Minister of religion

Minister of religion

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In Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 churches
Church Body
A local church is a Christian religious organization that meets in a particular location. Many are formally organized, with constitutions and by-laws, maintain offices, are served by pastors or lay leaders, and, in nations where this is permissible, often seek seek non-profit corporate status...

, a minister is someone who is authorized by a church or religious organization to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs; leading services such as weddings, baptisms or funerals; or otherwise providing spiritual guidance to the community. The term is taken from Latin minister “servant, attendant”, which itself was derived from minus “less.”


Roles


Ministers may perform some or all of the following duties:
  • assist in co-ordinating volunteers and church community groups
  • assist in any general administrative service
  • conduct marriage
    Marriage
    Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

     ceremonies, funerals and memorial services, participate in the ordination
    Ordination
    In general religious use, ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination itself varies by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is...

     of other clergy, and confirming young people as members of a local church
  • encourage local church endeavors
  • engage in welfare
    Welfare
    Welfare refers to a broad discourse which may hold certain implications regarding the provision of a minimal level of wellbeing and social support for all citizens without the stigma of charity. This is termed "social solidarity"...

     and community services activities of communities
  • establish new local churches
  • keep records as required by civil
    Civil law (legal system)
    Civil law is a legal system inspired by Roman law and whose primary feature is that laws are codified into collections, as compared to common law systems that gives great precedential weight to common law on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different...

     or church law
  • plan and conduct services of public worship
    Worship
    Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The word is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something, for example, Christian worship.Evelyn Underhill defines worship thus: "The absolute...

  • preach
  • pray
    Prayer
    Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

     and encourage others to be theocentric (that is, God-focused)
  • preside over sacraments (also called ordinances) of the church. Such as: (1) the Lord's Supper
    Eucharist
    The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

     (a name derived from 1 Corinthians 11:20), also known as the Lord's Table (taken from 1 Corinthians 10:21), or Holy Communion, and (2) the Baptism
    Baptism
    In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

     of adults and/or children (depending on the denomination)
  • provide leadership to the congregation, parish
    Parish
    A parish is a territorial unit historically under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of one parish priest, who might be assisted in his pastoral duties by a curate or curates - also priests but not the parish priest - from a more or less central parish church with its associated organization...

     or church community, this may be done as part of a team with lay people in roles such as elders
  • refer people to community support services, psychologist
    Psychologist
    Psychologist is a professional or academic title used by individuals who are either:* Clinical professionals who work with patients in a variety of therapeutic contexts .* Scientists conducting psychological research or teaching psychology in a college...

    s or doctor
    Physician
    A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

    s
  • research and study religion, Scripture and theology
    Theology
    Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

  • supervise prayer and discussion groups, retreats and seminars, and provide religious instruction
  • teach on spiritual and theological subjects
  • train leaders for church, community and youth leadership
  • work on developing relationships and networks within the religious community
  • provide pastoral care
    Pastoral care
    Pastoral care is the ministry of care and counseling provided by pastors, chaplains and other religious leaders to members of their church or congregation, or to persons of all faiths and none within institutional settings. This can range anywhere from home visitation to formal counseling provided...

     in various contexts
  • provide personal support to people in crises, such as illness, bereavement and family breakdown
  • visit the sick and elderly to counsel and comfort them and their families
  • administer Last Rites
    Anointing of the Sick (Catholic Church)
    Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament of the Catholic Church that is administered to Catholics who because of sickness or old age are in danger of death, even if the danger is not proximate...

     when designated to do so

Training and qualifications


Depending on the denomination the requirements for ministry vary. All denominations require that the minister has a sense of 'calling.' In regards to training, denominations vary in their requirements, from those that emphasize natural gifts to those that also require advanced tertiary education
Tertiary education
Tertiary education, also referred to as third stage, third level, and post-secondary education, is the educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education, such as a high school, secondary school, university-preparatory school...

 qualifications, for example, from a seminary
Seminary
A seminary, theological college, or divinity school is an institution of secondary or post-secondary education for educating students in theology, generally to prepare them for ordination as clergy or for other ministry...

, theological college or university
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

.

Bishops, priests and deacons


The Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, Orthodox
Orthodox Christianity
The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:* the Eastern Orthodox Church and its various geographical subdivisions...

, Anglican, United Methodist (USA) and some Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

  churches have three orders of ordained clergy:
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

    s are the primary clergy, administering all sacraments and governing the church.
  • Priest
    Priest
    A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

    s administer the sacraments and lead local congregations; they cannot ordain other clergy, however, nor consecrate buildings.
  • Deacon
    Deacon
    Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

    s play a non-sacramental and assisting role in the liturgy.


The term rector
Rector
The word rector has a number of different meanings; it is widely used to refer to an academic, religious or political administrator...

(from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word for ruler) or vicar
Vicar
In the broadest sense, a vicar is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior . In this sense, the title is comparable to lieutenant...

 may be used for priests in certain settings, especially in the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Episcopal traditions.

In the Episcopal Church
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

 in the United States, a parish, which is responsible for its own finances, is overseen by a rector. A bishop is nominally in control of a financially-assisted parish but delegates authority to a vicar (related to the prefix "vice" meaning substitute or deputy).

Pastors


The term "pastor
Pastor
The word pastor usually refers to an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. When used as an ecclesiastical styling or title, this role may be abbreviated to "Pr." or often "Ps"....

" means "shepherd" and is used several times in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 to refer to church workers. Many Protestants use the term as a title (e.g., Pastor Smith) or as a job title (like Senior Pastor or Worship Pastor).

Clergy


The English word clergy derives from the same root as clerk and can be traced to the Latin clericus which derives from the Greek word kleros meaning a "lot" or "portion" or "office". The term Clerk in Holy Orders is still the technical title for certain Christian clergy, and its usage is prevalent in ecclesiastical and Canon Law
Canon law
Canon law is the body of laws & regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of...

. Holy Orders
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

 refer to any recipient of the Sacrament of Ordination, both the Major Orders (bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

s, priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

s and deacon
Deacon
Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

s) and the now less known Minor Orders (Acolyte
Acolyte
In many Christian denominations, an acolyte is anyone who performs ceremonial duties such as lighting altar candles. In other Christian Churches, the term is more specifically used for one who wishes to attain clergyhood.-Etymology:...

, Lector
Lector
Lector is a Latin term for one who reads, whether aloud or not. In modern languages the word has come to take various forms, as either a development or a loan, such as , , and . It has various specialized uses:...

, Exorcist
Exorcist
In some religions an exorcist is a person who is believed to be able to cast out the devil or other demons. A priest, a nun, a monk, a healer, a shaman or other specially prepared or instructed person can be an exorcist...

 and Porter
Ostiarius
An ostiarius, a Latin word sometimes anglicized as Ostiary but often literally translated as porter or doorman, originally was a servant or guard posted at the entrance of a building. See also gatekeeper....

) who, save for certain reforms made at the Second Vatican Council in the Roman Catholic Church, were called clerics or Clerk, which is simply a shorter form of Cleric. Clerics were distinguished from the laity by having received, in a formal rite of introduction into the clerical state, the tonsure
Tonsure
Tonsure is the traditional practice of Christian churches of cutting or shaving the hair from the scalp of clerics, monastics, and, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, all baptized members...

or corona (crown) which involved cutting hair from the top and side of the head leaving a circlet of hair which symbolised the Crown of Thorns worn by Christ at His crucifixion.

Though Christian in origin, the term can be applied by analogy to functions in other religious traditions. For example, a rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

 can be referred to as being a clergy member.

Parson is a similar term often applied to ordained priests or ministers. The word is a variant on the English word person from the Latin persona used as a legal term for one having jurisdiction.

Dominie, Dom, Don

  • Dominie
    Dominie
    Dominie is a Scots language and Scottish English term for a Scottish schoolmaster or a minister, usually of the Church of Scotland but sometimes of other presbyterian churches in Scotland...

     is a specific Scottish word, equivalent to the Dutch Dominee, both from the Latin domine (vocative case of Dominus 'Lord, Master'), only used for Protestant clergy or for schoolmasters.
  • However in various Romance languages
    Romance languages
    The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

    , shortened forms of Dominus (Dom, Don) are commonly used for Catholic priests (sometimes also for lay notables as well). Benedictine
    Benedictine
    Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

     Monk
    Monk
    A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

    s are titled Dom, as in the style Dom Dan Brown.

