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Antonious
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« on: February 08, 2014, 04:54:01 AM »

[Disclaimer: I am an inquirer into Orthodoxy, so I realize many of my questions are probably elementary in nature. Thanks for your patience].

Some initial questions on the topic of interacting with Orthodox clergy.

Asking for a blessing:
Is their a standard form, or protocol, to asking the priest for a blessing? If so, please describe it.

Is it appropriate to ask for a blessing each time you see the priest (For example, I see the parish priest for the first time on my present visit)?

Informal address:
For priests, I'm assuming "Father [First name]"?

What about for an Archpriest? Is it the same as priest for informal language (e.g. speaking face-to-face)?

What about for bishops, and also metropolitans?

Is it also proper to call deacons "Father [First name]"?

I'm open to hearing from different Orthodox local traditions (I'm pretty sure there are several). What do you call your priests and other clergy? How do you ask for a blessing, and how common is that for you?
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2014, 05:22:52 AM »

deacons = father deacon.  Priests of any title= father.  Bishop=your grace archbishop=your eminence metropolitan=your eminence or beatitude.
Blessing=cup hands say fr. Bless! He will make aign of the cross then put his right hand in yours and just kiss it. Do this once a day, so if you see him like 3 times in a day a blessing is good once.
Bishop blessing, samething but say Master bless.
You can call a slavic bishop, archbishop or metropolitan vladyka vla dee ka.
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2014, 05:31:22 AM »

I've never heard anyone using this "Father, bless" outside  of liturgical context. People seem to generally say some informal greeting while cupping their hands.

Not that it wouldn't be said in some other countries or local churches. It probably varies from church to church.
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2014, 05:46:59 AM »

Quote
I've never heard anyone using this "Father, bless" outside  of liturgical context.

I've lost count of the number of times I've heard Russians say Blagoslovi, Otche (Father, bless) while cupping their hands before a priest outside of liturgical settings, including social occasions. And the priest blesses them.
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Alpo
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2014, 05:54:29 AM »

Well Russians are fairly well known for their pompousness. :p
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2014, 06:03:14 AM »

Well Russians are fairly well known for their pompousness. :p

It has nothing to do with pompousness, and everything to do with showing respect to clergy.  Angry police
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2014, 06:07:18 AM »

Respect cannot be reduced to specific phrases. Finnish culture is generally fairly low-key so I believe even most of the priests would feel awkward if they were addresses with manners that are customary in some other churches.
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2014, 06:12:47 AM »

You're missing the point. A priest is still a priest, even outside a liturgical setting.
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Alpo
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« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2014, 06:15:49 AM »

No, you are. police  Yes, they're and thats why we ask for their blessing. However it can be done without culturally out of place manners.

Anyway, this discussion doesn't belong to this subforum so I stop here.
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2014, 06:25:24 AM »

did you alpo and lbk just go completely off topic and start fighting over something so simple? Seriously. Regardless if you get a blessing from the priest you should always get one from the bishop. But you should get a blessing from the priest. It may notbe so in finland where alpo lives but here in the usa it's the norm.
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2014, 06:30:43 AM »

Don't shout. I believe shouting to people is highly inappropriate even where Antonious lives. police
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2014, 12:27:36 PM »

[Disclaimer: I am an inquirer into Orthodoxy, so I realize many of my questions are probably elementary in nature. Thanks for your patience].

Some initial questions on the topic of interacting with Orthodox clergy.

Asking for a blessing:
Is their a standard form, or protocol, to asking the priest for a blessing? If so, please describe it.


I don't have much to add to username! or LBK, but since you would like various observations:

Right hand cupped in left, sometimes small 1/4 prostration, something like 'Father bless', but only when they aren't busy, which is hardly ever, and never right before Confession.


Quote
Is it appropriate to ask for a blessing each time you see the priest (For example, I see the parish priest for the first time on my present visit)?

You can if you want a blessing, which is a good way to start your first visit.  Sometimes they are busy with other matters.  I wouldn't interrupt if he is talking to others or very busy with something.  See the once a day comment from username! above.

