Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
|Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople|
Seal of the incumbent patriarch, Bartholomew I
|Independence||330 AD from the
|Primate||Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
|Territory||Constantinople, most of Turkey,
|Members||~3,800,000 in Greece, ~1,500,000 in diaspora|
|Bishops||125 (73 acting, 52 titular)|
|Parishes||525 in United States,  326 in Canada, 117 in Australia, 6 in Turkey,|
|Monastics||~1,800 (Mt. Athos)|
|Monasteries||20 (U.S),  32 (Mt. Athos), 8 (Australia), 6 (Meteora)|
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (
Because of its historical location at the
The Ecumenical Patriarchate promotes the expansion of the Christian faith and the Orthodox doctrine, and the Ecumenical Patriarchs are involved in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, charitable work, and the defense of Orthodox Christian traditions. Prominent issues in the Ecumenical Patriarchate's policy in the 21st century include the safety of the believers in the
Christianity in Byzantium existed from the 1st century, but it was in the year 330 that the
Prior to the moving of the imperial capital, the bishop of Byzantium had been under the authority of the
Because of the importance of the position of Constantinople's church at the center of the Roman Empire, affairs involving the various churches outside Constantinople's direct authority came to be discussed in the capital, particularly where the intervention of the emperor was desired. The patriarch naturally became a liaison between the emperor and bishops traveling to the capital, thus establishing the position of the patriarch as one involving the unity of the whole Church, particularly in the East.
In turn, the affairs of the Constantinopolitan church were overseen not just by the patriarch, but also by
The patriarch thus came to have the title of Ecumenical, which referenced not a universal episcopacy over other bishops, but rather the position of the patriarch as at the center of the oikoumeni, the "household" of the empire.
As the Roman Empire stabilized and grew, so did the influence of the patriarchate at its capital. This influence came to be enshrined in Orthodox
In its disputed 28th Canon, the
In any case, for almost a thousand years the Patriarch of Constantinople presided over the church in the
The Ecumenical Patriarchate came to be called the "Great Church of Christ" and it was the touchstone and reference point for ecclesiastical affairs in the East, whether in terms of church government, relations with the state, or liturgical matters.
In history and in canonical literature (i.e. the Church's canons and traditional commentaries on them), the Ecumenical Patriarchate has been granted certain prerogatives (presbeia) which other autocephalous Orthodox churches do not have. Not all of these prerogatives are today universally acknowledged, though all do have precedents in history and canonical references. The following is a (non-exhaustive) list of these prerogatives and their reference points: