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In our Eparchy we have 3 Archimandrites, 3 Mitred Archpriests, and 1 Hegumen.

Could someone please tell me what the differences are? Are these merely honorific titles like Monsignor?

In Christ, Michelle

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Michelle,

A hegumen is the head of a monastery. He is given the epigonation (diamond shaped vestment)and jeweled cross. The title archpriest is an honor given to diocesan clergy and they are also given the epigonation and the jeweled cross.
Archimandrite and mitered archpriest are equivalent honors, the first is given to monastic/religious clergy the second to diocesan clergy. In addition to the epigonation and jeweled cross they are given the miter. The archimandrite is also given the pastoral staff.

Fr. Deacon Lance


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Deacon Lance and all,

Could you or any others (Fr. Gregory are you around?) please further explain this for me? I'm not quite sure that I understand the significance of these titles.

Are there differences in status, responsibilities, etc?

Deacon Lance said:
Quote
The title archpriest is an honor given to diocesan clergy ...
and
Quote
Archimandrite and mitered archpriest are equivalent honors, the first is given to monastic/religious clergy the second to diocesan clergy.
So, if I understand correctly, the only real difference between an Archimandrite and a Mitred Archpriest is that the former is monastic/religious and the latter is diocesan? Is there an actual status or other level of responsibilites connected with those titles or are they merely a title of honor given to a religious or diocesan priest?

I do know that a Hegumen is the head of a monastery but what exactly does that position bring with it? How does a Hegumen differ from an Archimandrite?

I apologize if I am asking too many questions but I am still learning the structures of our Church. I've looked up some of this on the Internet but I actually learn so much more from all the fine folks on this board.

In Christ, Michelle

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Michelle,

There are some variations among the various Eastern and Oriental Catholic Churches, but the following is generally true, at least in the diaspora.


  • Hegumen is a "practical" title in that it carries actual responsibility with it for the day-to-day spiritual and temporal administration of the monastery to which the hegumen belongs. (Equivalent usage in a monastery of the Latin Church would probably be "Abbott" and that usage does prevail in some Eastern Catholic Churches - Maronite monastic communities come to mind.)

    Because he exercises authority over a community, a hegumen has precedence over archimandrites and archpriests in ecclesiastical procession, usually walking after them and before bishops. He walks with the bishops if he himself exercises episcopal jurisdiction, i.e., the abbey is an exempt jurisdiction, not subject to the eparch within whose territory it is situated. (I don't think that there are any such abbeys in the Eastern Catholic Churches presently, except the Exarchic Abbey and Territorial Monastery of Santa Maria di Grottaferrata of the Italo-Byzantines - and the superior there is styled "Archimandrite" - see below.)

    -----------------------------------------------

    I would differ with Deacon Lance as to Mitred Archpriest being equivalent to Archimandrite, although the difference may be a function of Ruthenian versus Melkite usage. In the latter, Archpriest and Archimandrite are equivalent, while Mitred Archimandrites and Mitred Archpriests represent an added honorific level.

    -------------------------------------------------
  • Archimandrite is (these days) most commonly an "honorific" title in that its conferral on either a celibate secular or monastic priest is an acknowledgement that he is particularly learned or has provided particularly faithful and/or meaningful service to the Church. The title carries no authority with it but does afford honorific precedence over presbyters in litugical procession, etc. There are also the distinctions of vesture that Deacon Lance.

    Archimandrites are ordinarily styled "Right Reverend" and comparison is sometimes made to the honor of "Monsignor" in the Latin Church, although, technically, there aren't "grades" or "classes" of archimandrites, as there were of monsignori. However (there's always a "however" with we Byzantines ), there are archimandrites who have a certain added status related to the fact that they are styled "of (a Patrarchal See)". As an example, His Beatitude Gregory III, Patriarch of the Melkites, has the facility to confer the honorific title "Archimandrite of Antioch", which affords its holder an added measure of precedence.

    Usage of "Archimandrite" in its original form, designating the superior of a monastery or abbey, is almost unknown in the Eastern Catholic Churches today. The only instance of which I am aware is the Italo-Byzantine Abbey that I mentioned previously; its superior is styled "Archimandrite". In the Oriental Catholic Churches, I think that the original usage is still common among the Copts, Ethiopians, and Syriacs.

    (In former times, when archimandrite was utilized solely in relation to monastic communities, the styling was frequently used in relation to the superior of larger monasteries or to one who had authority over several monasteries. In that context, the distinction between archimandrite and hegumen was roughly parallel to that between abbott and prior in western monastic foundations, such as the Benedictines.)
  • Archpriest is (again, with the qualifier "these days") an "honorific" title, effectively defined identically to that of "Archimandrite", except that it is conferred on a married secular priest (in some jurisdictions, it may also be conferred on celibate secular priests in preference to styling them "Archimandrite", reserving the latter to the monastics with whom it originated).

    The same precedential and vesture distinctions ascribed to archimandrites apply also to archpriests. They are ordinarily styled "Very Reverend" and, again, comparison is sometimes made to the honor of "Monsignor" in the Latin Church.
  • Mitred (also Mitrat, Mithred, or Mitered, depending on the jurisdiction and who is writing it ) Archimandrites or Archpriests are distinguished from one another by the celibate or married status of the one on whom the honorific is conferred, as was the case with archimandrites and archpriests. Neither position exercises any authority as a consequence of the title. Again, there are rights of precedence, distinctions of vesture, and, I believe, in these instances there are certain privileges related to the conferral of blessings.


There are other honorific titles conferred by various of the Churches, with some variations occurring between the Catholic and Orthodox, as for instance in "protopresbyter". As someone noted recently on another thread, it is an honorific title in the Orthodox Churches. The Eastern Catholic Churches use it functionally to denote a senior priest with some supervisory responsibilities, usually geographically-based, in a manner similar to the Latins' use of Dean or Vicar. Some of the other titles:


  • Mitred Protopresbyter (I'm not unaware of any EC usage, but some EO employ it)
  • Exarch or Patriarchal Exarch (Melkite usage - distinguished from an exarch, usually a bishop, who exercises jurisdictional authority over an apostolic or patriarchal exarchate)
  • Chorepiscopus or Chorbishop (Maronite, Syriac Catholic and Orthodox, Chaldean and Assyrian usage)
  • Periodeut (same usage as Chorbishop)
  • Economos (Melkite usage, maybe others as well - distinguished from the functional office of Economos of an Eparchy)
  • Proto-synchellus (Melkite usage, maybe others as well - again, distinguished from the functional office)
  • Monsignor (Maronite usage; some residual usage among older EC priests from the days of latinization; some residual usage in ACROD)


You will occasionally encounter a priest who holds multiple, seemingly conflicting or overlapping titles; it's usually a highly distinguished member of the clergy who has been honored by more than a single Church. Fathers John Mowatt, of blessed memory, and Father Robert Taft, SJ, come to mind as two examples.

Hope this helps more than it confuses.

Many years,

Neil, who, on looking over what he wrote, is struck by the realization that what they say is true - we Melkites do like titles :rolleyes:


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Neil,

You are correct, it is a difference between Melkite and Ruthenian usage. All archimandrites are mitered in our tradition. Also in our usage mitered archpriests take precedence before hegumens.

Very informative post by the way. I would only add that the Armenians have the title of vartaped and it is divivded into minor, major and mitered grades.

Fr. Deacon Lance


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In the last synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church held in Kyiv, Patriarch Lubomyr Husar elevated a Byelorussian priest to the rank of Archmandrite with the right to wear a panaghia (new to me) and bless the congregation with the dikirie and trikirie.
Lauro

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See! These explanations make more sense to me than what I read on the Internet searches.

Now ...
Quote
Originally posted by Deacon Lance:
You are correct, it is a difference between Melkite and Ruthenian usage. All archimandrites are mitered in our tradition. Also in our usage mitered archpriests take precedence before hegumens.
Please forgive my ignorance but at what level are the above mentioned differences between the churches determined? Does each church have its own canon outlining what the titles mean or is it just determined at the Patriarch and Metropolitan level?

