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Recent edits[edit]

Dear Fastifex &c., thank you for your enthusiasm. Unfortunately your preferred edit completely messes up and unbalances the first paragraph, and destroys the flow of the definition of the early Christian ecclesiastical pentarchy. Furthermore, this article simply DOESN'T need a long history of the Moscow Patriarchate, expressed in quaint 1911 language. The Moscow patriarchy is only relevant insofar as it impinges on differing definitions of "Pentarchy". And this article is primarily about the ecclesiastical meaning; if you want to give the non-ecclesiastical due importance, then please create another article. AnonMoos 17:34, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

I've heard some weird reasons to edit, but dumping context for "the flow" is a gem of absurdity, I'll credit that one on your enthousiasm for -brevity? never mind what for. If you care to update the language, feel free to. As for the modern meanings, I'm quite happy with your version. Fastifex 09:10, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

You are in violation of 3RR rule on this article[edit]

Not only is some of the wording in your preferred version of the article stupid beyond belief ("The grand old Patriarchates"?!?!? -- gag me with a spoon), you have now violated the WP:3RR in your efforts to impose it against the best judgements of people who seem to know more about the subject than you do... AnonMoos 17:52, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Sock puppetry[edit]

I am now operating under the assumption that Arcarius is a sock-puppet for Fastifex. AnonMoos 21:44, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Order of Patriarchs[edit]

I am putting them in alphabetacal order to avoid discussion over which is highest ranking Patriarch. Don't change it back unless you have a reason (Rome doesn't rank highest in the eyes of others). 01:07, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but alphabetical order puts first the only one of the five which has no real claim to precedence (Rome and Constantinople were capital cities, Antioch is where the word "Christian" was coined, and was an important Christian center in the aftermath of the destruction of the Temple, while Jerusalem of course has strong associations with the life and death of Jesus). Alphabetization does not particularly seem to be the solution or answer to anything with respect to this article. AnonMoos 06:25, 29 July 2007 (UTC)
There is, in fact, no good reason to alphabetize whatsoever. Rome was universally acknowledged as the highest ranking see. That's never been in dispute at all, and it's very puzzling that anon should say that it is. So I put it back to the way it was. TCC (talk) (contribs) 10:07, 29 July 2007 (UTC)
I fully agree that the list should be placed in the traditional order rather than alphabetized. The traditional order was set before the East-West schism, and is meaningful, regardless of any subsequent disagreements. (Note that the order of the Pentarchy in the article Patriarch has also been alphabetized and needs to be restored to the traditional order.) MishaPan 15:44, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

IT ISN'T universally recognized. I'm Coptic Orthodox & we rejected Chalcedon (which is where the tradition "started"). Thus, alphabetical order is just fine for those who view the patriarchates as equal. We don't acknowledge Rome's "power". And there is no proof that it is "universally" recognized -- if it was, then I myself would have recognized these false claims. Just my opinion. So, I will put it back in alphabetacal order unless you have proof that it is universally reecognized -- then I will change it back to your view. ~ Troy 18:21, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Why did you revert it back without responding? You can at least explain before you revert it back. I will leave it for now, but I can do without the unexplained edits. ~ Troy
So you don't recognize it. In that case, you were never part of the Pentarchy as described in the article in the first place. This, by the way, has nothing to do with Rome's "power", and the article doesn't imply that Rome had any. But even in the days of the three patriarchates, Rome was first. You'll need a source that says it wasn't if you want it any differently. Every other one says otherwise.
You are, in any event, insisting on your own version against the clear consensus. If you want it changed, it's you who has to justify it, not the other way around. TCC (talk) (contribs) 10:36, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree with TCC and MishaPan. Bring some referenced facts to support your position and try to shape consensus. Majoreditor 00:11, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Firstly, not everyone agrees (User:Lanternix reverted it back also). Secondly there is even a cached page showing it in alpha. order (just to make it easier for you to spot) [1]. It is not a "clear consensus" if there are any disagreements at all. It is ridiculous that I have to show you somewhere that has it in alphabetical order. Also, there is no universal tradition if Alexandria (the Coptic Church specifically) split before this "tradition" started. You should know that Alexandria (and antioch) are both one of the five, and that the Oriental Orthodox Patriarchs of these cities split before this "order" came about. Lastly, Wikipedia is neutral -- so this order, as said above, doesn't in any way look against that. Your "tradition" (IMHO) doesn't seem to be neutral in this manner. ~ Troy 00:57, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Well, more fool me for not supplementing my poor memory and verifying your claimed sources. The order of the patriarchs, or at least Constantinople's place next to Rome, was established by canon 3 of the First Council of Constantinople -- the second Ecumenical Council, not the fourth as earlier claimed. So it's simply false that Alexandria split away before the order was established. That Rome was first was simply taken as read. If you're going to insist that Rome did not have the first place in the traditional order, you'll need a source. The order with Rome first is easily found just about anywhere the subject is presented; for example these notes on the canon in question. Bear in mind that this is a matter of history, not doctrine, so any reliable historical source will do. This one is a standard collection of the Fathers in English, compiled by Protestants who have no interest whatsoever in promoting the claims of the modern bishops or Rome and are therefore not subject to bias in that direction. TCC (talk) (contribs) 03:01, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
The "cached page" you quote is from a Melkite church website. If you look further, you will see that the Melkite church patriarchal website says this about the order of the patriarchs; to quote: "Historically, the patriarchs have had an order of precedence. The Patriarch of the West (the Pope) is the First. After the Patriarch of Constantinople (the Ecumenical Patriarch) was established, it became second."
Digging further into what the Melkite Church says on the matter, you will want to examine Melkite Archbishop Joseph Tawil's book The Patriarchate of Antioch Throughout History: An Introduction, chapter 5, "Formation of the Patriarchs". Archbishop Tawil wrote that the order of precedence was addressed by the Council of Constantinople in 381, ranking Constantinople second after Rome (Tawil, p. 64). Note that the precedence set by the Countil of Constantinople in 381 happened before the Council of Chalcedon (451), which is when the Coptic Church broke from the Eastern Orthodox/Catholic Church.
Based on that, I have to agree with TCC, AnonMoos and MishiPan. Can you cite any sources at all showing a different order of precedence?
It's important to understand that, as TCC says, that "This ... has nothing to do with Rome's "power", and the article doesn't imply that Rome had any." All we are doing is placing the list in its traditional order, as MishaPan notes above. You'll find plenty of sources for the traditional order, such as Encyclopædia Britannica. Majoreditor 02:52, 2 August 2007 (UTC)


I have no objection to other views being given in the article, provided sources other than the editor's opinion, are indicated. But the view expressed in the Encyclopaedia Britannica has every right to be given, attributed expressly to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and not presented as undisputed fact. According to this view, the special prerogatives and authority held by some sees with regard to other sees were a fact that preceded the fourth-century First Council of Nicaea, but the theory (call it a doctrine, if you wish) that five sees formed an exclusive pentarchy was formulated only in the sixth century.

How can it be claimed that "In the 4th century (that is, in the era when Christianity was first beginning to gain political support from the Roman state) these constituted the four most important cities of the Roman Empire, plus Jerusalem"? Constantinople was not yet founded when the First Council of Nicaea was held, and by then Christianity had already gained political support from the Roman state. Lima (talk) 06:02, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

It's nice that you have such elevated regard for Britannica, but the Britannica definition actually has some technical problems, since the mention in Justinian's laws was not a really "proposal", but rather a codification and official Byzantine government recognition of the concept -- and of course by 692 A.D., the whole Pentarchy system was no longer even much of a practical reality, since the majority of the inhabitants of Arab-ruled Egypt and Syria had turned toward monophysite churches, while Antioch was now a front-line city in the almost continual military hostilities between the Byzantine empire and the Arab caliphate, and Rome was slipping out of Byzantine control. So it's really best to put Justinian and the rather retroactive Council of Trullo in their proper chronological place, rather than trying to move them forward.
And the cities of the Pentarchy were selected pretty much as was indicated in the version of the article before you started changing things -- by the mid-4th-century, Constantinople had indeed become one of the four most important cities in the Roman empire (the only four cities which approached or exceeded 100,000 in population, as illustrated on the A.D. 362 map on page 91 of Colin McEvedy's Penguin Atlas of Ancient History, for example), and it was exactly these four cities (plus Jerusalem for its sacredness) which became the cities of the Pentarchy... AnonMoos (talk) 10:07, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I understand "formulated" differently from you. I take it to mean that by his legislation Justinian gave practical expression and (to the extent that those involved obeyed him) effect to a Pentarchy vision of the government of the Church throughout his empire. To balance the view expressed by the Encyclopaedia Britannica, why not give a source about a supposed earlier existence of this vision of the government of the Church as a whole, rather than merely the existence of special privileges held by each of the sees individually within limited areas?
  • Pentarchy (government by five) means, I think, more than this last notion. If it does not, we should disambiguate the term, giving the Encyclopaedia Britannica understanding and whatever other understanding(s) exist(s).
  • The Byzantine government made its Pentarchy legislation before Mohammed was even born.
  • The previous text, as far as I know, never said "the mid-4th-century"; it said ""In the 4th century (that is, in the era when Christianity was first beginning to gain political support from the Roman state)". That means some time before 325, for the First Council of Nicaea very obviously did have political support from the Roman State. At that time Constantinople had not yet been founded. Lima (talk) 10:57, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
First off, the basis of the idea of the pentarchy was distinguishing a small number of dioceses as having special authority, and listing their order of precedence (though the word "patriarch" itself doesn't seem to have been exclusively reserved for those few bishops until some time later). Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria (precisely the three most important cities of the Roman empire before the founding of Constantinople) were apparently recognized at the council of Nicea, and Jerusalem and Constantinople at the council of Chalcedon (though Constantinople's elevation was controversial in some circles, and not fully accepted until later). The Pentarchy was not really the kind of thing which Justinian could effectively legislate into existence in a vacuum, unless some basis for the concept had already existed before his decree.
Second, I really don't know what your reason for objecting to the phrase "In the 4th century" is. The fourth century was the first century in which Christianity received political support from the Roman state, and also the first century in which Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, and Alexandria were the four most important cities in the Roman empire. The phrase "In the 4th century" doesn't mention any particular specific dates, doesn't intend to mention any particular specific dates, and doesn't need to mention any particular specific dates... AnonMoos (talk) 14:01, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
No objection to saying that four of the five sees included in the Pentarchy had been the most important cities of the empire "in the fourth century"; only to saying that they were such "in the era when Christianity was first beginning to gain political support from the Roman state".
The First Council of Nicaea decided: "The ancient customs of Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis shall be maintained, according to which the bishop of Alexandria has authority over all these places since a similar custom exists with reference to the bishop of Rome. Similarly in Antioch and the other provinces the prerogatives of the churches are to be preserved. In general the following principle is evident: if anyone is made bishop without the consent of the metropolitan, this great synod determines that such a one shall not be a bishop. If however two or three by reason of personal rivalry dissent from the common vote of all, provided it is reasonable and in accordance with the church's canon, the vote of the majority shall prevail. Since there prevails a custom and ancient tradition to the effect that the bishop of Aelia is to be honoured, let him be granted everything consequent upon this honour, saving the dignity proper to the metropolitan." I have italicized a phrase that seems to indicate that the Council had no intention of dividing up the whole of the Church between just a few patriarchs. The First Council of Constantinople said, very briefly, "Because it is new Rome, the bishop of Constantinople is to enjoy the privileges of honour after the bishop of Rome." Just a matter of honour, it seems. So when did the notion begin that the whole Church was to be governed by five? Certainly not in the fourth century. Perhaps, after all, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is right in dating it to the first half of the sixth century. Lima (talk) 16:37, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Jerusalem issue[edit]

