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Pope Francis recovers the title “Patriarch of the West”

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Credit: Rome Reports

Pope Francis reinstated the title “Patriarch of the West” for the first time since 2006 as an ecumenical gesture to the Orthodox Church.

In 2006, the then Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity explained it was a difficult title to use today since the West is no longer defined by the borders of the Roman Empire.

Culturally, the West could apply as far as New Zealand, which is counterintuitive, since for ancient Rome, it was the easternmost part of the world.

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In the Orthodox Church, the pope is seen as just one more among the patriarchs, rather than a superior figurehead.

The Rome advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople explains that the pope is insistent about the importance of synodality and knows that to make important decisions again, we must be united.

The Orthodox Church has expressed its appreciation for the pope’s gestures over the years: from introducing himself as Bishop of Rome rather than pope upon his election to reviving this historic title of patriarch.

The new edition of the Vatican Yearbook lists the papal titles, names and duties of the curial staff.


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