11- Pt.2: the Patriarchates of the Undivided Early Church’s“Pentarchy” Together with Their “Daughter Rites” (A Pattern for aReunified Church)

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

The “Daughter Churches” of the Original ‘Pentarchy’ of Christian Sister Churches and Patriarchates,

Including Those “Estranged Daughters” Which Broke Away from the Universal (Catholic) Christian Communion in the 2nd Millennium but Which Remained “Catholic at Heart,” Still Committed to  the Traditional Essential Fundamentals of Christian Orthodoxy Which Were Clearly Articulated and Established (Against Many Early Christian Heretical Interpretations of the Bible) by the Original Pentarchy of Five Patriarchates (Church Provinces) of Different Culturally-based Sister Churches or Rites at the First Millennium Ecumenical (Worldwide) Councils of the Undivided Early Catholic (Universal) Christian Church, the Catholic Communion of Orthodox Christian Sister Churches

Part II:  The Patriarchates of the Undivided Early Church’s ‘Pentarchy’ Together with Their “Daughter Rites,” Those Currently in or out of the Ancient Catholic (Universal) Christian Communion (This Leads to What a Christian Church Reunified According to the Undivided Early Church Model of Unity in Diversity Would Look Like)

All of the 5 ancient Jewish and Gentile Christian “Mother Rites” (centered in Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome, and Byzantium/Constantinople) and several of the older of their daughter Rites are formally known as Patriarchates (this way of organizing the Church was established at the very same Early Ecumenical Councils which established the fundamental doctrines of Christianity against heretical challenges).  So a Patriarch, generally speaking, is the chief overseer or bishop of an entire cultural expression of Christianity, an entire well-established Rite or Sister Church within the ancient Catholic Communion of Orthodox Christian Sister Churches, whose responsibility is to keep the cultural Rite of Christianity which is under his jurisdiction accountable to the orthodox Christian faith, even as cultures (and thus cultural expressions of Christianity) change with time and circumstance.

The following five sections show the first five Patriarchates of the Undivided Early Church’s Pentarchy, with their “daughter” Rites or Churches listed.  Some of the “daughter” Rites are just Rites, distinct worship forms (sometimes reflecting a distinct spirituality not a culture) which are not large enough or organized and established enough to be their own distinct “Sister Churches”; some of the “daughter Rites” are old and established enough that they have been declared Patriarchates in their own right; some of them are portions (often majority portions) of ancient “Sister Churches” or Patriarchates which are no longer within the Universal (Catholic) Christian Communion (such as the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches); some of them are churches or “ecclesial communities” historically broken away from a Patriarchate of the Catholic Communion (and still sharing some of the Patriarchate’s distinct features) which are not constituted as the Undivided Early Church’s Sister Churches were, but which still display a valid distinct cultural or spiritual expression of orthodox Christianity (such as the conservative/ Evangelical Protestant churches and “Messianic Judaism”).  Groups which otherwise have a definite historical connection to one of the ancient Patriarchates of the Catholic Church they broke away from but are no longer strictly orthodox in the fundamentals of Christian faith are not included here (such as the past  heretical churches which have since died out and once-orthodox Protestant “mainline” churches which no longer heartily affirm basic Christian orthodoxy).

THE PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM

Center of the ancient Jewish Culture as Renewed in Jesus, the Foundational Jewish Rite of the Catholic (Universal) Christian Church which brought the Gospel to all others

Declared a Patriarchate at the 4th Ecumenical Council, 451 AD, Which Defined That Jesus Is Fully God and Fully Man Against the Monophysite Christian Heretics

The historical Jerusalem Rite is no longer specifically culturally Jewish, but Gentile, since the destruction of Jerusalem and the scattering of the Jews by pagan Rome, however, the Jewish liturgy of Saint James (Christ’s Apostle, the first overseer/bishop of Jerusalem who hosted the Acts 15 Council, martyred circa 54 AD) is still used in this Rite.  There are both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians of the Jerusalem Rite (the current Patriarch is Eastern Orthodox).  Within the Catholic Church, there is an Association of Hebrew Catholics (AHC) who there is talk of re-establishing as a “Hebrew Rite” of the Catholic Church.  This group is mostly made of Roman Catholics of Jewish ethnicity seeking to have a more authentically Jewish cultural practice of their Christian faith, but a formal Rite would most appropriately be constituted under the ancient Jerusalem Patriarchate and drawing from the Jewish Christian liturgy of Saint James rather than the Roman liturgy in the Christianization of Jewish rituals, so as to be more appealing to even whole Jewish communities who become ready to accept Jesus as Israel’s Messiah.  Such is not inconceivable, as there are now more Jewish believers in Jesus than at any time since the primitive Church, because the AHC and the Protestant movement of “Messianic Judaism” (founded by Protestant Christians of Jewish ethnicity) give Jews a place to be both Jewish and Christian (as the original Jewish Christians allowed Gentiles to be both Gentile and Christian after the Acts 15 Council).  In an ideal Church reunification patterned after the Undivided Early Church, both the AHC and “Messianic Jews” would become a Hebrew or Jewish Rite of the Catholic Church, under the ancient Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

