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English Language Courtesy Titles of the Clergy:
A Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Customary

By B. D. Kennedy, B.A., M.Div., Th.M., B.Ed.
Protodeacon, Eparchy of Toronto, UGCC

 
The manner in which we use titles of address tends to cause a great deal of confusion. It should be remembered that titles of address are nothing more than courtesy titles. They are polite ways of speaking to the clergy according to their order, rank and office. When speaking to or with others, it is best not to be overly familiar and presume immediate intimacy through casual informality. Yet, let us note that none of the following is law but rather polite custom. Its purpose is to recognize not just the person, that of course is primary, but also the ministry or service that the particular person fulfills in the Church.
 
It is not correct to mix languages in the same sentence since vocabulary, grammar and syntax are not usually interchangeable. At times a title of address in Greek, Ukrainian, Arabic, French, or German, etc. cannot be translated literally into English without it being an affected neologism. Thus, we should avoid “Father Mitrat Ivan”. See below for the correct English usage.
 
Reader/Cantor
In conversation: Reader Ivan (Komar)
Envelope address: Reader Ivan Komar
Written salutation: Dear Reader Ivan
Close: In Christ
 
Subdeacon
In conversation: Subdeacon Ivan (Komar)
Envelope address: Subdeacon Ivan Komar
Written salutation: Dear Subdeacon Ivan
Close: In Christ
 
Deacon
In conversation: Fr. Deacon Ivan (Komar) or Deacon Ivan
Envelope address: The Reverend Deacon Ivan Komar
Written salutation: Reverend and Dear Fr. Deacon Ivan
Close: In Christ

Note: It is not polite to address the clergy in the vocative case without the use of their baptismal name; it is incorrect to say “deacon”; rather say, Fr. Deacon Ivan, or Deacon Ivan.

“Father” is a customary courtesy title given to deacons and priests, and also to monks, whether ordained or not. It denotes spiritual fatherhood. “Father” as a courtesy title in the English language came into use for diocesan Roman Catholic priests in the late 19th century in imitation of the address of friars (Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, etc.) in the presbyteral order. Before that the diocesan priest was addressed as “Your Reverence” or “Reverend Mister”, or “Sir”. Friars who were priests were addressed as “Father” and Roman Catholic monks (Benedictines, Cistercians) as Dom.

Hierodeacon (i.e. a monastic deacon)
In conversation: Fr. Hierodeacon Ivan or Hierodeacon Ivan
Envelope address: The Reverend Hierodeacon Ivan
Written salutation: Reverend and Dear Fr. Hierodeacon Ivan
Close: In Christ

Note: Monastics generally do not use their surnames.

Protodeacon (An honorific title given to non-monastic deacons for service in the Church.)
In conversation: Fr. Protodeacon Ivan (Komar) or Protodeacon Ivan (Komar)
Envelope address: The Reverend Protodeacon Ivan Komar
Written salutation: Reverend and Dear Fr. Protodeacon Ivan
Close: In Christ
 
Archdeacon (Strictly speaking an archdeacon is a monastic, thus, he is addressed only by his monastic name. Generally, an honorific title given to monastic deacons for service in the Church.)
In conversation: Fr. Archdeacon Ivan or Archdeacon Ivan
Envelope address: The Reverend Archdeacon Ivan
Written salutation: Reverend and Dear Fr. Archdeacon Ivan
Close: In Christ
 
Presbyter/Priest
In conversation: Fr. Ivan (Komar)
Envelope address: The Reverend Ivan Komar
Written salutation: Reverend and Dear Fr. Ivan
Close: In Christ

Note this following pattern for beginning a letter to a priest, hieromonk, archpriest, hegumen, or archimandrite:

Father, bless.
Reverend and Dear Father Ivan,

Hieromonk (i.e. a monastic priest)
In conversation: Fr. Hieromonk Ivan or Fr. Ivan
Envelope address: The Reverend Hieromonk Ivan
Written salutation: Reverend and Dear Fr. Hieromonk Ivan
Close: In Christ
 
