Church of Alexandria


#1

In the ancient Church, Alexandria held the second place after Rome. Later Constantinople was bumped up to this position; however, in the modern Catholic Church, there is no Church of Constantinople, as we do not currently have a Latin-counterpart for that Church. Thus, would not Coptic Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria rank second among all the Catholic dioceses around the world? Has any Pope or council rescinded the ancient canons that grant Alexandria this place of honour? If not, then should not the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria rank second right after John Paul?

In Christ,
Tyler


#2

The Coptic Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria is a See created by the authority of the Pope in 1899 to shepard the Coptic Catholic community which existed from 1741, so it is of recent vintage. It is a different entity from the Church of Alexandria recognized by the Council. That Church, sadly, separated from the Catholic Church but we pray for the return of full unity among all Christians.


#3

Dear Tyler:

When we refer to the present “Church of Alexandria,” essentially we are talking about 3 distinct Churches:

(1) The Coptic Catholic Church, headed by His Beatitude, Stephanos II Ghattas, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, which Katherine2 has already adverted to above and the counterpart of number 2 below;

(2) The Coptic Orthodox Church, headed by His Holiness Shenouda III, Pope & Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa; and

(3) The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, headed by His Beatitude Theodoras II, Pope & Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa.

Both the Coptic Catholic Patriarch and his counterpart, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, are of the Alexandrian Rite and classified as Oriental, i.e., non-Chalcedonian. These 2 Churches roughly constitute the “original” Church of Alexandria.

Technically speaking, therefore, the Greek Orthodox side should not be there as it is Byzantine and belongs to the Constantinopolitan tradition, of the See of St. Andrew.

If we consider the Pentarchy as a whole, I believe Constantinople (“New Rome”) still ranks second to Rome.

Sadly in Alexandria, it is becoming a “pissing off” contest between Rome and “New Rome.”


#4

So, according to your post, Africa has 3 popes, John Paul II, Shenouda III, and Theodoras II?


#5

Dear Scott:

In a sense, yes!

His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, exercises his charism as universal pastor of the Catholic Church by and through His Beatitude Stephanos II Ghattas, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts.

Of course, there is also a small community of Latin Catholics in Alexandria and elsewhere in Egypt.

Patriarch Stephanos II has not, and will not, add “Pope” to his title, unlike the 2 non-Catholic Patriarchs, in deference to the ONLY Pope in the Catholic Church, John Paul II. Patriarch Stephanos II, 84, was created Cardinal by Pope John Paul II during the consistory of February 21, 2001.


#6

TWF,

From the CCEO (Code of Canon Law of the Oriental Churches)

Canon 58

Patriarchs of Eastern Churches precede all bishops of any degree everywhere in the world, with due regard for special norms of precedence established by the Roman Pontiff.

Canon 59

  1. Patriarchs of Eastern Churches, even if some are of later times, are all equal by reason of patriarchal dignity with due regard for the precedence of honor among them.
  1. The order of precedence among the ancient patriarchal sees of the Eastern Churches is that in the first place comes the see of Constantinople, after that Alexandria, then Antioch and Jerusalem.
  1. Among the other patriarchs of the Eastern Churches, precedence is ordered according to the antiquity of the patriarchal see.
  1. Among the patriarchs of the Eastern Churches who each are of the same title but who preside over different patriarchal Churches, he has precedence who was first promoted to the patriarchal dignity.

Canon 60

  1. In churches which are designated for the Christian faithful of the Church over which he presides and in liturgical celebrations of the same Church, a patriarch precedes other patriarchs, even if they are greater in virtue of title of the see or senior
    according to promotion.
  1. A patriarch who currently holds patriarchal power precedes those who retain the title of a patriarchal see which they once held.

As the Catholic Patriarchate of Constantinople has been suppressed, the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria does indeed presently rank next in precedence after the Pope.

The Melkite Catholic Patriarch also holds the additional title “of Alexandria” (it is granted to him ad personam, as it has been to each of his predecessors since Patriarch Maximos III Mazloom, of blessed memory, in 1838). However, as Patriarch Stephanos was first raised to the patriarchal dignity, his is the precedence of honor, thus obviating the debate as to whether a title granted ad personam is considered in the same manner as one conferred by synodal election.

As to the usage “Pope” (i.e., Father, from Greek, papas, a variant, pappas, and Latin, pappas). it was once much more widespread than at present, when folks typically think of it only in its application to the Pope of Rome and, if they are aware of him, the Coptic Pope. Historically, though, it was commonly used in referring to bishops and, in Eastern Churches (Catholic and Orthodox) that follow the Greek Tradition, not infrequently to the average priest in the form “papa” or “papas”.

