1(in the Orthodox Church) a bishop lower in rank than a patriarch and having jurisdiction wider than the metropolitan of a diocese.‘More significant for the moment was Ignatiev's patronage of the campaign of the Bulgarian merchant colony at Constantinople to obtain a Bulgarian exarch.’
- ‘This was the case, for example, with the negotiations conducted with King Agilulf which met with the displeasure of Romanus the exarch in Ravenna, the senior representative of imperial power in Italy.’
2 historical A governor of a distant province under the Byzantine emperors.‘He devotedly served the Byzantine empire as the ‘holy commonwealth’, but sometimes acted independently of emperor and exarchs.’
- ‘Until the beginning of the eighth century, the emperor maintained strict control over his remaining Italian possessions through the exarch (or governor, usually a Greek) and an elaborate hierarchy of officials.’
Late 16th century via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek exarkhos, from ex- ‘out of’ + arkhos ‘ruler’.