Archpriest (An honorific title given to non-monastic priests.)
In conversation: Fr. Archpriest Ivan (Komar) or Fr. Ivan
Envelope address: The Very Reverend Archpriest Ivan Komar
Written salutation: Reverend and Dear Fr. Archpriest Ivan
Close: In Christ
 
Hegumen (This title can be used either for the superior of a monastery or as an honorific title for priest-monks.)
In conversation: Fr. Hegumen Ivan or Fr. Ivan
Envelope address: The Reverend Hegumen Ivan
Written salutation: Very Reverend and Dear Fr. Hegumen Ivan
Close: In Christ
 
Mitrophoric Archpriest (This is a priest that has been granted the use of the mitra in liturgical services.)
In conversation: Fr. Archpriest Ivan (Komar) or Fr. Ivan
Envelope address: The Right Reverend Mitrophoric Archpriest Ivan Komar
Written salutation: Reverend and Dear Fr. Archpriest Ivan
Close: In Christ
 
Archimandrite (This title can be used either for the superior of a monastery or as an honorific title for priest-monks.)
In conversation: Fr. Archimandrite Ivan or Fr. Ivan
Envelope address: The Right Reverend Archimandrite Ivan
Written salutation: Right Reverend and Dear Fr. Archimandrite Ivan
Close: In Christ

Note on clergy signatures: The various orders and ranks of clerics mentioned above should sign in the following manner:
Ivan Komar, Protodeacon

Reverend or Father is not part of a cleric’s name and should not appear in the signature.

Bishop
In conversation: Your Grace
Envelope address: His Grace, the Most Reverend Ivan
Eparch of Toronto
Written salutation: Your Grace
Close: I remain Your Grace’s obedient servant in Christ

Note this following pattern for beginning a letter to a bishop:
Most Reverend Master, bless.
Your Grace,

Archbishop
In conversation: Your Eminence
Envelope address: His Eminence, the Most Reverend Ivan
Archeparch of Lviv
Written salutation: Your Eminence
Close: I remain Your Eminence’s obedient servant in Christ

Note this following pattern for beginning a letter to an archbishop:
Most Reverend Master, bless.
Your Eminence,

Metropolitan
In conversation: Your Eminence or Metropolitan Ivan
Envelope address: His Eminence, the Most Reverend Ivan
Metropolitan of Winnipeg
Written salutation: Your Eminence
Close: I remain Your Eminence’s obedient servant in Christ

Note this following pattern for beginning a letter to a metropolitan:
Most Reverend Master, bless.
Your Eminence,

Major Archbishop or Patriarch
In conversation: Your Beatitude
Envelope address: His Beatitude, the Most Blessed Ivan
Patriarch of Kiev and Galicia
Written salutation: Your Beatitude
Close: I remain Your Beatitude’s obedient servant in Christ

Note this following pattern for beginning a letter to a Major Archbishop or Patriarch:
Most Blessed Master, bless.
Your Beatitude,

Addressing the wife of a deacon
In conversation: Diakonissa
Envelope address: Diakonissa Irene
Written salutation: Dear Diakonissa Irene
Close: In Christ
 
Addressing the wife of a priest, archpriest or mitrophoric archpriest
In conversation: Presbytera, or Pani Matka, or Pani Dobrodnika
Envelope address: Presbytera Irene, or Pani Matka Irene, or Pani Dobrodnika Irene
Written salutation: Presbytera Irene, or Pani Matka Irene, or Pani Dobrodnika Irene
Close: In Christ
 
Note: The purpose of this material is to be descriptive in respective to the issues it addresses. While the material is accurate, because of the fluidity of the nature of the topics covered, it is not definitive. Neither is it legalistic in its intent nor does it pretend to be normative. It is written in response to the queries posed to the author in regards to the “best practice”.