THE PATRIARCHATE OF ANTIOCH

Center of the ancient 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

Declared 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

Daughter Rites include: The Maronite Rite (in Lebanon); the Syrian Rites; the Armenian Rite; the Chaldean Rite; the Malabarese and Malankarese Rites (in India, started by St. Thomas the Apostle).  The current Patriarch with clear succession from the Undivided Catholic Church is Eastern Orthodox.  Most of the Antiochene daughter Rites today have both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox members, though the Maronite Rite is one of the few Eastern Sister Churches which were never even partly nor temporarily out of the Catholic (Universal) Christian Communion, and the Malabar Rite has no Eastern Orthodox counterpart, but even through centuries of lack of contact with the West maintained its traditional communion with the Roman Church and the Pope, a communion which was quickly formally re-established when communication with Roman Catholic Christians was reestablished by contact with Portuguese explorers in India.  The Armenian Rite is recognized as a Patriarchate in its own right (in 1958 the Armenian Catholic Patriarch was considered a front-runner to be elected pope).  The Chaldean Church consists of Antiochene Christians who broke away from the Undivided Early Catholic Church in the 5th Century due to many political and non-theological factors which left them open to the Nestorian heresy which was condemned by the bulk of the Church in the Roman Empire at the Third Ecumenical Council, but they recanted all association with this heresy and rejoined the Catholic Communion in the 16th Century.

 

THE PATRIARCHATE OF ALEXANDRIA

Center of the ancient Egyptian Culture as Renewed in Jesus, the Alexandrian Rite of the Catholic (Universal) Christian Church

Declared 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

[Saint Athanasius, the Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, was the first to put together the New Testament in the form we know it in 367 AD, confirmed for the whole Christian Church by Pope Innocent I in 405 AD, and, though exiled for it (and sheltered by the pope), he was the greatest defender of the Divinity of Jesus against the Arian heretics.]

Daughter Rites include: The Coptic Rite (in Egypt); the Ethiopian Rite (started by St. Phillip the Apostle).  The Copts are the Egyptians descended from the race of the Pharaohs, who embraced Christianity in the Early Church (and still have whole cities in Egypt), while most Egyptian citizens today are Arab (Ishmaelite) Muslims.  There are both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians today of the Alexandrian Rites (Coptic or Ethiopian).  The current Patriarch with clear succession from the Undivided Catholic Church is Eastern Orthodox.

THE PATRIARCHATE OF ROME

Center of the ancient Roman Culture as Renewed in Jesus, the Roman Rite of the Catholic (Universal) Christian Church

Declared 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

Daughter Rites include: The tiny Ambrosian, Bragan, and Mozaribic Rites (distinct local Roman daughter Rites which are not organized as distinct Sister Churches; the Celtic and Gallican Rites (absorbed into the mainstream Roman Rite, leaving their permanent cultural mark on it); the Zairean Rite (a newly recognized distinctly African cultural expression of the Gospel, not yet organized into its own distinct Sister Church with its own hierarchy); the Carthusian, Carmelite and Dominican Rites (spirituality-based verus culturally-based Rites, with distinct liturgical worship expressing the particular spirituality of these religious orders); extinct Rites including the distinct North African Church of Saint Augustine; the Anglican Rite (founded by Saint Augustine of Canterbury at the request of Pope Saint Gregory the Great in the 7th Century, with the Archbishop of Canterbury functioning as its Catholic “Patriarch”or Head of Rite; lost to the Catholic Communion in the 16th Century schism of King Henry VIII which created the Church of England with its later worldwide Anglican Communion thanks to worldwide British colonization).

