Traditionally a bishop of the countryside. The Arabic version of the Nicene canons sets them “in the place of a bishop over villages, monasteries and village- priests.” The chorepiscopus exercised limited episcopal functions in the East before 314. Fifteen Asian and Syrian chorepiscopi signed the Nicene decrees (325). The Dedication Council of Antioch (341) confined their responsibilities to issuing letters dimissory; superintending the church in their areas; appointing readers, subdeacons, and exorcists; and ordaining, only by permission of the city-bishop, deacons and presbyters. The Synodal Letter of Antioch refers to “bishops of the adjacent countryside and cities.” The mid-fourth-century
Western chorepiscopi, first mentioned at Riez (439), met opposition in the ninth century.