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Pentarchy
(304 words)

“Pentarchy” (lit. “the rule of five”) denotes the widespread theory in the Greek East that the five patriarchs of Rome, Constantinople (Byzantium), Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem are jointly responsible for oversight of the church (Church Government). These patriarchs occupy the seats that were given a special preeminence by the ecumenical councils of the fourth and fifth centuries.

The theory is first found in the laws of Emperor Justinian (527–65). It was given fuller theological development by the theologians of the eighth and ninth centuries …

Cite this page
Plank, Peter, “Pentarchy”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 30 October 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_P.62>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512



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