Chaplains and padres


Chaplain
Chaplain
Traditionally, a chaplain is a minister in a specialized setting such as a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam or lay representative of a religion attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, police department, university, or private chapel...

 as in English and/or almoner
Almoner
An almoner is a chaplain or church officer who originally was in charge of distributing cash to the deserving poor.Historically, almoners were Christian religious functionaries whose duty was to distribute alms to the poor. Monasteries were required to spend one tenth of their income in charity to...

 (preferred in many other languages) or their equivalents refer to a minister who has another type of pastoral 'target group' than a territorial parish congregation (or in addition to one), such as a military units, schools and hospitals.

The Spanish word Padre
Military chaplain
A military chaplain is a chaplain who ministers to soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and other members of the military. In many countries, chaplains also minister to the family members of military personnel, to civilian noncombatants working for military organizations and to civilians within the...

 ('father') is often informally used to address military chaplains, also in English and Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 (Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

)

Elder


Elders (in Greek, πρεσβυτερος [presbyteros]; see Presbyter
Presbyter
Presbyter in the New Testament refers to a leader in local Christian congregations, then a synonym of episkopos...

) in Christianity are involved in the collective leadership of a local church or of a denomination.In Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

 they are ordained but not clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

, taking on no special pre-nominal, but functioning as the ruling elders of the Kirk Session or Church Session superintending the members of their parish or congregation.In the Assemblies of God
Assemblies of God
The Assemblies of God , officially the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, is a group of over 140 autonomous but loosely-associated national groupings of churches which together form the world's largest Pentecostal denomination...

 and the Metropolitan Community Church
Metropolitan Community Church
The Metropolitan Community Church or The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches is an international Protestant Christian denomination...

 Elders are the most senior leaders serving, leading, and supervising the worldwide denomination. In the Metropolitan Community Church an Elder can be a lay person or clergy.

Leaders and pastoral agents


Lay
Laity
In religious organizations, the laity comprises all people who are not in the clergy. A person who is a member of a religious order who is not ordained legitimate clergy is considered as a member of the laity, even though they are members of a religious order .In the past in Christian cultures, the...

 people, volunteers, pastoral agents, community leader
Leader
A leader is one who influences or leads others.Leader may also refer to:- Newspapers :* Leading article, a piece of writing intended to promote an opinion, also called an editorial* The Leader , published 1909–1967...

s are responsible to bring teaching the gospel in the forefront helping the clergy to evangelize people.Agents ramify in many ways to act and be in touch with the people in daily life and developing religious projects, socio-political and infrastructural.
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 consider every baptized Witness to be a "minister"; the religion permits any qualified baptized adult male to perform a baptism, funeral, or wedding. Typically, however, each such service is performed by an elder or a "ministerial servant" (that is, a deacon), one of the men appointed to "take the lead" in local congregations. Witnesses do not use "elder" or any other term as a title, and do not capitalize the term. They do not accept payment and are not salaried employees or considered “paid clergy”, but they receive donations from members of the congregation to help them with their everyday expenses. The religion's Governing Body
Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses
The Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses is the ruling council of Jehovah's Witnesses based in Brooklyn, New York. The body assumes responsibility for formulating policy and doctrines, producing material for publications and conventions, and administering its worldwide branch office staff...

 may appoint any adult baptized male as an elder, but more typically assigns certain other committees (typically, at branch offices) to make such appointments on its behalf; appointment is said to be "by holy spirit" because "the qualifications [are] recorded in God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

’s spirit-inspired Word
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

" and because appointing committees 'pray for holy spirit'.In many evangelical churches a group (multiple elders as opposed to a single elder) of (non-staff) elders serve as the spiritual "shepherds" or caretakers of the congregation, usually giving spiritual direction to the pastoral staff, enforcing church discipline, etc. In some denominations these elders are called by other names, i.e.; traditionally "Deacons" in many Baptist churches function as spiritual leaders. In some cases these elders are elected and serve fixed terms. In other cases they are not elected but rather they are "recognized by the congregation as those appointed by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28) and meeting the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7."

