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Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

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Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Patriarchatus Latinus Hierosolymitanus

הפטריארכיה הלטינית של ירושלים
بطريركية القدس للاتين

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the current Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Coat of arms of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Coat of arms
Pierbattista Pizzaballa
Ecclesiastical provinceNone; immediately subject to the Holy See
- Catholics
(as of 2012)
First holder
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
  • 33 A.D. (as the establishment of the See of Jerusalem)
  • 1099 (as the establishment of the Latin patriarchate under the Holy See)
  • 1374 (being a titular see)
  • 23 July 1847 (re-establishment and current form)
CathedralBasilica of the Holy Sepulchre
Co-cathedralCo-Cathedral of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Secular priests66
Current leadership
PatriarchPierbattista Pizzaballa
Auxiliary Bishops
Vicar General
  • Jerzy Kraj
  • Piotr Zelazko
  • Matthew Coutinho
Bishops emeritus
Entry of the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem (from James Tissot)

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (Latin: Patriarchatus Latinus Hierosolymitanus) is the Latin Catholic ecclesiastical patriarchate in Jerusalem, officially seated in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It was originally established in 1099, with the Kingdom of Jerusalem encompassing the territories in the Holy Land newly conquered by the First Crusade. From 1374 to 1847 it was a titular see, with the patriarchs of Jerusalem being based at the Basilica di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura in Rome. Pope Pius IX re-established a resident Latin patriarch in 1847.

The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem is now the archbishop of Latin Church Catholics of the Archdiocese of Jerusalem with jurisdiction for all Latin Catholics in Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Cyprus. The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem also holds the office of grand prior of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. The office of Latin patriarch of Jerusalem became vacant on 24 June 2016, and the patriarchate was managed by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa as apostolic administrator. Pizzaballa was appointed Latin patriarch on 24 October 2020.[1] He took possession of the see on 6 November 2020.

It is exempt, being directly subject to the Holy See (and exceptionally its Roman Congregation for the Oriental Churches, which normally handles Eastern Catholics). It is not within an ecclesiastical province, and has no metropolitan functions.

The title of patriarch in the Latin Church is retained by only five archbishops: the Latin patriarchs of Jerusalem, of the West, of Venice, of Lisbon and of the East Indies. Until 1964, there had also been the honorary patriarchal titles of Constantinople, Alexandria and Antioch; still others were abolished earlier.

Outside the Catholic Church, the title of "Patriarch of Jerusalem" is also used by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, as well as, titularly (along with Alexandria), by the Melkite Patriarch.


Jerusalem (in Latin also Hierosolyma) was one of the Apostles' original bishoprics. It was renamed Aelia Capitolina in 135 AD, again Jerusalem in 325. In 451 it was promoted as Patriarchal See. After 649, Pope Martin appointed John of Philadelphia (Amman) as Patriarchal vicar of Jerusalem to replace Sergius of Jaffa.

In 1054, the Great Schism split Christianity into the Catholic Church, which consisted of the Pope of Rome and virtually all of Western Christianity; and the Eastern Orthodox Church—which consisted of the four Orthodox Christian Patriarchs of Antioch, Jerusalem, Constantinople and Alexandria—under the stewardship of Constantinople.[2] Apart from the Maronites, most Christians in the Holy Land came under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem[edit]

In 1099, the Western Crusaders captured Jerusalem, set up the Kingdom of Jerusalem and established a Latin hierarchy under a Latin Patriarch (in communion with Rome),[3][4] while expelling the Orthodox Patriarch. The Latin Patriarchate was divided into four archdioceses—their heads bearing the titles of Archbishop of Tyre, Archbishop of Caesarea, Archbishop of Nazareth and Archbishop of Petra—and a number of suffragan dioceses. The Latin Patriarch took over control of the Latin quarter of the city of Jerusalem (the Holy Sepulchre and the immediate surroundings) as his Metropolitan see, and had as his direct suffragans the bishops of Lydda-Ramla, Bethlehem, Hebron and Gaza, and the abbots of the Temple, Mount Sion and the Mount of Olives.

The Latin Patriarch resided in Jerusalem from 1099 to 1187, while Orthodox Patriarchs continued to be appointed, but resided in Constantinople. In 1187, the Crusaders were forced to flee Jerusalem, and the Latin Patriarchy moved to Acre (Akka),[5] while the Orthodox Patriarch returned to Jerusalem. The Catholic Church continued to appoint residential Latin Patriarchs. The Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem endured almost 200 years until the last vestiges of the Kingdom were conquered by the Muslim Mamluks in 1291, and the Latin hierarchy was effectively eliminated in the Levant.

With the Fall of Acre, the Latin Patriarch moved to the Kingdom of Cyprus in 1291.

Titular Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem[edit]

In 1374, the Kingdom of Cyprus underwent a severe upheaval when it was invaded by the Genoese, who conquered Famagusta and held King Peter II captive.

