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"
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.
Today, the word has acquired specific ecclesiastical meanings. In particular, 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 office and the ecclesiastical circumscription of such a patriarch is termed a patriarchate. 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).
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Patriarchate of the West (not extant)
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 a small area near Constantinople and along the coast of the Black Sea. He included in this patriarchate also the western part of North Africa. Justinian's system was given formal ecclesiastical recognition by the Quinisext Council of 692, which the see of Rome has, however, not recognized.
Popes have in the past occasionally used the title Patriarch of the West, without defining it. Beginning 1863, this title appeared in the annual reference publication, Annuario Pontificio, which in 1885 became a semi-official publication of the Holy See. This publication suppressed the title in its 2006 edition. The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity explained the decision in a press release issued later that year. It stated that the title "Patriarch of the West" had become "obsolete and practically unusable" and that it was "pointless to insist on maintaining it". Since the Second Vatican Council, the Latin Church, with which the title could be considered associated, is now organized as a number of episcopal conferences and their international groupings.
Extant Latin patriarchates
- The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
- The Patriarch of the East Indies a titular patriarchal see, united to Goa and Daman.
- The Patriarch of Lisbon.
- The Patriarch of Venice.
Other historical Latin patriarchates
- The Patriarch of Aquileia – with rival line of succession moved to Grado - dissolved in 1752.
- The Patriarch of Grado – in 1451 merged with the Bishopric of Castello and Venice to form the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Venice (later a residential Patriarchate itself).
- The Patriarch of the West Indies – a titular patriarchal see, vacant since 1963.
- The Latin Patriarch of Antioch – title abolished in 1964.
- The titular Latin Patriarch of Alexandria – title abolished in 1964.
- The Latin Patriarch of Constantinople – title abolished in 1964.
- The Latin Patriarchate of Ethiopia – 1555 to 1663, never effective, only held by Iberian Jesuits
Patriarch as title ad personam
The pope can confer the rank of Patriarch without any see, to an individual Archbishop, as happened on 1676.02.24 to Alessandro Cescenzi, Somascans (C.S.R.), former Latin Titular Patriarch of Alexandria (1671.01.19 – retired 1675.05.27), who resigned the title on 1682.01.09.
Eastern Catholic patriarchates
- The Maronite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and all the East and head of the Maronite Catholic Church
- The Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon and head of the Chaldean Catholic Church
- The Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem, head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church; in his case, Antioch is the actual and sole patriarchate, Alexandria and Jerusalem are just titular (once residential) patriarchates vested in his see
- The Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia and head of the Armenian Catholic Church
- The Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria and head of the Coptic Catholic Church
- The Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and all the East and head of the Syriac Catholic Church
- The Major Archbishop of Kiev-Halych and head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
- The Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly and head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
- The Major Archbishop of Trivandrum and head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
- The Major Archbishop of Făgăraş and Alba Iulia and head of the Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholic
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: The election of major archbishops has to be confirmed by the pope before they are allowed to take office. No papal confirmation is needed for newly elected patriarchs before they take office. They are just required to petition the pope as soon as possible for the concession of what is called ecclesiastical communion.
|Patriarch of the West||Latin||Rome||renounced in 2006|
|Titular and actual Latin-Rite Patriarchs||Latin||Aquileia||suppressed in 1751|
|Latin||Grado||suppressed in 1451|
|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|
|Eastern Catholic Patriarchs||Coptic||Alexandria||Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak|
|Greek-Melkite||Antioch||Gregory III Laham|
|Syrian||Antioch||Ignatius Joseph III Younan|
|Maronite||Antioch||Bechara Boutros al-Rahi|
|Armenian||Cilicia||Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni|
|Chaldean||Babylon||Louis Raphaël I Sako|
|Eastern Catholic Major Archbishops||Ukrainian||Kiev-Halych||Sviatoslav Shevchuk|
|Romanian||Făgăraş and Alba Iulia||Lucian Mureșan|
- The five ancient Patriarchates, the Pentarchy, in order of preeminence ranked by the Quinisext Council in 692. The title of "patriarch" created in 531 by Justinian.:
- The Patriarch of the West; the Pope of Rome, still "primus inter pares" according to Eastern Orthodoxy, recognized in 325. Currently not an Episcopal or Patriarchal authority in the Eastern Orthodox Church, following the Great Schism in 1054.
- The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, chief of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople and the "primus inter pares" of post-Schism Eastern Orthodoxy, recognized in 381.
