EPARCHY: Originally the designation of a civil province in the Roman empire, composed of smaller communities, and forming in its turn a subdivision of the dioikēsis (see BISHOPRIC). These divisions furnished a model for the ecclesiastical organization; the heads of the smaller communities became bishops, those of the eparchies metropolitans, with their sees in the capital cities, and those of the dioceses exarchs or patriarchs. In the later Greek and Russian Churches, the usage altered and the jurisdiction of an ordinary bishop was called an eparchy.