There is quite a lot of politics around the old city of jerusalem nowdays. Israel claims the entire city as its capital and has altered boundaries of the District of jerusalem encompassing the entire old city within its borders. Palestanian authority from the other hand raise claims on Jerusalem concidering that the entire old city must become the capital of the new palestinian state when and if this is created. All discussions between the two parties elegantly avoid this issue stating that after all being solved they will discuss for the status of the old city. Nonetheless and because we are not here to express any political vues (like the one implying a co dominance of Israel and West Bank an idea which is not heard by any of the two parties) I would suggest that the completely neutral generic term " Holy Land" covers elegantly the issue, unless if you want the absolutely non pc fire starter expression " now de facto Israel" which I consider inappropriate as this is a historical non political religious site but even that is by far more accurate from the entry "now Israel and the West Bank" which simply doesn t have any accuracy or any kind of meaning Melathron (talk) 17:09, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

There's absolutely no need whatsoever to mention either the words "Israel" or "Palestine" in this article (it's not like people haven't heard of Jerusalem). That was introduced along with the wording that seemed to imply that the Byzantine emperor Justinian unilaterally decreed the Pentarchy into existence ex-nihilo... AnonMoos (talk)
I agree, there's no reason to mention either "Israel", "Palestine" or "West Bank". The terms add nothing to the article. Majoreditor (talk) 02:26, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
On AnonMoos's comment about "ex nihilo": the article states: "The theory of the Pentarchy was based on the special prerogatives and authority that the sees in question actually held with respect to others, some of them since before the fourth century." Lima (talk) 05:43, 10 March 2008 (UTC)


I think the point with justinian raise a very interesting issue that is not very clae in the text. After the Chalcedonian shism and the ex communication of the oriental churches by the one catholic apostolic church, the pentarh right passed and remained in the hands of to the greek orthodox patrarchs of the east. This patriarchs along with the Pope of Rome and not the the oriental claimants sat in the next 3 ecumenical councils summoned by the roman emperor. Further points for that is that the patriarchs of the eastern churches in full communion with Rome rank below the cardinals and if they receive cardinal concecration although created straight in the class of cardinal bishops they still rank below the incumbents of the six suburbicarian dioceses of rome. Further the same title is shared by different patriarchs who lead different eastern sects for instance : HB the patriarch of Antioch for the syriacs and the patriarch of Antioch for the maronites etc. The pentarch seats of honour even today are reserved in the vatican for the greek orthodox holders and no one else. So although it is correct to say that there are many claimants for the apostolic sees of both Alxandria and Antioch it is further totally accurate to say that there exist but only one claimant as pentarch and this is the greek orthodox incumbent. I think this should be demonstrated in the text. I will make some neutral changes and please have a say weither you agree or disagree. Melathron (talk) 10:52, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, Melathron is right in saying that the Pentarchy as formulated by Justinian allowed for only one Patriarch of Antioch, one of Alexandria etc., and did not recognize the non-Chalcedonian Patriarch of Alexandria, even if he had with him the majority of the Christians in his patriarchate. At that time the Bishop of Rome also recognized the same Patriarchs whom Justinian recognized and between whom and the Bishop of Rome there was as yet no schism. But I do not think it can be shown that today the Roman Catholic Church accords recognition to the Eastern Orthodox (Greek) Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria but not to the Oriental Orthodox (Coptic) Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria. In particular, I do not understand what are the seats of honour supposedly reserved in the Vatican for the Greek Orthodox holders of the sees of Alexandria and Antioch, rather than for the Oriental Orthodox holders of the same titles.
I suppose that by "pentarch" Melathron means "patriarch": the Eastern Orthodox Church is no longer organized as a pentarchy (5 heads), but as an ennearchy (9 heads), or rather as under a larger number of heads, since it comprises also, on a basis of equality, various other autocephalous Churches whose chief Bishop does not have the title of patriarch.
As a result of this I have felt obliged to edit Melathron's addition to the article. Lima (talk) 13:17, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

