http://groups.google.com/group/Orthodox-ROAC/browse_thread/thread/605fc3c0d36bae22Addressing Clergy in a Letter
When we write to a clergyman, we should open our letter with the greeting, "Father, Bless" 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, such as: "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.
Clergymen of the same office (Deacon, Presbyter, Bishop) greet one another with "Christ is in our midst!" and respond to this greeting with, "He is and ever shall be!".
Formal Letter Address Deacons in the Orthodox Church are addressed in formal letters as "The Reverend Deacon," if they are not monastic 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 Very Reverend Archdeacon/Protodeacon." Deacons hold a rank in the Priesthood and are, therefore, not laymen as subdeacons and readers are. As members of the Priesthood, Deacons should be addressed, as noted above, as "Father".
Orthodox Priests are addressed in formal letters as "The Reverend Priest," if they are not monastics. 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 some Slavic jurisdictions, "The Right Reverend Archimandrite"); and Archpriests or Protopresbyters, "The Very Reverend Archpriest/Protopresbyter." In personal address, as we noted above, all Deacons and Priests are called "Father," usually followed by their Baptismal/Monastic names (e.g., "Father Anastasios").
Bishops in the Orthodox Church are addressed in formal letters as "The Right Reverend Bishop," followed by their first name in all caps (e.g., "The Right Reverend Bishop JOHN"). Archbishops and Metropolitans are addressed as "The Most Reverend Archbishop/Metropolitan". All ranks of Archpastors (Bishops, Archbishops, Metropolitans), because they are also monastics, are addressed by their first name or first name and sees (e.g., "Bishop JOHN of Chicago"). It is not correct to use the last 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. Addressing a Monastic in a Formal Letter
All male monastics in the Orthodox Church are called "Father," whether they hold the Priesthood or not, and are formally addressed in formal letters as "The Reverend Monk (name)," if they do not have a Priestly rank. If they are of Priestly rank, they are formally addressed as "The Reverend Hieromonk/Hierodeacon". Monastics are sometimes formally addressed according to their monastic rank; for example, " The Reverend Rasophore-monk," " The Reverend Stavrophore-monk," or " The Reverend Schemamonk." 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. The term "Brother" is used in Orthodox monasteries in one instance only: to designate novices who are given a blessing, in the strictest tradition, to wear only the inner cassock and a monastic cap.
Again, as we noted above, a monk never uses 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 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. Women monastics are addressed in formal letters as "The Reverend Nun" or " The Reverend Rasophore—nun," 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, and in all places, novices, are called "Sister," while any monastic above the rank of Rasophore and the abbess is always called "Mother. When greeting an Abbess, a layperson should, just as we do with an Abbot, ask for a blessing, saying, "Mother, Bless" rather than "Father, Bless". Abbots and Abbesses can often be identified by their wearing of a pectoral cross.
I have only visited one monastery, thus far. However, while we shouldn't follow "anyone" blindly, I found it to be peaceful and reinvigorating. There's something special about being in a place dedicated to worshiping God, and among people who are there for the same purpose. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
- Matthew 18:20