The Church of Antioch was established by the Apostles Paul and Barnabas in 42 A.D., with St. Peter serving for the next eight years as its first prelate. The Church of Antioch is one of the five ancient Patriarchates of the Christian Church, along with Alexandria, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Rome. We are in full communion with our brothers and sisters in various other Orthodox Christian jurisdictions, such as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Orthodox Church in America. Together we work to nurture the Orthodox Christians of this land—whether immigrants or native-born, cradle Orthodox, or converts—and to bring America to the ancient Orthodox Christian Faith.
Today the Patriarchate of Antioch is headed by His Beatitude John X. A succession of the primates of the Apostolic See of Antioch that goes back to St. Peter the Apostle is available through this link.
Scripture refers to Antioch as the place where the followers of Jesus Christ were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26), and records that Nicholas, one of the original seven deacons, was from that city—and may have been its first convert (Acts 6:5). During the persecution of the Church which followed the death of St. Stephen the Proto-Martyr, members of the infant community in Jerusalem sought refuge in Antioch (Acts 11:19), and while St. Peter served as the first bishop of the city, SS. Paul and Barnabas set out on their great missionary journeys to Gentile lands (Acts 13:1) -- establishing a tradition which would last for centuries, as from Antioch missionaries planted churches throughout greater Syria, Asia Minor, the Caucasus Mountains, Mesopotamia, Greece, The Balkans, Italy and most of the Mediterranean Region.
The Great Schism of 1054 resulted in the separation of Rome, seat of the Patriarchate of the West, from the four Eastern Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. During the reign of the Egyptian Mamelukes, conquerors of Syria in the 13th century, the Patriarchal residence was transferred to the ancient city of Damascus, where a Christian community had flourished since apostolic times (Acts 9), and which had succeeded earthquake-prone Antioch as the civil capital of Syria. The headquarters of the Patriarchate, which has jurisdiction over all dioceses within its ancient geographic boundaries (Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and the Arabic Peninsula) as well as others in the Americas, Australia, and Western Europe, are located in Damascus on “the street called Straight” (Acts 9:11)
The Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East together with the three other ancient Eastern patriarchates (Constantinople, Alexandria and Jerusalem); four modern patriarchates (Russia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria); five autocephalous churches (Cyprus, Greece, Georgia, Poland, and Albania); and four autonomous churches (Sinai, Slovakia the Czech Lands, Finland and Japan) -many with dependent bodies throughout the world- comprise what is known today as the “Eastern Orthodox Church” with an estimated 250 million adherents, of whom, some 5-6 million live in the United States and Canada.
His Beatitude John X
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East