During the funeral of Pope Joannes Paulus II the ecumenical patriarch was offered the first seat of honour among all bishops present ie catholic cardinals , orthodox patriarchs , oriental orthodox patriarchs etc. according to what was confirmed by Justinian and confirmed during Ferrara Florence council. Equally the greek orthodox patriarchs of the east are granted the positions of honour as per the Justinian rules. The coptic pope and the syriac patriarch of Antioch are recognised as heads of their perspective churches but not as sucessors t the ancient pentarchs as Rome is bound by the decisions of the ecumenical councils that holds oriental churches to be heretics ( as per the earlier views tha led to the excommunication of those churches). Roem never consider the eastern orthodoxy as heretics but as schismatics and it was separated by them trhough two mutual anathemas issued at 1054. Nonetheless the positions of the eastern patriarchs was never challenged and now restored after the lift of the anathemas at 1963. However the oriental churches are still seen as monophysites and their canonical heads are recognised as heads of those churches they are nor recognised as sucessors to the ancient pentarchs of which the greek orthodox clergy is concedered as such. Please bear in mind that this is about the relations between the east and west and not about the claimants of the titles. There are numerous claimants but only the greek orthodox are concidered by Rome the rightful incumbents of the Pentarchy. As such I would think it would worth to have some kind of reference to this as it is very interesting how his ancient order still defines the intercommunal relations between the East and West as it demonstrates the strenth of those arrangements up to day. Strictly speaking the ancient patriarchal churches referred here for the vatican are none but the greek orthodox ones as the oriental churches were condemned and ex communicated by both east and west 600 years before the great schism. And do not forget both churches recognises all decisions taken prior to the greta schism as valid. Melathron (talk) 12:32, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

I too would like to see some verifiable reference to what Melathron says is recognition by Rome that the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch are the only legitimate holders of those titles. I am not referring to the time of Justinian and the Council of Florence, when the situation was clear. Maybe the situation is clear also today, and it is true that Rome does not consider the Eastern Orthodox Church to be heretical; but I am unaware of any recent Roman statement denying, even implicitly, legitimacy to the Oriental Orthodox holders of the titles of Alexandria and Antioch. By recent, I also mean less than about a century old: if you went back further, you could doubtless find declarations denying the legitimacy even of the Eastern Orthodox holders of the titles and denying all legitimacy on the part of anyone at all other than those in full communion with Rome.
The L'Osservatore Romano report, with photographs, on the funeral of Pope John Paul II (issue of Saturday 9 April 2005) does not confirm that the Ecumenical Patriarch was given precedence over all present, including cardinals and other Catholic prelates. While it also does not deny it, I think that, if what you state were true, it would surely have been commented on not only on L'Osservatore Romano but also on other sources of information. Was Patriarch Vartholomaios (Bartholomew) not just given first place in the sector reserved for heads of Churches not in full communion with Rome? I would also expect the representatives of the Eastern Orthodox Church, as a body, to be placed ahead of the body of the representatives of Oriental Orthodoxy, because of being historically and doctrinally closer. But I would not expect the Eastern Orthodox representatives to be placed together with the Catholic participants, especially if the Oriental Orthodox were excluded. That, I think, would have to wait for union between East and West. Lima (talk) 14:06, 12 March 2008 (UTC)


Classifying Orthodox by Robert L. Stern

Quote :

"The ancient Eastern patriarchates. Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem are “autocephalous” or independent churches, each headed by a patriarch. "

"Oriental churches. At the 451 Council of Chalcedon, three churches separated from communion with the others while retaining it themselves. They and their descendants constitute the Oriental Orthodox churches.

Ancient Armenia was a nation situated on the fringe of the Roman Empire. Its autonomous church was until Chalcedon in communion with the others.

The Coptic (Egyptian) church gradually departed from the usages of ancient Alexandria finally becoming autonomous under its own patriarch. A similar process was repeated in modern times when the Ethiopian church separated the Coptic and, in turn, the Eritrean from the Ethiopian.

The Syriac church similarly separated from the Antiochene and, in turn, part of the Malankara (Indian) from the Syriac."


As you can see in this well eastablish papal agency there is a very enlighting article about orthodoxy. As you read the oriental churches are only concidered sister churches of Alexandria and Antioch with the mentioning of the four greek orthodox patriarchates as the original four ancient eastern patriarchates. The oriental ones are not recognised not even as claimants of the tradition and this is because they were excommunicated far before the great schism. Melathron (talk) 21:53, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Also Funeral of Pope John Paul II : "Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I attended the funeral from the honorary first seat". Melathron (talk) 21:53, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

As such I think we are not very accurate if we do not clearly mention that even the honour and order of the pentarchy are still reserved from the Hole see for the greek orthodox patriarchs who are the solely recognised by vativan to be till today the pentarchs. Equally eastern orthodoxy attribute to Rome the honours of the first of the pentarchs. I think it is important to include such information. Melathron (talk) 22:10, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Speaking of all the Churches he mentioned, Monsignor Stern wrote: "All these churches take pride in their 'Orthodoxy' — their fidelity to authentic doctrine. Their faithful witness is part of the precious patrimony of the one Church of Christ." If Monsignor Stern is considered to have said that the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, not the Oriental Orthodox Patriarch, is the successor of Saints Athanasius, Cyril etc. (it is not clear that he did), and if he is considered to be a quotable authority for this, then he is also a quotable authority for the statement that the Coptic, Armenian and Ethiopian Churches, whom he mentions, give a faithful witness that is part of the precious patrimony of the one Church of Christ. Yet, though these Churches call themselves Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox consider them not to be Orthodox, and this is the basis of the Eastern Orthodox claim that the Oriental Orthodox Patriarchs are illegitimate.
Yes, Patriarch Bartholomew had the honorary first seat in the section reserved for heads of Churches not in full communion with Rome. In the section reserved for "reigning sovereigns", the King and Queen of Belgium had the honorary first seats, merely, I feel sure, because of the alphabetical order, in French, of "Belgique, Danemark, Espagne, Jordanie ..." Lima (talk) 05:19, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