Also, on major occasions where there are many priests who I don't know, I wouldn't ask for a blessing from every priest passing by.  Sometimes there are 10, 20 or more priests visiting for something.   

Quote
Informal address:
For priests, I'm assuming "Father [First name]"?

For our parish priests I usually just say 'Father', outside my parish I don't always know their name, so it's still 'Father'.  Smiley  I would use their name if I needed to distinguish one from another.


I personally never say anything to a Metropolitan or Bishop as there is usually a huge line of people on these occasions.
 

Quote
I'm open to hearing from different Orthodox local traditions (I'm pretty sure there are several). What do you call your priests and other clergy? How do you ask for a blessing, and how common is that for you?

See above.  Some cradle Orthodox had never seen that done before and therefore they never did it.  Some think it's strange or too much of something.  The people who I observe who are 40 - 50 year dedicated Orthodox Christians, or pious (in a good way) cradle Orthodox are very good at seeing the right moment for a blessing and will ask regularly.  Others who didn't grow up with this tradition never do outside of the many blessings they receive during Liturgy or after they receive antidoron (the bread distributed to everyone after the Liturgy).   So, it seems to vary among people.   It's good to receive a blessing, and we should learn from those more spiritually attuned through a dedicated prayer life, participation in the Sacraments, and serious study in the Church.  This is one reason why community and participation, even across jurisdictions, is important.


Congratulations on your inquiry to the most beautiful Orthodox faith!  I hope it all goes well for you Smiley   



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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2014, 12:43:36 PM »

The other day, I went to an OCA parish for a vigil.  The last time I visited that parish was about ten years ago.  At some point during the canon at Matins, when the priest wasn't occupied, he came out of the altar, walked toward me while making the sign of the cross over me in blessing (so I had no time to ask it of him), and said "Haven't we met before?"  I cupped my hands to receive his and said, "Yes, Father, we met about ten years ago" and kissed his hand.  We chatted for a few minutes, with one interruption in between: the Little Litany.  Smiley

Another time, I asked a bishop for a blessing, and he smacked me upside my reverently bowed head, laughed, and gave me a bear hug.  When I jokingly reminded him that he never actually blessed me, he asked me: "I gave you a hug, what more to do you want?" followed by more laughing (I suppose a blessing was implied).  Smiley

At least in my experience, LBK is correct about the official practice, but I haven't seen it done just like that other than by ethnic Slavs and converts trying to do everything properly.  Typically, I follow that practice the very first time I meet a priest/bishop, but after that we've usually become friendly enough that, even after a gap of ten years, the blessing looks official but sounds informal.  The official "rite" is good to know, but priests don't always feel compelled to do things in just that way.  So I'd recommend knowing how to ask for blessings that way and doing it this way at least once each time you meet a new priest, but eventually, as you get to know them, you'll get a sense of how to interact with them.  Some will be more informal than others.  Not a bad thing or a good thing, just a thing.  
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« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2014, 11:19:18 AM »

deacons = father deacon.  Priests of any title= father.  Bishop=your grace archbishop=your eminence metropolitan=your eminence or beatitude.
Blessing=cup hands say fr. Bless! He will make aign of the cross then put his right hand in yours and just kiss it. Do this once a day, so if you see him like 3 times in a day a blessing is good once.
Bishop blessing, samething but say Master bless.
You can call a slavic bishop, archbishop or metropolitan vladyka vla dee ka.


username!, thank you for the break-down of common forms of address for Orthodox clergy, for some details about blessing, and for the slavic title for archbishop or metropolitan. The phonetic was helpful as well. Tongue
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« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2014, 11:21:42 AM »


I don't have much to add to username! or LBK, but since you would like various observations:

Velsigne,

The additional information you shared about blessing has been very helpful for me. Thank you. Also, thank you for the words about "Father" in comparison to "Father [Name]". Much gratitude for the warm welcome. Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2014, 11:27:40 AM »

The other day, I went to an OCA parish for a vigil.

