Friday, March 10, 2006

The Patriarch of Canterbury

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In light of current discussion in the Anglican Communion about an increase in the significance of the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury, here is an interesting historical curiosity I ran across in section four of this article from the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia:

"At various times other Western bishops have been called patriarchs. In the Middle Ages those of Lyons, Bourges, Canterbury, Toledo, Pisa were occasionally so called. But there was never any legal claim to these merely complimentary titles."

As best I can figure, the title might be connected with the new title "Primate of All England" and the bestowal of jurisdiction over the Province of York by Pope Innocent VI. If anyone knows more details about the "Patriarch of Canterbury," please share. Also, here is a nice little article (though dated) arguing for the establishment of a Patriarchate of Canterbury as a natural development.

1 comment:

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

I have since learned that Ecumenical Patriarch Athenogoras, in his corresponence with Archbishop Ramsey, would always address him as the "Patriarch" of Canterbury.