I stll think that it is quite crystal clear that eastern orthodox patriarchs are the one recognised by Rome as the continuation of the pentarchs and it is even more clear that the oriental churches are concidered sister churches of Alexandria and Antioch and thus the two phrases "The Coptic (Egyptian) church gradually departed from the usages of ancient Alexandria " and "The Syriac church similarly separated from the Antiochene". It is very clear here that are not concidered part of the churches of Antioch and Alexandria, so I think we should have an entry to demostrate that. Further although for the sovereigns indeed it was an alphabetical order applied, for the church dignitaries it was not and the ecumenical patrarch held the first seat of honour not because e was on the top of the list but as the second of the pentarchs who in the absence of the soveregn pontiff was given the proper precedence as per the ecumenical councils.Melathron (talk) 10:28, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

According to Wikipedia rules, you can only put in the article what your source says, [your interpretation] of what it says. For my part, I do not see what part of Stern's article can be quoted as saying that the Holy See recognizes fully the Eastern Orthodox Church Patriarchs, but in no way the Oriental Orthodox Church Patriarchs.
At the funeral of Pope John Paul II, the not-in-full-communion Church dignitaries were of course not put in alphabetical order. The order was: Eastern Orthodox Churches (Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Moscow, Ukraine (Patriarchate of Moscow), Georgia, Serbia, Romania, Finland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Slovakia, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Albania, Orthodox Church in America), Oriental Orthodox Churches (Alexandria, Antioch, Armenia (see of Etchmiadzin), Armenia (see of Antelias), Ethiopia, Eritrea), Assyrian Church of the East, and finally "Western Ecclesial Communions" (Anglican, Old Catholic (Union of Utrecht), World Lutheran Federation, World Methodist Council, World Alliance of Reformed Churches, World Baptist Alliance, Mennonite World Conference, Disciples of Christ). These were all in the same sector, not ranged along with Roman Catholic dignitaries. Lima (talk) 12:46, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

I can see your point. We leave the article as is then. Thanks Melathron (talk) 19:22, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

On Jerusalem, the Pentarchy table, the status of Rome[edit]

The observations about the importance of Jerusalem in the earliest stage of Christianity, while true, are off-topic. At that time there was no theory of an organization of the Church under five sees. The ecclesiastical/ecclesiological part of article is about the Pentarchy theory. This theory gave Jerusalem not first place, but last. Statements such as "According to Eastern ecclesiology, the established order of these sees was as follows: Jerusalem, followed by Rome, followed by Alexandria, followed by Antioch" are false and - something that in Wikipedia is, in a way, even more essential - unsourced. Lima (talk) 16:28, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. Thanks, Lima. Majoreditor (talk) 21:57, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
On my return from a journey, I find that there has been a fresh addition of matter unrelated to Justinian's Pentarchy, as well as contrary-to-fact statements that are unsourced or falsely sourced (for example, that canon 7 of the First Council of Nicaea gave Jerusalem the first place of honour among the five sees, or that Rome is now "the single see of the Roman Catholic Church" - as if there were no such thing as a Roman Catholic see of Milan, or Lisbon, or New York). Lima (talk) 16:18, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
There's some strange changes I've seen in the article. For example: For Justinian and the Council in Trullo, the patriarchs heading those sees were the bishop of Rome and those classified as Greek Orthodox, not the claimants who rejected the Council of Chalcedon. Huh? The designation "Greek Orthodox" didn't exist at the time. Majoreditor (talk) 00:09, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

I must remove Ad.minister's "strange changes", and ask Ad.minster to justify them before attempting to put them in again.

  1. "The Ancient Pentarchy". "Ancient" is a very vague adjective. Time of Abraham? Time of Paul the Apostle? Or when? The Pentarchy theory was formulated at the time of Justinian I, as clearly indicated in the source quoted, so why not specify the time properly?
  2. Ad.minister excised from the Encyclopaedia Britannica quotation its specification of which are the five sees of this Pentarchy, and replaced it with an original-research table of five sees in an unsourced order of precedence and with an equally unsourced list of founders and dates of foundation (giving as the approximate date when the Church in Rome was founded the year 67, although the date of Saint Peter's death is generally given as 64 and Paul the Apostle's as 67, and thus perhaps suggesting that it was founded by their ghosts!).
  3. A long description of the Jerusalem Church as it was in a period long before the Pentarchy theory was formulated, a description therefore unrelated to the subject of the article.
  4. Jerusalem supposedly recognized as a patriarchate by the Council of Chalcedon. The texts of this council, as far as I know, did not use the word "patriarchate" even once.
  5. "Canon 9 of the Council of Chalcedon gave authority over the whole church to Constantinople". It did not.

