Antioch, Patriarchate of

Antioch, Patriarchate Of Tradition reports that St. Peter was the first bishop of Antioch, but there is no historical proof of it. It is certain, however, that the Church of Antioch stood prominent in the early ages of the Church, and its see was held by Ignatius and other eminent men. Its bishops, ranked in the early Church only after those of Rome and Alexandria. When the bishop of Constantinople received his rank next to that of Rome, Antioch occupied the fourth rank among the episcopal sees. In the fifth century the bishop of Antioch received, together with the bishops of the other prominent sees, the title patriarch (q.v.). In the fourth century this powerful Church included not less than a hundred thousand persons, three thousand of whom were supported out of the public donations. It is painful to trace the progress of declension in such a church as this. But the period now referred to, namely, the age.of Chrysostom, toward the close of the fourth century, may be considered as the brightest of its history subsequent to the apostolic age, and that from which the Church at Antioch may date its fall. It continued, indeed, outwardly prosperous; but superstition, secular ambition, the pride of life; pomp and formality in the service of God in place of humility and sincere devotion; the growth of faction and the decay of charity, showed that real religion was fast disappearing, and that the foundations were laid of that great apostasy which, in two centuries from this time, overspread the whole Christian world, led to the entire extinction of the Church in the East, and still holds dominion over the fairest portions of the West. For many years, up to the accession of Theodosius, the Arians filled the see; and after the council of Chalcedon Peter Fullo and others who refused to acknowledge that synod occupied the patriarchal throne; but of them all the worst was Severus, the abettor of the Monophysite heresy (A.D. 512-518). His followers were so many and powerful, that they were able to appoint a successor of the same opinions; and from that time to the present there has been a Monophysitic or Jacobite patriarch of Antioch, who, however, fixed his see, not at Antioch itself, like all the former, but at Tacrita, in Mesopotamia, and at the present day in Diarbekir. The rest of the patriarchate of Antioch, after the separation between the Eastern and Western Churches, constituted a part of the Greek Church. In it there is still a patriarch of Antioch, yet with only a small district, and subordinate to the patriarch of Constantinople. For those Greeks and Jacobites who were prevailed upon to enter into a union with the Roman Church, two patriarchs, bearina the title patriarch of Antioch, are appointed, one for the united Greeks, and one for the united Syrians.

The provinces of the ancient patriarchate were as follows:

1. Syria Prima. 2. Phoenicia Prima. 3. Phoenicia Secunda. 4. Arabia. 5. Cilicia Prima. 6. Cilicia Secunda. 7. Syria Secunda. 8. The Euphratean province. 9. Province of Osrhoene. 10. Mesopotamia. 11. Isauria.

The province of Theodorias, composed of a few cities in the two Syrias, was afterward formed by the Emperor Justinian. It is a question whether the region of Persia, which in the time of Constantine the Great was filled with Christians, was included in the patriarchate of Antioch. Peter, patriarch of Antioch in the eleventh century, William of Tyre, and the Arabic canons, assert that such was the case. The Christians now in Persia are Nestorians, and disclaim any subjection to the see of Antioch. It was the ancient custom of this patriarchate for the patriarch to consecrate' the metropolitans of his diocese, who in their turn .consecrated and overlooked the bishops of their respective provinces; in which it differed from the Church of Alexandria, where each individual diocese depended immediately upon the patriarch, who appointed every bishop. The patriarch of the Syrian Jacobites styles himself "Patriarch of Antioch, the city of God, and of the whole East." — Lardner, Works, 4, 558 sq.; Historia Patriarcharum Antioch. in Le Quien, Oriens Christian. tom. 2; Boschii Tract. hist. chronol. de Patriarchis Antioch. (Venet. 1748). SEE JACOBITES and SEE GREEK CHURCH.

 
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