Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem

Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem logo.gif
Coat of arms
Founder The Apostles
Independence Apostolic Era
Recognition Orthodox
Primate Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, Syria, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Holy Zion Theophilos III.
Headquarters Jerusalem, Israel
Territory Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, The Gulf States (except Kuwait).
Possessions United States,
South America
Language Arabic, Greek, English
Adherents Estimated 130,000 People[1]
Patriarch of Jerusalem

Феофил III.jpg
Theophilos III

Style: His Most Godly Beatitude
First Patriarch: James the Just
Formation: 43 AD

The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem is the head bishop of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, ranking fourth of nine Patriarchs in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Since 2005, the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem has been Theophilos III. The Patriarch is styled "Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, Syria, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Holy Zion." The Patriarch is the head of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, and the religious leader of about 130,000 Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land,[1] most of them Palestinians.

The Patriarchate traces its line of succession to the first Christian bishops of Jerusalem, the first being James the Just in the 1st century AD. Jerusalem was recognized as a patriarchate at the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

On the importance of Jerusalem, the Catholic Encyclopedia reads:

"During the first Christian centuries the church at this place was the centre of Christianity in Jerusalem, 'Holy and glorious Sion, mother of all churches.' Certainly no spot in Christendom can be more venerable than the place of the Last Supper, which became the first Christian church."[2]



In the Apostolic Age the Christian Church was organized as an indefinite number of local Churches that in the initial years looked to that at Jerusalem as its main centre and point of reference, see also Jerusalem in Christianity. James the Just, who was martyred around 62, is described as the first Bishop of Jerusalem. Roman persecutions following the Jewish revolts against Rome in the later 1st and 2nd centuries also impacted the city's Christian community, and led to Jerusalem gradually being eclipsed in prominence by other sees, particularly those of Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome. However, increased pilgrimage during and after the reign of Constantine the Great increased the fortunes of the see of Jerusalem, and in 325 the First Council of Nicaea attributed special honor, but not Metropolitan status (then the highest rank in the Church), to the bishop of Jerusalem.[3] Jerusalem continued to be a bishopric until 451, when it was raised to the status of patriarchate by the Council of Chalcedon. After that it was considered one of the Pentarchy – the five most prominent sees in Christendom.

After the Arab conquest in the 7th century, Muslims recognized Jerusalem as the seat of Christianity and the Patriarch as its leader. When the Great Schism took place in 1054 the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the other three Eastern Patriarchs formed the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Patriarch of Rome (i.e. the Pope) formed the Roman Catholic Church. The Patriarch lived in Constantinople until 1187.

In 1099 the Crusaders appointed a Latin Patriarch.

Current position

A diagram of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre based on a German documentary, claimed to be the site of Calvary and the Tomb of Jesus

Today, the headquarters of the patriarchate is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

The number of Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land is estimated to be about 200,000 people. A majority of Church members are Palestinian Arabs, and there are also small numbers Russians, Romanians, and Georgians.

The patriarchate was recently involved in a significant controversy. Patriarch Irenaios, elected in 2001, was deposed, on decisions of the Holy Synod of Jerusalem, in the aftermath of a scandal involving the sale of church land in East Jerusalem to Israeli investors. The move enraged many Orthodox Palestinian members, since the land was in an area that most Palestinians hoped would someday become part of a Palestinian state. On May 24, 2005 a special Pan-Orthodox Synod was convened in Constantinople (İstanbul) to review the decisions of the Holy Synod of Jerusalem. The Pan-Orthodox Synod under the presidency of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, voted overwhelmingly to confirm the decision of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre and to strike Irenaios' name from the diptychs, and on May 30, Jerusalem's Holy Synod chose Metropolitan Cornelius of Petra to serve as locum tenens pending the election of a replacement for Irenaios. On August 22, 2005, the Holy Synod of the Church of Jerusalem unanimously elected Theophilos, the former Archbishop of Tabor, as the 141st Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Jewish Bishops of Jerusalem

The early Christian community of Jerusalem was led by a Council of Elders, and considered itself part of the wider Jewish community.[citation needed] This collegiate system of government in Jerusalem is seen in Acts 11:30 and 15:22.