From that time on, the Latin Patriarchs of Jerusalem ceased to reside in Cyprus. The Catholic Church continued to appoint titular Patriarchs of Jerusalem, but from then on they were based at the Basilica di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura in Rome.[6]

In 1342, Pope Clement VI officially committed the care of the Holy Land to the Franciscans[7] and the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Lands (the Grand Masters of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre) held the title ex officio under the Papal bull Gratiam agimus by Pope Clement VI, unless someone was specifically appointed to the honorary office.

In 1570, it gained territories from the suppressed Archdiocese of Nicosia and Diocese of Paphos, and in 1571 it gained more territories from the suppressed Diocese of Limassol and Diocese of Famagosta, all in former Crusader Kingdom of Cyprus, which had fallen to the Ottoman Turks.

Modern Patriarchate of Jerusalem[edit]

A resident Latin Patriarch was re-established in 1847 by Pius IX,[5] with Bishop Joseph Valerga being appointed to the office. Though officially superseding the Franciscans, Valerga was also the Grand Master of the Order. On Valerga's death in 1872, Vincent Braco was appointed, and following his death in 1889, the Ottoman Sultan authorised the re-establishment of a Latin hierarchy. The Grand Masters of the Order continued to be named as Latin Patriarchs until 1905.

Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, the Patriarchate's co-cathedral, Jerusalem

The Co-Cathedral of the Most Holy Name of Jesus is the principal, or "mother" church of the Latin Patriarchate, the church in which the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem has his official chair (cathedra).[8] However, the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre has the title of cathedral of the patriarchate. The residence of the Patriarch is in the Old City, near the Co-Cathedral, while the seminary, which is responsible for the liturgical education, is in Beit Jala, a town 10 km south of Jerusalem, where it has been since 1936.

In 1987, Michel Sabbah became the first native Palestinian to be appointed Latin Patriarch.[9] The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is now the diocesan archbishop of Latin Catholics of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jerusalem and has jurisdiction for all Latin Church Catholics in Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Cyprus.

The prerogatives of the Patriarch in his relation with government authorities overlap with the prerogatives of the Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and the Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine.

In 2008, Archbishop Fouad Twal was appointed Patriarch to succeed Patriarch Michel Sabbah.[10] He exercised his mandate from June 21, 2008, until June 24, 2016, when he reached the canonical age of retirement and Pope Francis accepted his resignation. Pope Francis appointed Pierbattista Pizzaballa as apostolic administrator of the Patriarchate and named Patriarch on 24 October 2020.

Pope Paul VI visited in January 1964, Pope John Paul II in March 2000, Pope Benedict XVI in May 2009 and Pope Francis in May 2014.

Organisation and Territory[edit]

The Patriarch is supported by bishops and non-bishop patriarchal vicars:[11]

  • Jamal Khader, Auxiliary Bishop and Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan, based in Amman[12]

Statistics and extent[edit]

As per 2015, it pastorally served 293,053 Catholics in 66 parishes with 464 priests (81 diocesan, 383 religious), 9 deacons, 1,652 lay religious (590 brothers, 1,062 sisters) and 55 seminarians.[citation needed] Since then, several parishes have been added and there are now over 70 across four areas in 2023.[14]

The proper Archdiocese of the patriarchal see of Jerusalem has jurisdiction over all Latin Catholics (not Eastern Catholics) in the Holy Land (Israel, Palestine and Jordan) as well as Cyprus. In Jerusalem, the Latin Catholic community is the largest Christian community, with some 4,500 people out of an estimated Christian population of about 11,000.[15]

Special churches[edit]

In Jerusalem, the patriarch has his Cathedral archiepiscopal see, a Minor Basilica and World Heritage Site: the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, as well as the Co-Cathedral, also a World Heritage Site: Co-Cathedral of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, and four other Minor Basilicas and World Heritage Sites: Basilica of the Agony, Basilica of St. Stephen, Dormition Abbey of the Virgin Mary and St. Anne’s Church.[citation needed]

Other cities in the archdiocese have more Minor Basilicas: Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Basilica of the Transfiguration in Mount Tabor, Carmelite Monastery of Stella Maris in Haifa and St. Cleophas Church in El Qubeibeh, and two other World Heritage Sites, both in Bethlehem : Church of St. Catherine and Church of the Nativity.[citation needed]

List of Latin Patriarchs of Jerusalem[edit]

Prior to the Great Schism, there were no separate Latin and Greek Orthodox Churches, and thus no separate patriarchs. For patriarchs of Jerusalem of the unified Church prior to the Schism, see Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem itself was lost in 1187; seat of the patriarch moved (with the kingdom in retreat) to Acre.

Acre lost in 1291; see in exile moved to Cyprus, then Rome after 1374; titular patriarchs until 1847.

The Franciscan Custodian of the Holy Land held the title from 1342 to 1830 under the Papal bull Gratiam agimus by Pope Clement VI. The bull declared the Franciscans as the official custodians of the Holy Places in the name of the Catholic Church, "unless someone was specifically appointed in the honorary office".

During the Western Schism, the patriarch was appointed by both popes resulting in overlapping appointments.

Alessio Ascalesi the Archbishop of Naples with Herbert Plumer, 1st Viscount Plumer & Luigi Barlassina the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem on the right, August 11, 1926

Restoration of resident Latin patriarchs of Jerusalem in 1847.

