Thursday, July 14, 2011

Your…Somethingness (an initial inquiry)

One of the random things I’ve learned as a seminarian is the various titles of honour that come attached to various clerical ranks. Of course, we all know that “Your Holiness” refers to a metropolitan, and “His Beatitude” to a metropolitan. But did you know that in Russia, especially Imperial Russia, the lower ranks of clergy had titles as well? Here’s what I found, according to the current protocol of the Russian Orthodox Church:

Ваше Святейшество (Your Holiness)

Metropolitans and Archbishops:
Ваше Высокопреосвященство (Your Eminence*)

Ваше Преосвященство (Your Most Reverend)

Archimandrites, Abbots, Protopresbyters, Archpriests, Archdeacons, and Protodeacons:
Ваше Высокопреподобие (Your Very Venerableness)

Hieromonks, Priests, Hierodeacons, Deacons:
Ваше Преподобие (Your Venerableness)

That, anyway, is the usage of the Russian Church today. In my personal opinion, this is a little idiosyncratic, especially in the lower ranks. Why would «Ваше Высокопреподобие» refer to Archdeacons? Wouldn’t that make them sound like they outrank ordinary priests, who are called «Ваше Преподобие»? Moreover, this is Moscow Patriarchate usage, which may not be the same as that which is traditionally accepted in the Church Abroad.

As my research continues (and my Russian gets better) I will make some additional updates, and hopefully come up with a table of honorifics appropriate for use in ROCOR.

*Lit. “Your Very Most Reverendness”

UPDATE: After doing a little research, I prepared a table of honorifics.


  1. ROCOR and Old Russia:

    Protopresbyter/Archpriest/Monk Priest: Ваше Высокое Благословение

    Priest: Ваше Благословение

    Arch-/Protodeacon/Monk Deacons: Ваше Высокое Благовестие

    Deacon: Ваше Благовестие

    For most information on this, you can shoot Rdr Gregory Levitsky of the EAD Media Office an e-mail. He has an entire list.

  2. You will learn this list a little later, during one of the Liturgics classes (3rd or 4th year of the seminary). Fr. Gregory (if he'll still be teaching the Liturgics there) will also tell you that these are too much official titles, used only in the official written correspondence.

  3. very Interesting!

    The Very Most Unreverend Sinner - Michael

  4. I believe the proper title for a deacon is "Your goodnewsness. And Higher ranked priest is "Your mostlookinglikeness"