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The Pentarchy consisted of the five ancient patriarchates of the undivided Church of the first millennium of her history, including the Churches of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and 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 bishops came to be regarded as the primates of their areas. The members of the Pentarchy all participated in some form in the first eight Ecumenical Councils, from 326 to 880. Their relationship with each other, despite various periods of rivalry and dispute, was generally out of terms of fraternal equality and conciliarity.