Pope Francis Restores Historical “Patriarch of the West” Title

Pope Francis has reinstated the title “Patriarch of the West” in the 2024 edition of the Pontifical Yearbook.

This title, first used in the 7th century and discontinued in 2006, symbolizes the Pope’s role as a leader both within the Catholic Church and across broader Western Christianity.

Analyst Nikos Tzoitis suggests that by reinstating this title, Pope Francis is aiming to emphasize the importance of synodality – meaning joint decision-making – and confraternity among the branches of Christianity.

Moreover, this reinstatement coincides with other ecumenical (unity between the different churches) efforts, such as the landmark agreement for all Christians to celebrate Easter on the same day in 2025, symbolically ending historical disputes over this celebration date.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople has praised this shared celebration as a foundational step towards regular joint observances of religious events, aiming to bridge divides between the Eastern Orthodox and Western Christian communities.