The Archbishop of Petra
was established during the Crusader era and served the diocese of Palaestrina III, the Oultrejordain
area, and traditionally included St. Catherine's Monastery
on Mount Sinai
, although Crusader protection rarely extended that far.
conquest in the 7th century had eliminated Byzantine
control of the area and with it the protection of the Christian communities. However, Palestinian and Syrian Christian communities had remained in the region well into the Islamic occupation period and with the arrival of the Crusader Principalities, they were placed under the supervision of the diocese with the expectation of restoring the area's Christian roots. Frankish communities soon added to their number and before Saladin
's reconquest, the area had an increasing number of Catholic communities. Following the destruction of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
by Saladin, what little protection for Christians had existed was eliminated and the nascent Christian communities were soon destroyed.
Nonetheless, several isolated monasteries at various levels of precarious existence continued, thereby creating the necessity of appointing Archbishops well into the modern period. However, by the late 19th and early 20th centuries what vestiges of monastic life and their few extant congregants which remained were effectively eliminated by Bedouin
raids and with it the diocese lapsed.
List of Archbishops of Petra