These should be enough as examples (not a full list) of the strange statements in the text that Ad.minster prefers, and that need to be justified before being restored. Lima (talk) 13:10, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

This is a collaborative effort. Most of your comments are about others' edits. You have swept away the accumulated efforts of a large number of people to replace it with POV-pushing. Also not that the comments you say are unsourced are sourced, and Canon 9 clearly states that Constantinople was the place of final ecclesiastical appeal for the whole church, which makes sense since, when Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire, Constantinople was the imperial capital. As for wording such as "patirarchate" or "Greek orthodox" these are statements made by others, which you may fix rather than deleting half the article and pushing a POV. Apparently no compromise will quench this thirst. Best wishes, Ad.minster (talk) 16:06, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
Refusing to justify/source strange statements is not exactly "a collaborative effort". When statements unsupported by verifiable sources are removed, an editor who reinserts them makes them his own.
Rather than fight about it, I withdraw, for now, my remark about canon 9 of Chalcedon, although I do think that "Canon 9 of the Council of Chalcedon gave authority over the whole church to Constantinople" considerably stretches the meaning of "If a bishop or a cleric is in dispute with the metropolitan of the same province, let him engage either the exarch of the diocese or the see of imperial Constantinople, and let him bring his case before him." I haven't checked, but I think that "province" and "diocese" then had the same meaning, and that the "exarch" was the emperor's (lay) representative in the province, as the "metropolitan" was the chief bishop of the province. But, as I said, I give you a free pass on this, while awaiting your defence of the other points that you are insisting on.
Who is it that is pushing an unsourced POV? And doing so also by deleting quoted sources or parts of sources that disagree with his POV? Lima (talk) 16:52, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
Ad.Minister, please don't accuse Lima of POV pushing. It's best if everyone assumes good faith. I'm sure you guys can work this out. Cheers, Majoreditor (talk) 16:57, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
All those edits were consistent with one point of view. Without recognizing the probable nature of contention, compromise cannot be reached. Noting POV-pushing is important to understanding how a compromise can be worked out. You will note that almost all of my edits have been to expand the role and status of Rome in order to do just that. Best wishes, Ad.minster (talk) 17:16, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
I have no desire, just now, to try to engage in serious discussion someone whose idea of getting an agreed text is to keep adding even more statements of questionable accuracy and relevance. As if that were the path to compromise! Wouldn't it have been better to discuss instead the existing paragraphs and reach agreement on them? How "expanding (on) the role and status of Rome" - in addition to that of early Jerusalem - can be imagined to be helpful, I do not understand. I just don't feel up to doing more at this point. Lima (talk) 19:07, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

(<-) I, for one, would like Ad.Minster to address Lima's questions/concerns shown above. That will help to work through issues. Majoreditor (talk) 00:44, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

I assume you are the same person. Here are the questions with replies:
  • "The Ancient Pentarchy". "Ancient" is a very vague adjective. Time of Abraham? Time of Paul the Apostle? Or when? The Pentarchy theory was formulated at the time of Justinian I, as clearly indicated in the source quoted, so why not specify the time properly?
Someone already added in right at the top "Apostolic Age."
  • Ad.minister excised from the Encyclopaedia Britannica quotation its specification of which are the five sees of this Pentarchy, and replaced it with an original-research table of five sees in an unsourced order of precedence and with an equally unsourced list of founders and dates of foundation (giving as the approximate date when the Church in Rome was founded the year 67, although the date of Saint Peter's death is generally given as 64 and Paul the Apostle's as 67, and thus perhaps suggesting that it was founded by their ghosts!).
I excised nothing in that paragraph. Further, the dates are what was already in the two Apostle's articles. You may dispute the dates, but then you will have to change them in a number of places. They must be consistent.
  • A long description of the Jerusalem Church as it was in a period long before the Pentarchy theory was formulated, a description therefore unrelated to the subject of the article.
Jerusalem was the first member of the Pentarchy. There were five members. As noted by other contributors to the article, the Pentarchy existed long before Justinian was born, particularly Jerusalem, which by Justinian's time was reduced. Nonetheless, he included it for its role way back in AD 33 - 70. Remember, Justinian did not create the Pentarchy, he simply formulated a theory of what already existed.
  • Jerusalem supposedly recognized as a patriarchate by the Council of Chalcedon. The texts of this council, as far as I know, did not use the word "patriarchate" even once.
No one wrote that it was a patriarchate. It is the first member of the Pentarchy, but it was not a patriarchate until later on. In any case, there were no patriarchs in the early church when these great cities were evangelized.
  • "Canon 9 of the Council of Chalcedon gave authority over the whole church to Constantinople". It did not.
Yes it did. This is explained in the article and in other comments above. Ad.minster (talk) 15:23, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Ad.Minster, please explain your comment I assume you are the same person. Do you assume that Lima and I are the same person editing under two different accounts? Majoreditor (talk) 02:20, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

I prefer not to continue this discussion in which, for instance, Ad.Minster makes no attempt to explain how he can say that the Church in Rome was founded by Paul (or his ghost?) in 67, the year of his death, not during his two-year house arrest (61-63), nor in any of the other years before 67. I thought it was accepted that there was already a Christian Church in Rome in 64, the year of the great fire of Nero.

Nor has Ad.Minster responded to Majoreditor's request that he explain his implicit aspersion about him and me.

So I prefer to propose to the Wikipedia community a complete rewriting of the article, which I will indicate below. If they accept it as a better basis to work on, I will be pleased. If they prefer Ad.Minister's text, that too is completely acceptable to me: I will then rest, having done my best to help with regard to this article.

