- See Patriarchs (Bible) for details about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible.
Originally a patriarch is a man who exercises autocratic authority over an extended family. The office of patriarch is called patriarchate.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are referred to as the three patriarchs of Judaism, and the period in which they lived is called the Patriarchal Age.
The word has also taken on other meanings. In particular, the highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Assyrian Church of the East are called patriarchs.
In Mormonism, a patriarch is one who has been ordained to the office of Patriarch in the Melchizedek Priesthood. The term is considered synonymous with the term evangelist. One of the patriarch's primary responsibilities is to give Patriarchal blessings, as Jacob did to his twelve sons in the Old Testament. In the main branch of Mormonism, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Patriarchs are typically assigned in each stake and hold the title for life.
Current Patriarchs in the Roman Catholic Church:
Historical Patriarchs in the Roman Catholic Church, suppressed in 1964:
Current Patriarchs in the Eastern Orthodox Communion in order of precedence:
Current Patriarchs in Oriental Orthodox Churches:
Patriarchs in Nestorian Churches: