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Author Topic: Who is the Patriarch of Alexandria?  (Read 5652 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ben
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« on: May 27, 2004, 07:40:25 PM »

As I was reading about when there were 2 Popes of the Roman Catholic Church, and how often this is used as an argument against the Papacy, I realized that if the Coptic Church is truly Orthodox, as so many of you have told me, then the Orthodox Church has a problem.

There can only one successor of St. Mark, but you guys seem to have two. H.H. Pope Shenouda III and His Beatitude Petros VII  both claim to be the successor of St. Mark, and both are treated to be by their flocks. But if the EO and OO are both equally Orthodox, then there is absolutely no reason to have two Patriachs of one see. One is the true Patriarch, and the other is not, and needs to step down.

But exactly who is the real Patriarch fo Alexandria is the question, and why if the OOs are Orthodox is there a need for a Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria? And if official communion is ever established between the EO and OO Churches, then who will step down?
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2004, 08:11:54 PM »

Ben,

Unfortunately, the schism (or whatever you wish to call it) in the Alexandrine See actually pre-dates the antipopes of Western Europe by several centuries.

The split over the definitions of the Council of Chalcedon - and, I believe, the political factors involved - generated the two claimants to the see of St. Mark which persists to this day.

As to who would step down if union were achieved ... well, you'd have to ask the enthroned ones about that!  Grin

(As you may have noticed, there is a similar situation in North America today, where the unity of the Holy Confessor St. Tikhon's day - within the past century - has given way to numerous overlapping "jurisdictions" of bishops and Synods. Since this is against the canons of the Church, perhaps they are all "uncanonical", in a sense.

Still, "History Happens", and the Lord is Compassionate and Merciful...

In the current situation in both cases (America and Alexandria), it is perhaps not unlike the many confusions which the Church has undergone in all Her life. Even in the midst thereof, "the wind bloweth where it listeth".

I like your icon of St. Rafka; I only recently learned about this Maronite Saint.

Such true Holy Ones perhaps show, through the love and ascetic labours of their lives, that God's presence and call is, and always will be, to all nations and peoples!

Holy Flower of Lebanon, St. Rafka, pray for us!
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2004, 08:36:04 PM »



Quote
(As you may have noticed, there is a similar situation in North America today, where the unity of the Holy Confessor St. Tikhon's day - within the past century - has given way to numerous overlapping "jurisdictions" of bishops and Synods. Since this is against the canons of the Church, perhaps they are all "uncanonical", in a sense.

I think the difference is that Alexandria is one of the 5 Pariarchates of the early Church, and there can only be one Patriarch for each see. This seem just as strange as if Constantinople had two Ecumenical Partriarchs. It doesn't make sense to have two Popes in Alexandria if both the EO and OO are truly Orthodox.

Quote
Still, "History Happens", and the Lord is Compassionate and Merciful...

Very true.


Quote
I like your icon of St. Rafka; I only recently learned about this Maronite Saint.

I love her very much, her story is truly inspriational.

Quote
Holy Flower of Lebanon, St. Rafka, pray for us!

Amen!
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2004, 09:19:53 PM »

I think that part of this confusion has to do with the conception of the collegiality of bishops;

The Five Ancient Patriarchates are indeed ancient and venerable, founded by the Apostles and noted cities of the ancient world;

It seems that the Patriarchal title has always been an honorific, though;

There are other Patriarchates (e.g., Moscow and the All-Holy See of the Katholicos-Patriarch of Georgia, Bishop of Mtsketa), but, in terms of priestly dignity, every Patriarch, Metropolitan, Archbishop, and Bishop shares in the same fullness of episcopal - priestly office.

Perhaps the elevation of the bishopric of Rome in Western Europe leads to some high expectations of the more Easterly popes ("Fathers")?

In my opinion, the Church and the Faith of the Apostles may said to be the foundation, not the physical sees (or their confused condition, at times...)

[as a side note, the sad condition of the Oecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople under Turkish rule tragically illustrates the fallibilty of power-politics sees, as they were sold - repeatedly, and often concurrently - to the highest bidder, in the case of the See of Saint Andrew in New Rome).

 Cool
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2004, 09:37:51 PM »

I agree that a Bishop is a Bishop, no matter where he is, but every Orthodox church in every country is somehow tied to one of the 5 Patriarchates.

You don't see two Patriarchs of Moscow, or Constantinople, it is utterly absurd to haver two Orthodox Patriarchs for the same see. It makes no sense, and just causes great confusion. If the EO and OO are both Orthodox, then something must be done about this.

You can't have two Popes.....it just doesn't work. One is the true Pope of Alexandria, and the other isn't, two men can not equally be the successor of St. Mark.
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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2004, 09:51:21 PM »

Yes, I suppose that's true about the connection of all bishops to one of the Patriarchates (although I'm not sure if it's required, by Scripture, Tradition, the canons, or The Big Cannons off of Ft. Sumter)-

( but, anomalies being synchronous with the [worldly state of] the Orthodox Church, I would point out that the Katholicos-Patriarchate of Georgia - although anciently, and still, attached to Antioch, is still autonomous...)

Ethiopia has a recently-acquired autocephalous Patriarchate; dunno what to make of that, given the country's ancientness..

As to the irregularity of two Alexandrine Patriarchs, I would advise that - to paraphrase Malcolm X [at least in the film, starring D. Washington] -

"Well, you get on the phone to Chicago / Alexandria, and tell Mr. Patriarchos that"!

 Cool

perhaps there are other issues to worry about ..



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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2004, 11:12:09 PM »

Ben,

Well the count on Patriarchs in the 5 Great Sees is:

Rome: 1- Latin Catholic

Constantinople: 2- Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic

Alexandria: 3- Coptic Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Coptic Catholic

Antioch: 5- Syrian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Maronite Catholic, Melkite Catholic, Syrian Catholic

Jerusalem: 3- Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Latin Catholic

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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2004, 11:19:09 PM »

Ben,

Well the count on Patriarchs in the 5 Great Sees is:

Rome: 1- Latin Catholic

Constantinople: 2- Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic

Alexandria: 3- Coptic Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Coptic Catholic

Antioch: 5- Syrian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Maronite Catholic, Melkite Catholic, Syrian Catholic

Jerusalem: 3- Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Latin Catholic

Fr. Deacon Lance

The problem though is everyone has been telling me that the NCs are Orthodox. I can understand why there would be a Catholic and Orthodox bishop or Patriarch in one place, Orthodoxy and Catholicism are totally different Christian faiths, but it makes no sense to me to have two Orthodox Patriarchs for the same see.

A question though....who is the succesor of St. Mark? The Greek Patriarch? The Coptic Patriarch or the Catholic Patriarch? This same question applies to Jerusalem. Can more than one bishop claim apostolic succesion to the same see? Can all three truly be the Patriarch of Alexandria, or Jerusalem?
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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2004, 11:21:11 PM »

P.S. - Why isn't there a Orthodox Patriarch in Rome? It seems odd that Rome is the only one with only one Patriarch, not only odd but very interesting!
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« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2004, 01:06:24 AM »

If the EO and OO are both Orthodox, then something must be done about this.

You can't have two Popes.....it just doesn't work. One is the true Pope of Alexandria, and the other isn't, two men can not equally be the successor of St. Mark.

They can as long as there is a split between the churches, which, sadly, is still the case.  Sounds like some folks are starting to work towards recognizing the common ground which we've had for a while now -- then maybe this would change.  If and when we do unite (may God grant!), we will BOTH truly be Orthodox (as each side presently considers themselves and not the other to be THE one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, though not in such a way that deprives the other of divine grace), and at that time it will become relevant, necessary and expidient to decide who stays and who goes.  Until that time, no real harm done, as each side knows who they're going to listen to when it comes to Alexandria.
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« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2004, 01:11:12 AM »

P.S. - Why isn't there a Orthodox Patriarch in Rome? It seems odd that Rome is the only one with only one Patriarch, not only odd but very interesting!

Sheesh, Ben!   Wink Grin We've already got one Patriarch that's dealing with insanely low numbers in terms of the faithful (H. All-H. BARTHOLOMEW in Constantinople, being in a primarily Muslim country, has very little sway in the country or freedom to express his faith) -- let's not start another one where everyone around him is a RC and he's there looking "Orthodox" with no one to whom he can minister.
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« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2004, 02:55:06 AM »

As I was reading about when there were 2 Popes of the Roman Catholic Church, and how often this is used as an argument against the Papacy, I realized that if the Coptic Church is truly Orthodox, as so many of you have told me, then the Orthodox Church has a problem.

<-----snipped----->

But exactly who is the real Patriarch fo Alexandria is the question, and why if the OOs are Orthodox is there a need for a Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria? And if official communion is ever established between the EO and OO Churches, then who will step down?

Ben,
I think you need to adjust your concept of Apostolic Succession just a little bit (and you may have already since your original post). All bishops are successors, not merely the current occupant of the throne(s).
As to the situation in Alexandria- the last time the churches talked re-union I think the Greek Orthodox Pope was to become a metropolia within the Coptic Church. No real problem if a re-union is REAL. As to that actually happening... odds are still very low in my estimation.