Since Ad.Minster has removed from the article all examples of pentarchies other than the pentarchy of Christian ecclesiology, I also hold that the article must be moved to Pentarchy (Christianity). I have likewise removed from my draft revision the interwiki links to articles in the Italian and Dutch Wikipedias, which deal with "pentarchy" only in a non-ecclesiological sense. Lima (talk) 16:34, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Proposed full revision[edit]

I propose as a replacement for the present text of this article the text that is found here. It does not claim to be at all perfect. But it does have the advantage of indicating sources for its statements. Is this a better working text than what is now in the article? Or should it be discarded?

What think you? Lima (talk) 16:34, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

I'll take a look at it over the next few days. Thanks to Ad.minster, Lima, and other contributors for their efforts. I also hope that additional editors will have the chance to look over the material. Majoreditor (talk) 21:14, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
I've quickly read Lima's version as well as the current article. Overall I have to say that Lima's version does a better job presenting the historical development of the pentarchy. It's also appears, at first glance, to be better referenced.
That's not to say that Lima's version is perfect; for example, the list-like treatment of modern patriarchates should be converted to prose. The prose is uneven, particularly in the lead and first section. And - this is an important qualifier - I haven't had a chance to look at all of the references.
I'd like to hear from other editors. Majoreditor (talk) 02:02, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I fully agree with Lima's proposal. The proposed Article is by far better than the present text. More detailed and with more references. In present Article it looks like that the ancient government of the Church was shaped on the theory of Pentarchy, while it was the idea of Pentarchy formulated on the actual form of government defined by the Councils and by the Emperor. Moreover, present Article is simply an expansion of Britannica, while Lima proposed text is a new Article more complex and complete. A ntv (talk) 16:50, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
I concur with A ntv. Majoreditor (talk) 21:49, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
I am making bold to replace the present text with my effort. That may provoke comments, for or against, by others who have hitherto remained silent.
There remains to move the article to "Pentarchy (Christianity)", which is what the article is about, not about pentarchy in general. Lima (talk) 11:02, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Relation to other "patriarchs"?[edit]

Such as the Patriarch (Latter Day Saints) & Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church (not to be confused with the common Russian Old-Orthodox Church)? Any instances of communication or published extant instances or examples of theories to incorporation or relation to these later groups in with a unified annotation by a singular priesthood had been brought up or mentioned? (talk) 06:23, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Better go gradually[edit]

In line with WP:BRD, I have reverted Cuchullain's edits, so that various points can be discussed first. Can we advance paragraph by paragraph instead of doing all together?

I wonder if "The importance of these sees dates to the early history of the Church" is correct. By early Christianity is usually meant Christianity before the 421 Council of Nicaea. The importance of Constantinople arose somewhat later. And Jerusalem, though having an importance in honour, had none in jurisdiction over other sees. I also wonder if "broader, 'catholic', dominion over all others" is the best description of Justinian's idea that each was to have dominion only over those in its own area and have nothing to do with those in the other areas. Or am I wrong? Can you please indicate where I can find the full text of that Novella 131. The first two short chapters are easy to find, but in them I see no indication of the idea of even joint dominion of the five sees over others. I suppose the idea must be in later chapters. All I can find are statements like "He ruled the Church with an iron hand. But the force of tradition and his zeal for unity of doctrine throughout the Empire constrained him to secure endorsement for his theological decrees from the ecclesiastical authorities. Special value was attached to papal assent in such matters, and Justinian declared it indispensable. Nevertheless, in 545, in the very Novel in which he proclaimed the pope of Rome to be the "head of all priests" (primum esse omnium sacerdotum), he gave the canons of the Oecumenical Councils of 381 (the First of Constantinople) and 451 (Chalcedon) the force of law, and thus (by virtue of the third canon of Constantinople and the twenty-eighth of Chalcedon) invested the patriarchal throne of Constantinople with authority which, as we have seen, could scarcely be distinguished from that of Rome (Novel 131.l-2)." If we cannot see what exactly Justinian decreed, should we not stick to what the Encyclopaedia Britannica says? I certainly don't think that "it received official recognition at the Quinisext Council" is an improvement on Encyclopaedia Britannica's mention of "ecclesiastical sanction": what could be more "official" than Justinian's own law?

