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Orthodox Churches

Comunità ecclesiastiche anglican
 The Orthodox Churches (Byzantine)
Patriarchate of Alexandria
Patriarchate of Antioch
Patriarchate of Jerusalem
St Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai
Information from the Dossier published by the catholic Bishops' Conference of France (CEF)

These comprise the Christians (Arabs) of the Patriarchates of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem faithful to the Council of Chalcedon (451). These Patriarchates are the main Christian group in Jordan and in Syria, and they are to be found also in Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Territories as well as in Kuwait.

1) Patriarchate of Alexandria
The Christians of the Patriarchate of Alexandria are known as Melkites, in reference to the loyalty of the Patriarch to the Byzantine emperor (from the Syrian word for "king": Malkâ). The Patriarch used to reside in Istanbul, from 1517 (Turkish conquest of Egypt) until the 19th Century. Today, this community comprises mainly the descendants of Greek Orthodox from the Middle East having emigrated to Egypt during the 19th Century. Since 1930, this Church has grown considerably in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the main body of her faithful is to be found. This Church has 19 archdioceses and 5 Provincial dioceses, with only 4 of them in Egypt.

  • Population (in 2003): 250 thousand
  • Patriarch of Alexandria and of all Africa (See: Alexandria, Egypt): Theodoros II (b. 1954, elected in 2004)

2) Patriarchate of Antioch
The See of the Patriarch was transferred to Damascus after the destruction of Antioch by the Mongols in 1322. The Church leaders, mainly Greek from the 8th to the 19th Century, have undergone a process of Arabisation as from the 20th Century. This community is largely present in Diaspora

  • Population (in 2003): 1.2 million, in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, United States, Canada, Australia, Western Europe (notably in France).
  • Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and of all the East (See: Damascus, Syria): Ignace IV Hazim (b. 1920, elected in 1979)

3) Patriarchate of Jerusalem
This Patriarchate was established in 451. The high clergy is mostly Greek, while the faithful are Arab speaking (Palestinians and Jordanians).

  • Population (in 2003): 260 thousand (Palestine and Jordan)
  • Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem (See: Jerusalem): Theophilos III (b. 1952, elected in 2005)

To these three Patriarchates, one must add around 6 million Greek Orthodox (Arabs) coming from Arab countries and living in Diaspora (mainly United States, Canada, Australia and Europe).

4) St Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai
Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai, built during the Byzantine epoch where Moses was supposed to have received the Tables of the Law, is considered as from 1575 as an autocephalous Orthodox Church. The Abbot, elected by the monks, is consecrated Archbishop by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Some Bedouin families of Mount Sinai are also dependent of the Monastery.

  • Abbot of St Catherine's Monastery, Archbishop of Sinai, Pharan and Raithu (See: St Catherine's Monastery, Egypt): Archbishop Damianos (b. 1935, elected in 1973)
  • Population (in 2003): 900 (including some 20 monks)

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