The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

Ecumenical See:

Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey.

Ecumenical Patriarch:

His All Holiness, Bartholomeos the 1st, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch.

Brief History:

The Ecumenical Patriarchate or the Great Church of Christ is one of the most ancient centres of the Christian Church. It was founded as "the Church of Byzantium" by Saint Andrew the Apostle (c. 36 AD).

The ancient city of Byzantium was later made (331 AD) the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire by Constantine the Great (306-337 AD) under the official name of New Rome, but it is now known as Constantinople. By the virtue of its position as the "Queen of Cities" and the capital of the Byzantine Empire it became a very important jurisdiction of the Christian world.

The Second Ecumenical Council (381 AD) recognised the See of Constantinople as a Patriarchate, while the Fourth Council (451 AD) recognised it as the first See of the East and second only to Rome.

In the year 595 the Patriarch of Constantinople was recognised as the Ecumenical Patriarch and his See as the "Universal See".

After the Great Schism in 1054 the Ecumenical Patriarchate emerged as the world centre of the Orthodox Church and the Patriarch was recognised by the Orthodox leaders as Primus inter Pares, "First among Equals".

Saint Andrew the Apostle is considered to be the first occupant of the Throne of Constantinople, whilst its present successor, Patriarch Bartholomeos the lst, is the 270th occupant of the Ecumenical Throne.

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