Ecclesiastical address

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Ecclesiastical addresses are the formal styles of address used for members of the clergy.

Addresses of Latin-Rite Roman Catholic clergy[edit]

United States[edit]

  • Cardinal: John Cardinal Smith (the popular way, though incorrect, would be Cardinal John Smith); His Eminence; Your Eminence
  • Cardinal who is also an archbishop: John Cardinal Smith, Archbishop of New York; His Eminence; Your Eminence
  • Archbishop: The Most Reverend John Smith, D.D., Archbishop of New York (abbrev.: Most Revd.; bishops in the U.S. commonly employ a terminal degree as postnominals, e.g., J.C.D or S.T.D., or Ph.D., or, in its absence, the honorific D.D.); His Grace; Your Grace. (Titular archbishops almost never have their sees mentioned).
  • Bishop: The Most Reverend John Smith, D.D., Bishop of Brooklyn (abbrev.: Most. Revd.; bishops in the U.S. commonly employ a terminal degree as postnominals, e.g., J.C.D, S.T.D., or Ph.D., or, in its absence, the honorific D.D.); ); His Excellency; Your Excellency.(Titular bishops almost never have their sees mentioned).
  • Abbot: The Right Reverend John Smith, O.S.B. (or appropriate order's postnominals); The Right Reverend Abbot (abbrev. Rt. Revd.); Abbot John or Dom John or Father John, depending on personal and abbey custom.
  • Protonotary Apostolic, Honorary Prelate, Chaplain of His Holiness: The Reverend Monsignor John Smith (abbrev.: Revd. Mons.); Monsignor Smith. Postnominal P.A. is often added for Protonotaries Apostolic. Postnominals are rarely used for Honorary Prelates or Chaplains of His Holiness.
  • Vicar General: The Very Reverend John Smith, or The Reverend Father John Smith, V.G.; Father Smith.
  • Judicial Vicar, Ecclesiastical Judge, Episcopal Vicar, Vicar Forane, Dean, Provincial Superior, Rector: The Very Reverend John Smith; Father Smith.
  • Prior whether superior of or in a monastery or a province or house of a religious order : The Very Reverend John Smith, O.P. (appropriate postnominals for the order); Father Smith.
  • Pastor of a Catholic parish, Parochial Vicar, Chaplain, Priest: The Reverend Father John Smith (abbrev.: Revd. Fr. John Smith); Father Smith.
  • Transitional Deacon (i.e., deacon preparing for priesthood): The Revd. Mr. Smith.
  • Permanent Deacon: The Reverend Deacon John Smith; abbrev. The Revd. Dcn. John Smith.
  • Seminarian (diocesan seminary or Jesuit scholastic:): Mr. John Smith; Mr. Smith.
  • Brother: Brother John Smith, O.F.M.; Brother John (in some teaching orders, "Brother Smith" is customary).
  • Abbess, Prioress, superior of a religious order of women or a province: Mother Jane Smith, O.S.B.; Mother Jane (the title of women religious superiors varies widely, and specific customs of the order should be noted)
  • Religious sister or nun: Sister Jane Smith, S.C.; Sister Jane.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and some other English-speaking countries[edit]

The major difference between U.S. practise and that in several other English-speaking countries is the form of address for archbishops and bishops. In Britain and countries whose Roman Catholic usage it directly influenced:

  • an archbishop is "the Most Reverend" and addressed as "Your Grace" rather than "His/Your Excellency".
  • a bishop is "the Right Reverend", and is formally addressed as "My Lord" rather than "Your Excellency". This style is an ancient one, and has been used in the western church for more than a thousand years; it corresponds to, but does not derive from, the Italian Monsignore and the French Monseigneur. However, most bishops prefer to be addressed simply as "Bishop <name>".

In Ireland, and in countries whose Roman Catholic usage it influenced, all bishops, not archbishops alone, are titled "The Most Reverend".

They are often referred to with the title "Doctor", or have D.D. (Doctor of Divinity) placed after their name, where justified by their possession of such degree.

The form of address and style is different, however, for bishops and archbishops of other denominations. See Forms of address in the United Kingdom for further information.

The Philippines[edit]

In the predominantly Catholic Philippines, ecclesiastical address is adapted from American usage. The titles listed below are only used in the most formal occasions by media or official correspondences, save for the simpler forms of address. Post-nominals that indicate educational attainment or membership in a religious order are usually included.

  • The Pope is always given the title "Ang Kaniyang Kabanalan" or "His Holiness".
  • a cardinal is formally styled and addressed as "Ang Kaniyang Kabunyian" ("His Eminence"). He is commonly addressed as "Cardinal <name>".
    • Though de facto Philippine Primate, the Archbishop of Manila receives the same title as all other cardinals, as the officeholder is conventionally elevated to the cardinalate in the consistory after his accession, provided that the his predecessor is over 80 years old.
  • a bishop/archbishop is formally titled "'Ang Mahál na Obispo/Arsobispo" ("His Excellency, the Bishop/Archbishop"), and more commonly as "Ang Lubhang Kagalanggalang" (The) Most Reverend <name>". He is often addressed as "Bishop/Archbishop <name>".

Addresses of Eastern Catholic clergy[edit]

Although the titles of Eastern Catholic clergy varies from language to language, in the Greek- and Arabic-speaking world the following would be acceptable, but is by no means a full list of appropriate titles. It is notable that surnames are never used except in extra-ecclesial matters or to specify a particular person where many share one Christian name or ordination name. Where not noted, Western titles may be supposed. The following are common in Greek Melkite Catholic usage and in Greek Orthodox usage in the United States.

