Open main menu

Who is includedEdit

It is strange to say "the Catholic clergy includes priests, bishops, cardinals." "Priest" and "bishop" are orders to which a man may be ordained; "cardinal" is not located on the same measurement scale; it is not an order; a man being created a cardinal is not receiving a sacrament; he is not being ordained at all.

I agree. The article doesn't mention monsignores, thus it shouldn't mention cardinals. -Ben
I still don't understand why Cardinals and Monsignores are not considered members of the clergy. They certainly aren't laypeople. Could you please expand on what you mean? RK
Sorry -- Monsignores and Cardinals are, in fact, always members of the clergy. However, "monsignor" and "cardinal" are really titles conveying special priviliges, rather than actual positions. In academia, the equivilant would be "emeritus" -- both professors and professors emeritus are members of the faculty, but you wouldn't say that "emitus" is a "type of faculty". Monsignores are priests who have been granted a special title -- think of it as "Vatican's favorite priest". Often this means that they're on a sort of fast-track to becoming bishops, but often not. Cardinals are bishops that have been given the title of cardinal, which gives them a bit more ceremonial priviledges and allows them to vote for a new pope, but they're still bishops. If you look at recent history in the US, some archdioceses traditionally have cardinals as their archbishop. But when Cardinal O'Connor of New York died a few years ago, Archbishop Egan was appointed in his place as Archbishop of New York.
But Egan wasn't elevated to the rank of Cardinal until a couple of years later. At that time, none of his jurisdiction changed -- he was still Archbishop of New York, and just had the title of Cardinal added to it. So monsignores and cardinals are always clergy, but only by virtue of them being priests or bishops, not by virtue of their additional titles. -Ben

Thanks, Ben, this is enlightening. Perhaps this can be summarized and worked into the article? RK

These titles of honor are not exclusive to the RC Church either. In the Orthodox Church we have honorary titles as well. They are not orders per se, but they confer seniority and certain prerogatives. Amonst the married clergy there are the titles of Protodeacon ( for a long serving deacon) and Archpriest ( for a long serving priest) and amongst the monastic hihiclergy there is the title of Archdeacon , Igumen and Archimandrite.--Frmaximos 16:21, Oct 2, 2004 (UTC)

I wouldn't have any problem working this into the article, but think that if we do we should perhaps deal with other specialized positions within the clergy, such as abbot, abbess, and other specific titles among the religious. I'm totally unqualified for that, though. I'll check back in a couple of days and add a sentence on cardinals/monsignors if nobody else has done anything, though. -Ben

I see that I was misunderstood, so I will try to be more explicit. I did not say cardinals are not clergymen. I read in a newspaper a few months ago that only one American cardinal is not a bishop. That would make no sense if "priest", "bishop", and "cardinal" were mutually exclusive ranks in the hierarchy. In the Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches there are three major orders to which a man may be ordained: deacon, priest, and bishop. There are also "minor orders", lower than "deacon", such as "acolyte" and "exorcist". I suspect these have fallen into disuse in recent centuries, but I'm not sure. In the Catholic and Orthodox churches, being ordained constitutes receiving one of the seven sacraments -- the one called "holy orders". But there are also various honors, titles, and ranks in the hierarchy that a clergyman may receive that do not involve receiving any sacrament. "Monsignor" and "cardinal" are among those. A priest who has never been ordained a bishop can be created a cardinal, although that is unusual. Like any priest who is not a bishop, he lacks the sacramental powers of a bishop; in particular, he cannot ordain.

So "deacon", "priest", and "bishop" are "orders" to which a man can be ordained, but "monsignor" and "cardinal" are not. However, they are titles given only to persons who have been ordained.

(I'm not actually a religious believer myself, but --- God knows why --- I've been reading about this stuff lately.) -- Mike Hardy

I think we're all on the same page now, Mike. I'll admit that it is really hard to figure out all these ranks and stuff, though -- particularly to Americans unfamiliar with any other feudal systems.
I'd be curious about the article you mention, as I thought that only bishops could be made cardinal. I know that John Henry Newman was the first priest created cardinal, but thought that he was also ordained bishop and given a nominal see at the same time. -Ben
Also check out this Catholic Encylopedia entry on titular sees, apparently transcribed by wikipedian Michael Tinkler:

His name is Avery Dulles; he is a professor at Fordham University. Do a Google search, and you will find a biography reporting that he was ordained a priest and later created a cardinal, without every becoming a bishop. It's unusual, but not impossible.

