Patriarch of the East
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Patriarch of the East

The title Patriarch of the East is used by primates of several Christian denominations within Eastern Christianity. Historically, the title originated as honorary designation for primates of the Holy See of Antioch. It was, and still is, officially used by Greek Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox patriarchs of Antioch, and also by primates of some other sees, belonging to several Eastern Christian denominations.

Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs of the East

The patriarchs of the East of the Eastern Orthodox churches are:

Oriental Orthodox Patriarchs of the East

The patriarchs of the East of the Oriental Orthodox churches sometimes also carry the title of catholicos or pope.

The patriarchs of the Oriental Orthodox churches are:

Patriarchs of the Church of the East

The patriarchs of the Church of the East traditionally also carry the title of catholicos.

Catholic Patriarchs of the East

The Catholic Patriarchs of the East are generally speaking the head bishops of some of the autonomous Eastern Catholic Churches. Each patriarch of the east has authority over all bishops of a particular eastern rite church. These patriarchs are elected by their synods, and must extend communion to and receive it from the other patriarchs, including the pope, before officially taking their office. In matters of discipline and practice, but not in matters of dogma, they generally follow the customs and laws of their particular church. Perhaps the most striking example is that in most Eastern Catholic Churches, ordination of married men to the priesthood is routine (although no priest may marry after ordination, and only celibate priests may become bishops). Eastern churches that are not headed by patriarchs are instead headed by bishops who are titled major archbishops, metropolitans, or in a few cases merely eparchs.

Around the time of the Second Vatican Council, as a result of new ecumenical bonds between the Eastern Rite Catholic and Latin Rite Catholic churches and their leaders, some Eastern patriarchs that headed Eastern churches recognizing the papacy (and thus making the joint reception of Communion possible) were elevated to Cardinal.

The patriarchs of the Eastern Rite Catholic churches are:

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is also considered one of the patriarchs of the east. However, his church follows the Latin Rite and his patriarchal title derives from the historical importance of the see rather than the autonomy of his church.

The Patriarch of the East Indies is a Latin Rite archbishop whose patriarchal title derives from the importance of his see in the evangelization of south and east Asia; but, despite the title of the patriarchate, is not considered a patriarch of the east.

See also


  • Wilmshurst, David (2000). The Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Church of the East, 1318-1913. Louvain: Peeters Publishers.
  • Wilmshurst, David (2011). The martyred Church: A History of the Church of the East. London: East & West Publishing Limited.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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