Patriarchate

Patriarchate (Greek: πατριαρχεῖον, patriarcheîon) is an ecclesiological term in Christianity, designating the office and jurisdiction of an ecclesiastical patriarch.

Three patriarchates were established by the apostles as apostolic sees in the 1st century: Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria. Added to these were Constantinople in the 4th century, and Jerusalem in the 5th century. Eventually, together, these five were recognised as the pentarchy by the Council of Ephesus in 431.

In the rest of the history of Christianity, a few other patriarchates were gradually recognised by any of these above ancient episcopal sees. With time, eventually some of them fell due to military occupations following the Islamic conquests of the Middle East and North Africa, and became titular or honorary patriarchates with no actual institutional jurisdiction on the original site.

History

Pentarchy

Five ancient patriarchates of the Pentarchy, headed by patriarchs as the highest-ranking bishops in the Christian Church prior to the Great Schism, were the patriarchates of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.[1] The East-West Schism of 1054 split the Latin-rite see of Rome from the four Byzantine-rite patriarchates of the East, thus forming distinct Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

The four Eastern Orthodox patriarchates (Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem), along with their Latin Catholic counterpart in the West, Rome, are distinguished as "senior" (Greek: πρεσβυγενή, presbygenē, "senior-born") or "ancient" (παλαίφατα, palèphata, "of ancient fame") and are among the apostolic sees, having had one of the Apostles or Evangelists as their first bishop: Andrew, Mark, Peter, James, and Peter again, respectively.

Catholic Church

There are ten[2] current patriarchates within the Catholic Church: six are patriarchates of Eastern Catholic Churches,[3] followed by Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem), and three junior Latin patriarchates of Lisbon, Venice and the East Indies.

Some of the Eastern Catholic patriarchates are active on the same territories. Damascus is the seat of the Syriac Catholic and the Melkite Catholic Patriarchates of Antioch, while the Maronite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch has see in Bkerké, Lebanon.[4]

In the Roman Catholic Church, some patriarchal titles are purely honorary, without an actual residential see, and hence termed Titular Patriarchates, either vested in another (residential) patriarchal see or in the Pope's gift.

Eastern Orthodox Church

1800 Wilkinson Map of the 4 Eastern Churches rectified
Eastern patriarchates of the Pentarchy, after the Council of Chalcedon (451)

Nine of the current autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches, including the four ancient churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem mentioned above, are organized as patriarchates. In chronological order of establishment, the other five are: Georgian Patriarchate, Bulgarian Patriarchate, Serbian Patriarchate, Russian Patriarchate and Romanian Patriarchate.

The Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch moved its headquarters to Damascus in the 13th century, during the reign of the Egyptian Mamelukes, conquerors of Syria. Christian community had flourished in Damascus since apostolic times (Acts 9). However, the patriarchate is still called the Patriarchate of Antioch.

A patriarchate has "legal personality" in some legal jurisdictions, that means it is treated as a corporation. For example, the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem filed a lawsuit in New York, decided in 1999, against Christie's Auction House, disputing the ownership of the Archimedes Palimpsest.

Oriental Orthodoxy

There are several patriarchates within the Oriental Orthodoxy.

Church of the East

There are also among the branches of the Church of the East.

Protestantism

The head of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church is also called a Patriarch.

See also

References

  1. ^ Meyendorff 1989.
  2. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2012, pp. 3-8. The title of "Patriarch of the West" for the Pope is no longer in use.
  3. ^ In his motu proprio [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/motu_proprio/documents/hf_p-vi_motu-proprio_19650211_ad-purpuratorum_lt.html Ad Purpuratorum Patrum of 11 February 1965, Pope Paul VI decreed that Eastern Catholic Patriarchs who became cardinals would be ranked as Cardinal Bishops, not Cardinal Priests, as had previously been the case, and that they would yield precedence only to the six Cardinal Bishops who hold the titles of the suburbicarian sees.
  4. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2012, pp. 3-5

