Pope Francis has officially reinstated the title “Patriarch of the West” in the Vatican’s Annuario Pontificio, marking its return after it was discontinued in 2006 by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.

This title is included in the 2024 edition of the Vatican yearbook, a publication that lists official papal titles among other ecclesiastical information.

The decision to bring back the title was not announced in advance by the Vatican. However, it was reported that Pope Francis had informed Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople about this change.

In the Annuario Pontificio, the “Patriarch of the West” title now appears after “Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church,” as part of a list that has historically included titles like “Vicar of Jesus Christ” and “Servant of the Servants of God.”

The Vatican press office, as of April 11th, has not provided an explanation for the addition of the title in the yearbook.

The restoration of the title has been interpreted as a gesture of ecumenical dialogue, especially with the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

“Patriarch of the West” was a title first used in 642 by Pope Theodore I. The title recalls the pentarchy, where the ancient seats of Christianity (Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem) shared a bond through the Apostolic Tradition.

Editorial credit: AM113 / Shutterstock.com
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