Latin patriarchate hierarchy re-established in 1889.

  • vacant (1905–1906)
  • vacant (24 Jun 2016 – 6 November 2020)[39]
  • Pierbattista Pizzaballa (6 November 2020 – present)
    • Auxiliary Bishop (11 March 2022 – present): Rafic Nahra, titular bishop of Verbe[12]
    • Auxiliary Bishop (11 March 2022 – present): Jamal Khader Daibes, titular bishop of Patara[12]
    • Auxiliary Bishop (9 January 2024 – present): Bruno Varriano, titular bishop of Astigi[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pope appoints Archbishop Pizzaballa Patriarch of Jerusalem.
  2. ^ National Geographic website, Educational Resources, Jul 16, 1054 CE: Great Schism
  3. ^ JStor website, The Establishment of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem by Dana Carleton Munro, published in The Sewanee Review, Vol. 32, No. 3 (Jul., 1924), pp. 258-275
  4. ^ The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem website, Latin Patriarchate
  5. ^ a b Oeuvre Orient website, The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
  6. ^ Google Books website, Merchant Adventurer Kings of Rhoda: The Lost World of the Tucson Artifacts, by Donald N. Yates, p138
  7. ^ Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem website, Franciscan Custody
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2009-05-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Catholic Herald website, ‘Why can’t we choose our own Patriarch?’, article by Jill, Duchess of Hamilton dated June 30, 2016
  10. ^ Pope Names Arch. Fouad Twal Patriarch of Jerusalem - Vatican Radio 21/6/08 Archived 2012-09-11 at archive.today
  11. ^ "Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem website, New priests' assignments in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem 2021".
  12. ^ a b c d "Rinunce e nomine". Holy See Press Office (in Italian). Holy See. 11 March 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  13. ^ a b "Resignations and Appointments". Holy See Press Office. Holy See. 9 January 2024. Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  14. ^ Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem website, List of Parishes, retrieved 2023-12-05
  15. ^ Jerusalem Post, May 8, 2009 - Depths of despair
  16. ^ a b "Arnulf of Chocques", DHI, University of Leeds
  17. ^ a b Runciman, Steven. The First Crusade. A History of the Crusades. Vol. 1. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 1951, pp. 305-307
  18. ^ Barber, Malcolm. The Crusader States, Yale University Press, 2012, no pagination ISBN 9780300189315
  19. ^ a b c d e f Fortescue, Adrian. "Jerusalem (After 1291)." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 1 October 2022 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  20. ^ Robinson, I. S., The Papacy, 1073-1198: Continuity and Innovation, Cambridge University Press, 1990, p. 357 ISBN 9780521319225
  21. ^ Barber, Malcolm. "The challenge of state building in the twelfth century", Reading Medieval Studies, XXXVI. p. 9
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa "Patriarchal See of Jerusalem" GCatholic.org. Gabriel Chow. Retrieved September 28, 2016
  23. ^ "Saint Albert of Jerusalem", Irish Province of Carmelites
  24. ^ a b c "Bishops/Patriarchs of Jerusalem", Internet History Sourcebooks Project, Fordham University
  25. ^ "Patriarch Raymond Bequin, O.P." Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved September 25, 2016
  26. ^ "Patriarch Pierre de Palude, O.P." Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved September 25, 2016
  27. ^ "Patriarch Biaggio Molino". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved September 28, 2016
  28. ^ "Patriarch Lorenzo Zanni (Zane)". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved September 28, 2016
  29. ^ Albala Pelegrin, Marta. (2017). "Humanism and Spanish Literary Patronage at the Roman Curia: The Role of the Cardinal of Santa Croce, Bernardino López de Carvajal (1456-1523)". Royal Studies Journal. 4. 10.21039/rsj.v4i2.165.
  30. ^ "Patriarch Cristoforo Spiriti". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved September 28, 2016
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h Gauchat, Patritius (Patrice). HIERARCHIA CATHOLICA MEDII ET RECENTIORIS AEVI Vol IV. p. 203. Archived from the original on 2018-10-04. Retrieved 2021-03-20.
  32. ^ Catholic-hierarchy.org: "Patriarch Fabio Biondi (Blondus de Montealto)" retrieved February 14, 2016
  33. ^ "Patriarch Alfonso Manzanedo de Quiñones". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved December 27, 2016
  34. ^ Patriarch Tegrimus Tegrimi. Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved January 4, 2017
  35. ^ Patriarch Aegidius Ursinus de Vivere. Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved December 25, 2016
  36. ^ a b c d e f g Ritzler, Remigius; Sefrin, Pirminus (1913). HIERARCHIA CATHOLICA MEDII ET RECENTIORIS AEVI Vol V. Monasterii Sumptibus et typis librariae Regensbergianae. p. 220.
  37. ^ Patriarch Muzio Gaeta (Sr.). Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved December 17, 2016
  38. ^ "Mgr Filippo Camassei – Patriarch from 1906 to 1919", Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
  39. ^ Crux Catholic Media: "Pope's potential masterstroke takes charge in the Holy Land" by John L. Allen Jr. September 22, 2016

Sources and external links[edit]