See also Cardinal (Catholicism) and its talk page with excerpt of Vatican law saying that a cardinal is always now made a bishop, although he may not be given responsibility for a particular geographical area. Rmhermen 22:22 Dec 16, 2002 (UTC)

Does anyone know how the titles of honor are conferred? Is it done liturgically or administratively? In the Orthodox Church most of these titles are conferred liturgically and this are in some sense minor ordinations.--fathermaximos 14:40, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

Are LDS churches really led by 'Lay Clergy'? Everywhere else 'lay' means the people who are not clergy? DJ Clayworth 20:05, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

It the hierarchy of this Alabama-based group *really* significant enough for inclusion?

Non-Monastic Clergy in the Orthodox Church

I know of a bishop in the Church of Georgia who was selected as a bishop while a married priest. His wife agreed to go to a monastery and he was tonsured a monk. I understand this is not that uncommon in some of the former Communist countries where the ranks of the monastic clergy were decimated.--fathermaximos 14:40, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

Can people please add to the page Women as theological figures (and post this request elsewhere if appropriate and I haven't done so already). Jackiespeel 16:56, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

--- Definition of Kleros

I've never seen Kleros defined as "fortune", the definition given by "Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon", is "lot" or "by lot, etc." and not fortune.


My understanding is that "kliros" is not applied here a sense meaning "allotment" or "heritage", but as a selection by lot. According to my bishop, the ordained staff at Hagia Sophia was once so large that even there it was impossible for them all to serve at once. Those who were to serve on a given day were therefore selected by lot. The place where the lots (kliroi, sg. kliros) were chosen was the "kliros", and one selected was a "klirikos", "of the lot". The usage for those actually serving perdured even after the staff dwindled and it was no longer necessary to draw lots. Thus it now applies to all ordained clergy. The "kliros" has become the place where the singers (always ordained in former times) stand and, ironically, is often where ordained clergy not serving also stand. Unfortunately, I cannot now find where he wrote this, and he didn't cite his source for it at the time anyway. I might also be misremembering some detail.

{The usage seems to date back to when appointments were agreed on by lot (as still happens under certain circumstances amongst the Orthodox): see the reference to the replacement of Judas by Matthias in Acts 1: 15-26, where his entry into the apostolate was by lot. johnwander} —Preceding unsigned comment added by Johnwander (talkcontribs) 20:47, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Since I don't have a verifiable source for this I'm not inserting it into the article, but since this is largely unreferenced I might anyway unless there are objections. TCC (talk) (contribs) 04:17, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Clarifications to Christian ClergyEdit

I've added some preliminary material to this section before going on to the details of specific denominations. Mostly this reflects the clarity issues discussed above. Mangoe 14:48, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

It might also be appropriate to add a section within Chrisian Clergy about Christian groups who do not believe in Clergy. Take the anibaptists of the Reformation as an example of an anti-Clergy group.

No it wouldn't. This article is about clergy. It doesn't make arguments for their validity, it just tells about them as they are. I'm really beginning to get sick and tired of this continuous impulse in Wikipedia to make every article a controversial one. It's absurd, and not useful in an encyclopedia.
It's sufficient to describe the beliefs of non-clericalists in the articles about them. We don't need to insert an argument about it into clergy, priest, deacon, and so forth. TCC (talk) (contribs) 06:24, 30 July 2006 (UTC)


If the LDS don't have clergy -- as stated in the first couple of sentences, then why is there such a huge section devoted to these non-clergy? Wouldn't it be more appropriate to have a separate article about organization instead? Reverend Mommy 19:04, 17 March 2007 (UTC)candlemb

Well I think though they are not officially clergy they are, more or less, the LDS equivalent. That is to say they fit the description of clergy listed in the introduction of the article, they oversee aspects of religious life and rituals, as well as teach and spread the religion. Perhaps the section should be moved under laity because the church often refers to itself as a “lay church” without clergy.
Though it should be mentioned Men, while serving a two-year full-time mission, are often given official documentation saying they are LDS clergymen, and are therefore considered clergymen by law (i.e. protected by special laws, granted access to hospitals for religious rites). Johnnyeagleisrocker 06:36, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
I believe that also applies to sister missionaries. CsikosLo (talk) 14:18, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

It seem to me that an unreasonable amount of the article is devoted to explaining LDS "clergy." Perhaps some succinctness is in order? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:00, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

I really don't understand why LDS leaders are not considered clergy. There is nothing being done by other Christian clergy that is not done by LDS leaders -- except getting paid. Is that the difference? If so, should that be in the lede? CsikosLo (talk) 14:19, 19 July 2016 (UTC)


where did they get their food? they spent most of their time copying manuscripts praying or helping the poor right? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:37, 23 March 2007 (UTC).