Sources

External links

1996 Moscow–Constantinople schism

The Moscow–Constantinople schism of 1996 was a schism which began on 23 February 1996, when the Russian Orthodox Church severed full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and ended on 16 May 1996 when the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate reached an agreement. This excommunication by the Russian Orthodox Church was done in response to a decision of the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to reestablish an Orthodox church in Estonia under the Ecumenical Patriarchate's canonical jurisdiction as an autonomous church on 20 February 1996. This schism has similarities with the Moscow–Constantinople schism of October 2018.On 8 November 2000, in an official statement, the Russian Orthodox Church described this schism as "the tragic situation of February–May 1996, when, because of the schismatic actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Estonia, Orthodox Christians of the Churches of Constantinople and Russia, who live all over the world in close spiritual contact, were deprived of common Eucharistic communion at the one Chalice of Christ."

2018 Moscow–Constantinople schism

The Moscow–Constantinople schism, also known as the Orthodox Church schism of 2018, is a schism which began on 15 October 2018 when the Russian Orthodox Church unilaterally severed full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. This was done in response to a decision of the synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 11 October 2018 which confirmed the intention of moving towards granting autocephaly (independence) to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, to reestablish a stauropegion (church body ruled directly by the Ecumenical Patriarch) in Kiev, to revoke the legal binding of the letter of 1686 which led to the Russian Orthodox Church establishing jurisdiction over the Ukrainian Church, and to lift the excommunications which affected clergy and faithful of two unrecognized Ukrainian Orthodox churches. Those two churches, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP), were competing with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) (UOC-MP) and were considered "schismatics" (illegally segregated groups) by the Patriarchate of Moscow, as well as by the other Orthodox churches.

In its synod on 14 September 2018, the Moscow Patriarchate decided to break off participation in any episcopal assemblies, theological discussions, multilateral commissions, and any other structures that are chaired or co-chaired by representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In its statement of 15 October, the Russian Orthodox Church barred all members of the Moscow Patriarchate from taking part in communion, baptism, and marriage at any church controlled by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.The schism forms part of a wider political conflict involving Russia's 2014 annexation of the Crimea and its military intervention in Ukraine, as well as Ukraine's desire to join the European Union and NATO. This schism is reminiscent of the Moscow–Constantinople schism of 1996 over canonical jurisdiction over Estonia, which was however resolved after less than three months.

Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem

The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem also known as the Armenian Patriarchate of Saint James (Armenian: Առաքելական Աթոռ Սրբոց Յակովբեանց Յերուսաղեմ Aṙak’yelakan At’voṙ Srboc’ Yakovbeanc’ Yerusaġem, literally "Apostolic See of Saint James in Jerusalem") is located in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem. The Armenian Apostolic Church is officially recognised under Israel's confessional system, for the self-regulation of status issues, such as marriage and divorce.

Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, served the Armenian Church as the Grand Sacristan and the Patriarchal Vicar of the Patriarchate, when he was elected as the 97th Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem on January 24, 2013. Manougian succeeded Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, who died on October 12, 2012 after serving 22 years in the office. The Patriarch, along with a Synod of seven clergymen elected by the St. James Brotherhood, oversees the Patriarchate's operations.

During World War I, survivors of the Armenian Genocide received shelter in the Armenian Convent in Jerusalem. The Armenian population of Jerusalem reached at that time 25,000 people. But political and economic instability in the region have reduced the Armenian population. Most Armenians in Jerusalem live in and around the Patriarchate at the Sts. James Monastery, which occupies most of the Armenian Quarter of the Old City. Apart from Jerusalem, there are Armenian Communities in Jaffa, Haifa and Nazareth, and in the Palestinian Territories.

The Jerusalem Armenian community uses the Old Julian calendar, unlike the rest of the Armenian Church which use the Gregorian calendar.

Bulgarian Orthodox Church

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Bulgarian: Българска православна църква, Balgarska pravoslavna tsarkva) is an autocephalous Orthodox Church. It is the oldest Slavic Orthodox Church with some 6 million members in the Republic of Bulgaria and between 1.5 and 2.0 million members in a number of European countries, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. It was recognized as an independent Church by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in AD 870, becoming Patriarchate in 918/919 (officially recognized in 927).

Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria

The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria (Coptic: Ϯⲉⲕ̀ⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ̀ⲛⲣⲉⲙ̀ⲛⲭⲏⲙⲓ ⲛⲟⲣⲑⲟⲇⲟⲝⲟⲥ, romanized: 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 20–25 million members worldwide, whereof about 18 to 22 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.

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (Greek: Οἰκουμενικόν Πατριαρχεῖον Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, Oikoumenikón Patriarkhíon Konstantinoupóleos, IPA: [ikumeniˈkon patriarˈçion konstandinuˈpoleos]; Latin: Patriarchatus Oecumenicus Constantinopolitanus; Turkish: Rum Ortodoks Patrikhanesi, "Roman Orthodox Patriarchate") is one of the fifteen autocephalous churches (or "jurisdictions") that together compose the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is headed by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, currently Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople.

Because of its historical location as the capital of the former Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire and its role as the Mother Church of most modern Orthodox churches, Constantinople holds a special place of honor within Orthodoxy and serves as the seat for the Ecumenical Patriarch, who enjoys the status of Primus inter pares (first among equals) among the world's Eastern Orthodox prelates and is regarded as the representative and spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians.The Ecumenical Patriarchate promotes the expansion of the Christian faith and Orthodox doctrine, and the Ecumenical Patriarchs are involved in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, charitable work, and the defense of Orthodox Christian traditions. Prominent issues in the Ecumenical Patriarchate's policy in the 21st century include the safety of the believers in the Middle East, reconciliation of the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches, and the reopening of the Theological School of Halki which was closed down by the Turkish authorities in 1971.

Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa (Ancient Greek: Πατριαρχεῖον Ἀλεξανδρείας καὶ πάσης Ἀφρικῆς, romanized: Patriarcheîon Alexandreías kaì pásēs Aphrikês, lit. 'The Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa'), also known as the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, is an autocephalous patriarchate that is part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Its seat is in Alexandria and it has canonical responsibility for the entire African continent.

It is commonly called the Greek or Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria to distinguish it from the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, which is part of Oriental Orthodoxy. Members of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate were once referred to as "Melkites" by non-Chalcedonian Christians because they remained in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople after the schism that followed the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

Mark the Evangelist is considered the founder of the See, and the Patriarchate's emblem is the Lion of Saint Mark.

Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch

The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, also known as the Antiochian Orthodox Church (Greek: Πατριαρχεῖον Ἀντιοχείας, romanized: Patriarcheĩon Antiokheías, lit. 'Patriarchate of Antioch'; Arabic: بطريركية أنطاكية وسائر المشرق للروم الأرثوذكس‎, romanized: Baṭriyarkiyya Anṭākiya wa-Sāʾir al-Mashriq li'l-Rūm al-Urthūdhuks, lit. 'Roman Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East'), is an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Headed by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, it considers itself the successor to the Christian community founded in Antioch by the Apostles Peter and Paul.

Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem

The Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem (Arabic: كنيسة الروم الأرثوذكس في القدس‎ Kanisatt Ar-rum al-Urtudoks fi al-Quds, literally Rûmi Orthodox Church of Jerusalem),(Hebrew: הפטריארכיה היוונית-אורתודוקסית של ירושלים‎) and officially called simply the Patriarchate of Jerusalem (Greek: Πατριαρχεῖον Ἱεροσολύμων, Patriarcheîon Hierosolýmōn), is an autocephalous Church within the wider communion of the Eastern Orthodox Christianity. It is headed by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the incumbent being Theophilos III since 2005. Christians believe that it was in Jerusalem that the Church was established on the day of Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:1-41) and that the Gospel of Christ spread from Jerusalem. The Church celebrates its liturgy in the Byzantine Rite, whose original language is Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament, and follows its own calendar of feasts, preserving the Julian calendar (that is thirteen days behind the Western (Gregorian) calendar). It is also often called "Σιωνίτις Εκκλησία" (Greek: Sionitis Ecclesia, i.e. the "Church of Zion").