As an example, if you read the history of Our Lady of Grace in NYC, a parish of the Byzantine Italo-Grieco-Albanian Catholic Church sui iuris, you will see prominent and recurring references to Papas Ciro Pinnola, of blessed memory, the priest who founded the parish a century ago.

Among hierarchy in the West, the title has been essentially restricted to the Pope of Rome since about the 9th century and, in the East (except for the Copts), to the Patriarch (Catholic pre-schism, Greek Orthodox post-schism) of Alexandria. (Among Orthodox, the Greek Orthodox Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria is still deemed precedentially as next after the Ecumenical Patriarch.)

Many years,

Neil


#7

As a side note, there are now approximately 113 million Catholics in the entire continent of Africa, concentrated in, and stretching from, the sub-Saharan countries all the way South! (Egypt is in North Africa, above the Sahara Desert, which forms part of the Muslim crescent.)

Among the 5 continents (the 4 others are Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Oceania), Africa has seen a tremendous growth in the Catholic faith, with thousands of conversions every day. It has also the highest number of vocations.

Together with Southeast Asia and South America, the Southern hemispere will be home to more than 70% of the world’s Catholics after a decade or so!


#8

Thank you, Neil, for coming to the rescue!

Yes, in the Catholic Communion, the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria would certainly come next to the Pope (of Rome).

If we consider the apostolic Church (East and West, Catholic and Orthodox), the See of Constantinople still ranks second to Rome, although it is in her “death” throes, like the 3 other ancient Sees of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem of the East.


#9

[quote=Amadeus]If we consider the apostolic Church (East and West, Catholic and Orthodox), the See of Constantinople still ranks second to Rome,
[/quote]

Amado,

Yes. In an ecumenical ecclesiastical procession, the Ecumenical Patriarch would stand next in precedence to the Pope - unless it were held in Constantinople, where the situation would be reversed :wink: .

If one were to gather together for such event all those of the Catholic and Orthodox communions encumbered with the titles of pope, patriarch, or catholicos, or who are the presiding hierarch of an autocephalus, autonomous, or sui iuris Church, the mind’s imagination would be staggered. Such are the instances in which masters of protocol earn their places in heaven, deciding how to deal with such folks as the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople :smiley: (and the Titular Latin Patriarch :rolleyes: , if that dignity is not also suppressed, which - I think - it is).

Once one gets past the ancient Pentarchy, it becomes much easier, since the See’s date of erection becomes the guiding consideration and common titles are decided by date of election/appointment.

Many years,

Neil


#10

Thanks everyone.
Amadeus: Thanks. I was actually aware that the Church of Alexandria currently exists as three separate churches. But as the Coptic Pope and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch and Pope are both in schism, the Coptic Catholic Patriarch is thus the current legal occupant of the Chair in Alexandria. So I was wondering if, since I didn’t think that the ancient canons would have been rescinded, legally speaking the Coptic Catholic Patriarch would rank second after John Paul among the Catholic hierarchy. Irish Melkite has demonstrated that this is indeed the case. (Thanks Melkite!).

Irish Melkie: In practice, however, this would not really be the case, would it? The second most powerful bishop in the Catholic Church is probably Cardinal Ratzinger or another high-ranking prefect. I realize that the Cardinal is a Latin hierarch, and that the Coptic hierarchy is a structure of its own, but in reality the good Cardinal would have far more influence over the Universal Church than does the Patriarch. (I would think).

The vast majority of African Catholics are Latins. Have the Coptic and Ethiopian Churches been less effective as missionaries?


#11

[quote=twf]Irish Melkie: In practice, however, this would not really be the case, would it? The second most powerful bishop in the Catholic Church is probably Cardinal Ratzinger or another high-ranking prefect. I realize that the Cardinal is a Latin hierarch, and that the Coptic hierarchy is a structure of its own, but in reality the good Cardinal would have far more influence over the Universal Church than does the Patriarch. (I would think).
[/quote]

TWF,

In practice, in a ecclesiastical procession at, for instance, St. Peter’s, in which HH John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger, and His Beatitude Patriarch Stephen II Cardinal Ghattas, were all present and participating, much would depend on the nature of the occasion. The answer would be different if His Beatitude were participating in his capacity as a member of the College of Cardinals, but he would still hold a place of greater honor than Cardinal Ratzinger if he was named to that capacity before Ratzinger.

