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Metrophanes (Kritopoulos) of Alexandria

Metrophanes (Kritopoulos) of Alexandria was a theologian of the early seventeenth century and Patriarch of Alexandria from 1636 to 1639. After having assisted Cyril Lucaris in his attempt to mediate Orthodox and Calvinist teachings, Patr. Metrophanes concurred with the condemnation of Cyril's Protestant leaning by the Council of Constantinople of 1638.


Metrophanes was born in 1589 in Ottoman Turk occupied Boroea, Macedonia (now in Northern Greece). Choosing a monastic life, he became a monk at Mount Athos in Greece. In 1617, under direction of Patr. Cyril Lucaris of Alexandria, he began a study tour of the leading Anglican and Protestant universities of western Europe. He remained at Oxford until 1623 studying and participated in exchanges with the Anglicans. Then, until 1630 he studied and took part in exchanges with the reformists in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy.

In 1632, after his return to Egypt, he was consecrated a bishop in the patriarchate of Alexandria. In 1636, he was elected to the see of Alexandria as the patriarch. In September 1638, Patr. Metrophanes participated in the Council of Constantinople that condemned Cyril Lucaris for his leanings toward Protestant teachings and doctrines. He agreed with the condemnation made by the council.

Patr. Metrophanes died on May 30, 1639, in Ottoman Walachia (Romania).


During his 1624/1625 stay at Helmstedt in Germany, Metrophanes wrote his Confession of the Catholic and Apostolic Eastern Church. The paper, written in Greek, was a study based on the traditional Orthodox creed using the doctrinal expressions of the early Greek Church Fathers as a basis for mutual understanding among the different Christian communions. In doing this, Metrophanes emphasized the biblical and devotional simplicity of early Christianity. Thus, he placed emphasis on the Trinity and the reconciliation of fallen man with God through a mystical, sacramental relationship with the divinity and sacrifice of Christ. While critical of aspects in Roman Catholic and Protestant teaching, Metrophanes kept an ambiguous stance in mediating the different theologies.

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Metrophanes (Kritopoulos) of Alexandria
Preceded by:
Bishop in Egypt(?)
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Gerasimus I
Patriarch of Alexandria
Succeeded by:
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  • Metrophanes Kritopoulos
  • Blair Worden. "Pioneer for Unity: Metrophanes Kritopoulos (1589-1639) and Relations Between the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Reformed Churches." The Journal of Ecclesiastical History. 41.3 (1990): p.524.

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