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1the male head of a family or tribe. a man who is the oldest or most venerable of a group:Hollywood’s reigning patriarch rose to speak a person or thing that is regarded as the founder of something:the patriarch of all spin doctors 2any of those biblical figures regarded as fathers of the human race, especially Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, their forefathers, or the sons of Jacob. 3the title of a most senior Orthodox or Catholic bishop, in particular. a bishop of one of the most ancient Christian sees (Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and formerly Rome). the head of an autocephalous or independent Orthodox church. a Roman Catholic bishop ranking above primates and metropolitans and immediately below the pope, often the head of a Uniate community.