A patriarchate is the office or jurisdiction of a patriarch. A patriarch, as the term is used here, is either

  • one of the highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, earlier, the five that were included in the Pentarchy: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, but now nine, excluding Rome and including patriarchs of Serbia, Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria and Romania; or
  • one of ten high-ranking bishops of Catholicism: seven "patriarchs of the east" (six who are heads of Eastern Catholic Churches and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem), and the Patriarchs of Lisbon, Venice, and the East Indies; or
  • one of the specific patriarchs of the various Oriental Orthodox and Nestorian churches.

The five patriarchs of the Pentarchy sat in Rome, Constantinople (now Istanbul), Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. The East-West Schism of 1054 split the Latin-speaking see of Rome from the four Greek-speaking patriarchates, forming distinct Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. The Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch moved to Damascus in the 13th century, during the reign of the Egyptian Mamelukes, conquerors of Syria. In Damascus a Christian community had flourished since apostolic times (Acts 9). However, the patriarchate is still called the Patriarchate of Antioch, somewhat similar to continuance of the name "Patriarchate of Constantinople". Damascus is the seat also of the Syrian Catholic and the Melkite Catholic Patriarchs of Antioch, while the Maronite Catholic of Antioch lives in Bkerké, Lebanon.

The four early Orthodox patriarchates of the East, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, along with their counterpart in the West, Rome, are distinguished as "senior" (Greek: πρεσβυγενή, presbygenē, "senior-born") or "ancient" (παλαίφατα, palaíphata, "of ancient fame") and are among the apostolic sees, having had one of the Apostles or Evangelists as their first bishop: Andrew, Mark, Peter, James, and Peter again, respectively.

A patriarchate has "legal personality" in some legal jurisdictions, that means it is treated as a corporation. For example, the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem filed a lawsuit in New York, decided in 1999, against Christie's Auction House, disputing the ownership of the Archimedes Palimpsest.

The head of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church is also called a Patriarch.

Other articles related to "patriarchate":

Armenian Catholic Patriarchate Of Cilicia
... The Patriarchate of Cilicia (Latin Patriarchatus Ciliciae Armenorum) is the only patriarchate within the Armenian Catholic Church ... in Beirut, Lebanon, is the seat of the Patriarchate ... the diocese of Cilicia dates back to 724, it was promoted to a patriarchate in 1742 ...
Patriarch Alexius Of Constantinople - Patriarchate
... He promoted the zealous actions of John of Melitene whose interest it was to limit the influence of the Syro Jacobite Church in the south east of the Byzantine Empire, especially in the newly conquered themes of Mesopotamia and Telouch ... For this reason the Syro-Jacobite Patriarch John VIII bar Abdoun was arrested and brought to trial in Constantinople and then forced into a monastery on Mt ...
Abraham Petros I Ardzivian
... They decided to have an independent patriarchate with their bishop, who arriving to Aleppo, by the help of Greek Catholic bishops, ordained bishop his vicar Hagop and two other clergymen ... The patriarchate founded by Ardzivian, being ratified according to the clerical rule and illegal according to the Ottoman rule, was the object of permanent governmental pursuits ...
Armenian Patriarchate Of Jerusalem - Jurisdiction Outside The Patriarchate Complex
... The Patriarchate enjoys a semi-diplomatic status and is one of the three major guardians of the Christian Holy Places in the Holy Land (the other two are the Orthodox and Latin ... Among these sites under joint control of the Armenian Patriarchate and other churches, chapels and holy places are The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City (Jerusalem) The Chapel of the Ascension ... The Armenian Patriarchate also has jurisdiction over the Armenian Apostolic (Orthodox) communities in Palestine, Israel and Jordan ...