Church Administration Hierarchy

Every church works in a hierarchical manner, which means that it follows a proper organization structure to ensure that all functions are carried out smoothly and with ease. This kind of hierarchical structure is known as church administration hierarchy. According to this hierarchy, the roles and responsibilities of church administrators keep decreasing as the rank or level goes down. If you wish to understand the basic church administration hierarchy, you can go through the information, which is provided below.

Church administration hierarchy


At the top of the hierarchical order in church administration is the bishop. The bishop is one who possesses the complete priesthood, and as a body is considered as the successors of the apostles.  The main responsibilities of any bishop include providing pastoral governance, to meet periodically and discuss current problems and many others. Every region or country has its own bishop and each of them is normally ordained by atleast three other bishops.  Even within this rank, the other ranks are distinguished. For example, the Pope is the head of the universal Catholic Church whereas, in eastern catholic churches, the patriarchs, major archbishop or metropolitans are the head of churches.


Pope too holds a high status in the church administration hierarchy.  Pope is basically the Bishop of Rome and holds a high position in the catholic world.  The pope is often referred to as the Vicar of Christ and the supreme pontiff of the universal church.  The pope lives in the Vatican City, which is an independent state in Rome.


Patriarchs are the heads of some autonomous churches, which include several local churches as well.  The pope was also known as the patriarch of the west but this title is no longer used.  The following are the patriarchs who head autonomous particular churches:

  • The Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylonia (Chaldean Catholic Church)
  • The Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch (Melkite Greek Catholic Church)
  • The Maronite Patriarch of Antioch (Maronite Church)
  • The Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria (Coptic Catholic Church)
  • The Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch (Syrian Catholic Church)

The patriarchs have an authority over the bishops of the particular churches and also over all the faithful people.

The following are some of the other church administrators:

  • Major archbishops
  • Cardinals
  • Primates
  • Metropolitans
  • Archbishops
  • Diocesan bishops
  • Other bishops