Clergy awards

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This article forms part of the series
Clergy
Antiochian local synod.jpg
Major orders
Bishop - Priest - Deacon
Minor orders
Subdeacon - Reader
Cantor - Acolyte
Other orders
Chorepiscopos - Exorcist
Doorkeeper - Deaconess - Presbytide
Episcopal titles
Patriarch - Catholicos
Archbishop - Metropolitan
Auxiliary - Titular
Priestly titles
Archimandrite - Protopresbyter
Archpriest - Protosyngellos
Economos
Diaconal titles
Archdeacon - Protodeacon
Minor titles
Protopsaltes - Lampadarios
Monastic titles
Abbot - Igumen
Related
Ordination - Vestments
Presbeia - Honorifics
Clergy awards - Exarch
Proistamenos - Vicar
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Ecclesiastical awards are a means for recognizing and rewarding the clergy and laity for their efforts and achievements for Orthodoxy. These efforts may be in any of many different areas, and the exact criteria and system of awards will vary somewhat between Orthodox jurisdictions. These are seen as a means of rewarding people for their contribution to the Church, whether pastorally, theologically, academically, administratively, spiritually, socially, educationally, or by missionary or charitable works.

Generally, there are four groups of ecclesiastical awards—those for hierarchs, which can depend on them personally or on their see; those for monastic clerics; those for non-monastic clerics; and those that are not dependent on whether or not the cleric is a monastic. There are a small number of diaconal awards, whether the deacon is monastic or not.

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Russian Practice

Within the practise of the Russian Orthodox Church, there are awards for deacons, priests and bishops. These vary - they may be elevations in rank, or may involve additional liturgical garments, or may involve subtle changes when serving the Divine Liturgy. These awards are given sequentially, are awarded by the ruling bishop (or, if directed, by his vicar bishop), and conclude with the proclamation and singing of 'Axios!'. If two identically-awarded clergy are concelebrating, precedence is determined by date of ordination.

For the episcopate

  • Elevation to the order of archbishop. This is carried out upon the initiative and decision of His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus.
  • Elevation to the order of metropolitan. This is carried out upon the initiative and decision of His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus.
  • Use of Primikiria. These are used by the Patriarch of Moscow, and (within their respective dioceses) by the Metropolitans of Kiev, Tokyo, Minsk and Kishinev.
  • Wearing a second panagia. This privilege is enjoyed by the Patriarch of Moscow, the Metropolitan of Kiev, the Metropolitan of Tokyo, and some other hierarchs.
  • Precedence with the processional cross during divine services. This privilege is enjoyed by the Patriarch of Moscow, and the Metropolitan of Kiev (within Ukraine).

For the priesthood

These awards are made by decree of the diocesan hierarch. As a general rule, awards will often be given after every three years (from the date of ordination).

  • Right to wear the Nabedrennik. This is worn, suspended from the left shoulder, onto the right side, below the Belt, at the hip.
  • Right to wear the Purple skufia (in ROCOR practice).
  • Right to wear the Kamilavka of violet color. This is worn during divine services, and during official or solemn events.

These awards are made by the decision of the Synod. As above, awards will generally be given after every three years (from the date of ordination).

  • Right to wear the Gold pectoral cross. This is worn during divine services (over other vestments), and outside of church (over the outer cassock).
  • Elevation:
  • For non-monastics: Elevation to Archpriest. This allows the style of 'Very Reverend Father [name]'.
  • For monastics: Elevation to Hegumen. This allows the style of 'Very Reverend Igumen [name]'.
  • Right to wear the Palitza. This is worn, suspended from the left shoulder, onto the right side, below the Belt, at the hip; the Nabedrennik is then moved to the opposite side.
  • Right to wear the Decorated cross. This is worn during divine services (over other vestments), and outside of church (over the outer cassock).

These awards are made by the decision, and at the discretion, of the Synod.

