Poll

Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?

No
4 (14.8%)
No, but I will not say never if a person requests that.
11 (40.7%)
Undecided
3 (11.1%)
Most likely
7 (25.9%)
Always
2 (7.4%)

Total Members Voted: 27

Author Topic: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?  (Read 2520 times)

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Offline Maria

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When I first came into Orthodoxy in 1996, people would rarely use nicknames. If we addressed a priest, we would use his full baptismal name: Thomas, but not Tom. To hear people address Father Thomas Hopko as Fr. Tom was almost an insult. However, recently, it seems like Orthodox Priests want to be called by their nicknames, including Fr. Thomas Hopko.

I do not like this trend of forgetting our patron saint and using nicknames.  This trend reminds me of the jokes and familiarity among the Roman Catholics and their clergy.  For example, not only has the sense of the sacred vanished with the introduction of the Novus Ordo Mass, but also there has been a lack of sobriety, a lack of respect, a lack of proper boundaries, etc. We do not want to repeat their problems.
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2014, 07:55:20 PM »
I don't really think it matters as long as his title is presented and there is at least some semblance of his real name--Tom easily can mean Thomas and so forth.

Maybe it's my Protestant roots, but I don't find anything wrong with the sense of familiarity that some people have with their clergy. I'd like to think that my closeness with my Priest--especially during Confession and our 1 on 1 talks--has been more of an asset than a liability. I like having a Priest who took the time to know me.

I'd much rather have this than some Priest I hardly know just to keep the "sacred."
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Offline Arachne

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2014, 08:26:48 PM »
In Greece it's always been done. You have Papa-Spyros (Spyridon), Papa-Thanasis (Athanasios), Papa-Stelios (Stylianos), Papa-Vangelis (Evangelos), and so on.

Calling Thomas 'Tom' is not a nickname, it's a diminutive - and I'm eternally amused by the Russian ones, which are actually longer than the proper names they replace! :D

So, in answer to the thread question: No big deal. Names are meant to be functional, and it's only polite to call people what they want to be called.
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Offline biro

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2014, 08:38:01 PM »
I always just say Father. If he asked me to call him Father (Nickname), then I guess I would.  :)
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Offline Papist

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2014, 08:44:09 PM »
You should refer to all priests as Gandalf.
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2014, 09:04:51 PM »
You should refer to all priests as Gandalf.

Even priests of Pellor?
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2014, 09:55:53 PM »
I've known Father Hopko all my life, he's always been Father Tom. I know two Father Jonathans, one is always Fr. Jon, the other always Fr.Jonathan. So the answer is, it depends. Just be respectful and if your priest wants to be called Father Mike, not Father Michael or vice versa, respect his wishes...unless he says call me Mike. Then call your bishop.  But always be formal with your bishop.

Offline Sam G

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2014, 10:30:11 PM »
The rector at my parish has called people out before for referring to his assistant, Father Hierotheus, as Father H., but then again he also refers to me as "Mr. Sam" and not my full baptismal name. It all depends really. I agree that clergy should be addressed by their full name, but when referring to other laity I don't think it's as big an issue, although I've made a point to try and call my Godfather Stephen and not Steve.
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Offline Basil 320

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2014, 10:59:10 PM »
There's nothing wrong with use of informal. short forms of names of the clergy. Here's a few I can think of off hand. I knew one priest whose formal name was "Theologos," but we called him "Fr. Theo." Another priest I know, his formal name is "Demetrios," but his parishioners, largely, call him "Fr. Jim." On the flip side of this issue, I saw a young priest who I know addressed by a Parish Council member as "Fr. Mike," but the priest politely advised him, "I don't like being addressed as 'Fr. Mike;' I prefer 'Fr. Michael.' I didn't mind 'Mike' as a layman, but I don't like it as a priest." Another young man who I saw growing up was known as "Deno," but at his ordination, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta told him in his episcopal address, "You are no longer "Deno," you now are "Fr. Constantine." And yet, Bishop Gerasimos of Abydos of Blessed Memory, when he was a professor at Holy Cross and a priest, was known by the seminarians who had the greatest respect for him, as "Fr. Jerry." And Metropolitan Maximos, Formerly of Pittsburgh, was commonly referred to as "Bishop Max." Those who referred to him so, were most respectful of him and his ministry, and "Bishop Max" was an affectionate reference. While I don't ascribe as such, I notice in "internatz" parlance, on "facebook," even some of his priests refer to Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh, as "YE," i.e. "Your Eminence."

But importantly, in formal situations, such as the church's letter-head, all these clergy are referred to by their formal names. My parish priest's legal name is "Costas," and we refer to him as "Fr. Costas," but he communes himself as, "To me, Constantine, the unworthy priest..."

I do think, however, we should follow the preference of the clergyman himself. It's not for us to give them informal names--that would be disrespectful.

This topic reminds of a nun we had in our area. Among the priests who conducted serves at her monastery chapel, were a "Fr. Costas" and a "Fr. Dean," but she referred to them both as "Fr. Constandinos." I never knew to whom she was referring.

Especially in the Western cultures, our formal names, the names of Eastern Saints, are foreign to the Western Culture and with so much of our Holy Orthodoxy being intimidating to Westerners, including our own Western born faithful, why not use a name that is commonly used in the culture and not one that impedes approachability?
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 11:05:27 PM by Basil 320 »
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2014, 11:06:03 PM »
In Greece it's always been done. You have Papa-Spyros (Spyridon), Papa-Thanasis (Athanasios), Papa-Stelios (Stylianos), Papa-Vangelis (Evangelos), and so on.

Calling Thomas 'Tom' is not a nickname, it's a diminutive - and I'm eternally amused by the Russian ones, which are actually longer than the proper names they replace! :D

So, in answer to the thread question: No big deal. Names are meant to be functional, and it's only polite to call people what they want to be called.

It's a Slavic thing.

My mom only calls me "Liza" (pronounced Leeza) if she's upset with me...otherwise, she uses the endearing form which is "Lizochka" (Leezochka) :)

Same thing with my sis.  Her name is already short - Anya.  She becomes Anoosya, or Anochka.

As for names....use whatever name your priest uses for himself.  If he meets someone does he say, "Hi, I am Father Thomas," or does he say "Hi, I am Father Tom".

It's not what you call your priest, it's how you treat him that counts.

Of course, hierarchs should not be treated as your close friends....always use proper titles and names.

Laypeople....well, nicknames are fine...just remember to use your full name when confessing or before Communion.

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Offline Peter J

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2014, 09:28:55 AM »
I'm not sure if it is a Catholic/Orthodox difference, but I really never even thought of it being an issue if a priest said "Call me Fr Dave" rather than "Call me Fr David".

There are a few Catholic priests who are called "Fr (last name)" rather than "Fr (first name)", but this is rather rare.
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2014, 09:48:57 AM »
Quote
There are a few Catholic priests who are called "Fr (last name)" rather than "Fr (first name)", but this is rather rare.

In my experience the complete opposite is true. All Catholic priests are referred to by their surnames, and have been for more than a generation. Even monastics are referred to by their surnames.
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2014, 09:52:14 AM »
Quote
There are a few Catholic priests who are called "Fr (last name)" rather than "Fr (first name)", but this is rather rare.

In my experience the complete opposite is true. All Catholic priests are referred to by their surnames, and have been for more than a generation. Even monastics are referred to by their surnames.

It's changed here in the States in my lifetime. Can't speak for the rest of the world. 

Offline Peter J

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2014, 10:27:45 AM »
Quote
There are a few Catholic priests who are called "Fr (last name)" rather than "Fr (first name)", but this is rather rare.

In my experience the complete opposite is true. All Catholic priests are referred to by their surnames, and have been for more than a generation. Even monastics are referred to by their surnames.

I was a bit incautious in my last post. It is rare for them to be addressed that way conversationally, but in e.g. a magazine article that would be typical, I think. (And like podkarpatska I'm speaking only of the USA.)
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2014, 10:58:15 AM »
I just know to never, never, ever, never ever, call PtA Pete.
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2014, 11:00:54 AM »
I just know to never, never, ever, never ever, call PtA Pete.

