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Patriarch of Antioch

From Academic Kids

Patriarch of Antioch is the traditional title carried by the Bishop of Antioch. This diocese is one of the few for which the names of its bishops from the apostolic beginnings have been preserved.

It was in the city of Antioch (modern day Antakya in southeast Turkey) that Christians were first so called (Acts 11:26). Traditionally, Saint Peter established the church in Antioch, and was the city's first bishop. Ignatius of Antioch (martyred c.107) was also bishop of the city, and a prominent apostolic father. By the 4th century, the bishop of Antioch had become the most senior bishop in a region covering modern-day eastern Turkey, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Iran. The Antiochene church became a centre of Christian learning, second only to Alexandria. Antiochene theology was greatly influenced by Rabbinic Judaism and other modes of Semitic thought.

Today, no less than five church hierarchs claim the title of Patriarch of Antioch, three of whom are in communion with the Pope and thus part of the Roman Catholic church. All five see themselves as part of the Antiochene heritage and claim a right to the Antiochene see through apostolic succession, although none are actually based in the city of Antakya. The multiplicity of Patriarchs of Antioch reflects the often-troubled history of Christianity in the region.

The current Patriarchs of Antioch are:

At one point, there was at least nominally a sixth claimant to the Patriarchate. When the Western European Crusaders established the Principality of Antioch, they established a Latin Rite church in the city, whose head took the title of Patriarch. After the Crusaders were expelled by the Mamelukes in 1268, the Pope continued to appoint a titular Latin Patriarch of Antioch, whose actual seat was the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The last holder of this office was Roberto Vincentini, who died without a successor in 1953. The post itself was abolished in 1964.

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