Patriarch of Alexandria

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Coptic icon of Saint Mark the Evangelist, the apostolic founder of the Church of Alexandria, and the first Primate of Alexandria StMarkcoptic.jpg
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"). [1]

Archbishop bishop of higher rank in many Christian denominations

In Christianity, an archbishop is a bishop of higher rank or office. In some cases, such as the Lutheran Church of Sweden and the Church of England, the title is borne by the leader of the denomination. Like popes, patriarchs, metropolitans, cardinal bishops, diocesan bishops, and suffragan bishops, archbishops are in the highest of the three traditional orders of bishops, priests, and deacons. An archbishop may be granted the title or ordained as chief pastor of a metropolitan see or another episcopal see to which the title of archbishop is attached.

Alexandria Metropolis in Egypt

Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt and a major economic centre, extending about 32 km (20 mi) along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country. Its low elevation on the Nile delta makes it highly vulnerable to rising sea levels. Alexandria is an important industrial center because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria is also a popular tourist destination.

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Contents

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). [2] 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. [3]

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

Episcopal see the main administrative seat held by a bishop

An episcopal see is, in the usual meaning of the phrase, the area of a bishop's ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

Constantinople capital city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire

Constantinople was the capital city of the Eastern Roman Empire (330–395), of the Byzantine Empire, and also of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261). It was the capital of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). In 1923 the capital was removed and the name changed to Istanbul. The city was located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul.

Due to several schisms within Christianity, the title of the Patriarch of Alexandria is currently held by four 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. [2] 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 Alexandria. [2]

A schism is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization, movement, or religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a split in what had previously been a single religious body, such as the East–West Schism or the Great Western Schism. It is also used of a split within a non-religious organization or movement or, more broadly, of a separation between two or more people, be it brothers, friends, lovers, etc.

Christian denomination identifiable Christian body with common name, structure, and doctrine

A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity, identified by traits such as a name, organization, leadership and doctrine. Individual bodies, however, may use alternative terms to describe themselves, such as church or sometimes fellowship. Divisions between one group and another are defined by authority and doctrine; issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, eschatology, and papal primacy may separate one denomination from another. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs, practices, and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity". These branches differ in many ways, especially through differences in practices and belief.

Melkite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch patriarchate

The Melkite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch is the only actual residential Patriarchate of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. It was formed in 1724 when a portion of the Orthodox Church of Antioch went back into communion with Rome, becoming an Eastern Catholic Church, while the rest of the ancient Patriarchate continues in full communion with the rest of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

History

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. [4]

Mark the Evangelist Author of the Gospel of Mark and Christian saint; traditionally identified with John Mark

Mark the Evangelist is the traditionally ascribed author of the Gospel of Mark. Mark is said to have founded the Church of Alexandria, one of the most important episcopal sees of early Christianity. His feast day is celebrated on April 25, and his symbol is the winged lion.

Cyrenaica Place

Cyrenaica is the eastern coastal region of Libya. Also known as Pentapolis in antiquity, it formed part of the Roman province of Crete and Cyrenaica, later divided into Libya Pentapolis and Libya Sicca. During the Islamic period, the area came to be known as Barqa, after the city of Barca.

Marmarica

Marmarica in ancient geography was a littoral area in Ancient Libya, located between Cyrenaica and Aegyptus. It corresponds to what is now the Libya and Egypt frontier, including the towns of Bomba, Timimi, Tobruk, Acroma, Bardiya, As-Salum, and Sidi Barrani. The territory stretched to the far south, encompassing the Siwa Oasis, which at the time was known for its sanctuary to the deity Amun. The eastern part of Marmarica, by some geographers considered a separate district between Marmarica and Aegyptus, was known as Libycus Nomus. In late antiquity, Marmarica was also known as Libya Inferior, while Cyrenaica was known as Libya Superior.

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 (451), 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. [4]

First Council of Constantinople synod

The First Council of Constantinople was a council of Christian bishops convened in Constantinople in AD 381 by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I. This second ecumenical council, an effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom, except for the Western Church, confirmed the Nicene Creed, expanding the doctrine thereof to produce the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and dealt with sundry other matters. It met from May to July 381 in the Church of Hagia Irene and was affirmed as ecumenical in 451 at the Council of Chalcedon.

Council of Chalcedon Fourth Ecumenical Council held in 451; not accepted by Oriental Orthodoxy

The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451, at Chalcedon. The Council was called by Emperor Marcian to set aside the 449 Second Council of Ephesus. Its principal purpose was to assert the orthodox catholic doctrine against the heresy of Eutyches and the Monophysites, although ecclesiastical discipline and jurisdiction also occupied the council's attention.

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople position

The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople–New Rome and ranks as primus inter pares among the heads of the several autocephalous churches that make up the Eastern Orthodox Church. The term Ecumenical in the title is a historical reference to the Ecumene, a Greek designation for the civilised world, i.e. the Roman Empire, and it stems from Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon.

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 ]

Monophysitism is the Christological position that, after the union of the divine and the human in the historical incarnation, Jesus Christ, as the incarnation of the eternal Son or Word (Logos) of God, had only a single "nature" which was either divine or a synthesis of divine and human. Monophysitism is contrasted to dyophysitism which maintains that Christ maintained two natures, one divine and one human, after the incarnation.

The Second Council of Ephesus was a Christological church synod in 449 AD convened by Emperor Theodosius II under the presidency of Pope Dioscorus I of Alexandria. It was intended to be an ecumenical council, and it is accepted as such by the Miaphysite orthodox but was rejected by the Chalcedonian dyophysites. It was explicitly repudiated by the dyophysite’s fourth and next council, the Council of Chalcedon of 451, and it was named the Latrocinium or "Robber Council" by Pope Leo I. To this day, several Churches that adopted the Council of Chalcedon refer to it the same, but several Orthodox Churches refute that.

Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria major transnational Oriental Orthodox church led by the Patriarch of Alexandria on the Holy See of St. Mark

The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is an Oriental Orthodox Christian church based in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East. The head of the Church and the See of Alexandria is the Patriarch of Alexandria on the Holy See of Saint Mark, who also carries the title of Coptic Pope. The See of Alexandria is titular, and today the Coptic Pope presides from Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in the Abbassia District in Cairo. The church follows the Alexandrian Rite for its liturgy, prayer and devotional patrimony. With 20–25 million members worldwide, whereof about 18 to 22 million are in Egypt, it is the country's largest Christian church.

Pope

"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—"Παπας" (papas), which means "Father" in Greek and Coptic—since Pope Heraclas of Alexandria, the 13th Alexandrine Bishop (227–248), was the first to associate "Pope" with the title of the Bishop of Alexandria.

The word pope derives from the Greek πάππας "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. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] By the sixth century, this was also the normal practice in the imperial chancery of Constantinople. [5]

The earliest record of this title was regarding Pope Heraclas of Alexandria (227–240) in a letter written by his successor, Pope Dionysius of Alexandria, to Philemon (a Roman presbyter): "τοῦτον ἐγὼ τὸν κανόνα καὶ τὸν τύπον παρὰ τοῦ μακαρίου πάπα ἡμῶν Ἡρακλᾶ παρέλαβον." [10] This is translated, "I received this rule and ordinance from our blessed father/pope, Heraclas." [11] 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 , "Þa wæs in þa tid Uitalius papa þæs apostolican seðles aldorbiscop." [12] In modern English, "At that time, Pope Vitalian was chief bishop of the apostolic see."

Claimants to the title

Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria

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

The Greek Orthodox 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". [13]

Eastern Catholic Churches

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

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

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References

  1. "The Pope". Saint Takla Haymanot (Coptic Orthodox) (in Arabic). Alexandria, Egypt . Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 PD-icon.svg  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.
  3. "Pentarchy". Encyclopædia Britannica. 26 January 2015.
  4. 1 2 PD-icon.svg  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.
  5. 1 2 "Pope", Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN   978-0-19-280290-3
  6. Thomas H. Greer, Gavin Lewis, A Brief History of the Western World (Cengage Learning 2004 ISBN   9780534642365), p. 172
  7. Enrico Mazza, The Eucharistic Prayers of the Roman Rite (Liturgical Press 2004 ISBN   9780814660782), p. 63
  8. John W. O'Malley, A History of the Popes (Government Institutes 2009 ISBN   9781580512275), p. xv
  9. Klaus Schatz, Papal Primacy (Liturgical Press 1996 ISBN   9780814655221), pp. 28–29
  10. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica Book VII, chapter 7.7
  11. Pamphilus of Caesarea (2012). The Sacred Writings of Eusebius Pamphilus (Extended Annotated Edition). Jazzybee Verlag. ISBN   978-3-8496-2152-0.
  12. "pope, n.1". OED Online. September 2011. Oxford University Press. 21 November 2011
  13. "The Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa". Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa. Alexandria, Egypt. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2018. 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