The many other Protestant Churches are new breakaway Roman “daughter Rites” no longer in full communion with their “Mother Rite” nor with the ancient Catholic Communion of Sister Churches East and West to which their Roman “Mother Rite” belongs, yet they remain distinctly Western and Roman, continuing many theological, ritual and practical approaches to common Divine Revelation which are not shared by the Eastern Rites of Christianity.  Conservative, orthodox  Protestants (including Evangelicals, Pentecostals, and Charismatics) specifically conserve about 90% of the ancient Catholic Christian faith of the Undivided Early Church and are still “Catholic at Heart,” having kept all the fundamentals of the ancient Catholic Christian Church they left, while those many “liberal” Protestants who no longer conserve but doubt or deny even the basic Catholic Christian fundamentals are truly “Protestant at heart,” protesting against the traditional New Testament Canon and fundamental Bible interpretation of the Undivided Early Catholic Church, and so they may be unorthodox “heretics.”

The Pope in Rome functions as both the Universal overseer or bishop (Head Pastor) of the entire Catholic (Universal) Communion of Orthodox Christian Sister Churches, and as the Patriarch of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church specifically (and as the local overseer of the city of Rome, hence the traditional papal “triple-crowned bishop’s mitre” representing the 3 offices).

 

THE PATRIARCHATE OF BYZANTIUM/CONSTANTINOPLE

Center of the ancient Greek Culture as Renewed in Jesus, the Byzantine (Greek) Rite of the Catholic (Universal) Christian Church

Declared a Patriarchate at the 4th Ecumenical Council, 451 AD, Which Defined That Jesus Is Fully God and Fully Man Against the Monophysite Christian Heretics

Daughter Rites include: The Greek Rite; the Italo-Greek Rite (which escaped persecution by moving near Rome); the Ukrainian Rite (and related Ruthenian Rite); the Melkite Rite; the Arabian Rite; the Romanian, Russian, Belarusan, Georgian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Albanian, Serbian, Croatian, Hungarian & Slovak Rites.  The stability and sophistication of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire centered in Constantinople for 1000 years after the fall of the Western Roman Empire helped the Byzantine Patriarchate to have successful missions to many Eastern cultures and thus develop the largest number of “daughter” Churches of any Patriarchate.  The First Millennium was unkind to the Patriarchates of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria, mainly through the Muslim conquest of their territories.  The poor fortunes of these Patriarchates also located in the East meant that they came under the influence of the Byzantine Patriarch (the “Ecumenical Patriarch” of the East).  At the turn of the Second Millennium the Patriarchate of Constantinople was as large in numbers of Christians as that of Rome, though the later Muslim conquest of the Byzantine Empire would reduce its fortunes, and by 1472 would result in there being both Catholic and separated Eastern Orthodox portions of almost all of the Byzantine “daughter” Rites/Churches as well as the Rites of the other Eastern Patriarchates influenced by Constantinople.  All 4 of the Eastern Patriarchs of the ancient Pentarchy have since been Eastern Orthodox, repudiating the Catholic (Universal Christian) participation of their Patriarchates in almost all of the Catholic Church’s first 17 Ecumenical Councils until 1439 (calling themselves “the Church of the 7 Ecumenical Councils” since the 8th Ecumenical Council of 869 AD which they participated in dogmatically defined the papacy which they are no longer in communion with).  Portions of all of the Byzantine and other Eastern Patriarchates and all their daughter Rites either remained in the ancient Catholic Communion of Sister Churches or returned to it after a temporary separation.  In most cases the larger portion of each Eastern Rite is now Eastern Orthodox, but the dominant half of the Ukrainian Rite returned to the  Catholic Communion in 1595 and the Byzantine Ukrainian Catholic Church (or Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church) is today’s largest non-Roman Rite Catholic Church.  It was also the largest “underground” Church of the 20th Century, since it officially did not exist in Ukraine under Soviet rule; even its church buildings were given to the Russian Orthodox Church which operated under strict Soviet supervision.  Yet after the fall of Soviet Communism the Ukrainian Catholic Church emerged from the underground with 5 million members (even despite the reduction in its membership from the Holodomor, Stalin’s genocidal forced starvation of 7 million Ukrainians in 1932-3).   The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is a new Byzantine “daughter” Rite among the Eastern Orthodox Churches no longer within the Catholic Communion of Orthodox Christian Sister Churches, as are the newer successful missionary Eastern Orthodox Churches of Finland, Japan, and China.

© 2009 Peter William John Baptiste, SFO

Go To the Next Section The Faithful Line of the People of God (The Ongoing “Olive Tree” Family Tree of the People of God)

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