- the pope as patriarch of the West.
- any of certain bishops of the Eastern rites, as a head of an Eastern rite or a bishop of one of the ancient sees.
- the head of a Uniate church.
Origin of patriarch
- a title given to the pope
- a title given to a number of bishops, esp of the Uniat Churches, indicating their rank as immediately below that of the pope
Word Origin for patriarch
late 12c., from Old French patriarche "one of the Old Testament fathers" (11c.) and directly from Late Latin patriarcha (Tertullian), from Greek patriarkhes "chief or head of a family," from patria "family, clan," from pater "father" (see father (n.)) + arkhein "to rule" (see archon). Also used as an honorific title of certain bishops in the early Church, notably those of Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome.