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Bishop of Rome

The "Bishop of Rome" is the ecclesiastical title most universally accepted among Christians, for the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Roman Diocese, the Primate of Italy and its Adjacent Islands, the Archbishop of the Roman Province, the Pope.

The Roman Catholic Church has also conferred on the Pope, the controversial office of "Supreme Head", claiming for him jurisdiction over the entire Christian Church, and supreme authority to declare on all controversies of faith and morals. Outside of the Roman Catholic Church, inclusive of the Oriental Orthodox Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Bishop of Rome has historical title to "first among equals" among the overseers of the church, and "Supreme Patriarch of the Western Church". The view that the Bishop of Rome has primacy of honor also has unofficial currency in the Anglican communion and in a minority of other Protestant churches; however, by definition, no Protestant acknowledges the Papal title of "Supreme Head" or, "Patriarch of the Western Church".

The Catholic traditions all teach that the Bishop of Rome is the successor of the Apostle, Saint Peter. As such, he has historical entitlement to the claim of highest honor among the bishops of the Christian Church. But the claim that the Pope is the highest office in the Church, with universal jurisdiction over all other bishops, is controversial everywhere outside of the Roman Catholic Church. To deny that the Bishop of Rome has universal jurisdiction is equivalent to a denial of Roman Catholicism.

 Main article: Pope
 See also:     Episcopal, Apostolic succession



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