(A). A prelate who has suffragan bishops subject to him. The two metropolitans of England are the two archbishops, and the two of Ireland the archbishops of Armagh and Dublin. In the Roman Catholic Church of Great Britain, the four archbishops of Armagh, Dublin, Cashel, and Tuam are metropolitans. The word does not mean the prelate of the metropolis in a secular sense, but the prelate of a “mother city” in an ecclesiastical sense —i.e. a city which is the mother or ruler of other cities. Thus, the Bishop of London is the prelate of the metropolis, but not a metropolitan. The Archbishop of Canterbury is metropolitanus et primus totius &Angliae;, and the Archbishop of York primus et metropolitanus Angliæ.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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