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The '''Pentarchy''' consisted of the five ancient [[patriarchate]]s of the undivided Church of the first millennium of her history, including the Churches of [[Church of Rome|Rome]], [[Church of Constantinople|Constantinople]], [[Church of Alexandria|Alexandria]], [[Church of Antioch|Antioch]], and [[Church of Jerusalem|Jerusalem]].
These major centers of early Christianity, founded by the [[apostles]], were looked to by their respective regions as leaders in Church life, and eventually their [[bishop]]s came to be regarded as the [[primate]]s of their areas. The members of the Pentarchy all participated in some form in the first eight [[Ecumenical Councils]], from 325 to 880. Their relationship with each other, despite various periods of rivalry and dispute, was generally in terms of fraternal equality and conciliarity.
After the [[Ascension]], the [[apostles]] dispersed to preach [[Christianity]] to the world. They each founded different [[patriarchate]]s. Some of the most prominent disciples of [[Jesus]] founded the patriarchates that made up the Pentarchy.
*[[Church of Jerusalem|Jerusalem]]
- [[Apostle James the Just|James]]*[[Church of Antioch|Antioch]] - [[Apostle Peter|Peter]] *[[Church of Rome|Rome]] - Peter*[[Church of Alexandria|Alexandria]] - [[Apostle Mark|Mark]]*[[Church of Constantinople|Constantinople]] - [[Apostle Andrew|Andrew]]
After the seventh-century Arab conquests and the Byzantine loss of the Rome-Ravenna corridor, only Constantinople's patriarchate remained securely within the capital of the Roman Empire—the [[Pope]] at Rome was independent (see [[Gregory the Great]]), Jerusalem and Alexandria were under Muslim rule, and Antioch was on the front lines of hundreds of years of recurring border warfare between the Byzantine Empire and the Arab Caliphate. Also during the Middle Ages, the center of gravity of Christendom had shifted northward, and the majority of Christians in Muslim-ruled Egypt and Syria were [[Oriental Orthodox|Non-Chalcedonians]] who refused to recognize the authority of either Rome or Constantinople. Together, these historical-political changes meant that the original ideal of five great co-operating centers of administration of the whole Christian Church grew ever more remote from practical reality.