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.