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Patriarch of Alexandria

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(Redirected from Bishop of Alexandria)
Patriarchate of Alexandria redirects here. For other uses, see Patriarchate of
Alexandria (disambiguation).
Painting of bearded man with red robe
Coptic icon of Saint Mark the Evangelist, the apostolic founder of the Church of
Alexandria, and the first Primate 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).[1] Alexandria was elevated to de
facto archiepiscopal status by the Councils of Alexandria[citation needed][which],
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).[citation needed] In
the sixth century, these five archbishops were formally granted the title of
patriarch and were subsequently known as the Pentarchy.[2]

Due to several schisms within Christianity, the title of the Patriarch of

Alexandria is currently held by several 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.[1] 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

Contents [hide]
1 History
2 Pope
3 Claimants to the title
3.1 Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
3.2 Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria
3.3 Eastern Catholic Churches
3.4 Latin Catholic Church
4 See also
5 References
According to church tradition, the patriarchate was founded in 42 AD by Mark the
Evangelist. It was the centre from which Christianity spread throughout all Egypt.
Within its jurisdiction, during its most flourishing period, were included about
108 bishops; its territory embraced the six provinces of Libya Superior, Libya
Inferior, the Thebaid, Egypt, Heptanomis, and Augustamnica. In the beginning the
successor of St. Mark was the only metropolitan bishop, and he governed
ecclesiastically the entire territory. As the Christians multiplied, and other
metropolitan sees were created, he became known the arch-metropolitan. The title of
patriarch did not come into use until the fifth century.[3]

Up to the time of the First Council of Constantinople (381) the Patriarch of

Alexandria ranked next to the Bishop of Rome. By the third canon of this council,
afterwards confirmed by the twenty-eighth canon of the Council of Chalcedon (452),
the Patriarch of Constantinople, supported by imperial authority and by a variety
of concurring advantages, was given the right of precedency over the Patriarch of
Alexandria. But neither Rome nor Alexandria recognized the claim until many years
later. During the first two centuries of our era, though Egypt enjoyed unusual
quiet, little is known of the ecclesiastical history of its chief see, beyond a
barren list of the names of its patriarchs, handed down to us chiefly through the
church historian Eusebius.[3]

All denominations acknowledge the succession of church leaders until the time of
the monophysite Second Council of Ephesus (the so-called Robber Council) of 449 and
the orthodox Council of Chalcedon in 451, which gave rise to the non-Chalcedonian
Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and the Chalcedonian Greek Orthodox Church of
Alexandria.[citation needed]

Papa has been the designation for the Archbishop of Alexandria and Patriarch of
Africa in the See of Saint Mark.[contradictory][citation needed] This office has
historically held the title of Pope?apa? (papas), which means Father in Greek and
Copticsince Pope Heraclas of Alexandria, the 13th Alexandrine Bishop (227248),
was the first to associate Pope with the title of the Bishop of Alexandria.

The word pope derives from the Greek p?ppa? father. In the early centuries of
Christianity, this title was applied informally (especially in the east) to all
bishops and other senior clergy. In the west it began to be used particularly for
the Bishop of Rome (rather than for bishops in general) in the sixth century; in
1075, Pope Gregory VII issued a declaration widely interpreted as stating this by-
then-established convention.[4][5][6][7][8] By the sixth century, this was also the
normal practice in the imperial chancery of Constantinople.[4]

The earliest record of this title was regarding Pope Heraclas of Alexandria
(227240) in a letter written by his successor, Pope Dionysius of Alexandria, to
Philemon (a Roman presbyter) t??t?? ??? t?? ?a???a ?a? t?? t?p?? pa?? t?? a?a????
p?pa ??? ??a??? pa???a??.[9] This is translated, I received this rule and
ordinance from our blessed fatherpope, Heraclas.[10] According to the Oxford
English Dictionary, the earliest recorded use of pope in English is in an Old
English translation (c. 950) of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English
People, a ws in a tid Uitalius papa s apostolican seles aldorbiscop.[11] In
modern English, At that time, Pope Vitalian was chief bishop of the apostolic see.

Claimants to the title[edit]

Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria[edit]
The Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of all Africa in the Holy See of St. Mark the
Apostle leads the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, but has resided in Cairo
since Christodoulos moved the residence in the mid-eleventh century. His full
titles are Pope and Archbishop of the Great City of Alexandria and Patriarch of all
Africa, the Holy Orthodox and Apostolic See of Saint Mark the Evangelist (Egypt,
Libya, Nubia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and all Africa) and Successor of St. Mark
the Evangelist, Holy Apostle and Martyr, on the Holy Apostolic Throne of the Great
City of Alexandria.

Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria[edit]

The Greek Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa leads the Greek Orthodox Church of
Alexandria. His full title is His Divine Beatitude the Pope and Patriarch of the
Great City of Alexandria, Libya, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, All Egypt and All Africa,
Father of Fathers, Pastor of Pastors, Prelate of Prelates, the Thirteenth of the
Apostles and Judge of the Universe.[12]

Eastern Catholic Churches[edit]

The Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, who leads the Coptic Catholic Church in
communion with the Holy See, can also be granted the title of Cardinal Bishop by
the Pope without compromising his patriarchal status.

The Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek-Melkites, who leads the Melkite Greek
Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See, also has the titles of Titular
Patriarch of Alexandria of the Greek-Melkites and Titular Patriarch of Jerusalem of
the Greek-Melkites.

Latin Catholic Church[edit]

The Latin Patriarch of Alexandria was head of the Titular Patriarchal See of
Alexandria of the Roman Catholic Church, established by Pope Innocent III. The
title was last held by Luca Ermenegildo Pasetto until his death in 1954; it
remained vacant until its abolition in 1964.

See also[edit]
List of Patriarchs of Alexandria
^ Jump up to a b c One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a
publication now in the public domain Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Patriarch and
Patriarchate. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York Robert Appleton.
Jump up ^ Pentarchy. Encyclopdia Britannica. 26 January 2015.
^ Jump up to a b One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a
publication now in the public domain Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). The Church of
Alexandria. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York Robert Appleton.
^ Jump up to a b Pope, Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University
Press, 2005, ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3
Jump up ^ Thomas H. Greer, Gavin Lewis, A Brief History of the Western World
(Cengage Learning 2004 ISBN 9780534642365), p. 172
Jump up ^ Enrico Mazza, The Eucharistic Prayers of the Roman Rite (Liturgical Press
2004 ISBN 9780814660782), p. 63
Jump up ^ John W. O'Malley, A History of the Popes (Government Institutes 2009 ISBN
9781580512275), p. xv
Jump up ^ Klaus Schatz, Papal Primacy (Liturgical Press 1996 ISBN 9780814655221),
pp. 2829
Jump up ^ Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica Book VII, chapter 7.7
Jump up ^ Pamphilus of Caesarea (2012). The Sacred Writings of Eusebius Pamphi