Pope of alexandria

The Patriarch of Alexandria is the archbishop of Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt. Historically, this office has included the designation pope (etymologically "Father", like "Abbot"). The first bishop known to be called "Pope" was the thirteenth Patriarch of Alexandria, Papas Heraclas.[1]

The position at first was an episcopate, revered as one of the three oldest episcopates (with Rome and Antioch) several centuries before Jerusalem or Constantinople attained that status in 381 or 451; the five were subsequently known as the Pentarchy. It was elevated to de facto archiepiscopal status by the Alexandrine CouncilTemplate:Which? and regulated by the canon law of the First Ecumenical Council, which stipulated that all the Egyptian episcopal and metropolitan provinces were subject to the Metropolitan See of Alexandria (already the prevailing custom).

"Papa" has been the designation for the Archbishop of Alexandria and Patriarch of Africa in the See of Saint Mark.[contradictory] This office has historically held the title of Pope—"Παπας" (papas), which means "Father" in Greek and Coptic—since Pope Heracleus, the 13th Alexandrine Bishop (227–240 AD), was the first to associate "Pope" with the title of the Bishop of Alexandria.

The word pope derives from the Greek πάππας, meaning "Father". In the early centuries of Christianity, this title was applied (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.[2][3][4][5][6] By the sixth century, this was also the normal practice in the imperial chancery of Constantinople.[2]

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.[7]

This is translated:

I received this rule and ordinance from our blessed father/pope, Heraclas.[8][9]

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.[10]

In modern English:

At that time, Pope Vitalian was chief bishop of the apostolic see.

According to church tradition,Template:Which? the patriarchate was founded in 42 AD by Mark the Evangelist. All churches acknowledge the succession of church leaders until approximately the monophysite Robber Council of Ephesus of 429 and the orthodox Chalcedonian Council of Chalcedon in 451, which gave rise to the non-Chalcedonian (miaphysite-monophysite) Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and the chalcedonian Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

Claimants to 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 Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa leads the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria. His full title is Pope and Patriarch of the Great City of Alexandria, Libya, the Pentapolis, Ethiopia All Land of Egypt and All Africa.

Eastern Catholic Churches

Coptic Catholic Church of Alexandria

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.

Melkite Greek Catholic Church

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


The Pentarchy
Patriarch of Rome
(1st century)
Patriarch of Alexandria
(1st century)
Patriarch of Antioch
(1st century)
Patriarch of Jerusalem
(5th century)
Patriarch of Constantinople
(4th century)

Template:Patriarchs of Alexandria

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