Prelate

  • A prelate
    Prelate
    A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin prælatus, the past participle of præferre, which means "carry before", "be set above or over" or "prefer"; hence, a prelate is one set over others.-Related...

     is a member of the clergy having a special canonical jurisdiction over a territory or a group of people
  • Usually, a prelate is a bishop
    Bishop
    A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

    . Prelate sometimes refers to the clergy of a state church with a formal hierarchy, and suggests that the prelate enjoys legal privileges and power as a result of clerical status

Father

  • "Father" is a term of address for priests in some churches, especially the Roman Catholic
    Roman Catholic Church
    The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

    , Orthodox
    Eastern Orthodox Church
    The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

     and Anglican traditions
  • "Padre
    Military chaplain
    A military chaplain is a chaplain who ministers to soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and other members of the military. In many countries, chaplains also minister to the family members of military personnel, to civilian noncombatants working for military organizations and to civilians within the...

    " (used Brazil too) from Spanish means father is frequently used in the military of English-speaking countries
  • A priest of the regular clergy
    Regular clergy
    Regular clergy, or just regulars, is applied in the Roman Catholic Church to clerics who follow a "rule" in their life. Strictly, it means those members of religious orders who have made solemn profession. It contrasts with secular clergy.-Terminology and history:The observance of the Rule of St...

  • A pre-Scholastic Christian writer accepted by the church as an authoritative witness to its teaching and practice
  • "Mama" is the local native language term for English speaking Anglican priests in the Anglican Church of Melanesia. It means "father" in several local languages in Vanuatu
    Vanuatu
    Vanuatu , officially the Republic of Vanuatu , is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is some east of northern Australia, northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea.Vanuatu was...

     and the Solomon Islands
    Solomon Islands
    Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

    .

Archbishop

  • In Christianity, an archbishop is an elevated bishop
    Bishop
    A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

    , responsible for all churches belonging to a religious group of a particular district.
  • a bishop at the head of an ecclesiastical province
    Ecclesiastical Province
    An ecclesiastical province is a large jurisdiction of religious government, so named by analogy with a secular province, existing in certain hierarchical Christian churches, especially in the Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches and in the Anglican Communion...

     or one of equivalent honorary rank

Issues


There are contrasting views on the level of compensation given to ministers relative to the religious community. There is often an expectation that they and their families will shun ostentation. However there are situations where they are well rewarded for success, whether measured through drawing people to their religious community or enhancing the status or power of the community.

The acceptance of women in ministry
Ordination of women
Ordination in general religious usage is the process by which a person is consecrated . The ordination of women is a regular practice among some major religious groups, as it was of several religions of antiquity...

 has increasingly become an established practice within many global religious faith groups, with some women now holding the most senior positions in these organizational hierarchies. There continues to remain disagreement between the more traditionally fundamental global church denominations and within their denominational church membership and fundamental church leadership as to whether women can be ministers.

Notable contention over the issue of ordination of practicing homosexuals
Ordination of LGBT Christian clergy
The ordination of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender clergy who are open about their sexuality, are sexually active, or are in committed same-sex relationships is a debated practice within some contemporary Christian Church communities....

, however, occurred in the 1980s within the United Church of Canada
United Church of Canada
The United Church of Canada is a Protestant Christian denomination in Canada. It is the largest Protestant church and, after the Roman Catholic Church, the second-largest Christian church in Canada...

, and in the 1990s and early 21st century within the Presbyterian Church USA. Likewise, The Episcopal Church, the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

, is also divided over the issue of ordination of practicing homosexuals. This conflict has severely damaged relationships between American Anglicans, and their brothers and sisters in the third world
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

, especially Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and southeast Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

.

Styles and forms of address


In the majority of churches, ordained ministers are styled 'The Reverend
The Reverend
The Reverend is a style most often used as a prefix to the names of Christian clergy and ministers. There are sometimes differences in the way the style is used in different countries and church traditions. The Reverend is correctly called a style but is often and in some dictionaries called a...

'. However, as above, some are styled 'Pastor' and others do not use any specific style or form of address, in which case it would be Mr, Ms, Miss or Mrs as the case may be.

Anglican


In Anglican churches the formal form of address of ordained ministers varies according to their office, as below.
  • Deacons and Priests, from ordination onwards - The Reverend
  • Deacons and Priests appointed as Canons
    Canon (priest)
    A canon is a priest or minister who is a member of certain bodies of the Christian clergy subject to an ecclesiastical rule ....