If His Beatitude was participating in his capacity as Patriach, he would immediately precede the Pope in procession. The influence of Cardinal Ratzinger is of no consequence, hierarchical precedence is a function of the office and dignity which attend to one and, generally, the date of one’s appointment to that dignity. Cardinal Ratzinger is, in fact, inferior in precedential dignity to any cardinal who was granted the red hat before him. He is also inferior in precedential dignity to all of the 6 Patriarchs and the 1 Emeritus Patriarch of the Eastern and Oriental Catholic Churches sui iuris.

From the Eastern Code:

Canon 58

Patriarchs of Eastern Churches precede all bishops of any degree everywhere in the world, with due regard for special norms of precedence established by the Roman Pontiff.

From the Latin Code:

Canon 438

The title of Patriarch or Primate gives a prerogative of honour, …

Many years,

Neil


#12

Thanks Neil.

Under the Latin code, the title of “Patriarch” and “Primate” seem to be closely related. I suppose in the Latin Church they are, for neither have any real authority beyond that of an ordinary archbishop.
In any countries, does the Primate have any jurisdictional authority over the entire nation? I know that in Canada, the Primate holds a primacy of honour only. (And that the US does not have a primate at all).


#13

If His Beatitude was participating in his capacity as Patriach, he would immediately precede the Pope in procession. The influence of Cardinal Ratzinger is of no consequence, hierarchical precedence is a function of the office and dignity which attend to one and, generally, the date of one’s appointment to that dignity. Cardinal Ratzinger is, in fact, inferior in precedential dignity to any cardinal who was granted the red hat before him. He is also inferior in precedential dignity to all of the 6 Patriarchs and the 1 Emeritus Patriarch of the Eastern and Oriental Catholic Churches sui iuris.

I think their is some dispute over this. The eastern Patriarchs consider themselves next in precedence.

However, this is not the practice in Rome. Cardinals outrank Patriarchs. Cardinals are also grouped by their class, so the junior Cardinal-Bishop outranks the senior Cardinal-Priest.

Paul VI moved the Patriarchs who are not cardinals ahead of all other non-cardinal bishops and moved the Patriarchs who are cardinals (usually cardinal-priests) to the head of that class. But Ratzinger, a Cardinal-Bishop would still outrank all of the Eastern patriarchs who are cardinal-priests.

The reason for this touches on three factors. 1) yes, historically, there has been some lack of recongition of the dignity of the Eastern churches, and while this has improved it still exists to a lesser degree today. 2) the table of precedence is not a table of precedence of the Universal Church but of the Roman Court. It is court protocal, not a theological statement. 3) Cardinals, not by any act of the Papacy but by the Congress of Vienna, are, under international law “princes”. It is this status that pushes them up in rank, just as a titular Archbishop who is also a Nuncio outranks more senior archbishops because he has the dignity given to ambassadors under international law.

And yes, under protocol, say, a man with a noble title of Count or Duke, who entered the priesthood, does rank ahead of other, even more senior priests and monsignori (with the priest-Duke outranking the priest-Count). And a priest-prince would even outrank his own bishop!!

It should be noted that in modern times, these rare
clergy-nobility often “voluntarily” step back, though I believe one of the Hapsburgs who entered the priesthood in the 20th century did insist on his perogatives.


#14

[quote=katherine2]However, this is not the practice in Rome. Cardinals outrank Patriarchs. Cardinals are also grouped by their class, so the junior Cardinal-Bishop outranks the senior Cardinal-Priest.

Paul VI moved the Patriarchs who are not cardinals ahead of all other non-cardinal bishops and moved the Patriarchs who are cardinals (usually cardinal-priests) to the head of that class. But Ratzinger, a Cardinal-Bishop would still outrank all of the Eastern patriarchs who are cardinal-priests.

.
[/quote]

Katherine,

You are confusing the Roman rank of Patriarch with a Sur Juris Patriarch.

The Roman Church uses the term ‘Patriarch’ in 2 senses.

Certain Latin archbishops are awarded the Roman rank of Patriarch. The archbishop of Venice, for example, is a Roman Patriarch. They do rank under the Cardinal, but above other archbishops.

But a Sur Juris Patriarch, the head of their own Church, has always ranked above a Cardinal.

Therefore, the Patriarch of Antioch, for example, ranks above any Cardinal.