I really don't know if I used the right wording but I think you get the jist of what I'm asking. I hope. confused

In Christ, Michelle

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Quote
Originally posted by Irish Melkite:
Michelle,

There are some variations among the various Eastern and Oriental Catholic Churches, but the following is generally true, at least in the diaspora.


[*][b]Hegumen
is a "practical" title in that it carries actual responsibility with it for the day-to-day spiritual and temporal administration of the monastery to which the hegumen belongs. (Equivalent usage in a monastery of the Latin Church would probably be "Abbott" and that usage does prevail in some Eastern Catholic Churches - Maronite monastic communities come to mind.)

Because he exercises authority over a community, a hegumen has precedence over archimandrites and archpriests in ecclesiastical procession, usually walking after them and before bishops. He walks with the bishops if he himself exercises episcopal jurisdiction, i.e., the abbey is an exempt jurisdiction, not subject to the eparch within whose territory it is situated. (I don't think that there are any such abbeys in the Eastern Catholic Churches presently, except the Exarchic Abbey and Territorial Monastery of Santa Maria di Grottaferrata of the Italo-Byzantines - and the superior there is styled "Archimandrite" - see below.) [/b]
Neil,

it is your understanding that a hegumen must be a hieromonk? In my understanding, any monk could be a hegumen. I can't imagine that a hegumen who is not a priest has precedence over the archpriest or archimandrite.

Michelle,

I think your count is incorrect. Currently serving the eparchy there are 2 priests that have received the rank of mitred archpriests, three priests (2 religious, 1 diocesan) who have the honorific of archimandrite, and two hieromonks who are hegoumenoi of their respective communities.

As already stated by others, a hegumen has authority over a monastery, the others are honorific titles, which in and of themselves, have no corresponding authority in modern usage.

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Actually there are different grades of Archimandrite. A genuine, no-kidding Ruling Archimandrite (who honestly governs a monastery or confederation) takes precedence over an Archimandrite who has received his rank as an honorific (although even so the Archimandrite must at least be unmarried - despite the case of "Archimandrite" Elias Denisoff). Then there are those who would distinguish between a plain Archimandrite and a Patriarchal Archimandrite. The Melkites know of such titles as "Grand Archimandrite of Antioch" (John Jadaa had this distinction). The Russians (and now, one gathers, the Ukrainians) may bestow further awards, such as the privilege of the eagle rug, the dikirion and trikirion, and even, rarely, the panagia.

There is also the question of such people as the "Protoarchimandrite" of the Ukrainian Basilians: he unquestionably stands at the head of his community, but he does not normally receive the cheirothesia of an archimandrite. What precisely this is, I don't claim to know.

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Quote
Originally posted by Deacon Lance:
Very informative post by the way. I would only add that the Armenians have the title of vartaped and it is divivded into minor, major and mitered grades.
Deacon Lance,

Thank you. One clarification - the system acted somewhat bizarrely last night when I tried to edit -

Mitred Protopresbyter - the parenthetical phrase following it should read "(I'm not aware of any EC usage, but some EO employ it)"

Thank you for adding the Armenians; I knew I had forgotten someone (apologies to Ghazar wink ). I have also seen the title rendered as "Vartabed", not sure which is more accurate. I believe it roughly translates as equivalent to archpriest, which seems to be the most commonly encountered usage among Armenian clergy in the US. I wasn't aware that there are 3 grades w/in the title - obviously, Armenians are slackers, can't come up with 20 different titles like us Melkites, and had to split the one three ways. (Just kidding, Bill biggrin .)

Quote
Originally posted by Ipreima:
In the last synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church held in Kyiv, Patriarch Lubomyr Husar elevated a Byelorussian priest to the rank of Archmandrite with the right to wear a panaghia (new to me) and bless the congregation with the dikirie and trikirie.
Lauro,

Yes. We discussed this on another thread at the time. The priest involved was Archimandrite Sergius Gajek, MCI, Apostolic Visitator for the Byzantine Byelorussian Catholics. I feel that by bestowing these honorifics on Archimandrite Sergius, Major-Archbishop Lubomyr was trying to give the faithful of the Byelorussian Church some vestige of a hierarchy, if only symbolic - which Rome has neglected to do. The Major-Archbishop may see a parallel to his own situation in regards to Rome failing to act on creation of a Patriarchate.

