15- THE PATRIARCHATE OF ANTIOCH

Go To the Beginning of this Booklet The Spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the First Millennium of the Undivided Early Church: An Overview of the Family Theology that Revolutionizes Bible Reading and its Implications Towards the Eventual Re-Establishment of the Undivided Early Church’s Unity in Diversity

Some Undivided Early Church First Millennium Highlights of the Pentarchy of the First Five Christian Patriarchates and their Contributions to the One Universal Church of Christ

THE PATRIARCHATE OF ANTIOCH

Center of the Syrian Culture as Renewed in Jesus, the first Gentile Rite of the Christian Church, the Antiochene  (or Antiochian) Rite of the Catholic (Universal) Christian Church

Recognized as a Patriarchate at the 1st Ecumenical Council 325 AD, Which Defined That Jesus Is God, One in Being with the Father, Against the Arian Christian Heretics

Antioch has the distinction of being the first Gentile “daughter Church” of the original Jewish Jerusalem Church, and furthermore, the disciples of Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:19-26).  Antioch was the site of one of two first famous theological schools of the Christian Church, the School of Antioch .  This school did much to develop the Early Church’s theological understanding of the true humanity of Jesus, and of the ‘literal sense’ of the Scriptures upon which any ‘spiritual senses’ must be based.  Antiochene Christian missionaries spread the Gospel of Jesus eastward and the ‘Daughter Rites’ of the Antiochene Patriarchate include the Malabarese and Malankarese Rites in India, which traditionally were first begun by St. Thomas the Apostle himself (recent archeology seems to confirm this tradition).

Several things about the ancient Patriarchate of Antioch relate to the future conscious restructuring of the Catholic Church according to the Undivided Early Catholic Church model.  First of all, the Antiochene Maronite Rite in Lebanon and Malabarese Rite in India are of the few Eastern Catholic Churches which were never even temporarily separated from the ancient Catholic (Universal) Communion of Christian East and West by the Muslim conquerors of the Christian East.

Second of all, the Armenian Rite, one of the mature ‘Daughter Rites’ of the ancient Antiochene Patriarchate which has been recognized as a Patriarchate of its own, produced an Armenian Catholic Patriarch (Gregory Peter Cardinal Agagianian) who as recently as 1958 was considered a frontrunner among the Cardinals to be elected pope of the Catholic Church, which would have been the first time a non-Roman Rite Catholic was made pope in over 1000 years (which certainly would have reminded the world that the Catholic Church is much more than the huge Roman Catholic Church, reminding them that one does not even have to be Roman Catholic to be made pope – in fact over 20 popes of the First Millennium’s Undivided Early Catholic Church were not Roman Catholics before being made pope).  It turned out that the Holy Spirit had something even better in mind for the 1958 conclave than an Eastern Catholic being made pope however; Roman Catholic Cardinal Roncalli was elected pope instead, and as (Blessed) Pope John XXIII, he called the Second Vatican Council, which was the first Ecumenical Council in Christian history to prayerfully consider and, with the Holy Spirit’s aid, dogmatically define the ancient nature and structure of the Undivided Early Catholic Christian Church, which has paved the way for the future conscious re-establishment of the Early Church’s unity in diversity among different but mutually enriching Christian Sister Churches.  At this Council the current huge Roman Rite majority of the Catholic Church Communion started learning to properly understand and respect the “fully equal dignity” of the current minority Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church and no longer inappropriately dominate them.

Thirdly, the Chaldean Rite of the Catholic Church, another Daughter Church of the ancient Antiochene Patriarchate, sets an important precedent for the reunification of the Christian Church.  The Chaldeans were originally Antiochene Christians who left the Undivided Early Catholic Church after the 3rd Ecumenical Council of 431 AD to follow the Nestorian heresy which did not accept that Jesus was one Person with two natures, divine and human, as the 3rd Ecumenical Council dogmatically defined against Nestorius who had taught that Jesus was two people, the merely human Jesus inhabited or possessed by the Divine Christ.  These heretics recanted their serious Christological heresy in the 16th Century and asked to be reunified with the Catholic Church they left in the 5th Century.  On the basis of their accepting the orthodox Christian faith these former Eastern heretics were accepted back into the Catholic Communion of East and West as the Chaldean Rite of the Catholic Church, wherein they continued to practice all of their Christian worship and devotional customs developed within their thousand year separation from the Catholic Church which were not directly based on their former heresy but based on the large amount of orthodox Christian faith they had maintained the whole time.  This is an important precedent because the Eastern Orthodox and conservative/Evangelical Protestant churches of today do not differ with the Catholic Church on anything remotely so serious as the Nestorian heresy, which means that once both sides work out mutually agreed solutions to their current (very few) substantial disputes over much lesser matters, there should be no problem with them rejoining the ancient Catholic Communion and, as new Catholic Rites, continuing to practice all of their distinct worship and devotional customs which are based on the vast amount of common faith they already share with the Catholic Church – by which they will enrich the Catholic Communion.

© 2008 Peter William John Baptiste SFO

Go To the Next Section Some Undivided Early Church First Millennium Highlights of the Pentarchy of the First Five Christian Patriarchates and their Contributions to the One Universal Church of Christ: THE PATRIARCHATE OF ALEXANDRIA

Go To the Beginning of this Booklet The Spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the First Millennium of the Undivided Early Church: An Overview of the Family Theology that Revolutionizes Bible Reading and its Implications Towards the Eventual Re-Establishment of the Undivided Early Church’s Unity in Diversity