They do not particpate in the Election of a Pontif, but that is because the Pontif is Patriarch of the West and can only be seleted by the West. (in much the same way as Latin Bishops do not particpate in the Electorial Synod of a Patriarch)


#15

[quote=katherine2]IAnd yes, under protocol, say, a man with a noble title of Count or Duke, who entered the priesthood, does rank ahead of other, even more senior priests and monsignori (with the priest-Duke outranking the priest-Count). And a priest-prince would even outrank his own bishop!!

It should be noted that in modern times, these rare
clergy-nobility often “voluntarily” step back, though I believe one of the Hapsburgs who entered the priesthood in the 20th century did insist on his perogatives.
[/quote]

That type of ‘outranking’ was strictly in terms of protocol, not obediece of deference.

A Prince\Priest would still be obedient to their Bishop, do him reverence and kiss his ring.

But, in a secular setting, like at Royal Court, the Prince\Priest would be introduced first and would be seated higher at table.


#16

[quote=katherine2]I think their is some dispute over this. The eastern Patriarchs consider themselves next in precedence.

However, this is not the practice in Rome. Cardinals outrank Patriarchs. Cardinals are also grouped by their class, so the junior Cardinal-Bishop outranks the senior Cardinal-Priest.

Paul VI moved the Patriarchs who are not cardinals ahead of all other non-cardinal bishops and moved the Patriarchs who are cardinals (usually cardinal-priests) to the head of that class. But Ratzinger, a Cardinal-Bishop would still outrank all of the Eastern patriarchs who are cardinal-priests.

The reason for this touches on three factors. 1) yes, historically, there has been some lack of recongition of the dignity of the Eastern churches, and while this has improved it still exists to a lesser degree today. 2) the table of precedence is not a table of precedence of the Universal Church but of the Roman Court. It is court protocal, not a theological statement. 3) Cardinals, not by any act of the Papacy but by the Congress of Vienna, are, under international law “princes”. It is this status that pushes them up in rank, just as a titular Archbishop who is also a Nuncio outranks more senior archbishops because he has the dignity given to ambassadors under international law.

And yes, under protocol, say, a man with a noble title of Count or Duke, who entered the priesthood, does rank ahead of other, even more senior priests and monsignori (with the priest-Duke outranking the priest-Count). And a priest-prince would even outrank his own bishop!!

It should be noted that in modern times, these rare
clergy-nobility often “voluntarily” step back, though I believe one of the Hapsburgs who entered the priesthood in the 20th century did insist on his perogatives.
[/quote]

Katherine,

I have already cited the relevant sections of Canon Law, as to the precedence of Patriarchs over all others of the episcopal rank - which includes cardinals.

Canon 58

Patriarchs of Eastern Churches precede all bishops of any degree everywhere in the world, with due regard for special norms of precedence established by the Roman Pontiff.

All Patriarchs of the Eastern Churches who are also cardinals are cardinal-bishops by canon law.

Canon 350

§1 The College of Cardinals is divided into three orders: the episcopal order, to which belong those Cardinals to whom the Roman Pontiff assigns the title of a suburbicarian Church, and eastern-rite Patriarchs who are made members of the College of Cardinals; the presbyteral order, and the diaconal order.

The idea that cardinals are “princes” as a result of the Congress of Vienna is an outdated fiction. They are accorded no particular status - and, in fact, are not even mentioned in the law of any nation. I did a search previously - not certain if my posting on the issue was in this forum or elsewhere - of the law of the US, Canada, and any number of European nations, including those in which Catholicism is given some particular status. Believe me, if you are a cardinal and you are in Rome, someone might not give you a traffic ticket - other than that, forget it.

A Nuncio is an ambassador. That is a civil status. It gives him no precedence over other bishops. His precedence in matters ecclesial is his representation of the Pope. And, in a parish of an Eastern Catholic Church sui iuris, participating in an ecclesiastical procession in which the Church’s Patriarch is also participating, he will process in front of the Patriarch, the Patriarch being the precedential hierarch. (I can offer you photos of the latter, having just a few months ago served as Master of Protocol for the enthronement of the Melkite Eparch of Newton, at which the Apostolic Nuncio and His Beatitude Gregory III, were present and participating.)

And, finally, nobility no longer carries with it any prerogative in the Catholic Church. You are reading too many old Catholic Encyclopedia articles.

Many years,

Neil


#17

[quote=Brendan]You are confusing the Roman rank of Patriarch with a Sur Juris Patriarch.

