What is a Christian bishop? Christianity
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

What is a bishop?

Amiens cathedral
Cathedral of Amiens

A bishop was a man who was in charge of the Christians of a certain city. All big cities in the ancient Roman Empire and Sassanian Empire and medieval Europe had bishops.

The earliest bishops appeared soon after the crucifixion of Jesus, about 50 AD. A crowd of Christian people in a town would just go to some rich Christian man's house and yell for him to be the bishop. If he agreed, then he was the new bishop and leader of the Christians in that town.

By the 100s AD, these bishops began to get together sometimes for councils, where they would try to decide how Christians should behave and what Christians should believe.

Soon these councils of bishops began to also choose new bishops when one died, and people didn't choose their own bishops anymore. Instead of choosing any rich man, the councils chose men who were already priests (but usually men from rich families still).

In the early Middle Ages, some kings wanted to choose bishops themselves, instead of letting the councils do it. There were big fights between the councils and the kings. But by the later Middle Ages, it was pretty much the councils that won, and they chose the bishops for each town.

Popes
Monks
Nuns
Saints
Main Christianity page


For Presidents' Day, check out our articles about Washington in the Revolutionary War and Lincoln in the Civil War. Find out about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the other Amendments, and how Washington promised to include freedom of religion.
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
Looking for more?
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Proud of your class page, homework page, or resource page? Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Cool stuff we've been enjoying: Looking for Valentine's gifts? Check out these new Chromebooks - all the computer you need for only $229.00!. Then study in peace with these Beats wireless headphones - for the exact same price! When you're done, show off your presentation or watch a movie with this excellent smartphone projector for only $39.99!


Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
ADVERTISEMENT
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 20 February, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT