The highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church (above major archbishop and primate), and the Church of the East are termed patriarchs (and in certain cases also popes).
The word is derived from Greek πατριάρχης (patriarchēs), meaning "chief or father of a family", a compound of πατριά (patria), meaning "family", and ἄρχειν (archein), meaning "to rule".
Originally, a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is termed patriarchy. Historically, a patriarch has often been the logical choice to act as ethnarch of the community identified with his religious confession within a state or empire of a different creed (such as Christians within the Ottoman Empire). The term developed an ecclesiastical meaning, within the Christian Church. The office and the ecclesiastical circumscription of a Christian patriarch is termed a patriarchate.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are referred to as the three patriarchs of the people of Israel, and the period during which they lived is termed the Patriarchal Age. The word patriarch originally acquired its religious meaning in the Septuagint version of the Bible.
In the Catholic Church, the bishop who is head of a particular autonomous Church, known in canon law as a Church sui iuris, is ordinarily a patriarch, though this responsibility can be entrusted to a Major Archbishop, Metropolitan, or other prelate for a number of serious reasons.
Since the Council of Nicaea, the bishop of Rome has been recognized as the first among patriarchs. That Council designated three bishops with this 'supra-Metropolitan' title: Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch. In the Pentarchy formulated by Justinian I (527–565), the emperor assigned as a patriarchate to the Bishop of Rome the whole of Christianized Europe (including almost all of modern Greece), except for the region of Thrace, the areas near Constantinople, and along the coast of the Black Sea. He included in this patriarchate also the western part of North Africa. The jurisdictions of the other patriarchates extended over Roman Asia, and the rest of Africa. Justinian's system was given formal ecclesiastical recognition by the Quinisext Council of 692, which the see of Rome has, however, not recognized.
There were at the time bishops of other apostolic sees that operated with patriarchal authority beyond the borders of the Roman Empire, such as the Catholicos of Selucia-Ctesephon.
Today, the patriarchal heads of Catholic autonomous churches are:
Four more of the Eastern Catholic Churches are headed by a prelate known as a "Major Archbishop," a title essentially equivalent to that of Patriarch and originally created by Pope Paul VI in 1963 for Josyf Slipyj:
Within their proper sui iuris churches there is no difference between patriarchs and major archbishops. However, differences exist in the order of precedence (i.e. patriarchs take precedence over major archbishops) and in the mode of accession. Whereas the election of a major archbishop has to be confirmed by the pope before he may take office, no papal confirmation is needed for a newly elected patriarch before he takes office. Rather, a newly-installed patriarch is required to petition the pope as soon as possible for the concession of what is called ecclesiastical communion. Furthermore, patriarchs who are created cardinals form part of the order of cardinal bishops, whereas major archbishops are only created cardinal priests.
Titular patriarchs do not have jurisdiction over other Metropolitan bishops. The title is granted purely as an honor for various historical reasons. They take precedence after the heads of autonomous churches in full communion, whether pope, patriarch, or major archbishop.
The pope can confer the rank of Patriarch without any see, upon an individual Archbishop, as happened on 24 February 1676 to Alessandro Cescenzi, of the Somascans, former Latin Titular Patriarch of Alexandria (19 January 1671 – retired 27 May 1675), who nevertheless resigned the title on 9 January 1682.
In theological and other scholarly literature of the Early Modern period, the title "Patriarch of the West" (Latin: Patriarcha Occidentis; Greek: Πατριάρχης τῆς Δύσεως) was mainly used as designation for the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome over the Latin Church in the West. From 1863 to 2005, the title "Patriarch of the West" was appended to the list of papal titles in the Annuario Pontificio, which in 1885 became a semi-official publication of the Holy See. This was done without historical precedent or theological justification: There was no ecclesiastical office as such, except occasionally as a truism: the patriarch of Rome, for the Latin Church, was the only patriarch, and the only apostolic see, in the "west".
The title was not included in the 2006 Annuario. On 22 March 2006, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity offered an explanation for the decision to remove the title. It stated that the title "Patriarch of the West" had become "obsolete and practically unusable" when the term the West comprises Australia, New Zealand and North America in addition to Western Europe, and that it was "pointless to insist on maintaining it" given that, since the Second Vatican Council, the Latin Church, for which "the West" is an equivalent, has been organized as a number of episcopal conferences and their international groupings.
Though the formulation "Patriarch of the West" is no longer used, the pope in that role issues the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church. During the Synod of Bishops on the Middle East in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appeared, as patriarch of the Latin Church, with the other patriarchs, but without the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, though he was present at the same Synod.
|Coptic||Alexandria||Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak|
|Syrian||Antioch||Ignatius Joseph III Younan|
|Maronite||Antioch||Bechara Boutros al-Rahi|
|Armenian||Cilicia||Krikor Bedros XX Gabroyan|
|Chaldean||Babylon||Louis Raphaël I Sako|
|Romanian||Făgăraş and Alba Iulia||Lucian Mureșan|
|Latin||Aquileia||suppressed in 1751|
|Latin||Grado||suppressed in 1451|
|Latin||Jerusalem||vacant since 2016|
|Latin||Lisbon||Manuel (III) Clemente|
|Latin||Alexandria||suppressed in 1964|
|Latin||Antioch||suppressed in 1964|
|Latin||Constantinople||suppressed in 1964|
|Latin||East Indies||Filipe Neri Ferrão|
|Latin||West Indies||vacant since 1963|
Patriarchs of the Church of the East, sometimes also referred to as Nestorian, the Church of Persia, the Sassanid Church, or, in modern times, the Assyrian Church of the East, trace their lineage of patriarchs back to the 1st century.
The title of "Patriarch" is assumed also by the leaders of certain relatively recent groups, who are in communion with none of the historic Christian Churches. Many, but not necessarily all such patriarchs are church leaders of the independent Catholic Churches:
In the Latter Day Saint movement, a patriarch is one who has been ordained to the office of patriarch in the Melchizedek priesthood. The term is considered synonymous with the term evangelist, a term favored by the Community of Christ. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one of the patriarch's primary responsibilities is to give patriarchal blessings, as Jacob did to his twelve sons according to the Old Testament. Patriarchs are typically assigned in each stake and possess the title for life.
Athenagoras I (Greek: Αθηναγόρας Αʹ), born Aristocles Matthew Spyrou (Greek: Αριστοκλής Ματθαίου Σπύρου; 6 April [O.S. 25 March] 1886 – July 7, 1972), initially the Greek archbishop in North America, was the 268th Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, from 1948 to 1972.Bartholomew I of Constantinople
Bartholomew I (Greek: Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαῖος Αʹ, Patriarchis Bartholomaios A', Turkish: Patrik I. Bartholomeos; born 29 February 1940) is the 270th and current Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, since 2 November 1991. In accordance with his title, he is regarded as the primus inter pares (first among equals) in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and as the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.Born Dimitrios Arhondonis (Greek: Δημήτριος Αρχοντώνης, Dimítrios Archontónis), in the village of Agios Theodoros (Zeytinli Köyü) on the island of Imbros (later renamed Gökçeada by Turkey), after his graduation he held a position at the Patriarchal Theological Seminary of Halki, where he was ordained a priest. Later, he served as Metropolitan of Philadelphia and Chalcedon and he became a member of the Holy Synod as well as other committees, prior to his enthronement as Ecumenical Patriarch.
Bartholomew's tenure has been characterized by intra-Orthodox cooperation, intra-Christian and inter-religious dialogue, and formal visits to Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim leaders seldom previously visited by an Ecumenical Patriarch. He has exchanged numerous invitations with church and state dignitaries. His efforts to promote religious freedom and human rights, his initiatives to advance religious tolerance among the world's religions, as well as his efforts to promote ecology and the protection of the environment, have been widely noted, and these endeavors have earned him the title "The Green Patriarch". Among his many international positions, he currently sits on the Board of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute.Chan Buddhism
Chan (simplified Chinese: 禅; traditional Chinese: 禪; pinyin: Chán; abbr. of Chinese: 禪那; pinyin: chánnà), from Sanskrit dhyāna (meaning "meditation" or "meditative state"), is a Chinese school of Mahāyāna Buddhism. It developed in China from the 6th century CE onwards, becoming dominant during the Tang and Song dynasties. After the Yuan, Chan more or less fused with Pure Land Buddhism.
Chan spread south to Vietnam as Thiền and north to Korea as Seon, and, in the 13th century, east to Japan as Zen.Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria (Coptic: Ϯⲉⲕ̀ⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ̀ⲛⲣⲉⲙ̀ⲛⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲛⲟⲣⲑⲟⲇⲟⲝⲟⲥ, translit. ti.eklyseya en.remenkimi en.orthodoxos, lit. 'The Egyptian Orthodox Church') is an Oriental Orthodox Christian church based in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East. The head of the Church and the See of Alexandria is the Patriarch of Alexandria on the Holy See of Saint Mark, who also carries the title of Coptic Pope. The See of Alexandria is titular, and today the Coptic Pope presides from Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in the Abbassia District in Cairo. The church follows the Alexandrian Rite for its liturgy, prayer and devotional patrimony. With 18–22 million members worldwide, whereof about 15 to 20 million are in Egypt, it is the country's largest Christian church.
According to its tradition, the Coptic Church was established by Saint Mark, an apostle and evangelist, during the middle of the 1st century (c. AD 42). Due to disputes concerning the nature of Christ, it split from the rest of the Christendom after the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, resulting in a rivalry with the Byzantine Orthodox Church. In the 4–7th centuries the Coptic Church gradually expanded due to the Christianization of the Aksumite empire and of two of the three Nubian kingdoms, Nobatia and Alodia, while the third Nubian kingdom, Makuria, recognized the Coptic patriarch after initially being aligned to the Byzantine Orthodox Church.
After AD 639 Egypt was ruled by its Islamic conquerors from Arabia, and the treatment of the Coptic Christians ranged from tolerance to open persecution. In the 12th century, the church relocated its seat from Alexandria to Cairo. The same century also saw the Copts become a religious minority. During the 14th and 15th centuries, Nubian Christianity was supplanted by Islam.
In 1959, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church was granted autocephaly or independence. This was extended to the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church in 1998 following the successful Eritrean War of Independence from Ethiopia.
Since the Arab Spring in 2011, the Copts have been suffering increased religious discrimination and violence.Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarch (Greek: Η Αυτού Θειοτάτη Παναγιότης, ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, Νέας Ρώμης και Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης, "His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch") is the Archbishop of Constantinople–New Rome and ranks as primus inter pares (first among equals) among the heads of the several autocephalous churches that make up the Eastern Orthodox Church. The term Ecumenical in the title is a historical reference to the Ecumene, a Greek designation for the civilised world, i.e. the Roman Empire, and it stems from Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is one of the most enduring institutions in the world and has had a prominent part in world history. The ecumenical patriarchs in ancient times helped in the spread of Christianity and the resolution of various doctrinal disputes. In the Middle Ages they played a major role in the affairs of the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as in the politics of the Orthodox world, and in spreading Christianity among the Slavs. Currently, in addition to the expansion of the Christian faith and the Eastern Orthodox doctrine, the patriarchs are involved in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, charitable work, and the defense of Orthodox Christian traditions.
Within the five apostolic sees of the Pentarchy, the Ecumenical Patriarch is regarded as the successor of Andrew the Apostle. The current holder of the office is Bartholomew I, the 270th bishop of that see.Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (Amharic: የኢትዮጵያ:ኦርቶዶክስ:ተዋሕዶ:ቤተ:ክርስቲያን; Yäityop'ya ortodoks täwahedo bétäkrestyan) is the largest of the Oriental Orthodox Christian churches. One of the few pre-colonial Christian churches in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has a membership of between 45 and 50 million people, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia. It is a founding member of the World Council of Churches. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is in communion with the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, having gained autocephaly in 1959.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church was administratively part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria from the first half of the 4th century until 1959, when it was granted its own patriarch by Cyril VI, Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. As one of the oldest Christian churches and a non-Chalcedonian church, it is not in communion with the Ethiopian Catholic Church. Ethiopia is the second country historically, following only Armenia, to have officially proclaimed Christianity as state religion (in AD 333).
Tewahedo (Ge'ez ተዋሕዶ) is a Ge'ez word meaning "being made one". This word refers to the Oriental Orthodox belief in the one perfectly unified nature of Christ; i.e., a complete union of the divine and human natures into one nature is self-evident in order to accomplish the divine salvation of humankind, as opposed to the "two natures of Christ" belief commonly held by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran and most Protestant churches. The Oriental Orthodox churches adhere to a Miaphysitic Christological view followed by Cyril of Alexandria, the leading protagonist in the Christological debates of the 4th and 5th centuries, who advocated "mia physis tou theou logou sesarkōmenē", or "one (mia) nature of the Word of God incarnate" (μία φύσις τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη) and a "union according to hypostasis" (ἕνωσις καθ' ὑπόστασιν henōsis kath' hypostasin), or hypostatic union. The distinction of this stance was that the incarnate Christ has one nature, but that one nature is of the two natures, divine and human, and retains all the characteristics of both after the union.
Miaphysitism holds that in the one person of Jesus Christ, divinity and humanity are united in one (μία, mia - "united") nature (φύσις - "physis") without separation, without confusion, without alteration and without mixing where Christ is consubstantial with God the Father. Around 500 bishops within the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem refused to accept the dyophysitism (two natures) doctrine decreed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451, an incident that resulted in the first major split in the main body of the Christian Church.The Oriental Orthodox churches, which today include the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Malankara Orthodox Church of India, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, are referred to as "Non-Chalcedonian", and, sometimes incorrectly by outsiders as "monophysite". Monophysitism is a theology adopted by a 5th-century presbyter and archimandrite in Constantinople known as Eutyches and claims that Christ has "one single nature" where his divinity absorbed his humanity resulting in a "simple" mathematical "one" nature to which the Oriental Orthodox churches object. According to these, both natures in Christ are perfectly preserved after the union in "mia physis"—one nature; yet, not resulting in a distinct third nature.Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem or Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, officially Patriarch of Jerusalem, is the head bishop of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, ranking fourth of nine Patriarchs in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Since 2005, the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem has been Theophilos III. The Patriarch is styled "Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Holy Land, Syria, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Holy Zion." The Patriarch is the head of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, and the religious leader of about 130,000 Eastern Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land, most of them Palestinians.
The Patriarchate traces its line of succession to the first Christian bishops of Jerusalem, the first being James the Just in the 1st century AD. Jerusalem was granted autocephaly in 451 by the Council of Chalcedon and in 531 became one of the initial five patriarchates.
On the importance of Jerusalem in Christianity, the Catholic Encyclopedia reads:
During the first Christian centuries the church at this place was the centre of Christianity in Jerusalem, "Holy and glorious Sion, mother of all churches." Certainly no spot in Christendom can be more venerable than the place of the Last Supper, which became the first Christian church.Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch (; Greek: Ἰγνάτιος Ἀντιοχείας, Ignátios Antiokheías; c. 35 – c. 107), also known as Ignatius Theophorus (Ιγνάτιος ὁ Θεοφόρος, Ignátios ho Theophóros, lit. "the God-bearing") or Ignatius Nurono (lit. "The fire-bearer"), was an early Christian writer and bishop of Antioch. En route to Rome, where he met his martyrdom, Ignatius wrote a series of letters. This correspondence now forms a central part of the later collection known as the Apostolic Fathers. His letters also serve as an example of early Christian theology. Important topics they address include ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the role of bishops.Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (Latin: Patriarchatus Latinus Hierosolymitanus) is the Catholic episcopal see of Jerusalem, officially seated in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It was originally established in 1099 with the Kingdom of Jerusalem encompassing the newly territories in the Holy Land conquered by the First Crusade. From 1374-1847 it was a titular see, with the Patriarchs of Jerusalem being based at the Basilica di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura in Rome. A resident Latin Patriarch was re-established in 1847 by Pius IX.
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is now the diocesan archbishop of Latin Church Catholics of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jerusalem with jurisdiction for all Latin Catholics in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Cyprus. The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem also holds the office of Grand Prior of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. Since 24 June 2016, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem has been Pierbattista Pizzaballa.
It is exempt, being directly subject to the Holy See (and exceptionally its Roman Congregation for the Oriental Churches, which normally handles Eastern Catholics). It is not an ecclesiastical province, and has no metropolitan functions.
The title of Patriarch in the Latin Church is retained by only four archbishops (since Benedict XVI relinquished the papal title of "Patriarch of the West" in 2006): the Latin Patriarchs of Jerusalem, of Venice, of Lisbon and of the East Indies. Until 1964, there had also been the honorary patriarchal titles of Constantinople, Alexandria and Antioch; still others were abolished earlier. The title of "Patriarch of Jerusalem" is also used by the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, as well as, titularly (along Alexandria), by the Melkite Patriarch.Maronite Church
The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic sui iuris particular church in full communion with the Pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. It is headed by Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi since 2011. Officially known as the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch, it is part of Syriac Christianity by liturgy and heritage.
Traditionally, the Maronite Church ministers to the Levant, particularly around Mount Lebanon, where its headquarters Bkerke is located north of Beirut. Other centers of historical importance include Kfarhay, Yanouh, Mayfouq and Qadisha Valley. However, due to emigration since the 19th century, approximately two-thirds of church members are located outside "The Antiochian's Range" and live within the worldwide Lebanese diaspora in Europe, the Americas, Australia and Africa.
Establishment of the Maronite Church can be divided into three periods, from the 4th to the 7th centuries. A congregation movement, with Saint Maroun as an inspirational leader and patron saint, marked the first period. The second began with the establishment of the Monastery of Saint Maroun on the Orontes, built after the Council of Chalcedon to defend the doctrines of the Council. This monastery was described as the "Greatest Monastery" in the region of Secunda Syria, with more than 300 hermitages around it, according to ancient records. After 518, the monastery de facto administered many parishes in Prima Syria, Cole Syria and Phoenicia. The third period was when Sede Vacante followed the Islamic conquest of the region and bishops of the Saint Maroun Monastery elected John Maron as Patriarch around 685 AD, according to the Maronite tradition. The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch re-established their patriarchate in 751 AD.Although reduced in numbers today, Maronites remain one of the principal ethno-religious groups in Lebanon, with smaller minorities of Maronites in Syria, Cyprus, Israel, and Jordan.
Over 3,000,000 Maronites practice the faith.Melkite Greek Catholic Church
The Melkite Greek Catholic Church (Arabic: كنيسة الروم الملكيين الكاثوليك, Kanīsat ar-Rūm al-Malakiyyīn al-Kāṯūlīk) is an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See as part of the worldwide Catholic Church. It is headed by Patriarch Youssef Absi, S.M.S.P., headquartered in Cathedral of Our Lady of the Dormition, Damascus, Syria. The Melkites, Byzantine Rite Catholics, trace their history to the early Christians of Antioch, formerly part of Syria and now in Turkey, of the 1st century AD, where Christianity was introduced by Saint Peter.The Melkite Church is related to the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, from which it separated de facto in the mid-18th century. It is mainly centered in Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine. Melkite Greek Catholics are present, however, throughout the world by migration due to persecution. Outside the Near East, the Melkite Church has also grown through intermarriage with, and the conversion of, people of various ethnic heritages as well as transritualism. At present there is a worldwide membership of approximately 1.6 million. While the Melkite Catholic Church's Byzantine rite liturgical traditions are shared with those of Eastern Orthodoxy, the Church has been part of the Catholic Church since the affirmation of its union with the Holy See of Rome in 1724.Nikephoros I of Constantinople
St. Nikephoros I or Nicephorus I (Greek: Νικηφόρος Α΄, Nikēphoros I) (c. 758 – April 5, 828) was a Christian Byzantine writer and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from April 12, 806, to March 13, 815.Patriarch Kirill of Moscow
Kirill or Cyril (Russian: Кирилл, Church Slavonic: Ст҃ѣ́йшїй патрїа́рхъ кѷрі́ллъ, secular name Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev, Russian: Владимир Михайлович Гундяев; born 20 November 1946) is a Russian Orthodox bishop. He became Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church on 1 February 2009.
Prior to becoming Patriarch, Kirill was Archbishop (later Metropolitan) of Smolensk and Kaliningrad beginning on 26 December 1984, and also Chairman of the Russian Orthodox Church's Department for External Church Relations and a permanent member of the Holy Synod beginning in 1989.
In cultural and social affairs the Church under Kirill has collaborated closely with the Russian state under President Vladimir Putin. Patriarch Kirill has backed the expansion of Russian power into Crimea and eastern Ukraine. During the Ukrainian Orthodox Church autocephaly controversy, Patriarch Kirill was the presiding chairman of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church when the decision was made to break Eucharistic communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 15 October 2018.Patriarch of Alexandria
The Patriarch of Alexandria is the archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt. Historically, this office has included the designation "pope" (etymologically "Father", like "Abbot").The Alexandrian episcopate was revered as one of the three major episcopal sees (along with Rome and Antioch) before Constantinople or Jerusalem were granted similar status (in 381 and 451, respectively). Alexandria was elevated to de facto archiepiscopal status by the Councils of Alexandria, and this status was ratified by Canon Six of the First Council of Nicaea, which stipulated that all the Egyptian episcopal provinces were subject to the metropolitan see of Alexandria (already the prevailing custom). In the sixth century, these five archbishops were formally granted the title of "patriarch" and were subsequently known as the Pentarchy.Due to several schisms within Christianity, the title of the Patriarch of Alexandria is currently held by four persons belonging to different denominations: the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, the Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and all the East and the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria. It was also previously held by the Latin Patriarch of Alexandria. Each of those denominations consider their patriarch as the successor to the original early bishops of Alexandria.Patriarch of Antioch
Patriarch of Antioch is a traditional title held by the Bishop of Antioch (founded by Saint Peter) As the traditional "overseer" (ἐπίσκοπος, episkopos, from which the word bishop is derived) of the first gentile Christian community, the position has been of prime importance in the church from its earliest period. This diocese is one of the few for which the names of its bishops from the apostolic beginnings have been preserved. Today five churches use the title of Patriarch of Antioch: the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, and the Maronite Church. Historically, there has also been a Latin Patriarch of Antioch.
According to church tradition, this ancient Patriarchate was founded by the Apostle Saint Peter. The patriarchal succession was disputed at the time of the Meletian schism in 362 and again after the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when there were rival Melkite and non-Chalcedonian claimants to the see. After a 7th-century succession dispute in the Melkite church, the Maronites began appointing a Maronite Patriarch as well. After the First Crusade, the Catholic Church began appointing a Latin Rite Patriarch of Antioch, though this became strictly titular after the Fall of Antioch in 1268, and was abolished completely in 1964. In the 18th century, succession disputes in the Greek Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox Churches of Antioch led to factions of those churches entering into communion with Rome under claimants to the patriarchate: the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and the Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, respectively. Their Orthodox counterparts are the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, respectively.Patriarchs (Bible)
The patriarchs (Hebrew: אבות Avot or Abot, singular Hebrew: אב Ab or Aramaic: אבא Abba) of the Bible, when narrowly defined, are Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac's son Jacob, also named Israel, the ancestor of the Israelites. These three figures are referred to collectively as the patriarchs, and the period in which they lived is known as the patriarchal age. They play significant roles in Hebrew scripture during and following their lifetimes. They are used as a significant marker by God in revelations and promises, and continue to play important roles in the Abrahamic faiths.
More widely, the term patriarchs can be used to refer to the twenty male ancestor-figures between Adam and Abraham. The first ten of these are called the Antediluvian patriarchs, because they came before the Flood. Judaism, Christianity and Islam hold that the patriarchs, along with their primary wives, known as the matriarchs – Sarah (wife of Abraham), Rebekah (wife of Isaac) and Leah (one of the wives of Jacob) – are entombed at the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron, a site held holy by the three religions. Only Rachel, Jacob's favorite wife, is said to be buried separately at what is known as Rachel's Tomb, near Bethlehem, at the site where she is believed to have died in childbirth.Photios I of Constantinople
Photios I (Greek: Φώτιος Phōtios), (c. 810/820 – 6 February 893), also spelled Photius () or Fotios, was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 858 to 867 and from 877 to 886; He is recognized in the Eastern Orthodox Church as Saint Photios the Great.
Photios is widely regarded as the most powerful and influential church leader of Constantinople subsequent to John Chrysostom's archbishopric around the turn of the fifth century. He is also viewed as the most important intellectual of his time – "the leading light of the ninth-century renaissance". He was a central figure in both the conversion of the Slavs to Christianity and the Photian schism, and is considered "[t]he great systematic compiler of the Eastern Church, who occupies a similar position to that of Gratian in the West," and whose "collection in two parts...formed and still forms the classic source of ancient Church Law for the Greek Church."Photios was a well-educated man from a noble Constantinopolitan family. Photius's great uncle was a previous Patriarch of Constantinople, Saint Tarasius. He intended to be a monk, but chose to be a scholar and statesman instead. In 858, Emperor Michael III (r. 842–867) decided to confine Patriarch Ignatius in order to force him into resignation, and Photios, still a layman, was appointed to replace him. Amid power struggles between the pope and the Byzantine emperor, Ignatius was reinstated. Photios resumed the position when Ignatius died (877), by order of the Byzantine emperor. The new pope, John VIII, approved Photios's reinstatement. Catholics regard as legitimate a Fourth Council of Constantinople (Roman Catholic) anathematizing Photios, while Eastern Orthodox regard as legitimate a subsequent Fourth Council of Constantinople (Eastern Orthodox), reversing the former. The contested councils mark the end of unity represented by the first seven Ecumenical Councils.
