The title “Patriarch” was reserved, since the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.) to the Bishops of the ancient Sees of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. The Bishop of Rome, i.e. the Supreme Pontiff, has now, among others, the title of Patriarch of the West.


Today, in addition to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, we have Patriarchs heading the following Eastern Churches, in communion with the Holy See:- the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria, the three Patriarchates of Antioch – the Syrian, the Graeco-Melkite and the Maronite – the Armenian Patriarchate of Cilicia and the Chaldean Patriarchate of Babylon. Besides, four Latin titular Patriarchates (“ad honorem”) were created along the years:- Venice (1451), West Indies (1524), vacant since long, Lisbon(1716) and East Indies (1886) – generally in recognition of some outstanding contribution made by those local Churches to the Universal Church. Thus, the Archbishop of Goa who, since 1572, bears the title of Primate of the East, is also known as the Patriarch of the East Indies since June 23, 1886.

There have been, so far, seven Patriarchs of the East Indies, counting the present one:

1886-1908 António Sebastião Valente. Died in 1908. 1909-1929 Mateus de Oliveira Xavier. Died in 1929.

1931-1940 Teotónio Manuel Ribeiro Vieira De Castro. Died in 1940.

1942-1953 José da Costa Nunes. Appointed Vice-Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church and created Cardinal in 1953. Died in Rome in 1976.

1953-1975 José Vieira de Alvernaz. Left Goa in 1962. Resigned in 1975. Died in Azores (Portugal) in 1979. 1978-2004 Raul Nicolau Gonsalves. Appointed on January 30, 1978. Resigned on 16th January, 2004.

2004- Filipe Neri Ferrão. Appointed on December 12, 2003. 

Golden Verse

1Korintkarank 7:38

Mhonnttôch aplê ankvar hoklê lagim logn zata to borem korta; ani logn zaina to odik borem korta.