The Roman Church uses the term ‘Patriarch’ in 2 senses.

Certain Latin archbishops are awarded the Roman rank of Patriarch. The archbishop of Venice, for example, is a Roman Patriarch. They do rank under the Cardinal, but above other archbishops.
[/quote]

Brendan,

Actually, as to the rights of the Latin Patriarchs:

Canon 438 The title of Patriarch or Primate gives a prerogative of honour, but in the Latin Church does not carry with it any power of governance, except in certain matters where an apostolic privilege or approved custom establishes otherwise.

In the Latin Church, there are presently 4 Patriarchs, other than the Pope as Patriarch of the West. There is only a single Major Latin Catholic Patriarch (other than the Pope in his capacity as Patriarch of the West). His position is the only extant Latin Catholic Patriarchate of the Orient. His Patriarchal title is largely (but not entirely) ceremonial. (His exercise of authority is in his archepiscopal capacity.) The incumbent is:

His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, Patriarch of Jerusalem for the Latin Catholics & Archbishop of Jerusalem of the Latins

Minor Latin Catholic Patriarchs of the West

There are 3. For each of them, the title is honorific or ceremonial (although only 1 of the 3 is actually styled ad honorem). The titles carry with them no jurisdictional authority; those who hold the seats derive that authority from their archepiscopal roles. The incumbents (and a bit of the history of each title) are:

His Eminence José da Cruz Cardinal Policarpo, Patriarch & Archbishop of Lisbon

The Patriarchal title currently held by the Cardinal Archbishop of Lisbon was created in response to secular, rather than religious, need. The Portuguese King John asked for (and was granted) it as a condition of supplying troops to assist in fighting the Turks - so, I guess he can be said to have bartered for it, rather than “bought” it. He wanted a patriarch for Portugal because Spain had one (more about that below). The position originally was attached to the King’s chapel and was separate from the Archbishopric of Lisbon; the churches and other religious institutions of the city were divided between the two. That situation changed about 25 years later when Pope Benedict XIV merged the 2 positions.

His Eminence Angelo Cardinal Scola, Patriarch & Archbishop of Venice

Frequently, people presume that the Venetian Patriarchate exists because the See traces its origins to Saint Mark. Actually, its history isn’t much more noble than that of Lisbon. In the early centuries, it wasn’t uncommon that the title “Patriarch” was loosely used to honor bishops who were thought of highly or who ruled Sees that had a particularly venerable history. In one northern Italian diocese, a bishop began to take the title seriously and decided that he and his jurisdiction should be subject to neither Rome nor Constantinople. So, for about 150 years, from the mid-6th century to around 700 AD, the Church was plagued by a schism in that region, which ultimately involved two dioceses. For some bizarre reason, even after the schism ended, Rome tolerated continued use of the title. Ultimately, the 2 dioceses came to be merged into the See of Udine, part of the Venetian Republic, and in 1750 (or thereabouts), Pope Benedict XIV declared the title changed to Patriarch of Venice.

His Excellency, The Most Reverend Filipe Neri António Sebastião do Rosário Ferrão, Patriarch ad honorem of the East Indies & Archbishop of Goa & Daman

This patriarchate was actually created late. Leo XIII established it around 1885, reportedly as a balance to that of the West Indies (see below). This was another instance of balancing Spanish and Portuguese sensitivities. There has been speculation that when the See is next vacated, the title will not be granted to the successor archbishop and the patriarchate will be suppressed de facto, if not de jure.

The Patriarch ad honorem of the West Indies sede vacante]

The fourth and only other Minor Latin Catholic Patriarchate of the West was erected in the Spanish hierarchy in the early 16th century, as a consequence of Columbus’ discovery of America. It anticipated that the patriarch would reign over it, which never happened. The position was ultimately joined with a Spanish military hierarchical post and never exercised any jurisdiction. This patriarchate has been vacant since 1946 and it is generally considered to be suppressed, de facto, though not de jure.

(continued)


#18

Minor Latin Catholic Patriarchates of the Orient

These Patriarchates have been formally suppressed. It is inconcievable that these jurisdictions would be re-erected; ultimately, they were suppressed in recognition of the affrontery attached to the appointment of Latin Patriarchs to traditional Oriental Patriarchates - reminiscent of the period in which unity was synonymous with Latinization.