Bishop / Archbishop: In Arabic, a bishop is styled "Sayedna," while in Syriac-tradition churches, he is styled "Mar."

Priest: In Arabic, "Abouna," and in Greek "Pappas".

Deacon: Identical to a priest in all ways except "Father Deacon" is also heard ("Abouna Shammas" or "Pappas Diakonos").

Subdeacon: Reverend Subdeacon in written address, but the Christian name with or without "Brother" is usually used, except some traditions where "Father Subdeacon" is used. In Arabic, this is confused by the word "Shammas" being used for both the subdeaconate and the deaconate, the distinction being a "Deacon of the Letter" and a "Deacon of the Gospel," respectively. Often a Deacon will be addressed as "Father" and the subdeacon as "Brother" to make the distinction clear.

Reader: Readers are addressed as "Reader" or "Brother," depending on the preference of the addresser.

Seminarians: "Brother" or "Brother Seminarian" is the most common title; the appellation "Father Seminarian" or "Father Student" is not seen outside of rural Greek and Arabic-speaking laity.

Tonsured individuals of no title: Brother.

Addresses of Eastern Orthodox clergy[edit]

Usage varies somewhat throughout the Orthodox communion, and not every church uses every clerical rank. Surnames are typically not used for archpastors (rank of bishop or above) or monastics.

  • Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople: Ecumenical Patriarch John II, His All-Holiness, Your All-Holiness
  • Patriarch: Patriarch John II of Terirem, Patriarch John, His Beatitude, Your Beatitude
    • Note: Some Patriarchs use the honorific "His/Your Holiness"
  • Archbishop
    • of an independent Church: The Most Reverend (Rev.) Archbishop John of Terirem, Archbishop John, His Beatitude, Your Beatitude
    • of a sub-national Church: The Most Reverend (Rev.) Archbishop John of Terirem, Archbishop John, His Eminence, Your Eminence
  • Metropolitan: The Most Reverend (Rev.) Metropolitan John of Terirem, Metropolitan John, His Eminence, Your Eminence
    • Titular Metropolitan: The Most Reverend (Rev.) Metropolitan John of Terirem, His Excellency, Your Excellency
    • Note: Some Metropolitans use the style "The Very Most Reverend" (V. Most Rev.)
    • Note: A Metropolitan who is the head of an independent Church is addressed as "Beatitude" rather than "Excellency"
  • Bishop: The Right Reverend (Rt. Rev.) Bishop John of Terirem, Bishop John, His Grace, Your Grace
    • Titular/Auxiliary Bishop: same as for Bishops, above
    • Other Languages: Sayedna (Arabic), Despota (Greek), Vladika (Russian, Serbian)
  • Priest (Presbyter): The Reverend Father (Rev. Fr.) John Smith, Father John
    • Protopriest: The Very Reverend (V. Rev.) Protopriest John Smith, Father (Fr.) John
    • Archpriest: The Very Reverend (V. Rev.) Archpriest John Smith, Father (Fr.) John
    • Archimandrite: The Very Reverend (V. Rev.) Archimandrite John, or The Right Reverend (Rt. Rev.) Archimandrite John, Father John
    • Hieromonk (Priest-monk): The Reverend (Rev.) Hieromonk John, Father (Fr.) John
    • Other Languages: Abouna (Arabic), Pappas (Greek), Batushka (Russian)
    • Priest's Wife: Presbytera Mary (Greek), Khouria Mary (Arabic), Matushka Mary (Russian), Papadiya Mary (Serbian), Panimatushka (Ukrainian)
  • Deacon: The Reverend Father (Rev. Fr.) John Smith, Deacon (Dn.) John Smith, Father John, Deacon Father (Dn. Fr.) John, Deacon (Dn.) John
    • Protodeacon: The Reverend (Rev.) Protodeacon John Smith, Father (Fr.) John, Deacon Father (Dn. Fr.) John, Deacon (Dn.) John
    • Archdeacon: The Reverend (Rev.) Archdeacon John Smith, Father (Fr.) John, Deacon Father (Dn. Fr.) John, Deacon (Dn.) John
    • Hierodeacon (Deacon-monk): The Reverend (Rev.) Hierodeacon John, Father (Fr.) John
    • Deacon's Wife: Diakonissa Mary (Greek), or the same titles as a priest's wife
  • Abbot: The Right Reverend (Rt. Rev.) Abbot John, Abbot John, Father (Fr.) John
  • Abbess: The Reverend (Rev.) Mother Superior Mary, The Very Reverend (V. Rev.) Abbess Mary, Reverend Mother Mary, Mother Mary
  • Monk: Monk John, Father (Fr.) John
    • Rassophore Monk: Rassophore Monk John, Father (Fr.) John
    • Stavrophore Monk: Stavrophore Monk John, Father (Fr.) John
    • Schemamonk: Schemamonk John, Father (Fr.) John
    • Novice: Novice John, John; or Brother (Br.) John
      • Note: the title "Brother" is a result of Latin influence; the title is only given to some novices with a special blessing.
  • Nun: Nun Mary, Mother Mary
    • Rassophore Nun: Rassophore Nun Mary, Sister Mary
    • Novice: Sister Mary

References[edit]