Latin Patriarchate of Alexandria

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The Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, which was the Roman seat of the Latin Patriarch of Alexandria

The Latin Patriarchate of Alexandria was a nominal Patriarchate of the Latin church on the see of Alexandria in Egypt, which remained out of Catholic control.


Alexandria, the ancient great port of Egypt and a first-rank Mediterranean metropolis in the Hellenistic world, was an influential early Christian diocese since 30 AD, founded and held by Saint Mark the Evangelist. The Council of Nicaea ranked it after Rome, while the Greek fathers of the Council of Chalcedon tried in canon 28 to demote it, giving it third place after Constantinople, although Pope Leo I of Rome rejected this canon. However, following the same Council, the patriarchate was claimed by two parties, namely, a Greek Patriarch representing adherence to the dogmatic definitions of Chalcedon and a Coptic Miaphysite Patriarch rejecting them.

While part of the Byzantine Empire and under Islamic domination, the Chalcedonian patriarch always followed the Byzantine rite, while the non-Chalcedonian followed the Coptic rite. The Greek Patriarch of Alexandria remained in communion with the See of Rome despite the rupture of communion between Rome and Constantinople in 1054. In fact, the Bishop of Rome and Greek Bishop of Alexandria commemorated each other in their diptychs until the early 14th century.[1] Thus, while in 1215, during the pontificate of Pope Innocent III, there were Latin Patriarchs, rivaling or replacing the Greek ones in the formerly Crusader held cities of Antioch, Constantinople, and Jerusalem, Greek Patriarch Mark III of Alexandria was invited and sent representatives to participate in the Fourth Lateran Council.[2]

Only in the early 14th century is there a record of a Latin Patriarch of Alexandria. The title was merely titular since he never occupied the See. His patriarchal cathedral in Rome was the papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. Many incumbents would hold residential (arch)episcopal posts of various ranks in Catholic countries, and even (earlier and/or later) other Titular Latin patriarchates (Jerusalem, Constantinopel).

The titular see would have its share of disputed nominations during the papal 'Babylonian Exile' in Avignon.

Since 1724, the Melkite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East holds the title of Patriarch of Alexandria. In 1895, the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria was established out of the Catholic Apostolic Vicariate of Alexandria. Thus, there remains a Patriarch of Alexandria for the Catholic Church.

The Titular Latin Patriarchate was left vacant in 1954 and then abolished in 1964.

Latin Patriarchs of Alexandria[edit]


  1. ^ Steven Runciman. The Eastern Schism. (Oxford, 1955). pp. 99-100.
  2. ^ Steven Runciman. The Eastern Schism. (Oxford, 1955). pp. 99-100.
  3. ^ The Diocese of Grenoble in the Fourteenth Century, C. R. Cheney, Speculum, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Apr., 1935), 165.
  4. ^ "Alessandro Cardinal Crescenzi, C.R.S. " David M. Cheney. Retrieved August 9, 2016

Sources and external links[edit]