Primus inter pares is a Latin title for "first among equals," this expression was historically used to describe the status of some bishops who occupied particularly significant and ancient sees (episcopal seats of authority), often called "patriarchal sees," such as those of Rome, Jerusalem, Antioch, and later, Constantinople. Such bishops were seen as being "primates" (or "firsts") in precedence and honor in councils of bishops, yet they exercised such "primacy" among other bishops who, in the early centuries, were clearly understood to be "equals" with equal voice and vote in the governance of the church.

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