Quote
Originally posted by Reznut:
Please forgive my ignorance but at what level are the above mentioned differences between the churches determined? Does each church have its own canon outlining what the titles mean or is it just determined at the Patriarch and Metropolitan level?
Michelle,

The only ignorance is in being too proud to ask something that one wants to know and that isn't forgiveable. (Neil's homespun philosophy for the day wink ).

Quote
The CCEO - Canon 194

The eparchial bishop can confer dignities upon clerics subject to them, others excluded, according to the norm of the particular
law of their own Church sui iuris.
Quote
Particular Law of the Byzantine Metropolitan Church sui iuris of Pittsburgh

Canon 194

1. The eparchial bishops will confer only Eastern-rite dignities on their clerics, and only for outstanding contribution benefitting the church and its mission.

2. Such dignities are conferred within a liturgical ceremony and, by the general agreement of the eparchial bishops, their insignia are then used in the territory of the Metropolitan Church.

3. The dignities to be in use in the Metropolia of Pittsburgh are:

1o. Mitred Archpriest - for the eparchial clergy;
2o. Archpriest - for the eparchial clergy or archimandrite for the religious clergy.
The next section, as I recollect (but forgot to copy), designates the insignia accorded to each. I don't know if the Particular Law adopted by the other Churches sui iuris will delve into the particulars of the honors accorded by each or not. (That of the Syro-Malabarese doesn't address the subject at all, that I remember.)

In large measure, maybe more so with regard to the Melkites and Ukrainians who both seem to have a penchant for creative titling, I think tradition and the will or whim of the presiding hierarch (be he Patriarch, Major-Archbishop, or Metropolitan) tends to be the principle at work. In his history of the Melkite Patriarchate, written at the turn of the 20th century, Father Cyril Korolevsky listed the honors then being conferred by the Melkites; I don't have it in front of me, but recollection is that not much has changed.

BTW, you may notice that under Canon 194, the granting of dignities is restricted to those clergy who are subject to the granting hierarch. Technically, this precludes the not uncommon practice of hierarchs granting dignities to the clergy of Churches other than their own who have rendered some service for them or to Eastern Catholicism overall, such as was the case with Fathers Mowatt, Pospishil, and Taft, all of whom were or are Mitred and Patriarchal Archimandrites.

Quote
Originally posted by Deacon John Montalvo:
is it your understanding that a hegumen must be a hieromonk? In my understanding, any monk could be a hegumen. I can't imagine that a hegumen who is not a priest has precedence over the archpriest or archimandrite.
Deacon John,

I agree, the office of hegumen is not technically restricted to hieromonks as I understand it. In the case of a hegumen who was not a hieromonk, I would expect him to be accorded only the precedence granted to superiors of religious not in holy orders. By virtue of his office, I would consider him to have precedence over others of that class. The thought hadn't occurred to me, probably because we don't have any non-presbyteral hegumens in the diaspora (not sure whether there are any in the historical patriarchal territories).

Deacons John or Lance,

Deacon Lance referenced that all Archimandrites in the Ruthenian Metropolia are Mitred, but I notice that the title as used appears to be solely "Archimandrite". I have, however, seen both Archimandrites Francis and Januarius referred to as "Mitred Archimandrite". Is that usage in any way reflective of their status vis-a-vis the Italo-Greico-Albanians, rather than their Ruthenian personages? Or is it simply a case of someone carrying the term Archimandrite out in a way that reflects its full nature, although it's not the typical nomenclature?

By comparison, (and realizing that our Eparchy encompasses the entire US) to the best of my recollection, the present distribution of honorific dignities among our clergy is:
  • 1 Patriarchal Exarch (Father Joe Haggar)
  • 1 Grand Archimandrite of Antioch (Father John Jadaa)
  • 1 Archimandrite of Antioch(Father Constantine Belasarius)
  • 1 Archpriest (Father Daniel Munn)
  • 1 Economos (Father Romanos Russo), and
  • a fair number of Archimandrites (I'm too lazy to dig out a clergy list and count biggrin ).



