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Title applied to Old Testament leaders such as Methuselah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was once given also to some Roman Catholic bishops who wielded great authority. It is still used in Eastern Orthodoxy, which now has nine patriarchates: Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Moscow, Georgia, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on patriarch, visit Britannica.com.