Quote
P.S. - Why isn't there a Orthodox Patriarch in Rome? It seems odd that Rome is the only one with only one Patriarch, not only odd but very interesting!

I think we went through this last year (or year before) here. The Orthodox have a metropolia in Italy to tend the few cradle Orthodox there. Rather than elevate that bishop to a competing throne to the Latin one, we Orthodox would prefer the Pope of Rome becoming Orthodox again  Smiley instead.

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« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2004, 10:09:12 AM »

Amazing.

If the Fathers and the ecumenical councils of the Orthodox Church are right, then the Non-Chalcedonian churches are not Orthodox, and the Coptic Pope Shenouda III is the successor of Dioscorus of Alexandria and not of St. Mark.

Dioscorus of Alexandria was deposed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 and anathematized by that council and subsequent councils. His immediate uncanonical successor was Timothy Aelurus. The Coptic Pope Shenouda III holds his position through this line of succession and not through the legitimate Apostolic Succession, that is, if the ecumenical councils and the Fathers of the Orthodox Church are right.

That there seems to be some doubt about that among many of those who currently call themselves Orthodox is part of  the present malaise we must overcome.
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« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2004, 10:35:44 AM »

Linus,
Ben's original question, posed through the lens of a non-Orthodox and assumed as analogous to the dual Popes period in the west was a legitimate question. I think it has been answered.
I agree that others here do not understand that the "one-nature"- thing is much more complex than simple agreed statements can make it seem. Indeed, it only is the tip of the iceberg with major theological differences (energies, wills, etc.) lying below the surface. Those who do not understand these issues will either learn the differences and remain Orthodox, or not.
Of course, my remarks pre-supposed, again, a REAL union and not a contrived compromise.

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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2004, 10:43:38 AM »

Linus,
Ben's original question, posed through the lens of a non-Orthodox and assumed as analogous to the dual Popes period in the west was a legitimate question. I think it has been answered.
I agree that others here do not understand that the "one-nature"- thing is much more complex than simple agreed statements can make it seem. Indeed, it only is the tip of the iceberg with major theological differences (energies, wills, etc.) lying below the surface. Those who do not understand these issues will either learn the differences and remain Orthodox, or not.
Of course, my remarks pre-supposed, again, a REAL union and not a contrived compromise.

Demetri

My remark, "Amazing," was not aimed at you or your post. I should have made that clear.

I made it because it seemed to me that no one had given the very obvious answer to Ben's question: there aren't two patriarchs of Alexandria; from the Orthodox point of view Coptic Pope Shenouda III is not the legitimate Patriarch.
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« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2004, 10:52:37 AM »

That much IS certain!

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« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2004, 11:11:20 AM »

It seems to me that the issue is simple.  Pope Shenouda is the legitimate Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria, Pope Petros is the legitimate Byzantine Patriarch of Alexandria, and Patriarch Stephanos II is the legitimate Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria.  All of these are different churches so what's the point of trying to figure out who is "legitimate."  If Church union happens, then let the Church decide at that time who will rule.

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« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2004, 07:13:16 PM »

It seems to me that the issue is simple.  Pope Shenouda is the legitimate Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria, Pope Petros is the legitimate Byzantine Patriarch of Alexandria, and Patriarch Stephanos II is the legitimate Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria.  All of these are different churches so what's the point of trying to figure out who is "legitimate."  If Church union happens, then let the Church decide at that time who will rule.

anastasios

Such a viewpoint is possible only for the detached, dispassionate observer, the uncommitted.

I don't mean that to be offensive, but it's not as if we do not know the history of the Alexandrian patriarchate and who the legitimate Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria is.

Since the Orthodox can regard only the Church's patriarch as legitimate, saying "Pope Shenouda is the legitimate Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria" is like saying "Pope Shenouda is the legitimate illegitimate Patriarch of Alexandria."

I think Ben was asking who the rightful Patriarch of Alexandria is.

And there can only be one of those at a time.
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« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2004, 07:15:46 PM »



I think Ben was asking who the rightful Patriarch of Alexandria is.

And there can only be one of those at a time.

Indeed Linus, I was asking who is the rightgul Patriarch of Alexandria, and it seemed to me that there coul only be one, this is why I was so confusd as to why there are two Orthodox Patriarchs for one see.
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« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2004, 07:27:39 PM »

Indeed Linus, I was asking who is the rightgul Patriarch of Alexandria, and it seemed to me that there coul only be one, this is why I was so confusd as to why there are two Orthodox Patriarchs for one see.