- The Patriarch of Alexandria the Pope of All Africa and the chief of the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria, recognized in 325
- The Patriarch of Antioch and the head of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East in the Near East, recognized in 325
- The Patriarch of Jerusalem and the chief of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem in Israel, Palestine, Jordan and All Arabia, recognized in 451
- The five junior Patriarchates created after the consolidation of the Pentarchy, in chronological order of their recognition as Patriarchates by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople:
- The Patriarch of All Bulgaria and the chief of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Bulgaria, recognized as a Patriarchate in 927
- The Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia and the chief of the Georgian Orthodox Church in Georgia, recognized as a Catholicate (Patriarchate) in 1008
- The Serbian Patriarch and the chief of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Serbia (and the former Yugoslavia), recognized as a Patriarchate in 1375
- The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the chief of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia, recognized as a Patriarchate in 1589
- The Patriarch of All Romania and the chief of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Romania, recognized as a Patriarchate in 1925
Eastern Patriarchs outside the Orthodox Communion
- The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia chief of the Russian Old-Orthodox Church.
- The Patriarch of Kiev chief of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate
- The Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Canonical.
- The Patriarch of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Europe (www.mission-orthodoxe.org)
- The Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church
- The Patriarch of the Autocephalous Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate
Oriental Orthodox Churches
- The Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa and the chief of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria in Egypt and All Africa and the Spiritual Leader of Oriental Orthodoxy.
- The Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and chief of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and Supreme Leader of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church in the Near East.
- The Catholicos of the East and the chief Metropolitan of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in India.
- The Catholicos of Etchmiadzin, Armenia and of All Armenians and Supreme Patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church and chief of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
- The Patriarch of Constantinople for the Armenians in Turkey.
- The Patriarch of Jerusalem and of Holy Zion for the Armenians in Israel, Palestine, Jordan and the Persian Gulf.
- The Catholicos of Cilicia and chief of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Great House of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon.
- The Archbishop of Axum and Patriarch Catholicos of All Ethiopia and the chief of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Ethiopia.
- The Archbishop of Asmara and Patriarch of All Eritrea and the chief of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Eritrea.
Church of the East
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 Catholicos-Patriarch of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, chief of the Assyrian Church of the East.
- The Patriarch of the Ancient Church of the East, a secession from the Assyrian Church of the East.
Other independent uses
The title of "Patriarch" is assumed also by the leaders of certain relatively recent groups, in particular those that are called independent Catholic Churches, who are in communion with none of the historic Christian Churches.
- The Patriarch of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church.
- The Patriarch of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church.
- The Patriarch of the Apostolic Catholic Church, in the Philippines
- The Patriarch of the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch.
- The Patriarch of the American Orthodox Catholic Church.
- The Patriarch of the Assembly of Jerusalem.
Latter Day Saint movement
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.
- List of current patriarchs
- Lists of Patriarchs
- List of Bishops and Archbishops
- Major archbishop
- List of Metropolitans and Patriarchs of Moscow
- πατριάρχης, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
- Online Etymological Dictionary: "patriarch"
- πατριά, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
- ἄρχω, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
- Merriam-Webster: "patriarch"
- American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: "patriarch"
- Oxford Dictionaries: "patriarch"
- Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Patriarch". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- ZENIT News Agency: "Communiqué on title 'Patriarch of the West'". Retrieved 20 July 2013
- "CCEO: text - IntraText CT". Intratext.com. 4 May 2007. Retrieved July 2013. Check date values in:
- Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium: Can. 153
- Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium: Can. 76
- An example of the petition and the granting of ecclesiastical communion: "Exchange of letters between Benedict XVI and His Beatitude Antonios Naguib". Holy See Press Office. Retrieved 2013-01-18.
- L'idea di pentarchia nella cristianità
- A Summary of Christian History– Google Knihy. Books.google.cz. November 1, 2005. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
- Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a Papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral assistance (ID: 20).
- Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a Papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support (ID: 21).
- Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a Papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral assistance (ID: 18).
- Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a Papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral assistance (ID: 17).
- Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a Papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral assistance (ID: 19).
- When a woman was elected head of this Church, she was styled Matriarch.
- Current and former patriarchates of the Catholic Church (GCatholic).
- Current titular patriarchal sees of the Catholic Church (GCatholic).
- Current patriarchates of the Catholic Church (GCatholic).
- "Patriarch". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.
- "Patriarchs". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.