The leader of an autonomous Eastern Catholic church, usually a patriarch such as the Maronite patriarch of Antioch. Some churches are led by a major archbishop. Minipopes have a large degree of freedom to safeguard the traditions and theological emphases of their particular church, but they still recognize the authority of the bishop of Rome, who is the patriarch of the Latin church. Many minipopes, like the churches they head, have a counterpart in the Eastern Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox communions. A notable exception is the Maronite Patriarch, who, along with the whole Maronite church, never split with Rome. Some churches, like the Russian Catholic church, do not have a minipope, or even a hierarchy.
The Maronite minipope wrote an apostolic letter to the church.