Originally a patriarch is a man who exercises autocratic authority over an extended family. See patriarchy.

The word has also taken on other meanings. In particular, the highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy and in the eastern rites of the Roman Catholic Church are called patriarchs. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are referred to as the three patriarchs of Judaism.

Current Patriarchs in the Catholic Church:

Historical Patriarchs in the Catholic Church:
  • The Latin Patriarch of Constantinople
  • The Latin Patriarch of Alexandria
  • The Latin Patriarch of Antioch
  • The Patriarch of the West Indies
  • The Patriarch of the East Indies

Current Patriarchs in the Orthodox Church: Current Patriarchs in Oriental Orthodox Churches