Eusebius of Caesarea provides the names of an unbroken succession of thirty-six Bishops of Jerusalem up to the year 324.[4] The first sixteen of these bishops were of Jewish origin Christians—from James the Just through Judas († 135)—the remainder were Gentiles:

"But since the bishops of the circumcision ceased at this time [after Bar Kokhba's revolt], it is proper to give here a list of their names from the beginning. The first, then, was James, the so-called brother of the Lord; the second, Symeon; the third, Justus; the fourth, Zacchaeus; the fifth, Tobias; the sixth, Benjamin; the seventh, John; the eighth, Matthias; the ninth, Philip; the tenth, Seneca; the eleventh, Justus; the twelfth, Levi; the thirteenth, Ephres; the fourteenth, Joseph; and finally, the fifteenth, Judas. These are the bishops of Jerusalem that lived between the age of the apostles and the time referred to, all of them belonging to the circumcision."[5]
James the Just, whose judgment was adopted in the Apostolic Decree of Acts 15:19-29, "...we should write to them [Gentiles] to abstain only from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from whatever has been strangled and from blood..." (NRSV)
  1. James the Just (until 62)
  2. Simeon I (62-107)
  3. Justus I (107-113)
  4. Zaccheus (113-???)
  5. Tobias (???-???)
  6. Benjamin I (???-117)
  7. John I (117-???)
  8. Matthias I (???-120)
  9. Philip (???-124)
  10. Senecas (???-???)
  11. Justus II (???-???)
  12. Levis (???-???)
  13. Ephram (???-???)
  14. Joseph I (???-???)
  15. Judas (???-135)

Bishops of Aelia Capitolina

As a result of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135, Hadrian was determined to erase Judaism from Iudaea Province. The province was renamed Syria Palaestina. Jerusalem was left in total ruin, and a new city built nearby called Aelia Capitolina. These gentile bishops (Jews were excluded from the city except for the day of Tisha B'Av), were appointed under the authority of the Metropolitans of Caesarea. Until the setting up of the Patriarchates in 325, Metropolitan was the highest episcopal rank in the Christian church.

  1. Marcus (135-???)
  2. Cassianus (???-???)
  3. Poplius (???-???)
  4. Maximus I (???-???)
  5. Julian I (???-???)
  6. Gaius I (???-???)
  7. Symmachus (???)
  8. Gaius II (???-162)
  9. Julian II (162-???)
  10. Capion (???-???)
  11. Maximus II (???-???)
  12. Antoninus (???-???)
  13. Valens (???-???)
  14. Dolichianus (???-185)
  15. Narcissus (185-???)
  16. Dius (???-???)
  17. Germanion (???-???)
  18. Gordius (???-211)
Narcissus (restored) (???-231)
  1. Alexander (231-249)
  2. Mazabanis (249-260)
  3. Imeneus (260-276)
  4. Zamudas (276-283)
  5. Ermon (283-314)
  6. Macarius I (314-333), since 325 Bishop of Jerusalem

Bishops of Jerusalem

Jerusalem received special recognition in Canon VII of First Council of Nicaea in 325, without yet becoming a metropolitan see.[6] Also, the Council for the first time established the Patriarchates. The Bishops of Jerusalem were appointed by the Patriarchs of Antioch.

Patriarchs of Jerusalem

The Council of Chalcedon in 451 raised the bishop of Jerusalem to the rank of patriarch. (See Pentarchy) However, Byzantine politics meant that Jerusalem passed from the jurisdiction of Patriarch of Antioch to the Greek authorities in Constantinople. For centuries, Orthodox clergy, such as the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulcher, dominated the Jerusalem church. At the same time, the Roman church claimed primacy. (See Papal supremacy)

