Monday, October 30, 2006


The Patriarch AbrahamThe Patriarchs, known as the Avot in Hebrew, are Abraham, his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Collectively, they are referred to as the three patriarchs (sh'loshet ha-avot) of Judaism, and the period in which they lived is known as the patriarchal period.

Their primary wives – Sarah (wife of Abraham), Rebecca (wife of Isaac), and Leah and Rachel (the wives of Jacob - see also sons of Jacob) – are known as the Matriarchs. Thus, classical Judaism considers itself to have three patriarchs and four matriarchs.

The word has mainly taken on specific ecclesiastical meanings. In particular, the highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Roman Catholic Church (above Major Archbishop and primate), and the Assyrian Church of the East are called patriarchs.


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