The Patriarch of Constantinople for the Latin Catholics

The patriarchate was canonically erected in 1204. It actually had jurisdictional authority for a time, encompassing a couple dozen archdioceses and about 60 suffragn dioceses. After the Latins lost control of the city in 1261, the Patriarchs resided variously in Greece or at Rome and were allowed to be represented in Constantinople only by priests designated as patriarchal vicars. Four hundred years passed before permission was granted for a resident bishop as the Patriarch’s vicar. For all practical purposes, the office was ultimately suppressed in 1772 and has since existed solely as a titular see.

The Patriarch of Alexandria for the Latin Catholics

This See was established in 1215, although the earliest documentation of an appointment to it is of a Patriarch Athanasius in 1219, of whom nothing else is known. The next recorded name is that of a Dominican named Giles, enthroned in 1310. After the mid-16th century, when Latins ceased to have any influence in the Byzantine Empire, it was reduced to a titular See. I believe that Archbishop Juan Portugal de la Puebla, appointed 4 March 1771, who reposed on 16 October 1781, was the last hierarch who held the title.

The Patriarch of Antioch for the Latin Catholics

The first to hold the title was Bernard, appointed in 1100. Cristiano (Christian) Opizo, OP, of thrice-blessed memory, was the last incumbent. Dominicans believe, but cannot confirm with certainty, that he was “Father Christian”, a documented contemporary of St. Domenic. He likely succeeded to the See in 1247, the year of his predecessor’s repose. A contemporaneous account reports that when the city was overrun in 1268 by the Tartars, Patriarch Cristiano donned his full pontifical garb and prostrated himself in prayer at the cathedral’s main altar. He was joined by 4 fellow Dominicans, also vested; they waited there for the invaders and were martyred. After that date, Rome continued to appoint Patriarchs to the See, but none of them was able to take possession of it and, by the end of the 14th century, it was reduced to titular status.

The basic difference between the office of Patriarch in the Western and Eastern Churches is that all bishops in the Western Church, regardless of what office they hold, are subject to the Pope in both his papal role and his patriarchal role. A true patriarch cannot be the subject of another patriarch. A true patriarch rules territory which is solely subject to his jurisdiction, and not subject to any other patriarch. The “patriarchates”, so-called, in the Western Church, lack these critical points of distinction.

Eastern Patriarchs directly rule the faithful of their Particular Churches, who are not simultaneously subject to any other Patriarch. It is in the exercise of his papal role that the Eastern Patriarchs are subject to the Pope; as Patriarch of the West, he is - to them - primus inter pares, first among equals.

Many years,

Neil


#19

[quote=twf]Under the Latin code, the title of “Patriarch” and “Primate” seem to be closely related. I suppose in the Latin Church they are, for neither have any real authority beyond that of an ordinary archbishop.

In any countries, does the Primate have any jurisdictional authority over the entire nation? I know that in Canada, the Primate holds a primacy of honour only. (And that the US does not have a primate at all).
[/quote]

TWF,

A Primate in the Western Church corresponds to what formerly was known in the Eastern Catholic Church as an Exarch (the usage of Exarch is now different in the Eastern Catholic Churches, although the Orthodox still maintain the traditional usage). A Primate holds what once was the principal see of his nation. Presently, it is purely an honorific title and carries with it only the place of precedence in an ecclesiastical procession - and that only within their own nation.

Formerly, the rights of Primates were to convoke and preside over national councils, to crown the sovereign, and to hear appeals from the courts of metropolitan archbishops. None of those any longer exist, except to the extent that they are memorialized in the rights of metropolitans.

The role disappeared as national churches did and as quick communication with Rome became easier through advances in technology.

Even at the time of Vatican I, the precedence of primates was recognized only as something exceptional and not to be considered a precedent. The document Inter multiplices, issued in consideration of Vatican I, ranked primates according to their date of promotion and after the Latin Patriarchs, but used the phrase ex special indulgentia (i.e., by special favour), and followed same by text that read “for that occasion only, nor must it be interpreted as conferring any right on them or diminishing the right of others.”

The only Primate given any recognition or precedence at Vatican II was the Primate of Gran in Hungary, as his position holds some ancient and venerable importance that I’ve never seen satisfactorily described.

Many years,

Neil


#20

Thanks again Neil.

Regarding the Ethiopian Catholic Church, do you happen to know if they were permitted to retained any of the Jewish customs particular to the Ethiopians? (Ex. circumcision, OT dietary laws, veneration of both Saturday and Sunday as holy days, etc).

And on the topic of the Ethopians Orthodox, do you know if it is true that they retain the Epistle of Clement as Scripture? (Only if you know off-hand…).


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