  • Juvenal (451-458)
  • Anastasius I (458-478)
  • Martyrius (478-486)
  • Sallustius (486-494)
  • Elias I (494-516)
  • John III (516-524)
  • Peter (524-552)
  • Macarius II (552, 564-575)
  • Eustochius (552-564)
  • John IV (575-594)
  • Amos (594-601)
  • Isaac (601-609)
  • Zacharias (609-632)
  • Modestus (632-634)
  • Sophronius I (634-638)
    • vacant (638-???)
  • Anastasius II (???-706)
  • John V (706-735)
  • Theodore (745-770)
  • Elias II (770-797)
  • George (797-807)
  • Thomas I (807-820)
  • Basileus (820-838)
  • John VI (838-842)
  • Sergius I (842-844)
    • vacant (844-855)
  • Solomon (855-860)
    • vacant (860-862)
  • Theodosius (862-878)
  • Elias III (878-907)
  • Sergius II (908-911)
  • Leontius I (912-929)
  • Athanasius I (929-937)
  • Christodolus (937-950)
  • Agathon (950-964)
  • John VII (964-966)
  • Christodolus II (966-969)
  • Thomas II (969-978)
    • vacant (978-980)
  • Joseph II (980-983)
  • Orestes (983-1005)
    • vacant (1005–1012)
  • Theophilus I (1012–1020)
  • Nicephorus I (1020-???)
  • Joannichius (???-???)
  • Sophronius II (???-1084)
  • Euthemius I (1084)
  • Simon II (1084–1106)

Patriarchs of Jerusalem in exile

As a result of the First Crusade in 1099, a Latin Patriarchate was created, with residence in Jerusalem from 1099 to 1187. Orthodox Patriarchs continued to be appointed, but resided in Constantinople.

  • Savvas (1106–1156)
  • John VIII (1106–1156)
  • John IX (1156–1166)
  • Nicephorus II (1166–1170)
  • Leontius II (1170–1190)

Return of Patriarchs of Jerusalem

In 1187, the Latin Patriarch was forced to flee the region. The office of Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem remained and appointments continued to be made by the Catholic Church, with the Latin Patriarch residing in Rome until modern times. The Orthodox Patriarch returned to Jerusalem.

  • Dositheos I (1190–1191)
  • Marcus II (1191-???)
    • vacant (???-1223)
  • Euthemius II (1223)
  • Athanasius II (1224–1236)
  • Sophronius III (1236-???)
  • Gregory I (???-1298)
  • Thaddaeus (1298)
    • vacant (1298–1313)
  • Athanasius III (1313–1314)
    • vacant (1314–1322)
  • Gregory II (1322)
    • vacant (1322–1334)
  • Lazarus (1334–1368)
    • vacant (1368–1376)
  • Dorotheus I (1376–1417)
  • Theophilus II (1417–1424)
  • Theophanes I (1424–1431)
  • Joachim (1431-???)
    • vacant (???-1450)
  • Theophanes II (1450)
    • vacant (1450–1452)
  • Athanasius IV (1452-???)
    • vacant (???-1460)
  • Jacob II (1460)
    • vacant (1460–1468)
  • Abraham I (1468)
  • Gregory III (1468–1493)
    • vacant (1493–1503)
  • Marcus III (1503)
    • vacant (1503–1505)
  • Dorotheus II (1505–1537)
  • Germanus (1537–1579)
  • Sophronius IV (1579–1608)
  • Theophanes III (1608–1644)
  • Paiseus (1645–1660)
  • Nectarius I (1660–1669)
  • Dositheos II (1669–1707)
  • Chrysanthus (1707–1731)
  • Meletius (1731–1737)
  • Parthenius (1737–1766)
  • Ephram II (1766–1771)
  • Sophronius V (1771–1775)
  • Abraham II (1775–1787)
  • Procopius I (1787–1788)
  • Anthemus (1788–1808)
  • Polycarpus (1808–1827)
  • Athanasius V (1827–1845)
  • Cyril II (1845–1872)
  • Procopius II (1872–1875)
  • Jerotheus (1875–1882)
  • Nicodemus I (1883–1890)
  • Gerasimus I (1891–1897)
  • Damianus I (1897–1931)
  • Timotheus I (1935–1955)
    • vacant (1955–1957)
  • Benedict I (1957–1980)
  • Diodoros I (1981–2000)
  • Irenaios I (2001–2005)
  • Theophilos III (2005–Present)

