Our Clergy

Clergy Etiquette:

The following is a guide for properly addressing Orthodox clergy. Most of the titles do not exactly correspond to the terms used in Greek, Russian, or the other native languages of the national Orthodox Churches, but they have been widely accepted as standard English usages.

Greeting Clergy in Person. When we address Deacons or Priests, we should use the title “Father.” Bishops we should address as “Your Grace.” Though all Bishops (including Patriarchs) are equal in the Orthodox Church, they do have different administrative duties and honors that accrue to their rank in this sense. Thus, “Your Eminence” is the proper title for Bishops or assistant Bishops, Metropolitans, and most Archbishops. “Your Beatitude” is the proper title for Patriarchs. When we approach an Orthodox Presbyter or Bishop (but not a Deacon), we make a bow by reaching down and touching the floor with our right hand, place our right hand over the left (palms upward), and say: “Bless, Father” (or “Bless, Your Grace,” or “Bless, Your Eminence,” etc.). The Priest or Bishop then answers, “May the Lord bless you,” blesses us with the Sign of the Cross, and places his right hand in our hands. We kiss then his hand.

In the case of married clergy, the wife of a Priest or Deacon is also informally addressed with a title. The wife of a Priest is called “Presbytera” (Pres—vee——ra) and the wife of a Deacon is called “Diakonissa [Thee—a——nees—sa]” in Greek. The wife of a Priest should normally be addressed with both her title and her name in informal situations (e.g., “Presbytera Mary,” “Diakonissa Sophia,” etc.).

Orthodox Tradition, Vol. IX, No. 1, pp. 10-11.
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