Melkite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch

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Patriarch Youssef Absi
Coat of arms of the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch
Coat of arms
Youssef Absi
elected June 21, 2017
HeadquartersDormition, Damascus, Syria
First holderCyril VI Tanas
DenominationEastern Catholic
Established1724 (Current Form)
CathedralCathedral of Our Lady of the Dormition
Bishops emeritusGregory III Laham

The Melkite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch is the only actual residential Patriarchate of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church (Eastern Catholic, Byzantine Rite). It was formed in 1724 when a portion of the Orthodox Church of Antioch went into communion with Rome, becoming an Eastern Catholic Church, while the rest of the ancient Patriarchate continues in full communion with the rest of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch's present complete title is Patriarch of Antioch and of All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, incorporating both of the church's other titular patriarchates.[1]

Its archiepiscopal see is the Cathedral of the Dormition of Our Lady (Arabic: كاتدرائية سيدة النياح للروم الملكيين في دمشق ) in Damascus, Syria. It was visited by Pope John Paul II in 2001.[2]

The Melkite Greek Catholic Church claims to be one of five churches that are continuations of the original See of Antioch. Thus, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church believes it traces its existence all the way back to Saint Peter in a line of apostolic succession acknowledged by both Catholic and Orthodox canons. This claim is accepted by the Holy See and is not disputed by the other two Eastern Catholic Churches that also claim descent from the ancient See of Antioch, namely the Maronite Church[3] and the Syriac Catholic Church,[4] which both also have Patriarchs of Antioch.

Proper province and archdiocese[edit]

The Patriarch also holds the office of Metropolitan of an empty Ecclesiastical province without an actual suffragan see, actually comprising only his proper Metropolitan Archeparchy of Damascus (of the Melkites)/ Damasco (Curiate Italian) / Dimašq / Aš-Šām / Damascen(us) Græcorum Melkitarum (Latin). Like the Patriarchate, in Rome it depends only upon the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

During a vacancy in the Patriarchate (such as following the resignation of Gregory III Laham in 2017), the bishop of the permanent synod who is most senior by ordination serves as administrator in chief of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

As per 2014, it pastorally served 3,000 Catholics in 8 parishes and 1 mission with 9 priests (6 diocesan, 3 religious), 3 deacons, 33 lay religious (3 brothers, 30 sisters) and 10 seminarians.

Titular Patriarchates of Alexandria and of Jerusalem[edit]

In continuation of the earlier Melkite patriarchates of those ancient sees, two titular patriarchates exist, which are however simply titles, vested in the residential Patriarch of Antioch, which also have Catholic residential counterparts:

List of Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchs of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem[edit]

Auxiliary Episcopate of the See of Antioch[edit]

  • Auxiliary Bishop: François Abou Mokh, B.S. (1996 – 1998.07.27)
  • Auxiliary Bishop: Isidore Battikha, B.A. (66) (1992.08.25 – 2006.02.09)
  • Auxiliary Bishop: Jean Mansour, M.S.P. (1980.08.19 – 1997)
  • Auxiliary Bishop: François Abou Mokh, B.S. (1978.02.07 – 1992)
  • Auxiliary Bishop: Élias Nijmé, B.A. (1971.08.16 – 1978.02.07)
  • Auxiliary Bishop: Saba Youakim, B.S. (1968.09.09 – 1970.10.15)
  • Auxiliary Bishop: Nicolas Hajj (1965.07.30 – 1984.11.03)
  • Auxiliary Bishop: Néophytos Edelby, Basilian Aleppian Order (B.A.) (1961.12.24 – 1968.03.06)
  • Auxiliary Bishop: Pierre Kamel Medawar, Society of Missionaries of Saint Paul (M.S.P.) (1943.03.13 – 1969)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Melkite :: Patriarch".
  2. ^ "Pope John Paul II in Greece, Syria, and Malta (4-9 May 2001) | EWTN". EWTN Global Catholic Television Network.
  3. ^ "The Maronites First Patriarch". January 30, 2009. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009.
  4. ^ The Syriac Catholic Church: History Archived 2008-06-03 at the Wayback Machine

Sources and external links[edit]