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Catholic Dictionary




The territory ruled ecclesiastically by a patriarch. Rome, Alexandria, Antioch were the first to enjoy patriarchal rights. The Pope as patriarch of the West holds jurisdiction over all the western lands where Latin was once the professional and liturgical language, where the Roman Rite is now used almost exclusively and Roman canon law still obtains. In the East the patriarchates have become organizations of Catholics observing different rites. The original Eastern patriarchates are now represented by a loose federation of Churches differing in liturgies and customs but united in faith, morals, and communion with the Holy See.