Antioch, Patriarchate of
ANTIOCH, PATRIARCHATE OF
According to ancient tradition, the Christian community of antioch was founded by St. Peter, and with the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70 it became the chief radial point of Christianity in the East. Its authority spread over Syria, Phoenicia, Arabia, Palestine, Cilicia, Cyprus, and Mesopotamia.
Formation of the Patriarchate. In the Ecumenical Council of nicaea i (325), Antioch was recognized after Rome and Alexandria as one of the ancient apostolic patriarchates. However, its authority was gradually decentralized in the 5th century. At the Ecumenical Council of ephesus (431), Cyprus obtained its autonomy. At the Council of chalcedon (451) the Patriarchate of Antioch suffered even greater losses by the formation of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem with 58 bishoprics formerly under Antiochene jurisdiction. The council condemned the heresy of Eutyches (see monophysitism), and the Patriarchate of Antioch split into two factions concerned with this Christological dogma. Orthodox predominated in the Hellenized cities along the coast, while the Monophysites occupied the country and the towns of inner Syria, such as Edessa and northern Mesopotamia, where the Jacobite Syrian Church emerged. The Christians faithful to the Chalcedonian Christology became known at first as the Melkites, a term that eventually came to refer to those Antiochene Christians who recognized papal oversight.
Melkites and Jacobites. The first Monophysite to rule as patriarch of Antioch was Peter the Fuller (468–470; 485–488), but severus of antioch (512–518), as a theological writer, was the true founder of Monophysitism, although his doctrine was unorthodox more by expression than in fact. He was deposed by the Byzantine emperor, and under justinian i, the Orthodox faction prevailed. When Severus died in exile (538), his followers were unable to elect a successor. However, James baradai (c. 543), with the cooperation of Empress Theodora (1), consecrated a Monophysite hierarchy, whose members were called jacobites in his honor. In 550, the Patriarchate of Antioch was split between the Melkites, faithful to Chalcedon, and the Jacobites.
The Melkite Church remained powerful even after the Arab invasion. The Muslim conquerors preserved the status quo as regards the Church's position, while the Melkite Patriarch of Antioch continued to exercise jurisdiction over his see from the imperial court at Constantinople until the end of the 7th century.
Break with Rome. When the Byzantines recaptured part of Syria in 960, the Melkite Patriarchs in Antioch gradually accepted Byzantine liturgical rite and church canons, thereby becoming more dependent upon the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Until then the Melkites had used the West Syrian rite in both the Antioch and Jerusalem patriarchates. Between the 10th and 12th centuries the Antiochene rite was replaced by the Byzantine liturgical rite of Constantinople. The Melkite Patriarchate of Antioch chose to remain in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople after the schism of 1054.
The Latin Crusaders fomented division by regarding the Antiochene Melkites as schismatics and heretics. Rival Latin patriarchates were set up in Antioch and Jerusalem. During the Latin occupation the Melkite Patriarch of Antioch resided in Constantinople. After the fall of the Crusaders' kingdom of Antioch in 1268, the Melkite patriarch returned to his native see. But the city of Antioch had suffered greatly under the siege of the Mameluke Turks; its glory was gone; hence the Melkite patriarch changed his see to Damascus (1366). This patriarchate was more strictly controlled by the Muslims than was that of the Maronites, and the sultans of Egypt, on whom Syria depended during this time, forbade all contact with the West.
Catholic Patriarchate. Work to reestablish communion between the Patriarchate of Antioch and the See of Rome began with the arrival of the Capuchins, Jesuits, and Carmelites after the foundation of the Congregation for the propagation of the faith in Rome in 1622. These missionaries slowly infiltrated a community with Catholic elements so that eventually a Catholic hierarchy could be introduced, in the beginning allowing Catholics to receive the Sacraments from the Orthodox clergy. For a time no true distinction was made between Catholic and Orthodox communities. Gradually one or another patriarch or bishop and many faithful recognized the primacy of Rome. The amalgamation of the entire patriarchate, however, was premature. The two rival patriarchs, Athanasius III (1686–1724) and Cyril V (1672–1720), were recognized as Catholics by Rome at different times but still governed mixed Catholic and Orthodox communities. Archbishop Euthymius Saifi of Tyre and Sidon played an important role in the reunion when in 1701 he was accepted by Rome as bishop of all the Melkite Catholics who did not have their own bishop.
