American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A man who rules a family, clan, or tribe.
- n. Bible One of the antediluvian progenitors of the human race, from Adam to Noah.
- n. Bible Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or any of Jacob's 12 sons, the eponymous progenitors of the 12 tribes of Israel.
- n. Used formerly as a title for the bishops of Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria.
- n. Roman Catholic Church A bishop who holds the highest episcopal rank after the pope.
- n. Eastern Orthodox Church Any one of the bishops of the sees of Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, Moscow, and Jerusalem who has authority over other bishops.
- n. Judaism The head of the Sanhedrin in Syrian Palestine from about 180 B.C. to A.D. 429.
- n. Mormon Church A high dignitary of the priesthood empowered to invoke blessings.
- n. One who is regarded as the founder or original head of an enterprise, organization, or tradition.
- n. A very old, venerable man; an elder.
- n. The oldest member of a group: the patriarch of the herd.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The father and ruler of a family; one who governs by paternal right; specifically, one of the progenitors of the Israelites—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the sons of Jacob; also, one of those Biblical personages who were heads of families before the deluge: the latter are termed antediluvian patriarchs.
- n. Hence In subsequent Jewish history, one of the heads of the Sanhedrim after the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion, the patriarch of the Western Jews residing in Palestine, that of the Eastern in Babylon.
- n. In the early church, and in the Orthodox Greek and other Oriental churches, a bishop of the highest rank; in the Roman Catholic Church, a bishop of the highest rank next after the Pope. In the early church the highest dignity, which came in time to be designated as that of patriarch, belonged from time immemorial, and as was believed from apostolic days, to the bishops of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch—these three sees ranking as to dignity, precedence, and privileges in the order named. The Council of Constantinople (a. d. 381)gave the bishop of that see prerogatives of rank next after Rome, and the Council of Chalcedon (451) confirmed this, decreeing that this canon conferred an equality of prerogatives with Rome, still leaving the latter see, however, a higher rank. Since that time Constantinople has always stood at the head of the orthodox Oriental sees, and since the sixth century its bishop has borne the title of ecumenical patriarch. The patriarchal dignity of Jerusalem was not recognized till the Council of Chalcedon. Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem still remain the four great patriarchates of the orthodox Eastern Church. In 1582 Moscow was made a patriarchate, ranking next after these, but since 1721 the place of patriarch of Moscow has been represented by the Holy Governing Synod. Besides the orthodox Oriental patriarchs, there are others, representing the Armenian, Jacobite, Coptic, and other Oriental churches, and also Latin or Roman Catholic titular patriarchs of the same sees. In the Roman Catholic Church the Pope is regarded as having in his papal capacity a rank superior to his rank as patriarch, and the cardinals also take precedence of patriarchs. There are also three minor patriarchs in the Roman Catholic Church—of the Indies, of Lisbon, and of Venice. The title of patriarch seems to have first come into use in the Christian church in imitation of a similar title given to the head of a Jewish patria, or group of communities. In general usage it was apparently first given, without definite limitation, to senior bishops or bishops of special eminence. The bishops of the great patriarchal sees were at first called
archbishops(in the older sense of that title). From the fourth century the title of patriarch came to be commonly applied to the bishops of the patriarchal sees, and is so used in imperial laws of the sixth century. It was not, however, till the ninth century that it became strictly limited to these. Exarchs, metropolitans, and archbishops rank next after patriarchs. See catholicos.
- n. One of the highest dignitaries in the Mormon Church, who pronounces the blessing of the church. Also called evangelist.
- n. A venerable old man; hence, figuratively, any object of patriarchal or venerable aspect.
- n. An old leader of a village or community.
- n. The male head of a tribal line or family.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The father and ruler of a family; one who governs his family or descendants by paternal right; -- usually applied to heads of families in ancient history, especially in Biblical and Jewish history to those who lived before the time of Moses.
- n. (R. C. Ch. & Gr. Ch.) A dignitary superior to the order of archbishops.
- n. A venerable old man; an elder. Also used figuratively.
- n. the male head of family or tribe
- n. a man who is older and higher in rank than yourself
- n. any of the early biblical characters regarded as fathers of the human race
- n. title for the heads of the Eastern Orthodox Churches (in Istanbul and Alexandria and Moscow and Jerusalem)
- Old English patriarcha, from Late Latin patriarcha; later reinforced by Old French patriarche, from Byzantine Greek πατριάρχης ("the founder of the tribe/family"), from Ancient Greek πατριά ("generation, ancestry, descent, tribe, family") + -αρχης ("-arch"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English patriarche, from Old French, from Late Latin patriarcha, from Greek patriarkhēs : patriā, lineage (from patēr, patr-, father) + -arkhēs, -arch. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The first of these Jacobite bishops (they did not take the title patriarch) of”
“Katholikos of Echmiadzin gave the Armenian Bishop of Jerusalem the right to consecrate chrism; thereupon the bishop assumed the title patriarch and began ordaining bishops.”
“The head of the Cypriot Church has never had the title patriarch, but only that of Archbishop.”
“Their prayers and sermons excited the people against the impious Barbarians; and the patriarch is accused of declaring, that the faithful might obtain the redemption of all their sins by the extirpation of the schismatics.”
“By subtracting the year of birth of one patriarch from the year of death of another patriarch, we can see that the second was still living when the first was born.”
“Taste's — "Noah the patriarch is said to be the inventor of wine; it is a liquor made from the fruit of the vine" 3 — whose banality and insufficiency he proceeds to devote several paragraphs to mocking:”
“Testament patriarch is replaced in Paër by the father as a forgiving Christ-figure, a shepherd seeking his lost lambs, not a vengeful diety.”
“Ont he way in we called the patriarch and told he we would be late.”
“The word patriarch as applied to Biblical personages comes from the”
“Isaac gave up the ghost -- The death of this venerable patriarch is here recorded by anticipation for it did not take place till fifteen years after Joseph's disappearance.”
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