Order of precedence in the Catholic Church

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The order of precedence in the Catholic Church is contingent upon the organisation of its hierarchy, including both the hierarchy of order and the hierarchy of jurisdiction, as well as various honorary titles.

This article gives the order in force in 1911, as indicated in the Catholic Encyclopedia, with which is mixed in other material for which no evidence is provided. The order of precedence was actually not of the Catholic Church but really of the Papal court.[citation needed] Nevertheless, it is generally followed throughout the Catholic Church. Cardinals and nuncios have higher status not based on their ecclesiastical status but under international protocol as princes and ambassadors, respectively. For the same reason, the Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta ranks immediately below the cardinals.

Order of precedence[edit]


In this group, priority of ordination and promotion determines precedence, among bishops or archbishops the date of their first promotion to the episcopal or archiepiscopal dignity.

  1. The Pope
  2. Cardinals[1]
    1. Cardinal-Bishops
      1. Dean of the Sacred College
      2. Vice-Dean of the Sacred College
      3. Other Cardinal-Bishops of Suburbicarian Sees (by date of elevation)
      4. Patriarchal Cardinal-Bishops
    2. Cardinal-presbyters (by date of elevation, and then by order of listing in the consistory)
      1. Cardinal Protopresbyter
      2. Other Cardinal-Presbyters
    3. Cardinal-Deacons (by date of elevation, and then by order of listing in the consistory)
      1. Cardinal Protodeacon
      2. Other Cardinal-Deacons
  3. Patriarchs[1]
    1. Major patriarchal sees by Pentarchy order. For those of the same See then they used the date of Preconization[2]
      1. 3. Patriarch of Alexandria
        1. The Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria and
        2. The Melkite Greek Patriarch of Antioch, of Alexandria and Jerusalem Ad honorem
      2. 4. Patriarchs of Antioch
        1. The Maronite Patriarch of Antioch
        2. The Syrian Patriarch of Antioch
      3. 5. Patriarchs of Jerusalem
        1. The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
    2. Minor patriarchal sees[2]
      1. The Chaldean Patriarch of Babylonia
      2. The Armenian Patriarch of Cilicia[2]
      3. The Latin Patriarch of Venice
      4. The Latin Patriarch of the West Indies (vacant since 1963)
      5. The Latin Patriarch of Lisbon
      6. The Latin Patriarch of the East Indies[2]
  4. Major Archbishops[3]
    1. The Major Archbishop of Kiev–Galicia (Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church)
    2. The Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly (Syro-Malabar Church)
    3. The Major Archbishop of Trivandrum (Syro-Malankara Catholic Church)
    4. The Major Archbishop of Făgăraş and Alba Julia (Romanian Greek Catholic Church)
  5. Apostolic Nuncio of the country
  6. Primates or Presidents of the National Conference of Bishops -- Archbishop of Baltimore has right of precedence in the United States[1]
  7. Metropolitan Archbishops[1]
  8. Host Diocesan Bishop[1]
    1. Archbishops[1]
    2. Coadjutor Archbishops
    3. Titular Archbishops
  9. Bishops
    1. Diocesan Bishops
      1. Exempt
      2. Suffragan[1]
    2. Coadjutor Bishops
    3. Titular Bishops (includes auxiliaries, curia staff, and diplomats)[1]
  10. Prelate nullius[1]
    1. Abbot nullius
    2. Vicar apostolic & Exarch apostolic
    3. Prefect apostolic
  11. Apostolic administrator
  12. Prelate of Personal prelature


Secular clergy (according to the importance of their office or the date of their ordination )[1]

  1. Priest administrators /vicar capitular
  2. Vicars General or Archdeacons
  3. Vicars episcopal
  4. Protonotary apostolic (Monsignor)
    1. De Numero
    2. Supranumerary
  5. Honorary Prelates of His Holiness (Monsignor)
  6. Chaplains of His Holiness (Monsignor)
  7. Chapters
    1. Metropolitan bishop
    2. Cathedral
    3. Collegiate[1]
  8. Vicars forane, Deans, Archpriests and Diocesan Consultors
  9. Pastors
  10. Parochial vicars[4]
  11. religious institute[1]
    1. Clerics regular
    2. Monastic orders
    3. Mendicant orders[1]
  12. Deacons


At times called minor orders, the following are not clergy in the Catholic Church but nevertheless exercise approved ministry and offices.

  1. Acolytes
  2. Lectors

Religious institutes[edit]

  1. Superiors General of religious institutes
  2. Assistants Superiors General
    1. Procurator-general
    2. Definitors-general
  3. Provincial superior, Provincial prior, Archimandrite
  4. Religious superior - Monastic superiors
    1. Abbot
    2. conventual prior
    3. Obedientiary prior
  5. Second
    1. Claustral prior or Deans
    2. Sub-prior
  6. Archimandrite, honorary
  7. Hieromonks (priests of religious institutes)
  8. Religious Brothers and Sisters[5]


Precedence with chapters:

  1. Dean/Provost or other heads of chapters
  2. Other officers (treasurer, a secretary, and a sacristan, canon theologian, canon penitentiary)
  3. capitulars or canons[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Precedence". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  2. ^ a b c d Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Patriarch and Patriarchate". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  3. ^ "Major Archbishops". Catholic Dioceses of the World. GCatholic.org. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Hierarchy". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  5. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Religious Life". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  6. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Chapter". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.