[...]

Another time, I asked a bishop for a blessing, and he smacked me upside my reverently bowed head

[...]

Mor Ephrem. Those stories are priceless. LOL. Thanks for sharing them. In addition, thank you for the suggestions about addressing clergy. Ever helpful, and practical.
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« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2014, 12:45:41 PM »

Don't shout. I believe shouting to people is highly inappropriate even where Antonious lives. police

who is shouting? I made the font bigger so people can read it on their mobile phones.
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« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2014, 01:14:32 PM »

Don't shout. I believe shouting to people is highly inappropriate even where Antonious lives. police

who is shouting? I made the font bigger so people can read it on their mobile phones.

Considering that you're the only one doing it, I'm not sure how it would help anyone else? Unless you are assuming that people only need to read what you write, in which case, carry on  Grin
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« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2014, 02:24:24 PM »

considering many people increase their font size..THIS IS SHOUTING..to keep it on track, follow the customs of your diocese in blessings.
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« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2014, 02:41:23 PM »

You all are being amusing, with the font-size jokes.  Grin
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« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2014, 02:44:02 PM »

^ Think so? Tongue
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« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2014, 10:57:58 PM »

I suppose changing around the 'font' is a good idea depending on whether the person being baptized is an adult or not.
But in larger or smaller type size it's QUITE aggravating.
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« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2014, 11:00:07 PM »

I suppose changing around the 'font' is a good idea depending on whether the person being baptized is an adult or not.
But in larger or smaller type size it's QUITE aggravating.


*clap clap* Grin
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« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2014, 11:33:55 PM »

Some posts are impossibly small and some are regular. I'm not sure why.
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« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2014, 05:52:12 PM »

Tangential questions about making the Sign of the Cross (from an EO perspective most specifically this time). I know how to hold my fingers and my hand (e.g. thumb, index, and middle fingers together, with the remaining two curled down into the palm), yet when I make the Sign on myself, I touch my forehead just above the eyebrows in the center, then I touch [and here is the question], I'm not sure (Above the navel, but below the chest. The solar plexus)?

I understand ahead of asking that there will be variation, yet I'm looking for a shared common practice, or even just something close to that, if there is such a thing.
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« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2014, 06:42:57 PM »

Tangential questions about making the Sign of the Cross (from an EO perspective most specifically this time). I know how to hold my fingers and my hand (e.g. thumb, index, and middle fingers together, with the remaining two curled down into the palm), yet when I make the Sign on myself, I touch my forehead just above the eyebrows in the center, then I touch [and here is the question], I'm not sure (Above the navel, but below the chest. The solar plexus)?

I understand ahead of asking that there will be variation, yet I'm looking for a shared common practice, or even just something close to that, if there is such a thing.


There really is no "shared common practice."  Some people will make the motions so closely over their heart that it looks like they're pounding their chest three times.  Some people will even do it three times then touch their hand to the floor.
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« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2014, 11:35:51 PM »

Tangential questions about making the Sign of the Cross (from an EO perspective most specifically this time). I know how to hold my fingers and my hand (e.g. thumb, index, and middle fingers together, with the remaining two curled down into the palm), yet when I make the Sign on myself, I touch my forehead just above the eyebrows in the center, then I touch [and here is the question], I'm not sure (Above the navel, but below the chest. The solar plexus)?

I understand ahead of asking that there will be variation, yet I'm looking for a shared common practice, or even just something close to that, if there is such a thing.


There really is no "shared common practice."  Some people will make the motions so closely over their heart that it looks like they're pounding their chest three times.  Some people will even do it three times then touch their hand to the floor.

This.

Although I think a common basic one is to bring it down to the solar plexus, or a little bit above or below it. In my experience, I usually only see pious old folks and overly zealous converts bring it all the way down to the navel in church - the latter type often with an exaggerated outward arcing motion.

