz. (1) that the necessity is pressing and the utility evident; (2) and that the coadjutorship be not given with the hope of future succession.

Diocesan bishop

A diocesan bishop, within various Christian traditions, is a bishop or archbishop in pastoral charge of a diocese or archdiocese.

In relation to other bishops, a diocesan bishop may be a suffragan, a metropolitan (if an archbishop) or a primate. They may also hold various other positions such as being a cardinal or patriarch.

Titular bishops in the Roman Catholic Church may be assistant bishops, coadjutor bishops, auxiliary bishops, nuncios or similar papal diplomats, officials of the Roman Curia etc. They may also hold other positions such as cardinal. The see of titular bishops only nominal, not pastoral.

Dominic Laurence Graessel

Dominic Laurence Graessel, S.J. (August 18, 1753 – October 1793) was an American Roman Catholic priest.

Born in Bavaria, Graessel joined the Society of Jesus and studied for the priesthood. When the order was suppressed, he continued his studies and was ordained. In 1781, he moved to the United States and worked with the Diocese of Baltimore. In May 1793 Graessel was named coadjutor of the diocese by the priests but died of yellow fever in October 1793. On December 8, 1793, Pope Pius VI confirmed Graessel coadjutor bishop and titular bishop of 'Samosata,' not knowing Graessel had died.

Episcopal Diocese of Albany

The Episcopal Diocese of Albany is a diocese of the Episcopal Church covering 19 counties in northeastern New York state. It was created in 1868 from a division of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

Eugene J. McGuinness

Eugene Joseph McGuinness (September 6, 1889 – December 27, 1957) was an American clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Raleigh (1937–44) and Bishop of Oklahoma City-Tulsa (1948–57).

Goodwin Hudson

Arthur William Goodwin Hudson (known as Goodwin;) was a coadjutor bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney.He studied at the London College of Divinity and was ordained in 1941. He began his career as a Curate at St Paul, Chatham after which he became Vicar of Good Easter. From 1945 to 1948 he was Headmaster at Windsor School, Santiago and then the incumbent at St James, Holloway until 1955. After a similar post at Woodford Wells he was consecrated to serve the Sydney diocese as coadjutor bishop on 25 March 1960. After four years based in Point Piper, New South Wales he returned to England and became Vicar of St Paul’s, Portman Square.

Hubert James Cartwright

Hubert James Cartwright (August 22, 1900 – March 6, 1958) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware from 1956 to 1958.

James Frederick Wood

James Frederick Bryan Wood (April 27, 1813 – June 20, 1883) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the fifth Bishop and first Archbishop of Philadelphia, serving between 1860 and his death in 1883.

John M. Smith (bishop)

John Mortimer Fourette Smith (June 23, 1935 – January 22, 2019) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as the ninth Bishop of Trenton, having previously served as Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee from 1991 to 1995. At the time of his death, Smith was serving as the Bishop Emeritus of Trenton, having been succeeded upon his retirement for age reasons by his Coadjutor Bishop, former Catholic University of America President David M. O'Connell, on Wednesday, December 1, 2010.

Mark Davies (bishop of Shrewsbury)

Mark Davies (born 12 May 1959) is a British Roman Catholic prelate. He is the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Shrewsbury in the Province of Birmingham, England.

Owen Dolan

Owen John Dolan (born 30 September 1928) is the Coadjutor Bishop Emeritus of Palmerston North. He was appointed coadjutor bishop by Pope John Paul II on 2 November 1995 and was consecrated on 10 December 1995. He retired on 30 September 2004.

Peter Paul Lefevere

Peter Paul Lefevere, or Lefebre (April 30, 1804 – March 4, 1869), was a 19th-century Belgian born bishop of the Catholic Church in the United States. He was a missionary priest in the states of Missouri, Illinois and Iowa before he served as coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Detroit in the state of Michigan from 1841-1869.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago (Latin: Archidioecesis Chicagiensis) was established as a diocese in 1843 and elevated to an archdiocese in 1880. It serves the more than 2.3 million Catholics in Cook and Lake counties in Northeastern Illinois, in the United States, an area of 1,411 square miles (3,650 km2). The archdiocese is divided into six vicariates and 31 deaneries.

Blase Joseph Cupich was appointed Cardinal, Archbishop of Chicago by Pope Francis in 2014, and is assisted by six episcopal vicars, who are each responsible for a vicariate (region). The cathedral parish for the archdiocese, Holy Name Cathedral, is in the Near North Side area of the see city for the diocese, Chicago. The Archdiocese of Chicago is the metropolitan see of the Province of Chicago. Its suffragan dioceses are the other Catholic dioceses in Illinois: Belleville, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford, and Springfield.

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Archbishop of Chicago from 1982 to 1996, was arguably one of the most prominent figures in the Church in the United States in the post-Vatican II era, rallying progressives with his "seamless garment ethic" and his ecumenical initiatives.

Thomas Patrick Roger Foley

Thomas Patrick Roger Foley (March 6, 1822 – February 19, 1879) was a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. He served as Coadjutor Bishop of Chicago from March 10, 1870 until his death on February 19, 1879.Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Foley attended local schools when he was convinced of a calling to Holy Orders. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore on August 16, 1846. On November 19, 1869, he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Chicago. On February 27, 1870, Foley was consecrated titular bishop of Pergamum at the Baltimore Cathedral. The principal consecrator was Bishop William G. McCloskey of Louisville. He was installed as coadjutor bishop at Holy Name Cathedral on March 10. He died in office before he could succeed the Bishop of Chicago.

Titular bishop

A titular bishop in various churches is a bishop who is not in charge of a diocese.

By definition, a bishop is an "overseer" of a community of the faithful, so when a priest is ordained a bishop, the tradition of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches is that he be ordained for a specific place. There are more bishops than there are functioning dioceses. Therefore, a priest appointed not to head a diocese as its diocesan bishop but to be an auxiliary bishop, a papal diplomat, or an official of the Roman Curia is appointed to a titular see.

Translation (ecclesiastical)

Translation is the transfer of a bishop from one episcopal see to another. The word is from the Latin trānslātiō, meaning "carry across". (Another religious meaning of the term is the translation of relics.)

This can be

From suffragan bishop status to diocesan bishop

From coadjutor bishop to diocesan bishop

From one country's episcopate to another

From diocesan bishop to archbishop

Volodymyr Viytyshyn

Archbishop Volodymyr Viytyshyn (Ukrainian: Володимир Війтишин; born 9 November 1959 in Demydivka, Zhmerynka Raion, Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukrainian SSR) is a Ukrainian Greek Catholic hierarch as an Archbishop-Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Ivano-Frankivsk since 2 June 2005 (until 21 November 2011 in rank of Eparchial Bishop). Previously he served as a Coadjutor Bishop of Kolomyia-Chernivtsi from 13 May 2003 until 12 December 2004 and as an Eparchial Bishop of the same Kolomyia-Chernivtsi from 12 December 2004 until 2 June 2005.

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