Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

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Emblem of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I.svg
Modern burial place of the Ecumenical Patriarchs, Istanbul, Balıklı Meryem Ana Rum Manastiri

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople Opel ( Greek Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο Κωνσταντινουπόλεως Oikoumenikó Patriarcheío Konstantinoupoleos , Turkish İstanbul Rum Ortodoks Patrikhanesi , even Church of Constantinople Opel ) is an autocephalous Orthodox Church . Its head is the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople , currently Bartholomew I , who, as primus inter pares, is head of around 350 million Orthodox Christians. The George's Cathedral in the Phanar in Istanbul is the seat of the Patriarch. Until Constantinople was conquered by the Turks in 1453, Hagia Sophia was the cathedral of the patriarchate for centuries .


The apostle Andrew is considered to be the founder of the Church of Byzantium. Metrophanes (325–326) is named as the first archbishop . Emperor Constantine the Great promoted Christianity and made Byzantium the second capital of the Roman Empire, which from then on was referred to as the "new Rome" and Constantinople. At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the revision of the first Council of Constantinople (381) confirmed the position of Constantinople as the “new Rome” and gave the Patriarch of Constantinople not only jurisdiction over important archdioceses such as Pontus , Asia and Thrace , but also the 381, Rome's priority over Constantinople was eliminated. The great oriental schism in 1054 meant the formal separation of the Latin Church of the West from the Greek Church of the East. Pope Leo IX in Rome as the Patriarch of the Latin West and West and the Patriarch of Constantinople Michael I as the spiritual leader of the Greek East and the East excommunicated one another. From 1204 ( Fourth Crusade ) until the reconquest of Constantinople in 1261, the patriarch was in exile. After the conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed II in 1453, the Patriarch of Constantinople remained head of all Orthodox communities. Because of the enforced connection of the patriarch with the Ottoman-Turkish state authority, the churches of the peoples also broke away from the organizational unity with the patriarchate in the independence movements of the individual peoples.

Between 1914 and 1923 most Greeks had to leave the new Turkey because of the persecution of the Greeks in the Ottoman Empire . Patriarch Constantine VI. (1924 to 1925) was expelled from the country by the Turkish authorities, although the Patriarchate's retention at its traditional seat in Phanar was secured under international law by the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) between the victorious powers of the First World War and Turkey . Greece brought the expulsion of Constantine VI. through Turkey before the League of Nations and the International Court of Justice. The dispute was settled by persuading the Patriarch to abdicate, but the Turkish Republic recognized the Patriarchate of Constantinople as a religious institution of the Greek minority living on its territory.

Constantine VI followed Vasilios III. (1925-1929), Photios II. (1929-1935), Benjamin I. (1936-1946) and Maximos V. (1946-1948). Athinagoras took office as Ecumenical Patriarch on January 26, 1948. After the pogrom of Istanbul in 1955 and the expulsion of Greek citizens permanently living in Istanbul in 1964, almost the entire remaining Orthodox population was expelled from the city. Of the 110,000 or so Greeks, only around 2,500 stayed in Istanbul.

On January 5th and 6th 1964 there was a meeting in Jerusalem between the Patriarch Athinagoras and Pope Paul VI. One of the most important gestures of the meeting was that the Pope Athinagoras the head relic of the Apostle returned Andreas, previously one of the four major relics in the four pillars of St. Peter's Basilica had been and the Crusaders in 1204 Konstantin Opel had stolen. On July 25, 1967, Pope Paul VI visited the Ecumenical Patriarch who returned this visit on October 28, 1967. As a result of these meetings, the Roman Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, representing the Orthodox Churches , deleted the mutual excommunications from the year 1054 from the Church's memory.

Relations with the Turkish state remained difficult. The only remaining Greek Orthodox seminary in Turkey on the Prince Island of Heybelıada ( Greek Chalki ) in the Sea of ​​Marmara was closed by the state in 1971 when Turkey nationalized all private universities. After the death of Patriarch Athinagoras, the Turkish government vetoed the election of the Metropolitan Meliton of Chalcedon (previously "of Helioupolis"). Thereupon the Holy Synod elected the Metropolitan Demetrius I as Ecumenical Patriarch in July 1972 . Bartholomäus I has held the office since 1991 .

In August 2011, the Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan decided by decree to return property and sacred buildings that had been confiscated in the past to the Christian minorities in Turkey . The Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomäus I, and representatives of the European Union responded positively and praised the decision as reparation for earlier injustices. The return of the confiscated real estate is a requirement of the EU in Turkey's accession negotiations with the European Union .