Would it be accurate to say that people's crossing tends to get more "proper" for special reasons? E.g. crossing to venerate a icon or during the trisagion vs. a random "Glory to the Father, etc." I want to say it is, but I guess I haven't paid enough attention.

But either way, there are definitely tons of variations even within a specific parish.
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« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2014, 12:28:44 PM »

someone i knew used to go to an anglican church where they were 'high church' and so knew about the sign of the cross.
when we were both students, i asked him how people did the sign of the cross as i was curious and wondered how they all remember to do it the same way.
i was in the least traditional extreme of the protestant spectum of churches (having started in the puritan methodist church - no signs of cross there!) so really didn't know where people put their hands.

he answered me seriously; 'spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch' (face, lower down, left, right) and so, when i occasionally did the sign of the cross, i would think of this, and follow his instructions.

a few years later, i was discussing the sign of the cross with other non traditional protestants and was pleased i could explain to them how it was done.
it was only then that i realised no one actually SAYS 'spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch' while demonstrating it!
 Embarrassed
i had not realised my friend was not serious...

 Wink

edit: i since realised that not even catholics go as low down as that when crossing themselves.
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« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2014, 12:34:51 PM »

Some people will make the motions so closely over their heart that it looks like they're pounding their chest three times.

Some even do it so fast that I've heard priests go, 'Enough with the baglamas, already!'
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« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2014, 01:09:30 PM »

'spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch'

Awesome! 
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« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2014, 05:52:34 PM »

Some people will make the motions so closely over their heart that it looks like they're pounding their chest three times.

Some even do it so fast that I've heard priests go, 'Enough with the baglamas, already!'

.... The one I've heard often enough is "are you crossing yourself, or playing bouzouki?"
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« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2014, 11:29:36 AM »

Some people will make the motions so closely over their heart that it looks like they're pounding their chest three times.

Some even do it so fast that I've heard priests go, 'Enough with the baglamas, already!'

.... The one I've heard often enough is "are you crossing yourself, or playing bouzouki?"

I've heard "off to the races?"
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« Reply #32 on: February 20, 2014, 06:39:37 PM »

There really is no "shared common practice."  Some people will make the motions so closely over their heart that it looks like they're pounding their chest three times.  Some people will even do it three times then touch their hand to the floor.

Thank you Yurysprudentsiya. OK, so I think I am understanding, that how one makes the Sign of the Cross (and probably, many other practices) just simply varies from Orthodox to Orthodox, from parish to parish, and even (as some have commented below), within any given parish itself. As an inquirer I am in a position (for better or for worse, I do not know) of ascertaining general principles from various Orthodox traditions. I happen to live in a region that has several traditions represented through local parishes. Once I choose where I will be "landed" if you will, then it will be more clear. I will follow the guidance of the local bishop, and the parish priest. Until then, I am still looking into how things are done even within Orthodoxy itself. Thanks again for sharing.
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« Reply #33 on: February 20, 2014, 06:42:10 PM »

But either way, there are definitely tons of variations even within a specific parish.

OK, understood. So, really no point in seeking for a common shared practice on this, as there is none really.
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« Reply #34 on: February 20, 2014, 06:46:21 PM »

someone i knew used to go to an anglican church where they were 'high church' and so knew about the sign of the cross.
when we were both students, i asked him how people did the sign of the cross as i was curious and wondered how they all remember to do it the same way.

I was not quite expecting this, when I asked my question, but, there you go.  Wink

If the person that told you that was correct, it does tell me that the Anglicans, at least, go below the navel. I wonder if they are alone in this.

It also tells me that many Anglicans wear their watches and wallets on opposite sides from me. LOL.

[Edit to add further comments]
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« Reply #35 on: February 20, 2014, 06:59:11 PM »

There really is no "shared common practice."  Some people will make the motions so closely over their heart that it looks like they're pounding their chest three times.  Some people will even do it three times then touch their hand to the floor.

