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Alexandria, Patriarchate of

Matthew J. Pereira

Subject History » Religious History
Religion » Christianity

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405185394.2011.x


The patriarchate of Alexandria flourished as one of the premier centers of Eastern Christian intellectual, ecclesial, and political life until the middle of the 7th century. Initially, the patriarchate of Alexandria was ranked second to Rome in ecclesial priority. In 381 the third canon of the Second Ecumenical Council declared that the patriarchate of Constantinople would henceforth rank higher than Alexandria and thus it assumed precedence in the whole East, a state of affairs initially resisted in Egypt. In 451 the 28th canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council reaffirmed the priority of the patriarchate of Constantinople over that of Alexandria. Despite being overshadowed by the sees of Rome and Constantinople, the patriarchate of Alexandria undoubtedly set the foundational framework and trajectory for Christian theology. For example, the Logos theologians of Alexandria, most notably Clement (ca. 150–215) and Origen (ca. 185-ca. 251), significantly shaped future patristic reflections upon the person and nature of Jesus Christ. Also, Alexandrian hierarchs such as St. Athanasius of Alexandria (ca. 293–373) and St. Cyril of Alexandria (ca. 378–444) advanced what would become the classical Orthodox expression of the mystery of the incarnate Lord. Within the Roman Empire, theological and political allegiances often aligned together in ways that could either strengthen or weaken any ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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