Catholicos

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Catholicos, plural Catholicoi, is a title used for the head of certain churches in some Eastern Christian traditions. The title implies autocephaly and in some cases it is the title of the head of an autonomous church. The word comes from ancient Greek καθολικός, pl. καθολικοί, derived from καθ' ὅλου (kath'olou, "generally") from κατά (kata, "down") and ὅλος (holos, "whole"), meaning "concerning the whole, universal, general"; it originally designated a financial or civil office in the Roman Empire. [1] The name of the Catholic Church comes from the same word - however, the title "Catholicos" does not exist in its hierarchy.

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The Church of the East, some Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox churches, and some Eastern Catholic Churches historically use this title; [2] for example the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Georgian Orthodox Church. In the Church of the East, the title was given to the church's head, the Patriarch of the Church of the East. It is still used in two successor churches, the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East, the heads of which are known as Catholicos-Patriarchs. In the Armenian Church there are two catholicoi: the supreme catholicos of Ejmiadzin and the catholicos of Cilicia. The title Catholicos-Patriarch is also used by the primate of the Armenian Catholic Church. [3] In India, head of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox Church; and regional head of Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, an autonomous Church within Syriac Orthodox Church, use this title. The first is known as Catholicos of the East and the latter as Catholicos of India.

Origin of the title

The earliest ecclesiastical use of the title Catholicos was by the Bishop of Armenia, head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, in the 4th century [1] while still under the Patriarchate of Antioch. [4] Among the Armenians, catholicos was originally a simple title for the principal bishop of the country; he was subordinate to the See of Caesarea in Cappadocia. [4]

Sometime later, it was adopted by the bishops of Seleucia-Ctesiphon in Persia, who became the designated heads of the Church of the East. The first claim that the bishop of Selucia-Ctesiphon was superior to the other bishoprics and had (using a later term) patriarchal rights was made by Patriarch Papa bar Gaggai (or Aggai, c. 317-c. 329). In the 5th century this was claim strengthened and Isaac (or Ishaq, 399-c.410), who organized the Council of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, used the title of bishop of Selucia-Ctesiphon, Catholicos and Head over the bishops of all the Orient. [5] This line of Catholicos founded the Church of the East and the development of the East Syriac Rite.

At the beginning of the fourth century, Albania and Georgia (Iberia) were converted to Christianity, and the principal bishop of each of these countries bore the title of catholicos, although neither of them was autocephalous. They followed the Armenians in rejecting the Council of Chalcedon. At the end of the sixth, or beginning of the seventh, century the Georgian Catholicos asserted his independence and accepted Eastern Orthodoxy. Henceforward the Georgian Church underwent the same evolutions as the Greek. In 1783 Georgia was forced to abolish the office of its catholicos, and place itself under the Holy Synod of Russia, to which country it was united politically in 1801. The Albanian catholicos remained loyal to the Armenian Church, with the exception of a brief schism towards the end of the sixth century. Shortly afterwards Albania was assimilated partly with Armenia and partly with Georgia. There is no mention of any catholicos in Albania after the seventh century. It is asserted by some that the head of the Abyssinian Church, the Abuna, also bears the title of catholicos, but, although this name may have been applied to him by analogy, there is, to our knowledge, no authority for asserting that this title is used by the Abyssinian Church itself. [4]

Catholicos in various Churches

Autocephalous churches of East

The following are autocephalous churches of East Syriac Rite that claim succession to the Catholicos of the East of Selucia-Ctesiphon from the Church of the East. Referred to as Nestorian in Western texts, the term Nestorian was formally renounced in 1976 by Dinkha IV.[ citation needed ]

Assyrian Church of the East

As of September 27,2015, Gewargis III is the Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East. One of the oldest Christian churches, it is a modern successor of the historical Church of the East. It traces its origins to the See of Seleucia-Ctesiphon in central Mesopotamia, which tradition holds was founded by Saint Thomas the Apostle (Tooma Shlikha) as well as Saint Mari and Saint Addai in AD 33 as asserted in the Doctrine of Addai.

It is one of the three Churches of the East that hold themselves distinct from Oriental and Eastern Orthodoxy. The Assyrian Church of the East does not use the word "orthodox" in any of its service books or official correspondence, nor does it use any word which can be translated as "correct faith" or "correct doctrine," the rough translation of "orthodox". The adjectives "holy," "catholic," and "apostolic" were officially added to the Assyrian Church of the East's title in conformance with the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed which declares, "We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church." In this context, "holy" refers to being set apart for a purely sacred purpose; "apostolic" means founded by one of Jesus's own apostles; and "catholic" is the Greek word for "universal," indicating a worldwide church. In India, it is more often called the Chaldean Syrian Church. In the West it is often called the Nestorian Church, due to its historical associations with Nestorianism, though the church itself considers the term pejorative and argues that this association is incorrect. The church declares that no other church has suffered as many martyrdoms as the Assyrian Church of the East.[ citation needed ]

The founders of Assyrian theology were Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia, who taught at Antioch. The normative Christology of the Assyrian church was written by Babai the Great (551–628) and is clearly distinct from the accusations directed toward Nestorius: his main christological work is called the 'Book of the Union', and in it Babai teaches that the two qnome (essences, or hypostases) are unmingled but everlastingly united in the one parsopa (personality) of Christ.[ citation needed ]

Ancient Church of the East

As of February 20,1972, Addai II is the Catholicos of the Ancient Church of the East, which split from the Assyrian Church of the East in the 1960s.

