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The Patriarchate of Alexandria

Pope Parthenios III, who was in office from 1987 until his death in 1996, was a strong exponent of the ecumenical movement and was one of the Presidents of the World Council of Churches at the time of his death. Pope Petros VII, who succeded him at the age of 47, reaffirmed his church’s participation in the WCC and the African Council of Churches at his enthronement. Petros also pledged to reorganize the administrative structure of the Patriarchate, to pay special attention to the mission in black Africa, to reopen the Patriarchal Institute of Eastern Studies in Alexandria, and to revive the patriarchal review, Analecta.

Patriarch Petros VII died tragically at age 55 in a helicopter crash off the coast of Mount Athos, Greece, on September 11, 2004. On October 9, the Holy Synod unanimously elected Metropolitan Theodoros of Zimbabwe to succeed him. The new patriarch, who was born in Crete, had served as Metropolitan of Cameroon from 1997 until his transfer to Zimbabwe in 2002.

The Patriarchate is governed on the basis of a series of regulations that were originally adopted at the end of the 19th century. It established a synodal system of administration in contrast to the previous governance by the Patriarch alone, and provided that the Patriarch should be elected by both clergy and laity. The Holy Synod, which is made up of at least seven metropolitans, must meet at least once a year, but ordinarily gathers every six months.

Through the efforts of Archbishop Makarios III of Cyprus, a seminary was opened in Nairobi in 1981. Originally named after Makarios, it was renamed the Orthodox Patriarchal School in 1998. It trains priests and catechists for all of Africa. There are two Greek religious communities and two for ethnic Arabs. The total membership of the Patriarchate is composed of approximately 100,000 black Africans and 150,000 others, mostly ethnic Greeks.

Location: Egypt, the rest of Africa
Head: Patriarch Theodoros II (born 1954, elected 2004)
Title: Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa
Residence: Alexandria, Egypt
Membership: 250,000

Last Modified: 05 Nov 2012

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Tags: Africa Maronite Church Patriarchate of Alexandria