Studies show that Photios was venerated as a saint as early as the 9th century, and by the Roman Church as late as the 12th century. Nonetheless, Photios was formally canonized by the Orthodox Church in 1847.Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
The Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, a faith with ancient Christian roots in Egypt. The current holder of this position is Pope Tawadros II, who was selected as the 118th pope on November 18, 2012.
Following the traditions of the church, the pope is chairman and head of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria as a first among equals. The Holy Synod is the highest authority in the Church of Alexandria, which has between 12 and 18 million members worldwide, 10 to 14 million of whom are in Egypt. It formulates the rules and regulations regarding matters of the church's organization, faith, and order. The pope is also the chairman of the church's General Congregation Council.
Although historically associated with the city of Alexandria, the residence and Seat of the Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria has been located in Cairo since 1047. The pope is currently established in Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, inside a compound which includes the Patriarchal Palace, with an additional residence at the Monastery of Saint Pishoy.
After the death of Shenouda III on March 17, 2012 the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church voted. The names of the three candidates who received most votes were put in a glass chalice. The name then picked became the new Patriarch of Alexandria. It is believed the name is picked by 'Divine Choice', by a blindfolded boy. He is believed to be guided by the hand of God.
The liturgy of the Altar Ballot took place on November 4, 2012. The 60-year-old Bishop Tawadoros, Auxiliary Bishop of Beheira, assistant to Metropolitan Pachomios of Beheira, was chosen as the 118th Pope of Alexandria. He then chose the name of Theodoros II. He was formally enthroned on November 18, 2012.Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC; Russian: Ру́сская правосла́вная це́рковь, tr. Rússkaya pravoslávnaya tsérkov), alternatively legally known as the Moscow Patriarchate (Russian: Моско́вский патриарха́т, tr. Moskóvskiy patriarkhát), is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. The Primate of the ROC is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus'. The ROC, as well as the primate thereof, officially ranks fifth in the Orthodox order of precedence, immediately below the four ancient patriarchates of the Greek Orthodox Church, those of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Since 15 October 2018, the ROC is not in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, having unilaterally severed ties in reaction to the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which was finalised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 5 January 2019.
The Christianization of Kievan Rus', widely seen as the birth of the ROC, is believed to have occurred in 988 through the baptism of the Kievan prince Vladimir and his people by the clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, whose constituent part the ROC remained for the next six centuries, while the Kievan see remained in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate until 1686.
The ROC currently claims its exclusive jurisdiction over the Orthodox Christians, irrespective of their ethnic background, who reside in the former member republics of the Soviet Union, excluding Georgia and Armenia, although this claim is disputed in such countries as Estonia, Moldova and Ukraine and consequently parallel canonical Orthodox jurisdictions exist in those: the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, the Metropolis of Bessarabia, and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, respectively. It also exercises ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the autonomous Church of Japan and the Orthodox Christians resident in the People's Republic of China. The ROC branches in Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova and Ukraine since the 1990s enjoy various degrees of self-government, albeit short of the status of formal ecclesiastical autonomy.
The ROC should not be confused with the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), another autocephalous Orthodox church (since 1970, albeit not universally recognised in this status and viewed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a branch of the ROC), that traces its existence in North America to the time of the Russian missionaries in Alaska (then part of the Russian Empire) in the late 18th century. The ROC should also not be confused with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (also known as the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, or ROCOR), headquartered in the United States. The ROCOR was instituted in the 1920s by Russian communities outside then Communist Russia, which refused to recognize the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate then de facto headed by Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky. The two churches reconciled on May 17, 2007; the ROCOR is now a self-governing part of the Russian Orthodox Church.
of the faithful