The number of Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land is estimated at about 500,000. A majority of Church members are Palestinians and Jordanians, and there are also many Russians, Romanians, and Georgians. The Church's hierarchy is dominated by Greek clergy, which in effect excludes the Arab majority from the Church's upper ranks. This has been a point of endless contention between Greeks in the patriarchate, who are backed in this regard by the Greek government, Israel and the Turkey-based Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and the native Palestinian clergy- some of whom seek to nationalize their Church's leadership. (see Arab Orthodox).

The headquarters of the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

On the importance of Jerusalem, 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.

Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

The 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 office of Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is vacant (sede vacante), and the Patriarchate is managed by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa as apostolic administrator.

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.

Melkite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch

The Melkite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch is the only actual residential Patriarchate of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church (Eastern Catholic, Byzantine Rite). It was formed in 1724 when a portion of the Orthodox Church of Antioch went back into communion with Rome, becoming an Eastern Catholic Church, while the rest of the ancient Patriarchate continues in full communion with the rest of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch's present complete title is Patriarch of Antioch and of All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, incorporating both of the church's other titular patriarchates.Its archiepiscopal see is the Cathedral of the Dormition of Our Lady (Arabic: كاتدرائية سيدة النياح للروم الملكيين في دمشق ) in Damascus, Syria. It was visited by Pope John Paul II in 2001.

The Melkite Greek Catholic Church is one of five churches that are continuations of the original See of Antioch. Thus, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church traces its existence all the way back to Saint Peter in a line of apostolic succession acknowledged by both Catholic and Orthodox canons. This claim is accepted by the Holy See and is not disputed by the other two Eastern Catholic Churches that also claim descent from the ancient See of Antioch, namely the Maronite Church and the Syriac Catholic Church, which both also have Patriarchs of Antioch.

Patriarch

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.

Patriarchate of Aquileia

The Patriarchate of Aquileia was an episcopal see in northeastern Italy, centred on the ancient city of Aquileia situated at the head of the Adriatic, on what is now the Italian seacoast. For many centuries it played an important part in history, particularly in that of the Holy See and northern Italy, and a number of church councils were held there.

No longer a residential bishopric, it is today classified as an archiepiscopal titular see.

Patriarchate of Peć (monastery)

The Patriarchate of Peć Monastery (Serbian: Манастир Пећка патријаршија / Manastir Pećka patrijaršija; pronounced [pɛ̂ːt͡ɕkaː patrijǎ(ː)rʃija], Albanian: Patrikana e Pejës) or Patriarchal Monastery of Peć is a medieval Serbian Orthodox monastery located near the city of Peć, in Kosovo. Built in the 13th century, it became the residence of Serbian Archbishops. It was expanded during the 14th century, and in 1346, when the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć was created, the Monastery became the seat of Serbian Patriarchs. Monastery complex consists of several churches, and during medieval and early modern times it was also used as mausoleum of Serbian archbishops and patriarchs. Since 2006, it is part of the "Medieval Monuments in Kosovo", a combined World Heritage Site along with three other monuments of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The monastery is ecclessiastically administrated by the Eparchy of Raška and Prizren, but it has special (stavropegial) status, since it is under direct jurisdiction of the Serbian Patriarch whose title includes Archbishop of Peć. The monastery church is unique in Serbian medieval architecture, with three churches connected as one whole, with a total of four churches.

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.

Syriac Orthodox Church

The Syriac Orthodox Church (Classical Syriac: ܥܺܕܬܳܐ ܣܽܘ̣ܪܝܳܝܬܳܐ ܬܪܺܝܨܰܬ ܫܽܘ̣ܒ̣ܚܳܐ‎, romanized: ʿIto Suryoyto Triṣaṯ Šuḇḥo; Arabic: الكنيسة السريانية الأرثوذكسية‎), or Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, is an Oriental Orthodox Church with autocephalous patriarchate established by Severus of Antioch in Antioch in 518 A.D., with Jacob Baradaeus instrumenting in forging this patriarchate, while tracing its history to Antioch by Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the 1st century, according to its tradition. The Church uses the Divine Liturgy of Saint James, associated with St. James, the "brother" of Jesus and patriarch among the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem. Syriac is the official and liturgical language of the Church based on Syriac Christianity. The primate of the church is the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch currently Ignatius Aphrem II since 2014, seated in Cathedral of Saint George, Bab Tuma, Damascus, Syria.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC; Ukrainian: Українська Православна Церква, romanized: Ukrayinsʹka Pravoslavna Tserkva; Russian: Украинская Православная Церковь, romanized: Ukrainskaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov'), commonly referred to as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP, Russian: Украинская православная церковь Московского патриархата, УПЦ-МП) is a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

It is one of two major Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical bodies in modern Ukraine. It is a constituent part of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC); however, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the senior-most of all the Orthodox churches and the mother church for the historical Russian Church, disputes the legality of the ROC's ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Ukraine, which in the modern era dates back to 1686. The current statutes of the ROC define it as a "self-governing [church] with the rights of wide autonomy". As of 2014 the status of the UOC-MP within the Moscow Patriarchate meant that it enjoyed full administrative independence from the ROC's Holy Synod, whereas the Primate of the UOC-MP was the most senior permanent member of the ROC's Holy Synod and thus had a say in its decision-making in respect of the rest of the ROC, including its administration in the Russian Federation.

Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 notwithstanding, the UOC-MP's eparchies in Crimea continue under the administration of the UOC-MP.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP; Ukrainian: Украї́нська Правосла́вна Це́рква – Ки́ївський Патріарха́т (УПЦ-КП), romanized: Ukrayínsʹka Pravoslávna Tsérkva – Kýyivsʹkyy Patriarkhát (UPTs-KP)) was one of three major Orthodox churches in Ukraine, alongside the Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (which is a part of the Russian Orthodox Church), and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). On December 15, 2018 bishops and delegates from three branches of Orthodoxy in Ukraine unified in a council. Metropolitan Epiphanius I (a former bishop of the Kiev Patriarchate) was elected as “Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine” and became the primate of the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine.The Kiev Patriarchate was not recognised by the other Eastern Orthodox churches and was regarded as a "schismatic group" by the Moscow Patriarchate. In early September 2018, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, indicated that the Church of Constantinople did not recognise the Moscow Patriarchate's claim to ecclesiastical jurisdiction over "the region of today's Metropolis of Kiev". The Ecumenical Patriarch's decision of 11 October 2018 formally abrogated the perceived de facto jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church over the Kiev metropolis; it restored its controversial de jure jurisdiction over Ukraine. It was later clarified that the head of the UOC-KP, Filaret, was considered by the Ecumenical Patriarchate only as "the former metropolitan of Kiev", and, on 2 November, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not recognize neither the UAOC or the UOC-KP as legitimate and that their respective leaders were therefore not recognized as primates of their churches.The St. Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kiev was the patriarchal cathedral of the UOC-KP. The primate of the church was Patriarch Filaret (Denysenko), who was enthroned in 1995. Filaret (Denysenko) was excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1997, but the Synod of the UOC-KP did not recognize this action.Following the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople of 9–11 October 2018 Filaret (Denysenko) was canonically reinstated and the decision was made to proceed with the granting of autocephaly to a unified church in Ukraine. As a consequence, the Kiev Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church were planning to merge with pro-independence bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate into an independent (autocephalous) Ukrainian Orthodox Church (now the Orthodox Church of Ukraine). The move by the Ecumenical Patriarchate has so far not been recognised by any of the other autocephalous churches, and the Serbian and Polish Orthodox churches have explicitly refused to recognise Constantinople's unilateral reinstatement of the UOC-KP, and forbidden their clergy from celebrating with them.

Patriarchates in Christianity
Early Christianity
until
Christianity
in late Antiquity
Middle Ages
Modern era

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