The difference between a priest and an archpriest.

Priest and Archpriest are titles of Orthodox priests. They are assigned to the so-called white clergy - those clergy who do not take a vow of celibacy, create families and have children. What is the difference between a priest and an archpriest? There are differences between them, we will talk about them now.

What do the titles “priest” and “archpriest” mean "?

Both words are of Greek origin. “Priest” has long been used in Greece to denote a priest and literally means “priest”. And the "archpriest" is the "high priest." The system of church titles began to take shape from the first centuries of Christianity, and in the Western, Catholic, Church, and in the Eastern, Orthodox, most of the terms for denoting different ranks of the priesthood are Greek, since the religion originated in the east of the Roman Empire, and the first adepts were mainly Greeks...

The difference between a priest and an archpriest is that the second term is used to name priests standing on a higher step in the church hierarchy. The title "Archpriest" is awarded to a clergyman who already has the title of priest, as a reward for services to the church. In different Orthodox churches, the conditions for conferring the title of archpriest are slightly different. In the Russian Orthodox Church, a priest can become an archpriest five years later (not earlier) after he is awarded a pectoral cross (worn over clothing). Or ten years after ordination (in this case, ordination to the priesthood), but only after he was appointed to a leading church position.


There are three degrees of priesthood in Orthodoxy. The first (lower) is a deacon (deacon), the second is a priest (priest) and the third, higher one, is a bishop (bishop or saint). The priest and archpriest, as it is easy to understand, belong to the middle (second) rung of the Orthodox hierarchy. In this they are similar, but what is the difference between them, except that the title of "archpriest" is given as a reward?

Archpriests are usually abbots (that is, senior priests) of temples, parishes or monasteries. They are subordinate to the bishops, organizing and leading the church life of their parish. It is customary to address the priest as "Your Reverend" (on solemn occasions), as well as simply "Father" or by name - for example, "Father Sergius". The address to the archpriest is “Your High Reverend”. Previously, there were appeals: to the priest - "Your Blessing" and to the archpriest - "Your High Blessing", but now they are practically out of use.


The table presented to your attention indicates the difference between a priest and an archpriest.

Priest Archpriest
What doesIn translation from Greek means "priest". Earlier this word was called priests, but in the modern church it is used to designate a priest of a certain rankTranslated from Greek means "high priest." The title is a reward for a priest for many years of work and services to the church
The level of church responsibilityThey conduct church services, can perform six of the seven sacraments (except for the ordinance of ordination - ordination as clergy)They conduct church services, can perform six of the seven sacraments (except for the sacrament of ordination - ordination to the priesthood). Usually they are rectors of a temple or parish, are directly subordinate to the bishop