That's what I thought you were asking.

And the answer is that there is only one Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria: Patriarch Petros VII.



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« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2004, 08:11:44 PM »

Says you.  I say it is H.H. Pope Shenouda III.  What now?  Wink

Seriously, this is a ridiculous thing to discuss.  Until the two Churches reunite, each can claim what it wants, and believe what it wants about its patriarchal succession.  Worrying about succession when, in this case, it is more or less an honorific is a stupid thing to fuss over when there are much more pressing issues facing us.
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« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2004, 08:18:05 PM »

Jezzz sorry Mor...didn't mean to waste everyone's time with a stupid question. I will be careful next time to remember not to ask anything that you think is stupid. Shesh, I'm sorry I ask stupid questions, I guess I am just stupid.
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« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2004, 08:21:01 PM »

Says you.  I say it is H.H. Pope Shenouda III.  What now?  Wink

Seriously, this is a ridiculous thing to discuss.  Until the two Churches reunite, each can claim what it wants, and believe what it wants about its patriarchal succession.  Worrying about succession when, in this case, it is more or less an honorific is a stupid thing to fuss over when there are much more pressing issues facing us.  

I don't think Ben's question is ridiculous at all.

It is only natural that you would say Coptic Pope Shenouda III is the Patriarch of Alexandria.

And of course we disagree.

But you do not believe there are two or more legitimate patriarchs of Alexandria, and neither do I.

That is the point.

If we really believe what we say we believe, then each of us must believe that his Patriarch of Alexandria is the one-and-only legitimate Patriarch of Alexandria.

There cannot be more than one legitimate Patriarch of Alexandria.

I would like to add that this is not a relative matter, with truth dependent upon the speaker's point of view.

Those claiming to be Patriarch of Alexandria do not all have roughly the same claim to legitimacy so that we can say, "We can't tell who it is; let's wait until the churches reunite."

We already know who the Patriarch of Alexandria is: Petros VII.

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« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2004, 08:28:22 PM »

Dear Ben,

Forgive me if I came across as dismissive of you.  That was not my intention.  

Forgive me also for feeling this is a ridiculous question, but I will not apologise for that.  I sincerely believe this is not important.  My Catholicos claims he's the eighty-ninth successor of the Apostle Thomas, a see no one else claims.  A rival Syrian Orthodox faction in India thinks that claim is stupid, because the succession  was interrupted, and it is not clear where in India the Apostle established a see to have a succession to.  It doesn't matter to me; what does matter is whether or not the man who claims that title is confessing the Orthodox faith, and because I believe he is, I am in communion with him and with those in communion with him.

Your original question presumes that EO and OO are both fully and equally Orthodox.  Well, whether or not that is actually the case has not been mutually decided, although it sometimes seems that we are drawing closer to that day, however slowly.  Even if theoretically each Alexandrian Patriarchate admits the Orthodoxy of the other, they are still not in communion.  So it makes sense that the Greeks have their patriarch and synod, and the Coptic Orthodox have their patriarch and synod.  If and when the two unite, then that is the time to worry about how united ecclesiastical administration will be carried out.  Now is not that time, and I think it is too soon to think of such things.  Figuring that out in the future will be the easy part; there is much work to be done right now.
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« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2004, 08:32:58 PM »

Dear Linus,

I would hesitate to say that I regard the Greek Patriarchs as illegitimate.  I recognise that the Greek Patriarch of Alexandria is the legitimate successor to the Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria, and the Coptic Pope is the legitimate successor to the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria.  Regarding the larger ecclesiastical situation, of which this is a minor issue, I do not pretend to know everything, but see this as very unimportant all things considered.
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« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2004, 08:41:53 PM »

Dear Linus,

I would hesitate to say that I regard the Greek Patriarchs as illegitimate.  I recognise that the Greek Patriarch of Alexandria is the legitimate successor to the Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria, and the Coptic Pope is the legitimate successor to the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria.  Regarding the larger ecclesiastical situation, of which this is a minor issue, I do not pretend to know everything, but see this as very unimportant all things considered.    

Your answer is similar to the one given by anastasios.

It seems to me to dodge the issue, but suit yourself.

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« Reply #26 on: May 29, 2004, 09:45:48 AM »

Linus,

I don't see a real issue here, but one being read into it.  If you want to turn this into a "Are the Non-Chalcedonians Orthodox?" matter, I'm not playing that game for a while, as I've had enough for the time being with the recent discussions which, thank God, have died down, giving me considerably less to read and moderate nightly.  