Cyril Tanus. On the death of Athanasius III (c. 1724, as a Catholic), it seemed to the Catholics of Antioch that the moment had come to make the patriarchate unmistakably Catholic, and they chose an unequivocal Catholic for the patriarchal see. This was cyril (seraphim) of turiv, the nephew of Archbishop Euthymius, who took the name of Cyril VI. His election, in which the Orthodox also participated, was made according to ancient custom by the clergy and people of Damascus. The intention of the voters to give the whole patriarchate a Catholic bishop was nullified when Sylvester of Cyprus, consecrated by Jeremias III, Patriarch of Constantinople, obtained the support of the Sultan and Cyrus VI had to flee into exile. He took up residence in the mountainous monastery of the Redeemer near Sidon. The patriarch of Constantinople excommunicated Cyril Tanus as an apostate. The Holy See at first delayed its recognition since Cyril, like his uncle, had been denounced in Rome for his tendency to change customs, and also because there were doubts concerning the validity of his election. In 1729 he received recognition, and in 1744, the pallium.
With the election of Cyril, the Antiochene Patriarchate was actually, but against Rome's intention, split into two communities: one was unmistakably Catholic, while the other was acknowledged as Orthodox. In 1759 Cyril VI retired and named his young nephew Ignatius Gohar as his successor; this led to complications because some of the bishops rejected the nephew and appealed to Rome. Rome named Archbishop Maximus Hakim of Alep as patriarch. This was a difficult test for the still new union, but it soon proved a happy solution.
Melkite Catholics. At first the authority of the Catholic patriarch was confined to Antioch, but on July 13, 1772, the Holy See gave the patriarch jurisdiction over the Melkite Catholics in the territories of Jerusalem and Alexandria [J. D. Mansi, Sacorum Concilliorum nova et amplissima collectio, 31 v. (Florence-Venice 1757–98); repr. and cont. by L. Petit and J. B. Martin 53 v. in 60 (Paris 1889–1927; repr. Graz 1960–) 46.581–582].
There have been conflicts in the course of history between the Holy See and the Melkite hierarchy caused by an assertion of rights claimed by each side. The Synods of Qarqafel (1806) and of Jerusalem (1849), whose aim was to make of the Melkite community an independent law-making body, were not acknowledged by Rome. The renowned Patriarch maximos iii mazlŪm (1833–55) had many difficulties with Rome, but in 1838 the Holy See gave him as a personal privilege the right to assume the threefold title of patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem; this right has been uninterruptedly renewed by all his successors. Maximos was able to set up a residence in Damascus in 1834, and he received full civil recognition from the Sultan in 1848.
Gregory II Jusof (1864–97) appeared at vatican council i as an opponent of the definition of the Primacy because he saw in it an obstacle to reunion. He accepted the definition only on condition of the acknowledgement of the rights accorded the patriarchs by a clause in the acts of the Council of florence (1439), which Pius IX took amiss. Under Leo XIII, who valued him greatly, Gregory played a leading role in the Conference of Oriental Patriarchs held under the presidency of the pope in 1894. Patriarch maximos iv sayegh proved himself an energetic assertor of the traditions of the Oriental churches and the rights of the patriarchs at Vatican Council II.
In 1662 Andrew Akidgean was consecrated Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, thus creating an even more confused picture of an ancient apostolic patriarchate broken up into five distinct patriarchates. Today, these five patriarchs continue to claim the ancient patriarchal See of Antioch as their legitimate heritage: the Antiochene Orthodox and the Eastern Catholic Melkite patriarchs, the Maronite Catholic Patriarch, the Jacobite Syrian Patriarch, and the Syrian Catholic Patriarch.
Bibliography: d. attwater, The Christian Churches of the East, 2 v. (rev. ed. Milwaukee 1961–62). r. devreesse, Le Patriarcat d'Antioche (Paris 1945). c. karalevskij (Charon), Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912–) 3:563–703; Histoire des Patriarcats Melkites, 3 v. in 2 (Rome 1909–10). a. a. king, The Rites of Eastern Christendom, 2 v. (London 1950). j. nasrallah, Sa Beatitude Maximos IV et la succession apostolique (Paris 1963). w. de vries et al., eds., Rom und die Patriarchate des Ostens (Freiburg 1963). r. roberson, The Eastern Christian Churches: A Brief Survey, 6th ed. (Rome 1999).
[g. a. maloney/eds.]