In 2018, the competing churches in Ukraine, against the resistance of the Moscow Patriarchate, were subordinated to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople (Istanbul) with the aim of uniting them into one autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine . The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church then announced on October 15, 2018 that it would unilaterally break off the fellowship with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.


The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople includes six archdioceses, 18 other metropolises and eight particular churches on all continents.


The largest dioceses are located on Crete , the Dodecanese archipelago and in the monastic republic of Athos in Greece. The dioceses in the so-called "new countries" (Northern Greece and Eastern Aegean) nominally belong to the patriarchate, but are administered by the Church of Greece . In prayer, however, they continue to commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch, not the Archbishop of Athens. In Istanbul (former Constantinople) and the surrounding area there are only a few parishioners left.

  1. Archdiocese of Constantinople
    1. Metropolis of Chalcedon
    2. Metropolis of Imbros and Tenedos
    3. Metropolis of the Prince Islands
    4. Metropolis of Derkos
  2. Archdiocese of Crete
    1. Metropolis of Gortyna and Arkadia
    2. Metropolis of Rethymno and Avlopotamos
    3. Metropolis of Kydonia and Apokoronos
    4. Metropolis of Lampi , Syvritus and Sfakia
    5. Metropolis of Ierapetra and Sitia
    6. Metropolis of Petra and Chersonisos
    7. Metropolis of Kissamos and Selinos
    8. Metropolis of Arkalohorion , Kastelli and Viannos
  3. Archdiocese of Thyateira and Britain
  4. Archdiocese of America
    1. Archdiocese of New York City
    2. Chicago metropolitan area
    3. Metropolitan Area of New Jersey
    4. Atlanta metropolitan area
    5. Denver Metropolitan Area
    6. Pittsburgh metropolitan area
    7. Metropolis of boston
    8. Metropolis of Detroit
    9. Metropolitan Area of San Francisco
  5. Archdiocese of Australia
  6. Archdiocese of Italy and Malta


Autonomous particular churches

Autonomous churches within the patriarchate are

Other particular churches

See also


  • Samim Akgönül: Le Patriarcat grec orthodoxe: de l'isolement à l'internationalisation de 1923 à nos jours . Ed .: Institut français d'études anatoliennes. Maisonneuve & Larose, Paris 2004, ISBN 2-7068-1807-7 .
  • Lina Murr Nehmé: 1453: Mahomet II impose le schisme orthodoxe . François-Xavier de Guibert, Paris 2003, ISBN 2-86839-816-2 .
  • Alban Doudele: Les Orthodoxes grecs . Brepols, Brussels 1996, ISBN 2-503-50467-1 .
  • Jean-Pierre Valognes: Vie et mort des chrétiens d'Orient: des origines à nos jours . Fayard, Paris 1994, ISBN 2-213-03064-2 .
  • Lora Gerd: Russian Policy in the Orthodox East: The Patriarchate of Constantinople (1878-1914) . De Gruyter Open Ltd, Warsaw / Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-83-7656-032-8 .

Web links

Commons : Patriarchate of Constantinople  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Biographies of Bartholomew I. In:, accessed on May 1, 2016 .
  2. Axel Bayer: Division of Christianity: the so-called Oriental Schism of 1054 . Ed .: Archive for Art History. 2nd Edition. No. 53 . Böhlau, Cologne / Weimar / Vienna 2004, ISBN 3-412-03202-6 .
  3. Patriarch Constantine VI. buried in Istanbul after 86 years ( memento from January 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  4. Human Rights Watch (ed.): The Turks of Western Thrace . tape 11 , no. 1 , 1999, p. 2 ( [accessed May 1, 2016]).
  5. The Greek Orthodox seminary on the island of Chalki has been closed for decades. Maybe not much longer: the last monks of Istanbul. In: Berliner Zeitung, September 25, 2008, accessed on May 1, 2016 .
  6. Current News - Home Abroad Economy Culture Sport. In: August 30, 2011, archived from the original on February 13, 2012 ; accessed on May 1, 2016 .
  7. Ukrainian Orthodox Church before independence. In: October 12, 2018, accessed November 13, 2018 .
  8. Jump up ↑ Die Welt : The Russian Church breaks with Constantinople , October 15, 2018.
  9. ^ Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain

Coordinates: 41 ° 1 ′ 45 ″  N , 28 ° 57 ′ 6 ″  E