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''''Patriarch''' (Greek: patriarches, Latin: patriarcha) is the specific title given to the [[primate]] of certain of the [[autocephalous]] Orthodox churches. The term ''patriarch'' may also refer to certain of the [[Old Testament]] fathers of the Jewish nation, such as [[Abraham]], [[Isaac]], [[Jacob]], and [[Joseph the Forefather|Joseph]].
The word Patriarch means the father or chief of a clan or family and is used biblical in a number of passages of the Old Testament: in Chronicles of the [[Septuagint]] for the chiefs of the tribes and in Hebrews and Acts of the [[New Testament]] when applied to Abraham, to David, and to the twelve sons of Jacob. The word patriarch began to be applied gradually to Christian dignitaries as technical terms of titles of honor during the early Christian centuries. By the fourth century, the word patriarch began to be used to designate prominent bishops.

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