  • For Archpriests: Right to wear the Miter (without a cross on top) during divine services. An archpriest so awarded is given the title of 'Mitred Archpriest [name]' (and still styled 'Very Reverend Father [name]').
  • For Igumens: Elevation to Archimandrite. An archimandrite is given the title of 'Archimandrite [name]', is styled 'Right Reverend Archimandrite [name]'), and also has the right to wear the Miter (without a cross on top) during divine services.
  • For an Archimandrite who is also the Head of the Russian spiritual mission in Jerusalem: Right to wear the Miter (with a cross on top) within the churches of the spiritual mission during divine services.
  • Right to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with open Royal Doors up to the Cherubic Hymn.
  • Right to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with open Royal Doors up to the Lord's Prayer.
  • Right to wear the Patriarchal cross. This is worn during divine services (over other vestments), and outside of church (over the outer cassock).
  • For Mitred Archpriests: Elevation to Protopresbyter. A protopresbyter is given the title of 'Protopresbyter [name]' (and still styled 'Very Reverend Father [name]')

For the diaconate

  • Right to wear the Double orarion in divine services. Awarded by the ruling bishop.
  • Elevation to Protodeacon. Awarded by the synod, a protodeacon is given the title of 'Protodeacon [name]', and styled as 'Reverend Protodeacon [name]'.
  • Right to wear the Kamilavka of violet color. Awarded by the synod, a protodeacon would wear this during divine services and during official or solemn events.
  • For monastics: Elevation to Archdeacon. Awarded by the synod, an archdeacon is given the title of 'Archdeacon [name]', and styled as 'Reverend Archdeacon [name]'. Additionally, the senior deacon at the Patriarchal Cathedral may be designated an archdeacon.

Greek Practice

Different areas have different variations on clerical awards. An example of these is Metropolitan Isaiah's Protocol 01-22, which sets forth the clerical awards of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Denver (now Metropolis), USA. There are no necessary timelines for progression along these ranks.

Ranks for non-monastic priests may include:

  • Presbyter: An ordained priest. A priest of the rank of presbyter is able to wear the kalimafhi.
  • Sakellarios: A priest elevated to 'sakellarios' is given the right to wear the epigonation. (This derives from the Greek σακελλάριος, and historically indicated a priest responsible for sacred vessels).
  • Oikonomos: A priest elevated to 'oikonomos' is, in Ecumenical Patriarchate practice, given the right to wear the pectoral cross. (This derives from the Greek οἰκονόμος, and historically indicated a priest responsible for finances).
  • Protopresbyter: A leading priest ('proto' meaning first). A priest elevated to 'protopresbyter' will be styled 'Very Reverend Father [name]', and is, in Church of Greece practice, given the right to wear the pectoral cross.

In some places, Pnevmatikos ('spiritual father' - i.e. a priest with a blessing to hear confessions) is a rank, replacing Sakellarios; in other places, a blessing is given to be a pnevmatikos, but without any relationship to rank.

Ranks for monastic priests include:

  • Hieromonk: An ordained priest who is also a monk. A monastic priest is able to wear the epanokalimafhi.
  • Pnevmatikos: A priestmonk who is given a blessing to hear confessions (i.e. be a spiritual father).
  • Archimandrite: A senior priestmonk (historically indicating charge over a large, important monastery). A monastic priest elevated to archimandrite will be styled 'Very Reverend Archimandrite [name]', and is given the right to wear the pectoral cross.

In some places, Pnevmatikos ('spiritual father' - i.e. a priest with a blessing to hear confessions) is a rank between 'Hieromonk' and 'Archimandrite'; in other places, a blessing is given to be a pnevmatikos, but without any relationship to rank.

Ranks for deacons include:

  • Deacon: An ordained deacon.
  • Hierodeacon: An ordained deacon who is also a monk.
  • Archdeacon: A deacon who, often, is attached to the bishop.
  • Protodeacon: A senior deacon of a cathedral may be elevated to this rank.

Antiochian Practice

  • A priest or hieromonk who is blessed to hear confessions is awarded the epigonation. Often, priests receive this blessing from the time of their ordination.
  • After a priest has served for at least 10 years, he may be advanced to the rank of archpriest. While this is the same rank as protopresbyter in the Arabic-language Archieratikon, an archpriest may be designated a protopresbyter to be ranked ahead of other archpriests according to presbeia. An archpriest and a protopresbyter may wear a pectoral cross (of any type).
  • A celibate priest, whether he has received the monastic tonsure or not, may be elevated to the rank of archimandrite. An archimandrite may wear a pectoral cross (of any type).

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