I will reply to Ben's original post so that I can be a little more clear as to my position, and why I think this is a non-issue at present.  

As I was reading about when there were 2 Popes of the Roman Catholic Church, and how often this is used as an argument against the Papacy, I realized that if the Coptic Church is truly Orthodox, as so many of you have told me, then the Orthodox Church has a problem.

By this logic, if the Coptic Church is truly Orthodox, then the Orthodox Church doesn't have a problem at all.  The Coptic Church is an Orthodox Church.

The problem here is that reality is not as black and white as is theory, and on the internet, we generally tend to divorce the two and treat everything as an "either/or" situation.        

Quote
There can only one successor of St. Mark

Says who?  There are at least two successors of Saint Peter who are not in communion, the Bishops of Rome and Antioch (and I won't even get into "Who is the Patriarch of Antioch?" and "Is the RCC Heretical?").  

Every bishop is the successor of "the Apostles", not just one.

Quote
but you guys seem to have two. H.H. Pope Shenouda III and His Beatitude Petros VII  both claim to be the successor of St. Mark, and both are treated to be by their flocks. But if the EO and OO are both equally Orthodox, then there is absolutely no reason to have two Patriachs of one see. One is the true Patriarch, and the other is not, and needs to step down.

This requires full unity, which there currently is not.  So until there is, this situation will continue; it's a matter of pastoral necessity, at the very least.  

Quote
But exactly who is the real Patriarch fo Alexandria is the question, and why if the OOs are Orthodox is there a need for a Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria? And if official communion is ever established between the EO and OO Churches, then who will step down?

Again, first things first.  The biggest hurdle is getting to a true union.  After that much is achieved, then figuring out administrative matters is easy.
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« Reply #27 on: May 29, 2004, 10:46:55 AM »

Why can there only be one legitimate one? The Catholics have ritual patriarchs, so there are three Catholic patriarchs of Antioch, one for the Byzantine, one for the Syriac, and one for the Maronite, all legitimate.

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« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2004, 05:01:07 AM »

What about the one bishop-one see canon? Perhaps I am misreading it, but surely having multiple bishops is a big no-no?
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« Reply #29 on: May 30, 2004, 07:09:54 AM »

What about the one bishop-one see canon? Perhaps I am misreading it, but surely having multiple bishops is a big no-no?

Good point.

But even if the Orthodox Church decides to name 7 patriarchs of Alexandria, the point is there is only one legitimate Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, and only her hierarchs are the legitimate hierarchs of the Church.

All others are pretenders and imposters.

There is no way around this.

One could say, for example, that Benny Hinn is the Assembly of God (or whatever) Patriarch of Jerusalem (if they decided to call him that).

That might actually make him the Assembly of God Patriarch of Jerusalem, but it certainly would NOT make him the Church's Patriarch of Jerusalem.

In the eyes of the Orthodox such a title would be (and must be) illegitimate.

Similarly, Orthodox Christians cannot see in the Coptic claimants to the throne of St. Mark the legitimate patriarchs of Alexandria.

Really, saying anything else is merely an effort to please men at the expense of pleasing Christ.

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« Reply #30 on: May 30, 2004, 10:16:33 AM »

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Meletios II 1926 - 1935  
Photios 1900 - 1925  
Sophronios IV 1870 - 1899  
Nikanor 1866 - 1869  
Iakovos II 1861 - 1865
Kallinikos 1858 - 1861  
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Artemios 1845 - 1847  
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Theophilos 1805 - 1825  
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Samuel 1714 - 1723  
Kosmas II 1712 - 1714  
Samuel 1710 - 1712
Gerasimos II 1688 - 1710  
Parthenios I  1678 - 1688  
Paisios 1657 - 1678  
Ioannikios 1645 - 1657  
Nikiphoros 1639 - 1645  
Mitrophanis 1636 - 1639  
Gerasimos I  1620 - 1636  
Cyril II  1601 - 1620
Meletios I  1590 - 1601  
Silvester 1569 - 1590  
Joachim I  1486 - 1567  
Gregory V  1459 - 1486  
Philotheos 1437 - 1459  
Mark V  1428 - 1437
Athanasios IV  1417 - 1429  
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Ilias 968
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Euthychios II 933 - 940
Christodoulos 906 - 933
Michael II 872 - 903
Michael I 859 - 871
Sophronios 836 - 859
Christopher 805 - 836
Eustathios 801 - 805
Politianos 787 - 801
Kosmas 727 - 787
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Eutychios  
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« Reply #31 on: May 30, 2004, 10:24:29 AM »

Check this :
http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/index.htm

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