I fully recognize the value of much that has been added. Esoglou (talk) 23:06, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Mostly I was just attempting to rephrase what the Britannica article says, with some changes to wording (such as "catholic") based on where our relevant articles are located. What I meant by "catholic" was that all five sees, together, were supposed to rule over all Christendom; this idea is intrinsically tied to the structure of the empire itself (according to the cited Britannica article). If I have erred, I erred. I have no idea where to find Novella 131, that was paraphrased fairly closely from the Britannica quote. At any rate, my edits were intended to 1.) see to it that we weren't quoting another encyclopedia in the introductory sentence of our article, and 2) expand the intro a bit to more properly summarize what the article talks about, spec. the stuff about the fate of the Pentarchy concept in the later Middle Ages. I am open to any improvements, but these two points need to be taken care of.--Cúchullain t/c 02:50, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
I think it is a perfectly good thing to quote exactly (with quote marks to show that it is a quotation and an exact one) a definition given in an authoritative source. Pity we can't find more from that Novella 131 than the first two short "chapters": the first, making the decrees of the four ecumenical councils legally effective; and the second, "Concerning The Precedence of Patriarchs: Hence, in accordance with the provisions of these Councils, We order that the Most Holy Pope of ancient Rome shall hold the first rank of all the Pontiffs, but the Most Blessed Archbishop of Constantinople, or New Rome, shall occupy the second place after the Holy Apostolic See of ancient Rome, which shall take precedence over all other sees." This says nothing whatever about a pentarchy, and speaks only of two sees: Rome, "which shall take precedence over all other sees" (no distinction between "patriarchal" and non-"patriarchal" sees), and Constantinople. Is it possible that these two "chapters" constitute the whole of Novella 131, and that the pentarchy idea is only implicit in the giving force of law to the decrees of the four councils (whose interpretation is unclear on particulars)? Perhaps we are too unsure of the meaning to attempt to rephrase (perhaps inexactly) the EB definition. Esoglou (talk) 10:23, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
A quote in the article is fine. A long quote in the lede is less fine. And a quote as our introductory sentence is really bad form. Why not just rephrase it our own way? I'm not exactly sure how to deal with everything else, but this is certainly a no-go.
On Novella 131, again, I really don't know, I was just attempting to paraphrase what EB said: "Formulated in the legislation of the emperor Justinian I (527–565), especially in his Novella 131, the theory received formal ecclesiastical sanction at the Council in Trullo (692), which ranked the five sees as Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem." My reading of this is: "The concept was first was first tangibly expressed in Justinian's laws, particularly Novella 131. It was formally recognized at the Quinisext Council, which ranked the sees in order of preeminence." To this should be added: 1) The idea came about due to the political and ecclesiastical prominence of these five sees; 2) the concept of these five sees having authority over all Christendom is firmly tied to the structure of the Roman Empire; and 3) Especially following Quinisext the concept of a pentarchy was at least philosophically accepted in the East, but generally not in the West, which did not accept the Council's findings and which never recognized the preeminence of all four of the other sees.--Cúchullain t/c 15:53, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
What you say seems quite good to me, except for one little point that I will indicate after remarking how happy I am to find that I am not such a negative person as I feared I might prove myself to be. The one little point is that it might be good to make a touch more explicit the fact that the "formal recognition" at the Quinisext Council was recognition by what later became the Eastern Orthodox Church. For this, I think it would be quite enough to use the active voice and say: "The Quinisext Council formally recognized (or "approved"? - the EB's "sanctioned" may be the best word) the concept, ranking the sees ..." That would thrust to the forefront the Council that gave the ecclesiastical approval.
I think I also raised one or two other points above. The one I remember without having to reread what I wrote is my doubt about the appropriateness of saying that the importance that the five sees enjoyed in Justinian's time dated from "early Christian" times in all five cases.
By the way, I still think that an authoritative definition can be quoted in the lead, making clear from the start what precisely the subject of the article is. But I do not hold that it must be quoted. Even so, it might be good to quote it in a footnote, not just cite it by a reference. Esoglou (talk) 17:03, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
I think those are all good moves. I agree that the point about Quinisext need to be brought up, and I agree the phrase "early history of the Church" may give the wrong idea. I have no problem with quoting Britannica per se, and adding the quote as a footnote is most appropriate; my problem is in using a quote from another encyclopedia as the introduction to our treatment of the subject.--Cúchullain t/c 18:23, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps it would be good if you now put forward a version of your edit revised in the light of our discussion. I don't think I would again feel it necessary to revert it for discussion here. Of course, I may still have observations to make, but I hope they will not be radical ones. Esoglou (talk) 21:58, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Surely it's best that the lead paragraph not contain such a lengthy quote. It's awkward and, quite frankly, isn't congruent with WP:LEAD. Majoreditor (talk) 06:25, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
OK. This is not a practical question here: as I said, I do not hold that EB must be quoted. Esoglou (talk) 07:55, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

I was hoping that Cúchulainn would revise the first section and that he or someone else would attend to the changes make by the editor who seems more accustomed to editing in Spanish than in English, but I find I must do it myself - subject to corrections and improvements by others. I have kept as much as I could of the latter editor's text, but could not preserve what is falsely attributed to the sources, such as that the 60 bishops who participated in the synod that Pope Cornelius convened in Italy were African and eastern, that Ignatius of Antioch reported that Rome "presides over the Church" (I have put what he really wrote), etc. Esoglou (talk) 17:24, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, I've been busy. Well done with your revision; I've made a few changes, and I'll do some expanding when I get some time to do it. Good work.--Cúchullain t/c 17:37, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Kaiser Guilherme[edit]

Guilherme's edit seems due to a misunderstanding of the sources he cited (or perhaps rather of the references to those sources in the sources, perhaps in Portuguese, that he is directly using), as shown especially by the phrase "love chair". This term, I take it, corresponds in a distorted way to "presides over love" in the English translation of Ignatius's Letter to the Romans that you will find here. The source that Guilherme gives] says nothing explicitly about that phrase, and so is invalid as a citation.

If Guilherme would kindly make his proposals here, even in Portuguese, I, com muito prazer, and no doubt others too, will willingly help him clarify what he wishes to put in the article.

If Guilherme will read what Ignatius wrote, he will see that "the Church" that presides, the Church Ignatius is addressing, is the Church of Rome, not the Church in general.

I apologize to Guilherme for having wrongly presumed that "citar", when it was used in an anonymous edit, was Spanish, instead of Portuguese. Esoglou (talk) 18:46, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Their most recent edit isn't much better. The phrasing is still mangled ("has has a 'presidency in love'"?), part of it is in the future tense, and there's a jumbled reference to antipope Novatian that is totally unclear. I'd fix it but I have idea what is intended. Too messed up to be useful, I'm afraid.--Cúchullain t/c 19:11, 16 February 2010 (UTC)