A patriarchate is the office or jurisdiction of an ecclesiastical
patriarch. A patriarch, as the term is used here, is either,
One of the five leaders of the Pentarchy, the highest-ranking bishops
Christian Church prior to the Great Schism, who were the
bishops of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem;
One of the nine leading bishops of the
Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church in the
present day, including the patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria,
Jerusalem mentioned above, and also the five more recently
established patriarchs of (in chronological order of establishment)
Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Moscow and Romania; or
One of ten high-ranking bishops of the Roman Catholic Church:
seven "patriarchs of the east" (six who are heads of Eastern Catholic
Churches and the Latin
Patriarch of Jerusalem), plus the patriarchs of
Lisbon, Venice and the East Indies; or
One of the several leading bishops holding the title of patriarch in
Orthodoxy and the Church of the East.
The five patriarchs of the
Pentarchy sat in Rome,
Istanbul), Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. The
East-West Schism of
1054 split the Latin-speaking see of
Rome from the four Greek-speaking
patriarchates, forming distinct Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox
Antioch moved to Damascus
in the 13th century, during the reign of the Egyptian Mamelukes,
conquerors of Syria. In
Damascus a Christian community had flourished
since apostolic times (Acts 9). However, the patriarchate is still
Patriarchate of Antioch.
Damascus is the seat also of the
Syrian Catholic and the Melkite Catholic Patriarchs of Antioch, while
the Maronite Catholic of
Antioch lives in Bkerké, Lebanon.
The four early Orthodox (Greek) patriarchates of the East,
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.
In the Roman Catholic Church, some patriarchal titles are purely
honorary, without an actual residential see, and hence termed Titular
Patriarch(ate)s, either vested in another (residential) patriarchal
see or in the Pope's gift.
A patriarchate has "legal personality" in some legal jurisdictions,
that means it is treated as a corporation. For example, the Orthodox
Jerusalem filed a lawsuit in New York, decided in
Christie's Auction House, disputing the ownership of the
The head of the
Czechoslovak Hussite Church
Czechoslovak Hussite Church is also called a
Patriarch. Along with the head of the Catholic Church of England &
1 See also
4 External links
Annuario Pontificio 2012, pp. 3-8. The title of "
Patriarch of the
West" for the
Pope is no longer in use.
^ In his motu proprio
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.
Annuario Pontificio 2012, pp. 3-5
Nedungatt, George, ed. (2002). A Guide to the Eastern Code: A
Commentary on the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. Rome:
Oriental Institute Press.
Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "
Patriarch and Patriarchate".
Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Co