What Is a Titular See?

Ashur Soro

Ashur Soro

After serving as the Bishop of the Western U.S. of the Assyrian Church of the East and attempting to bring the Assyrian Church back into full communion with the Catholic Church, Bishop Ashur Soro joined the Catholic Church himself, along with 3 priests, more than 30 deacons and subdeacons, and about 3,000 laypeople. In January 2014, Pope Francis appointed Ashur Soro the bishop of the titular see of Foraziana, in the service of the Chaldean Catholic Diocese of Saint Peter the Apostle.

A titular see refers to a formerly flourishing diocese of the Catholic Church that died out or no longer remains active, often due to government restriction or foreign occupation. These dioceses lack clergy as well as a congregation.

The head of the Catholic Church, the Pope, reserves jurisdiction over titular sees for himself. Often, the Pope appoints a bishop to serve as the head of a titular see when the bishop has no diocese of his own. The titular bishop then serves his see by the delegated authority and jurisdiction of the Pope.

A bishop who receives a titular see need not live in that diocese. He will frequently reside elsewhere, performing some administrative or ecclesiastical service for the Vatican, while retaining the title of titular bishop as a sign of his leadership.