"I must carry out the Will of the Patriarchs. Where they need to see, I am their eyes. Where they wish to strike, I am their fist. Where they would ignite the Light of Truth, I am their torch."— A Monk(src)
The Patriarchs are nine in number, and are said to be reincarnations of the nine humans chosen by the gods to rule over the kingdom. Four are dedicated to Order, four to Chaos, and one remains neutral. Always, the Patriarchs seek to maintain the balance of the world. Their will is enacted through the Monks of Ivgorod. According to the tenants of their faith, when a patriarch dies, their spirit is released to be reborn.
Female Patriarchs are called Matriarchs.
During the End of Days, four of the Patriarchs, including Anisim, were killed in battle with the Reapers. Their spirits were imprisoned in the Pandemonium Fortress. Anisim himself, in his afterlife, helped the Nephalem Monk achieve their goal of defeating Malthael.
- The Patriarchs appear analogous to the Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism. In both cases, the head(s) of the religion are said to reincarnate.