Index of religious honorifics and titles

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This is an index of religious honorifics, including titles from religious traditions around the world.

Honorifics and titles[edit]


Main article: Judaism
Jewish honorifics and titles
Role Description
Rabbi Literally means ‘great one’. The word Rabbi is derived from the Hebrew root word רַב, rav, which in biblical Hebrew means ‘great’ or ‘distinguished (in knowledge)’.
Av Beit Din
Chief Rabbi
Fellow Student
Hakham Bashi
Kohen Gadol
Mashgiach ruchani
Rishon LeZion
Rosh yeshiva
Talmid Chacham
Cantor This title has a different meaning in Reform Judaism.
Mashgiach ruchani
The Mitzvah of sanctifying the Kohen
Cantorate This position had a different meaning to the Reform Jewish in the 19th Century.
Rosh yeshiva
The status quo Kohen
Tzadikim Nistarim
Admo"r "Admor" is an acronym for "Adonainu, Morainu, VeRabbeinu," a phrase meaning "Our Master, Our Teacher, and Our Rebbe." This is an honorific title given to scholarly leaders of a Jewish community. In writing, this title is placed before the name, as in "Admor of Pinsk" or “R' (stands for Rabbi, Rav,or Reb) Ploni Almoni, Admor of Redomsk."
Shlit"a 'Shlit"a' is an acronym for "Sheyikhye Lirot Yamim Tovim Arukim/Amen," “May he live a good long life” or “May he live a good life, Amen,” given to a revered rabbi or to someone's child's Rebbe (teacher). This title is usually placed before the name.
K'vod K'dushat "K'vod K'dushat," meaning “The honor of [his] holiness”. This title is usually placed before the name. It is found as early as in the 1531 edition of The Aruk.[1]
Shy' "Shy'" is an acronym for "Sheyikhye," meaning “May he live”. This title is usually placed after the name.

Protestant Christianity[edit]

Protestant Christian honorifics and titles
Role Description
Preacher Some churches in the United States
Elder Some Presbyterian denominations distinguish between Teaching Elder (aka Minister of Word and Sacrament or Pastor) and Ruling Elder. Teaching Elders are ordained by the Presbytery and fill the role of pastor. Ruling Elders are ordained by the local church and serve on a board that leads the church.
Bishop See also Bishop (Catholic Church)
Resident Bishop This title is exclusive to the United Methodist Church.

Latter Day Saints[edit]

Main article: Latter Day Saints
Latter Day Saints honorifics and titles
Role Description
Apostle "Elder [surname]"
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (or Acting President) "President [surname]"
Bishop "Bishop [surname]" (the title is often retained as a courtesy after the individual is released from the calling)
Counselors in a Bishopric "Brother [surname]"
Presiding Bishop and counselors in the Presiding Bishopric "Bishop [surname]" (the title is often retained as a courtesy after the individual is released from the calling)
Branch president "President [surname]"
Counselors in a branch presidency "Brother [surname]"
Deacon "Brother [surname]"
District President and counselors in a district presidency "President [surname]"
Elder "Brother [surname]" (except for full-time missionaries, in which case it is "Elder [surname]")
High priest "Brother [surname]" (except for full-time missionaries, in which case it is "Elder [surname]")
Full-time missionaries (female) "Sister [surname]"
Full-time missionaries (male) "Elder [surname]"
Mission president "President [surname]"
Counselors in a mission presidency "President [surname]"
Patriarch "Brother [surname]" or "Patriarch [surname]"
Priest "Brother [surname]"
President of the Church and counselors in the First Presidency "President [surname]"
Seventy "Elder [surname]"
Local and general Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary presidents and their counselors "Sister [surname]"
Local and general Sunday School presidents and counselors in Sunday School presidencies "Brother [surname]"
Stake President and counselors in a stake presidency "President [surname]"
Teacher "Brother [surname]"
Temple president "President [surname]"
Counselors in a temple presidency "Brother [surname]"
Local and general Young Men presidents and counselors in Young Men presidencies "Brother [surname]"


Main article: Buddhism
Buddhist honorifics and titles
Role Description
Dalai Lama
Gaden Tripa
Panchen Lama
Dorje Lopön
Gyalwang Drukpa
Je Khenpo
Lama The teachers of Dharma in Tibet.
Panchen Lama
Third Bardor Tulku Rinpoche
Tai Situpa
Tulku In Tibetan Buddhism, a Lama who has through phowa and siddhi consciously determined to be reborn, often many times, in order to continue their Bodhisattva vow.
Agga Maha Pandita
Maha Kapphina
Mae ji
Temple boy
Upāsaka and Upāsikā


Main article: Hinduism
Hinduism honorifics and titles
Role Description
Godman The Godman is a Hindu ascetic
Guru Originally referring in Sanskrit to Brihaspati, a Hindu divine figure, today the term is commonly used in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, as well as in many new religious movements.
Jagad guru
Rishi Muni
Swami An ascetic or yogi who has been initiated into the religious monastic order founded by Adi Sankara,[2] or to a religious teacher.[3] When used as a prefix with a monastic name, "Swami" usually refers to men who have taken the oath of renunciation and abandoned their social status. The monastic name is usually a single word without a first and last name.


Main article: Islam
Islamic honorifics and titles
Role Description
Alayhi 'l-salat wa'l-Salam Means "Upon him prayer and peace"; used for all earlier Prophets and Angels.
Alayhi wa 'ala Alihi al-salat wa 'l-Salam Means "Upon him and his family be prayer and peace"
Salawat Allahi 'alayhi wa Alihi Means "The exaltations of God shall be upon him and his family"
Salawat Allah wa Salamuhu 'Alayhi wa Alihi Means "The exaltations and peace of God be upon him and his family"
Salla 'llah 'Alayhi wa Alihi wa Sahbihi wa sallam Means, "May God exalt and bring peace upon him, his family, and his companions"
Salla 'llah 'alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam Means, "May God exalt and bring peace upon him and his progeny"
Radiya Allaho 'anho Means "May God be pleased with him"; Used for companions of prophet as well as scholars
Allamah A Sunni Islam term meaning the most respected of the Marjas; it is a Persian name for teacher that is also used by some to denote a teacher of extraordinary respect.
Amir al-Mu'minin
Ash Shakur
Ayatollah In Shi'a Islam, a high ranking title given to clerics.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Imam In Shi'a Islam, the Imam is appointed by God, and Muhammed was informed that the number of Imams after him will be 12.
Karram-Allah-u Wajhahu
Khoja A Turkestani word
Mahdi The 12th Imam will come either as a first time appearance or as a reappearance after a long occultation. The Mahdi is the greatest teacher, the Messiah of the Islamic World, and the Maitreya of Buddhism.
Marabout A spiritual teacher of Islam as it is taught in the West Africa and Maghreb, The word comes from the Berber concept of Saint. The "marabout" is known as "Sayyed" (سيد) to the Arabic speaking Maghribians.
Marja In Shi'a Islam, The name means source to follow.
Mawlawi A Persian word for teacher meaning Master.
Mufti A guide on the Path to the Source of living Water (the divine sharia law) is called Mufti.
Muhaddith Someone who has profound knowledge of the Haddith, and teaches by Narration, or storytelling.
Mullah The title of the teachers at the Madrasahs, Islamic schools. Mullah is a teacher in regard of being respected as a vicar and guardian of Qur'an and the Islamic traditions.
Mujaddid Someone sent by God to aid the Umma and revive Islam at the beginning of every century .
Peace be upon him
Radhiallahu 'anhu
Sheikh An Arabic honorific term that literally means Elder. It is a long historic debate in many cultures whether the elder in itself denotes the role and status of a teacher.
Sheikh ul-Islam
Subhanahu wa ta'ala
Ulema/Ulama The title that indicates that the teacher has come to awareness of the consensus, the ijma, of the Umma. Umma is the universal community of all the children of God.

Roman Catholicism[edit]

Main article: Roman Catholicism
Roman Catholicism honorifics and titles
Role Description
Lord Chancellor
Prince bishop
Ecumenical Patriarch
Catholicoi The heads of some of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Rite Catholic sui iuris churches (notably the Armenian); roughly similar to a Patriarch.
Primate A primate is usually the bishop of the oldest church of a nation. Sometimes this carries jurisdiction over metropolitan bishops, but usually it is purely honorific. The primate of the Scottish Episcopal Church is chosen from among the diocesan bishops, and, while retaining diocesan responsibility, is called Primus.
Presiding Bishop or President Bishop These titles are often used for the head of a national Anglican church, but the title is not usually associated with a particular episcopal see like the title of a primate.
Major archbishop Major archbishops are the heads of some of the Eastern Catholic Churches. Their authority within their sui juris church is equal to that of a patriarch, but they receive fewer ceremonial honors.
Metropolitan bishop A metropolitan bishop is an archbishop in charge of an ecclesiastical province, or group of dioceses, and in addition to having immediate jurisdiction over his own archdiocese, also exercises some oversight over the other dioceses within that province. Sometimes a metropolitan may also be the head of an autocephalous, sui iuris, or autonomous church when the number of adherents of that tradition are small. In the Latin Rite, metropolitans are always archbishops; in many Eastern churches, the title is "metropolitan," with some of these churches using "archbishop" as a separate office.
Archbishop An archbishop is the bishop of an archdiocese. This is usually a prestigious diocese with an important place in local church history. In the Roman Catholic Church, the title is purely honorific and carries no extra jurisdiction, though most archbishops are also metropolitan bishops, as above. In most provinces of the Anglican Communion, however, an archbishop has metropolitical and primatial power.
Suffragan bishop A suffragan bishop is a bishop subordinate to a Metropolitan. In the Roman Catholic Church this term is applied to all non-metropolitan bishops (that is, diocesan bishops of dioceses within a metropolitan's province, and auxiliary bishops). In the Anglican Communion, the term applies to a bishop who is a full-time assistant to a diocesan bishop: the Bishop of Warwick is suffragan to the Bishop of Coventry (the diocesan), though both live in Coventry. Some Anglican suffragans are given the responsibility for a geographical area within the diocese (for example, the Bishop of Stepney is an area bishop within the Diocese of London).
Titular bishop A titular bishop is a bishop without a diocese. Rather, the bishop is head of a titular see, which is usually an ancient city that used to have a bishop, but, for some reason or other, does not have one now. Titular bishops often serve as auxiliary bishops. In the Ecumenical Patriarchate, bishops of modern dioceses are often given a titular see alongside their modern one (for example, the Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain).
Auxiliary bishop An auxiliary bishop is a full-time assistant to a diocesan bishop (the Orthodox and Catholic equivalent of an Anglican suffragan bishop). An auxiliary bishop is a titular bishop, and he is to be appointed as a vicar general or at least as an episcopal vicar of the diocese in which he serves.[4]
Coadjutor bishop A coadjutor bishop is an auxiliary bishop who is given almost equal authority in a diocese with the diocesan bishop, and the automatic right to succeed the incumbent diocesan bishop. The appointment of coadjutors is often seen as a means of providing for continuity of church leadership.
Honorary Assistant bishop, Assisting Bishop, or Bishop Emeritus These titles are usually applied to retired bishops who are given a general licence to minister as episcopal pastors under a diocesan's oversight. The titles, in this meaning, are not used by the Roman Catholic Church.
Chorbishop A chorbishop is an official of a diocese in some Eastern Christian churches. Chorbishops are not generally ordained bishops – they are not given the sacrament of Holy Orders in that degree – but function as assistants to the diocesan bishop with certain honorary privileges.
Lord Bishop
Prince-Bishop Also called Prince of the Church

Roman Catholicism in the United States[edit]

Roman Catholics in the United States honorifics and titles
Role Description
Cardinal Referred to as His Eminence; Your Eminence
Cardinal who is also an archbishop His Eminence; Your Eminence
Archbishop Referred to as The Most Reverend; His Excellency; Your Excellency.
Bishop Referred to as The Most Reverend; His Excellency; Your Excellency.
Abbot Referred to as The Right Reverend; Father Abbot, others depending on personal and abbey custom.
Protonotary Apostolic, Honorary Prelate, Chaplain of His Holiness Referred to as The Reverend Monsignor. Postnominals are rarely used for Honorary Prelates or Chaplains of His Holiness.
Vicar General Referred to as The Very Reverend or The Reverend.
Judicial Vicar, Ecclesiastical Judge, Episcopal Vicar, Vicar Forane, Dean, Provincial Superior, Rector Referred to as The Very Reverend or Father.
Canon Referred to as The Very Reverend Canon[5]
Prior Referred to as The Very Reverend or Father.
Pastor of a Catholic parish, Parochial Vicar, Chaplain, Priest Referred to as The Reverend or Father.
Transitional Deacon Referred to as Reverend Mister or Deacon.
Permanent Deacon Referred to as Mister or Deacon.
Seminarian Referred to as Mister.
Religious Brother Referred to as Brother.
Abbess, Prioress, superior of a religious order of women or a province Referred to as Reverend Mother or Sister
Nun or Religious Sister Referred to as Sister.

Eastern Orthodox[edit]

