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As the Church continued to expand, new churches in important cities gained their own bishop.

Churches in the regions outside an important city were served by Chorbishop, an official rank of bishops.

The efficient organization of the Roman Empire became the template for the organisation of the church in the 4th century, particularly after Constantine's Edict of Milan.

As the church moved from the shadows of privacy into the public forum it acquired land for churches, burials and clergy.

Within these churches, bishops are seen as those who possess the full priesthood and can ordain clergy – including another bishop.

"Plainly therefore we ought to regard the bishop as the Lord Himself" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 6:1.), meaning "overseer" in Greek, the early language of the Christian Church, was not from the earliest times clearly distinguished from the term presbýteros (literally: "elder" or "senior", origin of the modern English word priest), but the term was already clearly used in the sense of the order or office of bishop, distinct from that of presbyter in the writings attributed to Ignatius of Antioch (died c. The earliest organization of the Church in Jerusalem was, according to most scholars, similar to that of Jewish synagogues, but it had a council or college of ordained presbyters (Greek: elders).In (Acts and Acts ), we see a collegiate system of government in Jerusalem chaired by James the Just, according to tradition the first bishop of the city.In 391, Theodosius I decreed that any land that had been confiscated from the church by Roman authorities be returned.The most usual term for the geographic area of a bishop's authority and ministry, the diocese, began as part of the structure of the Roman Empire under Diocletian.

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