Nor does anyone ever, ever, ever, never, ever call me Dave...(except my older brother who knows it bothers me... ;D )  (There were so many boys named David born in the 1950's and 1960's that Daves and Davys were all around...few were David...that's why...)
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 11:03:47 AM by podkarpatska »

Offline Agabus

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2014, 11:11:23 AM »
We've been calling one of the biblical writers by a nickname since the beginning -- ιουδας.

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2014, 11:14:30 AM »
I address parishioners and priests the way they introduce themselves to me.

Offline Antonis

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2014, 11:23:08 AM »
I read a few lines out of a monastic pamphlet that said people should only refer to eachother by their baptismal names as it scares away the demons. It said that demons use nicknames in order to avoid vocalizing the holy names of the saints. The latter is certainly true in the accounts of exorcisms I have heard.
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2014, 11:52:13 AM »
If the person is happy being called it, then I'm good with it.
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2014, 12:58:52 PM »
If the person is happy being called it, then I'm good with it.


even 'Father <name>' ???

Offline Sam G

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2014, 03:21:03 PM »
I read a few lines out of a monastic pamphlet that said people should only refer to eachother by their baptismal names as it scares away the demons. It said that demons use nicknames in order to avoid vocalizing the holy names of the saints. The latter is certainly true in the accounts of exorcisms I have heard.

This would make sense. According to one tradition I heard, the practice of taking another name originated when the ruler who had St. Matthew the Evangelist killed repented of his evil ways and embraced Christianity. He took the name "Matthew" after baptism in honor of St. Matthew, whom he had wrongly put to death. When I refer to, for example, a "Father Theodore", it honors St. Theodore, his patron Saint. To call him Father Ted, or worse, Father Teddy wouldn't have the same effect I'm afraid. You'd never refer to St. Theodore in prayer as St. Ted.
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2014, 03:34:36 PM »
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2014, 04:29:47 PM »
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2014, 04:33:27 PM »
I read a few lines out of a monastic pamphlet that said people should only refer to eachother by their baptismal names as it scares away the demons. It said that demons use nicknames in order to avoid vocalizing the holy names of the saints. The latter is certainly true in the accounts of exorcisms I have heard.

I would certainly rather be called Catherine instead of Kelly---the name of every other girl born in the '80s---but I think it's a little late.
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2014, 04:34:01 PM »
I read a few lines out of a monastic pamphlet that said people should only refer to eachother by their baptismal names as it scares away the demons. It said that demons use nicknames in order to avoid vocalizing the holy names of the saints. The latter is certainly true in the accounts of exorcisms I have heard.

I would certainly rather be called Catherine instead of Kelly---the name of every other girl born in the '80s---but I think it's a little late.
Sanctify the name Kelly!  :)
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2014, 04:40:21 PM »
I read a few lines out of a monastic pamphlet that said people should only refer to eachother by their baptismal names as it scares away the demons. It said that demons use nicknames in order to avoid vocalizing the holy names of the saints. The latter is certainly true in the accounts of exorcisms I have heard.

I would certainly rather be called Catherine instead of Kelly---the name of every other girl born in the '80s---but I think it's a little late.
Sanctify the name Kelly!  :)

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2014, 04:42:29 PM »
I read a few lines out of a monastic pamphlet that said people should only refer to eachother by their baptismal names as it scares away the demons. It said that demons use nicknames in order to avoid vocalizing the holy names of the saints. The latter is certainly true in the accounts of exorcisms I have heard.