     - The Reverend Canon
  • The Dean (or Provost) of a cathedral church - The Very Reverend
  • The Archdeacon of a diocese or region - The Venerable
  • Bishops (diocesan, suffragan, or coadjutor) - The Right Reverend
  • Archbishops (and other Primate Bishops) - The Most Reverend


In all cases, the formal title should be followed by a Christian name or initial, e.g. The Reverend John Smith, or The Reverend J Smith, but never just The Reverend Smith.

These are formal titles. In normal speech (either addressing the clergy or referring to them) other forms of address are often used. For all clergy this may include the titles "Father" (male) or "Mother" (female), particularly in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, or simply the appropriate secular title (Mister, Doctor, etc.) for that person, particularly in the evangelical tradition. Bishops may be addressed as "My Lord", though less formally simply as "Bishop". Similarly, Archbishops may be addressed as "Your Grace", though less formally simply as "Archbishop". The titles "My Lord" and "Your Grace" refer to the places held by these prelates in the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 within the order of precedence
Order of precedence in England and Wales
The Order of precedence in England and Wales as of 11 May 2010:Names in italics indicate higher precedence elsewhere in the table or precedence in the table for the other sex.- Royal Family :* The Sovereign , regardless of gender...

 of the state; however, the same titles are also extended to Bishops and Archbishops of other Anglican churches, outside England.

Roman Catholic


In the Roman Catholic Church the form of address depends on the office the person holds, and the country in which he is being addressed as they are usually identical to the titles used by their feudal or governmental equals. In most English-speaking countries the forms of address are:
  • A priest is usually referred to as Father; sometimes he is addressed as Your Reverence or Reverend Father.
  • A bishop is addressed as Your Excellency or, less formally, Excellency. In Britain and some other countries they are formally addressed as My Lord or My Lord Bishop.
  • An archbishop is also addressed as Your Excellency or, less formally, Excellency. In Britain and some other countries they are formally addressed as Your Grace.
  • A cardinal is addressed as Your Eminence.
  • The Pope
    Pope
    The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

     of the Roman Catholic Church can be addressed as Holy Father or Your Holiness.

In France, secular priests (diocesan priests) are addressed "Monsieur l'Abbé" or, if a parish priest, as "Monsieur le Curé". In Germany and Austria priests are addressed as "Hochwürden" (meaning "very worthy") and/or with their title of office (Herr Pfarrer, i. e. Mr. Parson). in Italy as "Don" followed by his name (e.g. "Don Luigi Perrone").

Religious priests (members of religious orders) are addressed "Father" in all countries (Père, Pater, Padre etc.).

Up until the 19th century, secular clergy in English-speaking countries were usually addressed as "Mister" (which was, in those days, a title reserved for gentleman, those outside the gentry being called by name and surname only) and only priests in religious orders were formally called "Father". In the early 19th century the English-speaking custom of calling all priests "Father" came into being.

In the Middle Ages, before the Reformation, secular priests were entitled as knights, with the prefix "Sir". See examples in Shakespeare's plays like Sir Christopher Urswick in Richard III. This is closer to the Italian and Spanish "Don" which derives from the Latin "Dominus" meaning "Lord". The French "Monsieur" (like the German "Mein Herr", the Italian "Signor" and the Spanish "Señor") also signifies "My Lord", a title commonly used in times past for any person of rank, clerical or lay.

In some particular circumnstances the term "minister" itself is used by the Catholic Church, such as the head of the Franciscans being the Minister General.

In the Greek-Catholic Church, all clergy are called "Father" including deacons, who are titled "Father Deacon," "Deacon Father," or simply "Father". Depending on the ethnicity and institution, seminarians may be titled "Brother", "Brother Seminarian", "Father Seminarian" or simply "Father". Their wives are never titled "Mother" or anything of that sort, and usually titled "presvytera", "matrushka" or "khourriyye" as in the Orthodox world and also by their first names. Greek-Catholic Patriarchs are addressed Your Beatitude. Eastern clergy are not usually called by their last name; the Christian name or ordination name is used instead.