Hierarchy of the Throne

  • Metropolitan of Caesaria : Vasilios (Christos Blatsos)
  • Metropolitan of Scythopolis : Iakovos (George Kapenekas)
  • Metropolitan of Petra : Cornelios (Emmanuel Rodousakis)
  • Metropolitan of Ptolemais : Palladios (Vasilios Antoniou)
  • Metropolitan of Nazareth : Kyriakos (Andreas Georgopetris)
  • Metropolitan of Neapolis : Amvrosios (Nikolaos Antonopoulos)
  • Metropolitan of Capitolias : Isyhios (Elias Condogiannis)
  • Metropolitan of Botsra : Timotheos (Theodoros Margaritis)
  • Metropolitan of Eleutheropolis : Christodoulos (Christos Saridakis)
  • Metropolitan of Philadelphia : Benediktos (George Tsekouras)
  • Archbishop of Gerasa : Theophanis (Theodosios Hasapakis)
  • Archbishop of Tiberias : Alexios (Alexios Moschonas)
  • Archbishop of Abila : Dorotheos (Demetrios Leovaris)
  • Archbishop of Joppa : Damaskinos (Anastasios Gaganiaras)
  • Archbishop of Constantina : Aristarchos (Antonios Peristeris)
  • Archbishop of Mount Thabor : Methodios (Nikolaos Liveris)
  • Archbishop of Jordan : Theophylactos (Theodosios Georgiadis)
  • Archbishop of Sebastia : Theodosios (Nizar Hanna)
  • Archbishop of Askalon : Nicephoros (Nikolaos Baltadgis)
  • Archbishop of Diocaesarea : Vacant

See also


  1. ^ a b "Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem". CNEWA. Retrieved 2011-07-10. 
  2. ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Jerusalem (A.D. 71-1099)". 1910-10-01. Retrieved 2011-07-10. 
  3. ^ "Since there prevails a custom and ancient tradition to the effect that the bishop of Aelia is to be honored, let him be granted everything consequent upon this honor, saving the dignity proper to the metropolitan" (Canon 7)
  4. ^ Eusebius, The History of the Church (Tr. A. G. Williamson, Penguin Books, 1965. ISBN 0-14-044535-8), see summary in Appendix A.
  5. ^ History of the Church Book IV, chapter V, verses 3-4
  6. ^ Schaff's Seven Ecumenical Councils: First Nicaea: Canon VII: "Since custom and ancient tradition have prevailed that the Bishop of Aelia [i.e., Jerusalem] should be honoured, let him, saving its due dignity to the Metropolis, have the next place of honour."; "It is very hard to determine just what was the "precedence" granted to the Bishop of Aelia, nor is it clear which is the metropolis referred to in the last clause. Most writers, including Hefele, Balsamon, Aristenus and Beveridge consider it to be Cæsarea; while Zonaras thinks Jerusalem to be intended, a view recently adopted and defended by Fuchs; others again suppose it is Antioch that is referred to."

External links

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)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem — Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem Coat of arms Founder The Apostles Independence Apostolic Era …   Wikipedia

  • Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem — may refer to:* Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem * Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem …   Wikipedia

  • Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem —       autocephalous, or ecclesiastically independent, Eastern Orthodox patriarchate, fourth in honorific seniority after the churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch. Since the beginning of Muslim rule in the 7th century, it has been… …   Universalium

  • Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch — Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East Coat of arms Founder Apostle Peter Independence …   Wikipedia

  • Greek Orthodox Church — For the Orthodox Church of Greece, see Church of Greece. Greek Orthodox Church Flag used by the Greek Orthodox Church and the standard of the self governed monastic state of Mount Athos. Founder …   Wikipedia

  • Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria — Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and of All Africa Seal Founder The Apostle and Evangelist Mark Independence Apostolic Era …   Wikipedia

  • Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem — The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is the title given to the Latin Rite Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem. The Archdiocese of Jerusalem has jurisdiction for all Latin Rite Catholics in Israel and Palestine. In addition, the Eastern Catholic Churches …   Wikipedia

  • Eastern Orthodox Patriarch — The term Eastern Orthodox Patriarch may refer to one of nine bishops or patriarchs of the Eastern Orthodox faith, such as:* Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem * Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople * List of Greek Orthodox Patriarchs of… …   Wikipedia

  • JERUSALEM — The entry is arranged according to the following outline: history name protohistory the bronze age david and first temple period second temple period the roman period byzantine jerusalem arab period crusader period mamluk period …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Patriarch Dositheos II of Jerusalem — Dositheos II Notarius of Jerusalem (Greek: Δοσίθεος Β΄ Ιεροσολύμων; Arachova 31 May 1641 Constantinople 8 Feb. 1707) was the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem between the years 1669 1707 and a theologian of the Orthodox Church. He was known… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.