Alexandria, Patriarchate of

Alexandria, Patriarchate Of.

I. Alexandria was the metropolis of Egypt, which was divided after the time of Marcellinus into nine provinces:

1, Egyptus Prima; 2, Augustamnica Prima; 3, Augustamnica Secunda; 4, Egyptus Secunda; 5, Arcadia; 6, Thebais Inferior; 7, Libya Superior; 8, Thebais Superior; and 9, Libya Inferior.

Libya was also called Cyrenaica. The number of bishops in these provinces was, early, very numerous. At a synod held in 321, about 100 were present. At that time the bishop of Alexandria held the second rank in the Christian Church, next to the bishop of Rome. Later, they had to yield this place to the bishop of Constantinople. SEE PATRIARCH. During the Arian and Monophysite controversies the patriarchate was sometimes temporarily in the hands of these sects; and the latter obtained the permanent possession of it about the middle of the 7th century. The orthodox Greek (Melchite) Church established a second patriarchate of their own; and a third, though only nominal, was created by the Roman Church (Neale, Hist. of Alex. Patriarchate, Lond. 1847).

II. In modern days the number of dioceses within this patriarchate is miserably reduced. The Jacobites (Copts), who prevail in number, had in 1680 but eleven virtual sees, viz.:

1, Neggadei; 2, Girge; 3, Abuteg; 4, Siut (to which Girge and Abuteg are united); 5, Monfallut; 6, Koskam; 7, Melave; 8, Behnese; 9, Atfish; 10, Tahla, with Aschumin; 11, Fium; 12, Bilbeis; 13, Mansoura; 14, Damietta, to which the last mentioned two are united; 15, Menuf.

SEE COPTS. The Melchites, or Catholics, had but four sees besides Alexandria:

1, that of Libya, or AEthiopia; 2, Memphis, or Old Cairo; 3, Pelusium, or Damietta; and, 4, Rosetta.

These four sees, Mr. Neale informs us, have now virtually ceased to exist (Hist. East. Ch. 2, 474). SEE GREEK CHURCH.

Both the patriarchs, viz., the Melchite, or orthodox, and the Jacobite, reside at present at Cairo. The title of the Jacobite patriarch, as given by Le Quien, is "Pater N … . , sanctissimus archiepiscopus magnas urbis Alexandriae Babylonis et Nomorum, AEgypti, Thebaidis," etc. Wiltsch, Geogr. and Stat. of the Church (Lond. 1860).

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