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Using Personal Titles #10: Eastern Orthodox Religious Titles, by Dennis Oliver

 

Using Personal Titles #10:
Eastern Orthodox ReligiousTitles

 

The Eastern Orthodox Church is particularly strong in
the Meditteranean and Central and Eastern Europe. It also
has a growing number of followers in the Americas. Like
the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church
has many different religious offices and different titles for
each. Because the different Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions
often have particular ethnic and/or cultural backgrounds
(Greek, Russian, Syrian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Serbian,
Romanian, Carpatho-Rusyn, etc.), many of these titles are
not in English. For examples of titles in English, those given
here are used by the Orthodox Church in America (which
has a Slavic background).

Common titles used in the Orthodox Church in America
include those for the Metropolitan and for archbishops,
bishops, archimandrites, priests, deacons, and
members of religious orders:

In speaking,

for . . .   use this title:
the Metropolitan   Your Beatitude
archbishops   Your Grace
bishops   Your Grace
archimandrites   Father (religious name)
or
Archimandrite (religious name)
protopresbyters   Protopresbyter (given name)
or
Father (given name)
archpriests   Father (given name)
priests   Father (given name)
priest's wife   Matushka* (given name)
protodeacons   Father Deacon (given name)
deacons   Father Deacon (given name)
monastics
(men)
 

Igumen (religious name)

Father Abbot (religious name)

Brother (religious name)

monastics
(women)
 

Igumena (religious name)

Mother Abbess (religious name)

Sister (religious name)

In writing a letter,

for . . .   use this title:
the Metropolitan   The Most Blessed (religious name),
Metropolitan of _____
address
archbishops   The Most Reverend (religious name),
Archbishop of _____
address
bishops   The Right Reverend (religious name),
Bishop of _____
address
archimandrites   Rev. Archimandrite (religious name)
address
protopresbyters   V. Rev. Protopresbyter (name)
address
archpriests   V. Rev. (name)
address
priests   Rev. (name)
address
priest's wife   Matushka* (name)
address
protodeacons   Rev. Protodeacon (name)
address
deacons   Rev. Deacon (name)
address
monastics
(men)
 

Igumen (religious name)
address

Father Abbot (religious name)
address

Brother (religious name)
address

monastics
(women)
 

Igumena (religious name)
address

Mother Abbess (religious name)
address

Sister (religious name)
address

In writing a letter,

for . . .   use this greeting:
the Metropolitan   Your Beatitude:
or
Dear Metropolitan (religious name):
archbishops   Your Grace:
or
Dear Archbishop (religious name):
bishops   Your Grace:
or
Dear Bishop (religious name):
archimandrites   Father (religious name):
or
Dear Archimandrite (religious name):
protopresbyters   Protopresbyter (given name):
or
Dear Father (given name):
archpriests   Father (given name):
or
Dear Father (given name):
priests   Father (given name):
or
Dear Father (given name):
priest's wife   Matushka* (given name):
or
Dear Matushka (given name):
protodeacons   Father Deacon (given name):
or
Dear Father Deacon (given name):
deacons   Father Deacon (given name):
or
Dear Father (given name):
monastics
(men)
 

Igumen (religious name):
or
Dear Igumen (given name):

Father Abbot (religious name):
or
Dear Father Abbot (religious name):

Brother (religious name):
or
Dear Brother (religious name):

monastics
(women)
 

Igumena (religious name)
or
Dear Father (given name):

Mother Abbess (religious name):
or
Dear Mother Abbess (religious name):

Sister (religious name):
or
Dear Sister (religious name):

_________________________________________

 

Special Notes:

1.  

Eastern Orthodox Churches have both married
and unmarried (celibate) priests. If a priest is
married, his wife also has a title. There is no
English title for "priest's wife," so ethnic titles
are used--for example:

Slavic   Matushka or Panni
Greek   Presbytera
Arabic   Khorea
Romanian   Preoteasa

     
2.  

In the past,members of Eastern Orthodox
monastic communities (monks and nuns) were
often known only by their religious names.
It is becoming more common, however, to use
a monastic's religious name and his or her
actual surname (in parentheses), if it is known:

in the past:

Abbot Serafim

now:

Abbot Serafim (Boyko)

     
3.  

The titles Protopresbyter and Archpriest
shower higher "ranks" than that for a parish
priest. They're usually granted after many years
of service.

The title Protodeacon is a higher "rank" than
that for a deacon and is also normally granted
after many years of service.

The monastic titles Igumen, Igumena, and
Archimandrite are difficult to translate
into English. Igumen and Igumena are
somewhat similar to "Father Superior" or
"Mother Superior." Archimandrite is similar
to Archpriest but is for celibate priests who
have taken monastic vows.

     
4.   Other Christian groups often have different
offices, and even if the name of the office is
the same, the title might be different. Some
of these titles will be in later Hints.

 

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