Eastern Orthodox Church

Georgian Orthodox Church

The title of catholicos is also used in the Georgian Church, whose head carries the title Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia.

Oriental Orthodox Churches

Armenian Apostolic Church

In the Armenian Church there are two catholicoi: the supreme catholicos of Ejmiadzin and the catholicos of Cilicia. The Catholicos of Etchmiadzin presides over the Supreme Spiritual Council of the Armenian Apostolic Church and is the head of the world's 7 million Armenian Orthodox Christians. The primacy of honour of the Catholicossate of Etchmiadzin has always been recognized by the Catholicossate of Cilicia.

  • Catholicos of Etchmiadzin (Chief Shepherd and Pontiff to all Armenians dispersed throughout the world [6] ) of the Armenian Apostolic Church,
    • Karekin II is the current Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

Head of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (Indian Orthodox Church) bears the title Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan. The church is based at Devalokam near Kottayam in Kerala State. Baselios Marthoma Paulose II is the current Catholicos of the East.

Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church

Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church headquartered at Puthencruz near Kochi in Kerala is an integral branch of Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch headed by Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II based at Damascus in Syria. Regional Head of Jacobite Syrian Church uses the title Catholicos of India. Baselios Thomas I is the current Catholicos of the church.

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

In 1959, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria granted autocephaly to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Abuna Basilios was consecrated the first Patriarch Catholicos of the Ethiopian Church by the Coptic Pope Cyril VI at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo on 28 June 1959. The title is "Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, Ichege of the See of St. Tekle Haymanot, Archbishop of Axum".

Catholic Church

Eastern Catholic Churches also use the title Catholicos most notably the Armenian, Chaldean and the Syro-Malankara Catholic churches.

Armenian Catholic Church

Eastern Catholic Churches of East Syriac Rite

The following are Eastern Catholic Churches of East Syriac Rite that claim succession to the Catholicos of the East of Selucia-Ctesiphon of the Church of the East:

Chaldean Catholic Church of the East

The Chaldean Catholic Church is an Eastern church of the Catholic Church, maintaining full communion with the Bishop of Rome and the rest of the Catholic Church. It is descended from the historical Assyrian Church of the East and emerged following a 16th-century split within the Assyrian Church, although this line drifted back to the Assyrian Church, a further split in the late 17th century proved more permanent. It was initially called The Church of Assyria and Mosul, with the modern Chaldean Catholic Church emerging in 1830. The term Chaldean is a misnomer in a historical, geographic and ethnic sense, as its members are ethnic Assyrians, the indigenous people of northern Iraq, north east Syria and south east Turkey, and descended from the ancient Upper Mesopotamians (see Assyrian continuity). The Assyrians retain north Mesopotamian dialects of Eastern Aramaic as a native tongue. The Chaldean Catholic Church presently has an estimated 500,000 members, [7] out of a general population of approximately 3,000,000 Assyrians. The other churches followed by the Assyrians include the Assyrian Church of the East, Syriac Orthodox Church, Ancient Church of the East, Assyrian Pentecostal Church and Assyrian Evangelical Church.

As of February 1,2013, Louis Raphaël I Sako is the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church of the East (in full Communion with the Pope.)

Eastern Catholic Churches of West Syriac Rite

The following are Eastern Catholic Churches of West Syriac Rite that claim succession to the title of Catholicos:

Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church which was raised to the status of a Major Archiepiscopal Church sui iuris on February 10, 2005 claims the supra archiepiscopal title of Catholicos according to the tradition of Malankara Church and according to the norms of Motu Proprio "Cleri Sanctitati" Can. 335. The Holy See of Rome has not addressed the Major Archbishop as Catholicos but has recognized the "Code of Particular Canons of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church" (2012) which very well illustrates the title Catholicos. [8]

Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos is the primate and Major Archbishop-Catholicos of the church since 2007.

Related Research Articles

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Orthodox Church in Kerala, India

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC) also known as the Malankara Church and the Indian Orthodox Church, is an autocephalous (independent) church based in Kerala, India. Part of Oriental Orthodoxy, it is one of the oldest Christian communities in Asia. The church serves India's Saint Thomas Christian population. According to tradition, the church originated in the missions of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. The autocephalous Catholicos of the East and the Malankara Metropolitan, enthroned on the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas, is the primate of the church. It employs the Malankara Rite, an Indian form of the West Syriac liturgical rite. It is a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC). The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church gained full autocephaly or independence in 1912, and remains in communion with the other five Oriental Orthodox churches, including the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, and the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church drafted and formally adopted a constitution in 1934, wherein the church formally declared the Malankara Metropolitan and the Catholicos of the East as one.

