Their primary wives — Sarah (wife of Abraham), Rebekah (wife of Isaac), and Leah and Rachel (the wives 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.
The office and ecclesiastical conscription (comprising one or more provinces, though outside his own (arch)diocese he is often without enforceable jurisdiction, unlike the Pope of Rome) of such a patriarch is called a patriarchate. Historically, a Patriarch may often be the logical choice to act as Ethnarch, representing the community that is identified with his religious confession within a state or empire of a different creed (as Christians within the Ottoman Empire).