Author Topic: Addressing Orthodox Clergy  (Read 5786 times)

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Offline MsGuided

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Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« on: March 09, 2005, 10:49:18 PM »
A quite random question actually...

How would you address say an Orthodox priest when writing a letter?  And what would be an appropriate way to end such a letter?  Dear Father? Father, Bless! Sincerely, insert your name here?  I don't want to offend anyone  :angel:
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Offline Veniamin

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2005, 11:37:31 PM »
Start with "Bless, Father" and close with "Kissing your right hand" in place of "sincerely."  :)
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Offline Nigula Qian Zishi

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2005, 12:40:43 AM »
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Offline MsGuided

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2005, 01:56:55 AM »
Thanks, that's just what I was looking for!  Now if only these churches would update their websites and email addresses once every 5 years....grumblegrumble...message undeliverable...all that work for nothing...
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Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2005, 09:48:01 AM »
"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."

I must say that the latter explanation does not seem adequate for the deacon does indeed touch the Body of our Lord but I have never seen a deacon's hand kissed.

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Offline admiralnick

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2005, 11:22:15 AM »
I was always taught that you would only kiss the hand of a bishop or higher ranking clergy man. I've seen priest's hands being kissed, but I was never taught this custom. It would seem to be more of a Greek and Serbian custom than a Carpatho-Russian. But that's just my opinion.


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Offline Nigula Qian Zishi

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2005, 11:25:20 AM »
Dear Fr. Lance,

Actually whenever I go to a GOC church my hand gets kissed a lot. (Of course a deacon does not give a blessing like a priest or bishop do.) This is not done in the Russian tradition and can be quite shocking for a Russian Deacon going to a traditional Greek church if he is not aware. Thankfully I was warned ahead of time. From what I understand some Greek deacons will give a "Deacon's blessing" (if asked) with their hand in the same position as when they cross themselves much like and abbess or abbott that is not a priest. Sadly many Orthodox Christians do not realize (or are not comfortable with the fact) that they can (and should) get a blessing from an abbess.

Nicholas, I believe what you were taught was a Latinization and not a true Carpatho-Russian tradition.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2005, 11:27:37 AM by Диакон Николай »
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Offline Nigula Qian Zishi

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2005, 11:45:20 AM »
Nicholas, upon further thinking, rather than only supposing the Latinization possibility, it could be that the person who taught you this knew the Russian custom of only asking a blessing from the hierarch and not from any priest [/i]when both you and the priest are in the presence of the hierarch[/i] and may have been misunderstood by the person as the normative situation. As far as I can tell, getting a blessing from a priest has always been the tradition everywhere in Eastern Orthodoxy.
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Offline katherine 2001

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2005, 08:07:04 PM »
Admiralnick, Deacon Nikolai is correct.  You only don't ask a blessing or kiss the hand of a priest if there is a hierarch present.  Otherwise, it is fine to ask your priest to give you a blessing and to kiss his hand. 

Offline TonyS

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2005, 12:17:23 AM »
Admiralnick, Deacon Nikolai is correct. You only don't ask a blessing or kiss the hand of a priest if there is a hierarch present. Otherwise, it is fine to ask your priest to give you a blessing and to kiss his hand.

You can kiss the priest's hand even if the bishop is present.  Priests don't bless other priests yet they kiss each others' hands for instance at greeting or when exchanging the kiss of peace at the Creed.
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Offline MsGuided

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2005, 01:17:02 AM »
You can kiss the priest's hand even if the bishop is present. Priests don't bless other priests yet they kiss each others' hands for instance at greeting or when exchanging the kiss of peace at the Creed.

The priest is just not the one who will give you a blessing in this situation then?
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Offline Nigula Qian Zishi

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2005, 02:06:37 AM »
You can kiss the priest's hand even if the bishop is present. Priests don't bless other priests yet they kiss each others' hands for instance at greeting or when exchanging the kiss of peace at the Creed.

You can ask for a blessing, but the traditional Russian custom is that you do not if a hierarch is present. You only ask the bishop for a blessing and only kiss his hand.
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Offline TonyS

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2005, 07:47:28 AM »
The priest is just not the one who will give you a blessing in this situation then?

The priest does not bless in the presence of a hierarch.  The kissing of the hand is usually the response to receiveing a blessing.  However, Greeks kiss the priest's hand without asking for a blessing.  And, among Russians that I have observed priests kiss each others' hands (and they don't bless each other) as noted above.
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Offline TonyS

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2005, 07:49:11 AM »
You can ask for a blessing, but the traditional Russian custom is that you do not if a hierarch is present. You only ask the bishop for a blessing and only kiss his hand.

At concelebrations in your church do priests not kiss each others' hands? 
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Offline Nigula Qian Zishi

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2005, 11:32:13 AM »
Yes, this is how priests greet each other but this is for priests with one another; not the standard custom for laity and lower clergy when a hierarch is present.
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Offline TonyS

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2005, 04:36:50 PM »
At celebrations where a bishop does not celebrate but is present he gives all the blessings as usual, yet at the "It is truly meet..." when the server or deacon hands the censer to the priest (priest censes first even with a deacon present) the server or deacon kisses the hand of the priest. This kissing of the hand of the priest has nothing to do with a blessing.  The server or deacon kisses the hand of the priest when he gives or receives something liturgical from the priest, it is a matter of respect. 

I have not been made aware of any proscription of the laity kissing the hand of the priest in the presence of a bishop.  Such a proscription exists regarding the blessing, but again, that is another story. 

Perhaps this is a custom in your church's usage.  I asked a cradle Orthodox priest about this, he said you can kiss anyone and any priest's hand when the bishop is present; the blessing is another issue.
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Offline Nigula Qian Zishi

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2005, 11:59:38 PM »
Well I know this is the tradition in both of the ROCORs and in our Churches in Russian and abroad. The OCA here in America may very well be different as may the little Russian recensions, but I have been told that this is the tradition still even in many MP dioceses in Russia as well.
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Offline Nigula Qian Zishi

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Re: Addressing Orthodox Clergy
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2005, 12:02:32 AM »
Also in Liturgy some thing are different, as the kiss when receiving or taking something from the priest, but I was just speaking of in generalities that one would not ask for a blessing from a priest when a bishop was present, whether at a home, a trapeza, etc. in the Russian Church.
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