His Holiness

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His Holiness is a style and form of address (in the variant form Your Holiness) for some supreme religious leaders, originally and most notably the Pope.


His Holiness (Latin: Sanctitas) is the official style used to address the Roman Catholic Pope. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has the title of His All-Holiness (abbreviation HAH).

In February 2013, the Holy See announced that former Pope Benedict XVI would retain the style "His Holiness" after resigning and becoming Pope Emeritus.

The term is sometimes abbreviated to "HH" or "H.H." when confusion with "His/Her Highness" is unlikely. The associated form of address is "Your Holiness".

It is also used for certain other Eastern Patriarchs, notably those who head a church or rite which recognizes neither Rome's nor Constantinople's primacy, such as any Catholicos of the East.

Other religions[edit]

The English language honorific "His Holiness", and as female version "Her Holiness", has commonly been used for religious leaders from other traditions, including Buddhism[1] (notably for the Dalai Lama), Shinto[2] and in Ahmadiyya Islam for the Caliph.

It is also used in certain new religious movements such as Hare Krishnas of Hinduism.