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Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is one of the Roman Catholic "patriarchs of the east". The Patriarchate of Jerusalem is the oldest of Eastern Catholic Patriarchates, and the only one that still follows the Latin Rite.

In 1054, the Great Schism separated the Christian Church. The Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and the other three Eastern Patriarchs formed the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Patriarch of Rome formed the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1099 Jerusalem was captured by Crusaders, inaugurating the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which endured almost 200 years. A Roman Catholic hierarchy was established in the Kingdom under a Latin Patriarch. With the destruction of the Kingdom in 1291 the Latin Patriarchate was no longer needed, however the church continued to appoint honorary Patriarchs who were based at St. Lawrence outside the Walls Basilica in Rome after 1374.

In 1889, the Ottoman Empire allowed the Catholic Church to re-establish its hierarchy in Palestine. The Patriarch of Jerusalem is now the leader of Roman Catholics in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Most Roman Catholics in this region are Palestinian Christians. The current Patriarch is Michel Sabah , the first Palestinian to hold the post. The residency of the Patriarchate is in the Old Town of Jerusalem, while the Seminary, which is responsible for the liturgical education, was moved to Beit Jala, a town 10 km south of Jerusalem, in 1936.


Ecclesiastical hierarchy of the Crusader patriarchate

Patriarch of Jerusalem

During the existence of the Latin Kingdom, the Patriarchate was divided into four archbishoprics - Tyre, Caesarea, Nazareth, and Petra - and a number of bishoprics. The Patriarch controlled one quarter of the city of Jerusalem (the Holy Sepulchre and the immediate surroundings), and had a number of direct suffragans:

  • bishop of Lydda and Ramla (also known as the bishop of St. George)
  • bishop of Bethlehem
  • bishop of Hebron
  • bishop of Gaza
  • abbot of the Temple
  • abbot of Mount Zion
  • abbot of the Mount of Olives

Archbishop of Tyre

Prior to the crusades, the archbishop of Tyre had traditionally been under the control of the patriarch of Antioch, but Tyre was part of the Kingdom of Jerusalem rather than the Principality of Antioch so it was claimed by the patriarch of Jerusalem. This see holds control of the Diocese of Phoenicia. The most notable archbishop of Tyre was the historian William of Tyre who served from 1175-1186. Traditionally the Patriarch would have first served as the archbishop of Tyre or Caesarea. The archbishopric included a number of suffragan bishops:

  • bishop of Beirut
  • bishop of Sidon
  • bishop of Banyas
  • bishop of Acre

A notable bishop of Acre was the chronicler Jacques de Vitry.

Archbishop of Caesarea

As above, the Patriarch of Jerusalem might first have served as archbishop of Caesarea - such is the case with Patriarch Heraclius (1180-1191). The bishops controls the diocese of Palaestrina. Suffragans included:

  • bishop of Sebaste

Archbishop of Nazareth

The archbishopric of Nazareth was located in Beisan until 1109 and holds the diocese of Palaestrina II. Suffragans included:

  • bishop of Tiberias
  • abbot of Mount Tabor

Archbishop of Petra

This archbishopric served the diocese of Palaestrina III; the Oultrejordain area, and traditionally included St. Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai, although Crusader influence rarely extended that far.

List of Latin Patriarchs of Jerusalem

(Jerusalem lost in 1187; seat of the Patriarch moved to Acre)

(Acre lost in 1291; moved to Cyprus then Rome after 1374; only honorary patriarchs until 1847)

(Restoration of patriarchal residence in Jerusalem in 1847)

(Latin patriarchate hierarchy re-established in 1889)

List of Archbishops of Tyre

List of Archbishops of Caesarea

List of Archbishops of Nazareth

List of Archbishops of Petra

  • Guerric (1168-?)
  • no other archbishops are known by name

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45