Thank you Yurysprudentsiya. OK, so I think I am understanding, that how one makes the Sign of the Cross (and probably, many other practices) just simply varies from Orthodox to Orthodox, from parish to parish, and even (as some have commented below), within any given parish itself. As an inquirer I am in a position (for better or for worse, I do not know) of ascertaining general principles from various Orthodox traditions. I happen to live in a region that has several traditions represented through local parishes. Once I choose where I will be "landed" if you will, then it will be more clear. I will follow the guidance of the local bishop, and the parish priest. Until then, I am still looking into how things are done even within Orthodoxy itself. Thanks again for sharing.

You're welcome.  Don't worry about this. It is far more important to do it prayerfully and in concert with the norms of your community.   You'll find that precise measurements of the sort you're describing rarely fit into Orthodoxy.  There are generally boundaries of accepted teachings and practices within which we operate freely. 
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« Reply #36 on: February 20, 2014, 07:04:50 PM »

Well. the 'apocryphal' story is that there was a Jesuit sitting next to an Anglican clergyman on an airplane. When it crashed, the Anglican what appeared to be the 'sign of the Cross'.
"Now we've got you!" said the Jesuit!
"Don't be absurd," said the Anglican; "I was just checking, spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch."
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« Reply #37 on: February 20, 2014, 07:12:34 PM »

Arachne, LBK, and podkarpatska, I hadn't noticed that at the parish I have gone to, but I've only been there twice, so my attention was more taking it all in, watching/listening to the deacon and priest, listening to the lyrics of the hymns, etc. This is all fairly new territory to me. When I was young, I had a relative that was Roman Catholic, but my immediate family were not (I was raised, more or less, secular). I went with my relative to Mass a few times. I never became RC, but it did leave an imprint on me (seeing Mass, that is. The parish was a bit more traditional, still older RC, but not "Traditional Catholicism", simply traditional Roman Catholics). I know RC Mass is not the same as Divine Liturgy, but it is "High Church" (compare, e.g., almost all of Protestantism). At the time I lived in an area with a high population of RC's. Now I live in an area with a high population of Protestants (think "Bible Belt").

When I began to study the history of the Church, I was more attracted to Orthodoxy than Roman Catholicism, and when I went to Divine Liturgy I knew I wanted to come back, and come back again.
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« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2014, 11:38:53 PM »

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 with suffragans or assistant Bishops, Metropolitans, and most Archbishops (among the exceptions to this rule is the Archbishop of Athens, who is addressed as "Your Beatitude"). "Your Beatitude" is the proper title for Patriarchs (except for the Œcumenical Patriarch in Constantinople, who is addressed as "Your All—Holiness"). 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.

We should understand that when the Priest or Bishop blesses us, he forms his fingers to represent the Christogram "ICXC" a traditional abbreviation of the Greek words for "Jesus Christ" (i.e., the first and last letters of each of the words "IHCOYC XRICTOC"). Thus, the Priest's blessing is in the Name of Christ, as he emphasizes in his response to the believer's request for a blessing. Other responses to this request are used by many clergy, but the antiquity and symbolism of the tradition which we have presented are compelling arguments for its use. We should also note that the reason that a lay person kisses the hand of a Priest or Bishop is to show respect to his Apostolic office. More importantly, however, since both hold the Holy Mysteries in their hands during the Divine Liturgy, we show respect to the Holy Eucharist when we kiss their hands. In fact, Saint John Chrysostomos once said that if one were to meet an Orthodox Priest walking along with an Angel, that he should greet the Priest first and kiss his hand, since that hand has touched the Body and Blood of our Lord. For this latter reason, we do not normally kiss the hand of a Deacon. [98] While a Deacon in the Orthodox Church holds the first level of the Priesthood (Deacon, Presbyter, Bishop), his service does not entail blessing the Mysteries. When we take leave of a Priest or Bishop, we should again ask for a blessing, just as we did when we first greeted him.

