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Saint Peter and Saint PaulPatriarch / Batriyark of Antioch / Patriarcat Grec Melkite Catholique

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The Patriarch / Batriyark of Antioch / Patriarcat Grec Melkite Catholique is the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

According to tradition, the Patriarch / Batriyark of Antioch / Patriarcat Grec Melkite Catholique is the successor of The Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Prince of the Apostles Peter. The Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Prince of the Apostles Peter was appointed by Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ to be His representative on earth. Then, the Patriarch / Batriyark of Antioch / Patriarcat Grec Melkite Catholique is the representative of Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ on earth.

First Patriarch / Batriyark / Patriarcat

Melkite Greek Catholic Church tradition maintains that the See of Antioch was founded by The Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Prince of the Apostles Peter in 45. He was the first Patriarch / Batriyark of Antioch.

Patriarchate or See of Antioch established

In 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicaea, the Patriarchates or Sees of Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria were established. Antioch was both a territorial and juridical entity. The bishops of these Sees were given the title of Patriarch / Batriyark.

Patriarch / Batriyark / Patriarcat

A Patriarchate has a Patriarch / Batriyark. The Patriarch / Batriyark is the Bishop / Sayedna / Sayidna who presides over a Synod of Bishops / Sayednas / Sayidnas. The Patriarch / Batriyark is the first among the Bishops / Sayednas / Sayidnas when they gather together to deliberate on matters common to their churches.
The Melkite Patriarch / Batriyark presides over the the Holy Synod of Bishops / Sayednas / Sayidnas of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church throughout the world.

Order of Hierarchy

The Patriarach is a bishop who has been raised to the highest level in the heirarchy.

The explanation below was written by Reverend Father James Graham, Pastor of Saint Elias the Prophet Melkite Greek Catholic Mission, San Jose, CA.

The order of hierarchy, beginning with the so-called minor orders and going up the ladder:

  1. Lector or reader
  2. Sub-deacon
  3. Deacon
  4. Priest
    • then honorary titles
      • Archpriest - Highest highest honor given to a married priest. - Wears the silver pectoral cross and is called "The Right Reverend".
      • Archimandrite - Wears the silver pectoral cross and is called "The Right Reverend".
      • Mitred Archpriest
      • Mitred Archimandrite
  5. Bishop
  6. Archbishop (sometimes Metropolitan Archbishop)
  7. Patriarch

Title

The Patriarchal Head of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church / Patriarcat Grec Melkite Catholique has the title "Patriarch / Batriyark of the cities of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, of Cilicia, Syria, Iberia, Arabia Mesopotamia, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, of all of Egypt and the entire East, Father of Fathers, Pastor of Pastors, Bishop of Bishops, the Thirteenth of The Holy Apostles". His official title is Patriarch / Batriyark of the city of Antioch, of Cilicia, Syria, Iberia, Arabia Mesopotamia, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, of all of Egypt and the entire East, Father of Fathers, Pastor of Pastors, Bishop of Bishops, the Thirteenth of The Holy Apostles.
Historically "Of Alexandria and Jerusalem" have been added as a personal title.
Patriarch Maximos III Masloum was elected in 1833. In 1838 he obtained from Rome the additional titles of Patriarch of Jerusalem and Patriarch of Alexandria as a result of the movement of the Melkite people throughout the Middle East.

Patriarchs / Batriyark are usually addressed and referred to as "Patriarch / Batriyark first name". The formal written title is "His Beatitude, Patriarchal first name, Patriarch of the cities of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, of Cilicia, Syria, Iberia, Arabia Mesopotamia, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, of all of Egypt and the entire East, Father of Fathers, Pastor of Pastors, Bishop of Bishops, the Thirteenth of The Holy Apostles.
Patriarchs are not called "Patriarch last name".

Current Patriarchal Head

The current Patriarchal Head of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church / Patriarcat Grec Melkite Catholique is His Beatitude, Gregorios III, Patriarch / Batriyark of the cities of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, of Cilicia, Syria, Iberia, Arabia Mesopotamia, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, of all of Egypt and the entire East, Father of Fathers, Pastor of Pastors, Bishop of Bishops, the Thirteenth of The Holy Apostles. His Beatitude, Patriarch / Batriyark Gregorios III is the direct successor of The Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Prince of the Apostles Peter over the See of Antioch.

From 22 November, 1967 until November 22, 2000, the Patriarchal Head of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church / Patriarcat Grec Melkite Catholique was His Beatitude, the Regretted, Maximos V, Patriarch / Batriyark of the cities of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, of Cilicia, Syria, Iberia, Arabia Mesopotamia, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, of all of Egypt and the entire East, Father of Fathers, Pastor of Pastors, Bishop of Bishops, the Thirteenth of The Holy Apostles.

Name

After a Patriarch is elected by the Holy Synod, recent tradition is that the new Patriarch / Batriyark takes an new first name, which has been used by at least one previous Patriarch. The new Patriarch adds the appropriate Roman Numeral after the name to differentiate him from other Patriarchs / Batriyark bearings of that name.

Archbishop Lutfi Laham, Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, took the name Gregorios III.

Pope

Melkites recognize the Patriarch of the West as the successor of The Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Prince of the Apostles Peter. The title given to the successor is "Pope".
Melkites recognize the Patriarch of the West as "first among equals". "Equals" are the other Patriarchs, one of which is The Patriarch / Batriyark of Antioch.
The current Patriarch of the West and Pope is His Holiness Ioannes Paulus II (John Paul II).

Historically, the patriarchs have had an order of precedence. The Patriarch of the West (the Pope) is the First. After the Patriarch of Constantinople (the Ecumenical Patriarch) was established, it became second. This event happened after the capitol of the Roman empire was moved to Constantinople. In 381 A.D., Constantinople was elevated to a Patriarchal See and given the ranking of "second only to the See of Peter" (the See of Rome).

First Three Patriarchs / Batiryarks

First Patriarch / Batriyark - 45 - Melkite Church tradition maintains that the See of Antioch was founded by The Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Prince of the Apostles Peter in 45.

Second Patriarch / Batriyark - 53 - The first successor to Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Prince of the Apostles Peter was Euodius. After seven years in 53, The Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Prince of the Apostles Peter appointed Euodiusto succeed him as bishop of Antioch when Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Prince of the Apostles Peter began his trip to Rome.

Third Patriarch / Batriyark - 68 - The second successor to Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Prince of the Apostles Peter wasHoly Hieromartyr Ignatios the God-Bearer (St. Ignatios, Bishop of Antioch). In 68, he may have been appointed by and or consecrated by The Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Prince of the Apostles Peter or the Holy, Glorious and Illustrious Prince of the Apostles Paul.

Paper

The Eastern Churches and the Patriarchates by Most Rev. Nicholas Samra and Philip M. Kayal Saint Ann's Melkite Catholic Church, West Patterson, NJ

Role of the Patriarch (4/05/01), The Patriarch in Our Melkite Church by Fr. Francis Marini Reprinted from Sophia, Volume 31, Number 1, Jan. - Feb. 2001 Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton, Roslindale, Massachusetts, United States

More Information

Primer for Melkite Worship and Ritual. Please click on Role of the Patriarch. Melkite Greek Catholic Church Eparchy of Newton, Roslindale, Massachusetts, United States. Material prepared by Fr. Philaret Littlefield for inclusion in the St. George (Milwaukee, WI) Melkite Sunday Bulletin.

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