Patriarch ecclesiastical title

The highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church, and the Church of the East are termed patriarchs.

Exarch Former political and military office; now an ecclesiastical office

The term exarch comes from the Ancient Greek ἔξαρχος, exarchos, and designates holders of various historical offices, some of them being political or military and others being ecclesiastical.

Assyrian Church of the East Ancient Christian religious body from Assyria

The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, is an Eastern Christian church that follows the traditional christology and ecclesiology of the historical Church of the East. It belongs to the eastern branch of Syriac Christianity, and employs the Divine Liturgy of Saints Addai and Mari belonging to the East Syrian Rite liturgy. Its main spoken language is Syriac, a dialect of Eastern Aramaic, and the majority of its adherents are ethnic Assyrians.

An apostolic see is an episcopal see whose foundation is attributed to one or more of the apostles of Jesus or to one of their close associates. In Catholicism the phrase, preceded by the definite article and usually capitalized, refers to the See of Rome.

Syriac Christianity Form of Eastern Christianity

Syriac Christianity is the form of Eastern Christianity whose formative theological writings and traditional liturgy are expressed in the Syriac language, which, along with Latin and Greek, was one of "the three most important Christian languages in the early centuries" of the Common Era.

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.

Holy Qurbana

The Holy Qurbana or Holy Qurbono, refers to the Eucharist as celebrated in Syriac Christianity. This includes various Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches. Syriac Christianity consists of two liturgical rites, the East Syriac Rite and the West Syriac Rite. The main Anaphora of the East Syriac tradition is the Holy Qurbana of Saints Addai and Mari, while that of the West Syriac tradition is the Divine Liturgy of Saint James.

Index of Eastern Christianity-related articles Wikipedia index

Alphabetical list of Eastern Christianity-related articles on English Wikipedia

Chaldean Syrian Church Eastern Christian Church based in Thrissur, India; an archbishopric of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, in full communion with the Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East

The Chaldean Syrian Church of India, is an Eastern Christian Church based in Thrissur, India. It is an archbishopric of the Assyrian Church of the East and is in full communion with Catholicos-Patriarch Mar Gewargis III. The Assyrian Church of the East descends from the historic Church of the East.

Holy See of the East is an honorary name of the sees of a number of Christian churches in the Middle East and India.

Catholicos of India is an ecclesiastical office in the Syriac Orthodox Church, the head of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church in Kerala, India. He is the Catholicos/ Maphrian of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church an autonomous body within the Syriac Orthodox Church, and functions at an ecclesiastical rank second to the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch. The jurisdiction of the Syriac Orthodox Catholicos is limited to India and Indian diaspora, although he is often invited to preside over Syriac Orthodox functions abroad. The current Catholicos of India is Catholicos Baselios Thomas I, who was consecrated in 2002.

Catholicos is the title used by head bishops of regions outside the Roman Empire having self ecclesiastical and autonomous status from the ancient period. The word "Catholicos" means "Universal" - the same word from which the name of the Catholic Church also derives.

Catholicos of the East Ecclesiastic title

Catholicos of the East is an ecclesiastical title used by Eastern Churches. The term "Catholicos" is derived from the Greek word Katholikos (Καθολικός), meaning "Universal Bishop".

Oriental Orthodox Churches Branch of Eastern Christianity

The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Christian churches adhering to miaphysite Christology and theology, and together have about 62 million members worldwide.

Church of the East An Eastern Christian Church that in 410 organised itself within the Sasanid Empire and in 424 declared its leader independent of other Christian leaders; from the Persian Empire it spread to other parts of Asia in late antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Church of the East, also called the Persian Church or Nestorian Church, was a Christian church of the East Syriac rite established c. 410. It was one of three major branches of Eastern Christianity that arose from the Christological controversies of the 5th and 6th centuries, alongside the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches. Since the Schism of 1552, there have been several different churches claiming the heritage of the Church of the East.

List of Catholicoi :

Saint Thomas Christian denominations

The Saint Thomas Christian denominations are traditional Christian denominations from Kerala, India, who trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. They are also known as "Nasranis" as well. The Syriac term "Nasrani" is still used by St. Thomas Christians in Kerala.

References

  1. 1 2 Wigram, p. 91.
  2. The Motu Proprio Cleri Sanctitati Canon 335
  3. https://www.britannica.com/topic/catholicos
  4. 1 2 3 Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Catholicos". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  5. Yar-Shater, Ehsan; Fisher, W. B. (1983). The Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian periods. p. 931. ISBN   978-0-521-24693-4 . Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  6. Official Website of the Armenian Church Archived July 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  7. CNEWA – Chaldean Catholic Church
  8. The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, The Code of Particular Canons of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, Major Archiepiscopal Curia, Trivandrum, 2012, xi https://www.scribd.com/doc/167599083/The-Unique-Identity-of-the-Syro-Malankara-Catholic-Church

Sources