In the case of married clergy, the wife of a Priest or Deacon is also informally addressed with a title. Since the Mystery of Marriage binds a Priest and his wife together as "one flesh," [99] the wife shares in a sense her husband's Priesthood. This does not, of course, mean that she has the very Grace of the Priesthood or its office, but the dignity of her husband's service certainly accrues to her. [100] The various titles used by the national Churches are listed below. The Greek titles, since they have English correspondents, are perhaps the easiest to use in the West:

Greek: Presbytera (Pres—vee—té—ra)
Russian: Matushka (Má—toosh—ka)
Serbian: Papadiya (Pa—pá—dee—ya)
Ukrainian: Panimatushka (Pa—nee—má—toosh—ka), or Panimatka (Pa—nee—mát—ka)

The wife of a Deacon is called "Diakonissa [Thee—a—kó—nees—sa]" in Greek. The Slavic Churches commonly use the same title for the wife of a Deacon as they do for the wife of a Priest. In any case, 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.).

Greeting Clergy on the Telephone. Whenever you speak to Orthodox clergy of Priestly rank on the telephone, you should always begin your conversation by asking for a blessing: "Father, bless." When speaking with a Bishop, you should say "Bless, Despota [Thés—po—ta]" (or "Vladika [Vlá—dee—ka]" in Slavonic, "Master" in English). It is also appropriate to say, "Bless, Your Grace" (or "Your Eminence," etc.). You should end your conversation by asking for a blessing again.

Addressing Clergy in a Letter. When we write to a clergyman (and, by custom, monastics), we should open our letter with the greeting, "Bless, Father." At the end of the letter, it is customary to close with the following line: "Kissing your right hand...." It is not appropriate to invoke a blessing on a clergyman, as many do: "May God bless you." Not only does this show a certain spiritual arrogance before the image of the cleric, but laymen do not have the Grace of the Priesthood and the prerogative to bless in their stead. Even a Priest properly introduces his letters with the words, "The blessing of the Lord" or "May God bless you," rather than offering his own blessing. Though he can do the latter, humility prevails in his behavior, too. Needless to say, when a clergyman writes to his ecclesiastical superior, he should ask for a blessing and not bestow one.

Formal Address. Deacons in the Orthodox Church are addressed as "The Reverend Deacon," if they are married Deacons. If they are Deacons who are also monks, they are addressed as "The Reverend Hierodeacon." If a Deacon holds the honor of Archdeacon or Protodeacon, he is addressed as "The Reverend Archdeacon" or "The Reverend Protodeacon." Deacons hold a rank in the Priesthood and are, therefore, not laymen. This is an important point to remember, since so many Orthodox here in America have come to think of the Deacon as a kind of "quasi—Priest." This is the result of Latin influence and poor teaching. As members of the Priesthood, Deacons must be addressed, as we noted above, as "Father" (or "Deacon Father").

Orthodox Priests are addressed as "The Reverend Father," if they are married Priests. If they are Hieromonks (monks who are also Priests), they are addressed as "The Reverend Hieromonk." Priests with special honors are addressed in this manner: an Archimandrite (the highest monastic rank below that of Bishop), "The Very Reverend Archimandrite" (or, in the Slavic jurisdictions, "The Right Reverend Archimandrite"); and Proto-presbyters, "The Very Reverend Protopresbyter." In personal address, as we noted above, all Priests are called "Father," usually followed by their first names (e.g., "Father John").

Bishops in the Orthodox Church are addressed as "The Right Reverend Bishop," followed by their first name (e.g., "The Right Reverend Bishop John"). Archbishops, Metropolitans, and Patriarchs are addressed as "The Most Reverend Archbishop" ("Metropolitan," or "Patriarch"). Because they are also monastics, all ranks of Archpastors (Bishops, Archbishops, Metropolitans, or Patriarchs) are addressed by their first names or first names and sees (e.g., "Bishop John of San Francisco"). It is not correct to use the family name of a Bishop—or any monastic for that matter. Though many monastics and Bishops use their family names, even in Orthodox countries like Russia and Greece, this is absolutely improper and a violation of an ancient Church custom.

