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Author Topic: Russian Word for "priest"  (Read 3299 times) Average Rating: 0
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Rosehip
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« on: July 17, 2009, 04:43:41 PM »

I rather imagine I've asked this question before, but why are priests often referred to as "popiy" (popes?) in Russian. Is this a derogatory expression mostly?
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2009, 05:09:11 PM »


Hi Rosehip,

I think it's usually "unflattering" to call the a priest a pop (long o), or peep.  In Ukrainian I call my priest "Otetz".
I know the Russians call priests "Bathyushka", which is a gentle way of saying "Father".

I'm not sure where the popiy came from....although I hear it in reference to Ukrainian priests, as well. 

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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2009, 05:20:28 PM »

The offcially accepted Russian word for priest is "священник" (svya-shchYE-nnik). The word "поп" (PAWP) is a bit rude - not quite derogatory but, still, not really polite to use.
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2009, 05:25:00 PM »

So what are the origins of this expression? I heard it in Ukraine-actually this is what the locals sometimes called the pastors of our little (non-Orthodox) church. Does it come from the Roman Catholic "pope"?
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2009, 05:40:23 PM »

Probably yes, both come from the Greek "papas..."
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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2009, 06:30:17 PM »


I think it's usually "unflattering" to call the a priest a pop (long o),

Yes, it's considered a sign of uncouthness.  All the same, Serbs can use it in a folksy village friendly way without giving offence.

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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2009, 07:29:10 PM »

In Macedonia and Bulgaria, "pop" that means father (along with popadiya/papadija for the priest's wife) was normally used in the villages. Educated/city folks used "otyets" for the priest and "presvitera" for the wife. In any case, "pop" and "otyets" mean father.
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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2009, 08:57:41 PM »

Popp is a common surname among Rusyns. 
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2009, 05:27:14 AM »

СВЕШТЕНИК, ПОП, ОЧЕ, ОТАЦ.....СРБСКИ....serbian

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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2009, 08:03:13 AM »

Popp is a common surname among Rusyns. 

Really? Maybe Papp (Hungarian origin)? "Popp" does not sound like a Slavic name at all.
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2009, 09:40:46 AM »

I have some in my parish and they are Rusyn not Hungarian.  The name is listed in the Carpatho-Rusyn surname list:
http://www.rusyn.com/crslalpha.htm
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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2009, 10:03:58 AM »

I have some in my parish and they are Rusyn not Hungarian.  The name is listed in the Carpatho-Rusyn surname list:
http://www.rusyn.com/crslalpha.htm

I am not saying they are Hungarian, but the name Popp sounds Hungarian rather than of a Slavic origin. Indeed, in this list the name Popp is mentioned twice, and is said to belong to people from "counties" (I am not sure what that is) that are called Maramaros and Szepes/Spis (very Hungarian names, again). Other names in the list that sound Hungarian to me are Apihari, Balosh, Banjas, Bezeres, Capcara, Dadio, Dandar, Derczo, etc.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 10:04:29 AM by Heorhij » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2009, 10:17:06 AM »

I have some in my parish and they are Rusyn not Hungarian.  The name is listed in the Carpatho-Rusyn surname list:
http://www.rusyn.com/crslalpha.htm

I am not saying they are Hungarian, but the name Popp sounds Hungarian rather than of a Slavic origin. Indeed, in this list the name Popp is mentioned twice, and is said to belong to people from "counties" (I am not sure what that is) that are called Maramaros and Szepes/Spis (very Hungarian names, again). Other names in the list that sound Hungarian to me are Apihari, Balosh, Banjas, Bezeres, Capcara, Dadio, Dandar, Derczo, etc.

Guess it's like Russians I know who have German surnames, like König, Meissner, etc, or Germans who have French names like Clermont. Geographic and cultural overlap.
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« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2009, 01:23:04 PM »

I have some in my parish and they are Rusyn not Hungarian.  The name is listed in the Carpatho-Rusyn surname list:
http://www.rusyn.com/crslalpha.htm

I am not saying they are Hungarian, but the name Popp sounds Hungarian rather than of a Slavic origin. Indeed, in this list the name Popp is mentioned twice, and is said to belong to people from "counties" (I am not sure what that is) that are called Maramaros and Szepes/Spis (very Hungarian names, again). Other names in the list that sound Hungarian to me are Apihari, Balosh, Banjas, Bezeres, Capcara, Dadio, Dandar, Derczo, etc.

Guess it's like Russians I know who have German surnames, like König, Meissner, etc, or Germans who have French names like Clermont. Geographic and cultural overlap.

Yes, perhaps you are right! I know a man from the Netherlands (Southern Holland) whose last name is Montfort. It sounds so French, but he says he does not know of any French ancestors. He is "as Dutch as it gets."
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« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2009, 09:55:38 AM »


Hi Rosehip,

I think it's usually "unflattering" to call the a priest a pop (long o), or peep.  In Ukrainian I call my priest "Otetz".
I know the Russians call priests "Bathyushka", which is a gentle way of saying "Father".

I'm not sure where the popiy came from....although I hear it in reference to Ukrainian priests, as well. 



I can't speak for Russians, since I am of Ukrainian heritage born in Canada.  The word "pip" for priest in Ukrainian comes from the Greek word for priest as others indicated.  Certainly here in Canada in the Ukrainian community the word pip is not deragatory or meant to be insulting.  It is just a less formal word.  For example a comparison according to my Ukrainian dictionary can be made between the English words priest and parson.  When visiting Western Ukraine I have found this to be the same.

However, when addressing a priest face to face, he is called by the title "otetz" in Ukrainian which means father.  The same custom exists in English to call a priest "father".  Different words are used for different situation.  For example, a teacher in English is not addressed face to face as
teacher Smith but Mr. or Ms. Smith.

In many Slavic languages you will find the surname "Popovich" which can be translated as "son of a priest".  Even in Romanian you can find the surname "Popescu" which means son of a priest.  For many centuries Romanians used Church Slavonic as their liturgical language in church.
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« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2009, 10:19:40 AM »

In many Slavic languages you will find the surname "Popovich" which can be translated as "son of a priest".  Even in Romanian you can find the surname "Popescu" which means son of a priest.  For many centuries Romanians used Church Slavonic as their liturgical language in church.

I knew one Hungarian (from Transcarpathia) whose last name was Popovich. The man spoke some heavily accented Russian and Ukrainian, but he said that his first language, his mother tongue was Hungarian. His first name was Tibor (really Hungarian).
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« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2009, 10:30:17 AM »

Slavic priestly surnames include Popovitch, Popov, Protopopov; Greek priestly surnames include Papas, Papadopoulos (the most common of all Greek surnames), Papadakis, Protopapas, and the large number of names beginning with Papa- , followed by a man's name in possessive case, such as Papageorgiou, Papadimitriou, etc.
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« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2009, 01:59:36 PM »

So what are the origins of this expression? I heard it in Ukraine-actually this is what the locals sometimes called the pastors of our little (non-Orthodox) church. Does it come from the Roman Catholic "pope"?

LOL.  No, it comes from Greek papa "father/priest" from which Latin papa comes from.
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