Greek and other Orthodox churches


The form of address for Orthodox clergy varies according to order, rank and level of education. The most common forms are the following :
Addressee's Title Form of Address Salutation
The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Your All Holiness
Other Patriarchs His Beatitude, the Patriarch of ... Your Beatitude
Archbishops of independent Churches, Greece, Cyprus, etc. His Beatitude, the Archbishop of ... Your Beatitude
Archbishops of Crete, America, Australia, England (under Ecumenical Patriarchate) His Eminence Your Eminence
Metropolitans His Eminence Your Eminence
Titular Metropolitans His Excellency Your Excellency
Bishop / Titular Bishop The Right Reverend Bishop of ... Your Grace
Archimandrite The Very Reverend Father Dear Father
Priest (Married and Celibate) Reverend Father Dear Father
Deacon Reverend Father Dear Father
Abbot The Right Reverend Abbot Dear Reverend Father
Abbess The Right Mother Superior Reverend Mother
Monk Brother Dear Brother
Nun Sister Dear Sister


Armenian Apostolic


The form of address to the clergy of the Armenian Apostolic Church
Armenian Apostolic Church
The Armenian Apostolic Church is the world's oldest National Church, is part of Oriental Orthodoxy, and is one of the most ancient Christian communities. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 AD, in establishing this church...

 (belongs to the family of Oriental Orthodox Churches ) is almost the same.
Addressee's Title Form of Address Salutation
Catholicos
Catholicos
Catholicos, plural Catholicoi, is a title used for the head of certain churches in some Eastern Christian traditions. The title implies autocephaly and in some cases is borne by the designated head of an autonomous church, in which case the holder might have other titles such as Patriarch...

 of All Armenians
His Holiness, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians Your Holiness
Catholicos
Catholicos
Catholicos, plural Catholicoi, is a title used for the head of certain churches in some Eastern Christian traditions. The title implies autocephaly and in some cases is borne by the designated head of an autonomous church, in which case the holder might have other titles such as Patriarch...

 of Cilicia
His Holiness, Catholicos of Cilicia Your Holiness
Patriarch His Beatitude, the Armenian Patriarch of ... Your Beatitude
Archbishop His Eminence Your Eminence
Bishop His Grace Your Grace
Supreme Doctor Monk (Tsayraguyn Vardapet
Vardapet
A Vardapet is a highly-educated archimandrite in the Armenian Apostolic Church tradition who holds a Doctorate in Theology.In the English-speaking world, the best-known of the doctor-monks of Armenia is Mekhitar of Sebaste, founder of an Armenian Catholic community of monks, the...

)
The Right Reverend Father Right Reverend Father
Doctor Monk (Vardapet
Vardapet
A Vardapet is a highly-educated archimandrite in the Armenian Apostolic Church tradition who holds a Doctorate in Theology.In the English-speaking world, the best-known of the doctor-monks of Armenia is Mekhitar of Sebaste, founder of an Armenian Catholic community of monks, the...

)
The Right Reverend Father Right Reverend Father
Celibate priest The Very Reverend Father Very Reverend Father
Archpriest Archpriest Father Dear Father
Priest (Married) Reverend Father Dear Father
Deacon Reverend Father Dear Father
Monk Brother Dear Brother
Nun Sister Dear Sister

See also


  • Anglican ministry
    Anglican ministry
    The Anglican ministry is both the leadership and agency of Christian service in the Anglican Communion. "Ministry" commonly refers to the office of ordained clergy: the threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons. More accurately, Anglican ministry includes many laypeople who devote themselves...

  • Five-Fold Ministry
    Five-fold ministry
    Fivefold Ministry is a Christian belief that the five offices of Apostle , Prophet , Evangelist , Pastor and Teacher referred to in remain active and valid offices in the contemporary Christian church.Adherents of this ecclesiology also commonly...

  • Ministers and elders in the Church of Scotland
    Ministers and elders in the Church of Scotland
    A Church of Scotland congregation is led by its minister and elders. Both of these terms are also used in other Christian denominations: see Minister and Elder...

  • Quaker Recorded Minister
    Recorded Minister
    A Recorded Minister was originally a male or female Quaker who was acknowledged to have a gift of spoken ministry.The practice of recording, in a Monthly Meeting Minute, the acknowledgement that a Friend had a gift of spoken ministry began in the 1730s in London Yearly Meeting, according to...