All male monastics in the Orthodox Church are called "Father," whether they hold the Priesthood or not, and are formally addressed as "Monk (name)," if they do not have a Priestly rank. If they are of Priestly rank, they are formally addressed as "Hieromonk" or "Hierodeacon" (see above). Monastics are some-times addressed according to their monastic rank; for example, "Rasophore—monk (name)," "Stavrophore—monk (name)," or "Schemamonk (name)." The Abbot of a monastery is addressed as "The Very Reverend Abbot," whether he holds Priestly rank or not and whether or not he is an Archimandrite by rank. Under no circumstances whatsoever is an Orthodox monk addressed by laymen as "Brother." This is a Latin custom. The term "Brother" is used in Orthodox monasteries in two instances only: first, to designate beginners in the monastic life (novices or, in Greek, dokimoi ["those being tested"]), who are given a blessing, in the strictest tradition, to wear only the inner cassock and a monastic cap; and second, as an occasional, informal form of address between monastics themselves (including Bishops).

Again, as we noted above, a monk should never use his last name. This reflects the Orthodox understanding of monasticism, in which the monastic dies to his former self and abandons all that identified him in the world. Lay people are also called to respect a monk's death to his past. (In Greek practice, a monk sometimes forms a new last name from the name of his monastery. Thus a monk from the Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery [Mone Agiou Gregoriou Palama, in Greek] might take the name Agiogregorites.)

The titles which we have used for male monastics also apply to female monastics. In fact, a community of female monastics is often called a "monastery" rather than a convent (though there is nothing improper, as some wrongly claim, in calling a monastery for women a "convent"), just as the word "convent," in its strictest meaning, can apply to a monastic community of males, too. Women monastics are formally addressed as "Nun (name)" or "Rasophore—nun (name)," etc., and the Abbess of a convent is addressed as "The Very Reverend Abbess." Though traditions for informal address vary, in most places, Rasophore nuns are called "Sister," while any monastic above the rank of Rasophore is called "Mother." Novices are addressed as "Sister."

There are, as we have noted, some differences in the way that Orthodox religious are addressed. What we have given above corresponds to a reasonably standardized vocabulary as one would find it in more traditional English—language Orthodox writings and among English—speaking Orthodox monastics. The influx of Latin converts into Orthodox monasticism and the phenomenon of "monasticism by convenient rule, instant tradition, and fabrication," as Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna has called it, are things that have also led to great confusion in the use of English terminology that corresponds more correctly to the vocabulary of traditional Orthodox monastics.


From Father David Cownie and Presbytera Juliana Cownie, A Guide to Orthodox Life (Etna, CA: Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, 1996), pp. 90-96.
(orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/clergy_etiquette.aspx)


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« Reply #39 on: February 22, 2014, 09:59:47 AM »

thanks for that comprehensive post.

i have been calling my deacon friends (one EO, one OO, that's for real; i am not just trying to be politically correct!) as 'father deacon'. is that ok or should it only be 'deacon father'?
maybe it's a uk english versus american english variation, or maybe i just got it wrong.

as for my previous post, i don't think the anglicans go below the navel when making the sign of the cross, it's just the way they say it that makes you think they do.

from what i've read, the oldest way of making the sign of the cross is on your forehead with the right thumb.
everything else is modern!
(so the left first and right first debaters can give up arguing and start using the thumb...)
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« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2014, 11:55:19 AM »

thanks for that comprehensive post.

i have been calling my deacon friends (one EO, one OO, that's for real; i am not just trying to be politically correct!) as 'father deacon'. is that ok or should it only be 'deacon father'?
maybe it's a uk english versus american english variation, or maybe i just got it wrong.


We call ours Father Deacon too. Sometimes with his name added sometimes not.

I think if you were in a parish that had more than one Deacon the name would clarify who you meant when yelling across coffee hour.

We only have one....
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« Reply #41 on: February 24, 2014, 03:18:09 PM »

cool, thanks.
i also just remembered i have 3 deacon friends.
 angel
one is a family friend i didn't meet enough times.
in romanian it's also 'father deacon'.
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