Eastern Orthodox honorifics and titles
Role Description
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Ecumenical Patriarch [insert name], His All-Holiness, Your All-Holiness.
Patriarch Patriarch [insert name] of [place], Patriarch, His Beatitude, Your Beatitude.
Archbishop of an independent Church The Most Reverend Archbishop [insert name] of [place], Archbishop John, His Beatitude, Your Beatitude.
Archbishop of a sub-national Church The Most Reverend Archbishop [insert name] of [place], Archbishop John, His Eminence, Your Eminence.
Metropolitan The Most Reverend Metropolitan [insert name] of [place], Metropolitan John, His Eminence, Your Eminence.
Titular Metropolitan The Most Reverend Metropolitan [insert name] of [place], His Excellency, Your Excellency. Some Metropolitans use the style "The Very Most Reverend", and a Metropolitan who is the head of an independent Church is addressed as "Beatitude" rather than "Excellency".
Bishop The Right Reverend Bishop [insert name] of [place], Bishop [insert name], His Grace, Your Grace.
Titular/Auxiliary Bishop Same as for Bishops, above, and in other languages Sayedna (Arabic), Despota (Greek), Vladika (Russian).
Priest (Presbyter) The Reverend Father or Father.
Protopriest The Very Reverend Protopriest or Father.
Archpriest The Very Reverend Archpriest [insert name] or Father.
Archimandrite The Very Reverend Archimandrite [insert name], or The Right Reverend Archimandrite, or Father.
Hieromonk (Priest-monk) The Reverend Hieromonk or Father. In 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 [insert name], Deacon [insert name], Father [insert name], Deacon Father [insert name], Deacon [insert name]
Protodeacon The Reverend Protodeacon [insert name], Father [insert name], Deacon Father [insert name], Deacon [insert name]
Archdeacon The Reverend Archdeacon [insert name], Father [insert name], Deacon Father [insert name], Deacon [insert name].
Hierodeacon (Deacon-monk) The Reverend Hierodeacon [insert name], Father [insert name]
Deacon's Wife Diakonissa Mary (Greek), or the same titles as a priest's wife
Abbot The Right Reverend Abbot [insert name], Abbot [insert name], Father [insert name]
Abbess The Reverend Mother Superior [insert name], The Very Reverend Abbess [insert name], Reverend Mother [insert name], Mother [insert name]
Monk Monk [insert name], Father [insert name]
Rassophore Monk Rassophore Monk [insert name], Father [insert name]
Stavrophore Monk Stavrophore Monk [insert name], Father [insert name]
Schemamonk Schemamonk [insert name], Father [insert name]
Novice Novice [insert name]; or Brother [insert name]. The title "Brother" is a result of Latin influence; the title is only given to some novices with a special blessing.
Nun Nun [insert name], Mother [insert name]
Rassophore Nun Rassophore Nun [insert name], Sister [insert name]
Novice Sister [insert name]

New Thought[edit]

Main article: New Thought
Pagan honorifics and titles
Role Description
Life coach
Healing practitioner
Religious Science Practitioner "A trained counselor who listens to concerns and offers loving prayers in accordance to the principles of Science of Mind. Practitioners honor each person from a holistic viewpoint and acknowledge their basic loving nature."[6]


Main article: Paganism
Pagan honorifics and titles
Role Description
Volkhvy Heathen priests among the pre-Christian Rus' people.
Gothi A title sometimes used by adherrants of Heathenism, referring to a priest or ceremonial leader.
Priest/Priestess A title that may be used within various forms of Paganism. In Wicca, it denotes a male or female who has been initiated into the priesthood.
High Priest/High Priestess A Wiccan role. A male or female becomes a High Priest/ess once they attain the second or third degree, depending upon which tradition of Wicca they belong to.
Solitary practitioner


Main article: Serer religion
Serer honorifics and titles
Role Description
Lamane "Master of the land". Ancient lamanic class of the Serer people. Guardians of Serer religion, laws and ethics. Extinct (see States headed by ancient Serer Lamanes).
Saltigue "Ministers of the religious cult". The Serer priestly class.


In Hinduism the spiritual teacher is known as a guru. Traditionally, a spiritual seeker would revere his or her guru highly, and demonstrate utmost submission and humility through menial service in order to prove worthy to be a recipient of the knowledge the guru has attained by initiation practices. There are many sayings on the teacher like "Guru devo bhava" (Guru is God), which reflects of the esteem associated with a guru's role.

In the Latter Day Saint movement the teacher is an office in the Aaronic priesthood, while in Tibetan Buddhism the teachers of Dharma in Tibet are most commonly called a Lama. A Lama who has through phowa and siddhi consciously determined to be reborn, often many times, in order to continue their Bodhisattva vow is called a Tulku.

Clergy is the generic term for formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman, or cleric is a member of the clergy. They may be called priest, preacher, pastor, minister, reverend, or father. In Christianity there is a wide range of formal and informal clergy positions, including deacons, priests, bishops, and ministers. In Shiaa Islam, religious leaders are usually known as imams or ayatollahs.

There are many concepts of teachers in Islam, ranging from mullahs (the teachers at madrassas) to ulemas.


There are many kinds of people who deal with magic. They include paranormal magicians, fantasy magicians, shamans, kalku, and the magi. In Shamanic magic, the Seid plays a role, as does the Warlock and Witch in Paganism. In history, magic in the Greco-Roman world was common. There are also the Onmyou Mystic and the Bomoh.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (Hebrew)
  2. ^ Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Religion, page 958.
  3. ^ Ebenezer Cobham Brewer (2009). Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Chambers Harrap Publishers. ISBN 978-0-550-10411-3. 
  4. ^ "Canon 406". Code of Canon Law. The Holy See. 1983. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Vorensky, J. and Carr, K. (2001) I Dare to Heal: With Compassionate Love. Life's Breath Publications and Xlibris. p 155.