I would certainly rather be called Catherine instead of Kelly---the name of every other girl born in the '80s---but I think it's a little late.
Sanctify the name Kelly!  :)


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Offline Antonis

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2014, 05:01:22 PM »
St. Kelly the Forumer.
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Offline Sam G

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #29 on: August 07, 2014, 05:02:31 PM »
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2014, 05:09:51 PM »
Kelly, saved by the Church bell
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2014, 05:15:10 PM »
When I first meet someone, I always default to the formal form of address. If they ask me to be casual, then I do so.
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2014, 05:19:32 PM »
Kelly, saved by the Church bell

Unfortunately I am not Kelly Kapowski.  :'(
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #33 on: August 07, 2014, 05:21:13 PM »
Chin up young sister.  You are correct in that you are not because you are much better than she is.  8)
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2014, 05:54:42 PM »
The venerable Ly of Kel
...Or it's just possible he's a mouthy young man on an internet forum.
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2014, 06:05:09 PM »
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Offline TheMathematician

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2014, 08:24:18 PM »
To answer the thread, all priests I dont know I refer to them as they are listed in the bulletin or their full name

If I  know how they wish to be addressed, I call them that

Weird thing, personally my legal name is longer than my baptismal(Jonathan v John), and inside church is the only time I use John, outside it is simply Jon or the full Jonathan

Offline Punch

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #37 on: August 07, 2014, 09:19:50 PM »
I address parishioners and priests the way they introduce themselves to me.

This.
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #38 on: August 07, 2014, 09:29:58 PM »
Our parish priest signs his emails Fr. J instead of Father James. He types with his two index fingers, so this is just his way of typing. I would absolutely *never* call him Fr. J in person.

Our kids call all adults Miss, Mrs., Mr., Ma'am, Sir; so we are kind of formal people. This tends to shock people based upon my physical appearance, so it is rather funny to see their reaction to our polite children. Even drive through cashiers are addressed with more formal  titles; "Thank you sir." We did this before my husband was in the military, we do it even more now after his service.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 09:38:03 PM by Quinault »

Offline Quinault

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #39 on: August 07, 2014, 09:34:00 PM »
Our Khouria was my midwife for the pregnancy/delivery of our 4th child. Her legal name is Bonnie, but we call her Kh. Martha. I had a really hard time switching to Bonnie for appointments. :P

Offline Agabus

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #40 on: August 07, 2014, 09:37:12 PM »
To answer the thread, all priests I dont know I refer to them as they are listed in the bulletin or their full name

If I  know how they wish to be addressed, I call them that

Weird thing, personally my legal name is longer than my baptismal(Jonathan v John), and inside church is the only time I use John, outside it is simply Jon or the full Jonathan
You can distinguish between John and Jon?
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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2014, 10:17:39 PM »
To answer the thread, all priests I dont know I refer to them as they are listed in the bulletin or their full name

If I  know how they wish to be addressed, I call them that

Weird thing, personally my legal name is longer than my baptismal(Jonathan v John), and inside church is the only time I use John, outside it is simply Jon or the full Jonathan
You can distinguish between John and Jon?
Text wise, yes, speaking no.

Offline Peter J

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #42 on: August 07, 2014, 11:03:54 PM »
To answer the thread, all priests I dont know I refer to them as they are listed in the bulletin or their full name

If I  know how they wish to be addressed, I call them that

Weird thing, personally my legal name is longer than my baptismal(Jonathan v John), and inside church is the only time I use John, outside it is simply Jon or the full Jonathan
You can distinguish between John and Jon?

John has an H. (cf Hagrid in The Sorcerer's Stone)
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #43 on: August 08, 2014, 12:29:18 AM »
Be polite and respect your priest's wishes. But if you're really bothered by his preference, a simple "Father" will suffice. He probably won't even notice. Realy.

Offline Maria

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Re: Should we use nicknames to address our priests and each other?
« Reply #44 on: August 08, 2014, 12:33:43 AM »
Be polite and respect your priest's wishes. But if you're really bothered by his preference, a simple "Father" will suffice. He probably won't even notice. Realy.

When your priest is surrounded by other priests and deacons, you cannot use "Father" without a baptismal name or surname. Otherwise, all heads will look up at you wondering who you are addressing unless they can make an inference.

You: "Father, we just had an accident in the kitchen."

They thinking:
Okay, does the deacon need to take charge of the cleanup in the kitchen?

Was someone killed or injured in the kitchen, requiring a priest?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 12:34:15 AM by Maria »
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