Quote
Originally posted by Incognitus:
Then there are those who would distinguish between a plain Archimandrite and a Patriarchal Archimandrite. The Melkites know of such titles as "Grand Archimandrite of Antioch" (John Jadaa had this distinction).
Incognitus,

biggrin . Thanks for reminding me of Father John's title, which I had forgotten (and poiting out the Ukrainian's Basilian Proto-Archimandrite, which was new to me).

Like I said, we Melkites do like titles. In the early 20th century, while he was serving the NYC Melkite community, the honorific "Grand Economos" was conferred on Father Ibrahim Beshawate, BSO, by Sayedna Athanasius Sawaya, then Archeparch of Beirut.

I don't currently know of any Mitred Archpriests or Mitred Archimandrites among Melkites in the US, although I would interpret Father Jadaa's title as precedentially equivalent to Mitred Archimandrite. Is it your opinion that the title "Archimandrite of Antioch", conferred on Father Constantine Belisaurius by HB Maximos V, of blessed memory, is also equivalent in dignity to Mitred Archimandrite, or just an Archimandrite with a flourish :p ?

Many years,

Neil


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Quote
Originally posted by Irish Melkite:

Deacons John or Lance,

Deacon Lance referenced that all Archimandrites in the Ruthenian Metropolia are Mitred, but I notice that the title as used appears to be solely "Archimandrite". I have, however, seen both Archimandrites Francis and Januarius referred to as "Mitred Archimandrite". Is that usage in any way reflective of their status vis-a-vis the Italo-Greico-Albanians, rather than their Ruthenian personages? Or is it simply a case of someone carrying the term Archimandrite out in a way that reflects its full nature, although it's not the typical nomenclature?

Many years,

Neil
Neil,

I'm not familiar with the circumstances related to Fr Januarius' elevation to the rank of archimandrite, he is a member of the OFM. This honor was bestowed upon him prior to his receiving faculties in the Eparchy of Van Nuys. As to Fr Francis, in 1992, then eparch of Van Nuys, Bishop George, named Fr Francis, syncellus for the Italo-Greeks in Nevada, and elevated him to the rank of archimandrite. Although a diocesan priest, Fr Francis was elevated to the rank of archimandrite no doubt to give the Italo-Greek Church in Nevada a "hierarch".

As noted in the particular law, the insignia for archimandrites are mitre, crozier,epignation, and cross. Thus, in the usage of the Metropolia of Pittsburgh, the term "mitred archimandrite" would be redundant.

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Quote
Originally posted by incognitus:
There is also the question of such people as the "Protoarchimandrite" of the Ukrainian Basilians: he unquestionably stands at the head of his community, but he does not normally receive the cheirothesia of an archimandrite. What precisely this is, I don't claim to know.

Incognitus
The title "Proto-Archimandrite" is a 'Byzantine' way of refering to a 'Superior General' (?) - the head of an Order. They also use "proto-hegumenos" in place of 'Provincial'. IFAIK these titles bear no insignia, more than likely due to the fact that they are only temporary postings of a few years (6, I think).

For some reason "square peg - round hole" comes to mind...


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Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

Noticed a typo, but too late to edit. Should have typed AFAIK, not IFAIK.


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The "Grand Archimandrite" of wherever is not automatically mitrophoric in Melkite usage. The only two mitred priests I remember among US Melkites were Fr Elias Denisoff and Father Nicholas Borkhoche. I believe both are now deceased.
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I heard that in many large Byzantine and Orthodox monasteries, several of the senior monks are honorific archimandrites. One of them is usually the hegumen or abbott. Only he carries the pastoral staff in his monastery apart from visiting bishops.
Sometimes the hegumen himself is in bishops orders. Honorific archimandrites do not carry the pastoral staff, only bishops and abbotts and abbesses in their particular monasteries.
This is what I've heard.

In Christ, Michelle

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