There should be a separate article entitled Clergy Titles and Forms of Address which includes a table for every major sect/denomination. It could be similar to the table on the Religious symbolism page or this one: (although it appears to have some errors in it). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:25, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Salary InformationEdit

I would like to see some information about the salary of clergy. What are some typical salaries for the various denominations, for large, medium, and small congregations? What percentage of donations to a church are used to pay the salary of the clergy? Sister7 05:27, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

How can one even begin to answer that question? You have some clergy who are active volunteers, and others who earn six figure salaries. Some small congregations may use 90% of their budget to pay a clergyperson, yet the salary may be quite modest. Some clergy work part-time. Some clergy are in monastic orders, and so get certain needs provided for within the context of an overall vow of poverty. Given the diversity of religious organisations and their employment practices, your question is impossible to answer in a general sense. I suggest doing some research on the religious community or communities in which you're interested. fishhead64 21:24, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

article scopeEdit

The OED has:

  • clergy: "the body of men set apart by ordination for religious service in the Christian church". The meaning of "The priestly order in the Jewish and other non-Christian religions." is given as obsolete.

I suggest we keep this article as explicitly discussing Christian clergy and split the non-Christian portions into the priest article, which at present doesn't have a clearly distinct scope from this article's. dab (𒁳) 08:48, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

One of the articles proposed for merger was deleted. The other is about priest, which is a subset of clergy. Thusly, I'm removing merge template from the article page. Dgf32 (talk) 00:51, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Definition and inclusionEdit

This term was coined rather late in the middle ages. The article now retroactively fits non-Christian religions here as well which doesn't seem to fit. Worse, a category "clergy" was applied to a Roman Pontifex Maximus, who of course, was elected or temporarily appointed. Julius Caesar was once a Pontifex Maximus. Belief or practice was not terrifically important. Nor was it a lifetime position. This seems a bit of a stretch. But with the loose boundaries of the article, it is hard to argue. Doesn't look from here as though those changes were ever discussed. Student7 (talk) 17:22, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Every Pontifex Maximus since the 3rd century BC kept his position to his death, including Caesar. Dimadick (talk) 09:23, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Modes of address for RC deaconsEdit

Transitional deacons are definitely addressed as "Reverend Mr." I'm not too wild about it, but so are permanent deacons. See, for example, this obit, which will probably perish with time; Wikipedia article: forms of address for reverend; an actual church listing which is where I have seen it most often. Student7 (talk) 22:42, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Ordering of sectionsEdit

I know that the meat of this article is on the usage of the term in the Christian churches, and that is the biggest section; nevertheless, I still think it would be, given the framing of the article, more appropriate to organize the sections chronologically (regardless of length or depth of coverage). I just think this would be the most neutral, encyclopedic, and objective way to organize the article (these are just gross ballpark figures for chronological ordering):

  1. Historical polytheism: ancient / prehistoric / animist
  2. Hinduism:
  3. Zoroastrianism:
  4. Judaism: > ~ 1000 BCE
  5. Buddhism: ~ 500 BCE
  6. Taoism:
  7. Jainism:
  8. Christian: ~ year 1 (for argument's sake)
  9. Shinto:
  10. Islam: ~ 630 CE
  11. Sikhism: ~ 1400 CE
  12. Rosicrucian Order:
  13. Baha'i:
  14. Ayyavazhi:
  15. Rastafari:
  16. Raelism:

I will be bold and change it for "encyclopedic" sake; if anyone has any other thoughts, I'd like to hear them.

Peace and Passion   ("I'm listening....") 23:16, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
Raelism? How many members belonged to this more than fringe group? Do you think there should be any standard of notability or is this a catch-all? -StormRider 02:46, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Orthodox theologiansEdit

I removed the following from the section on Orthodox clergy:

There is a significant difference between clergy and theologians; clergy have the above-mentioned duties while theologians are scholars of religion and theology, and are not necessarily clergy. A lay person can be a theologian.

Though the jist of what the author said is correct, the Orthodox do not use the "theologian" in this way. For the Orthodox, the term "theologian" refers to one who lives a particularly holy life, and has been granted theoria (divine vision). and has nothing to do with academics. In fact, there have only been three saints in the history of the Church that have held the title of Theologian: John the Theologian, Gregory the Theologian and Simeon the New Theologian. MishaPan (talk) 20:46, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

When you say that "the Orthodox do not use the term theologian in this way, I note that you used a capital letter, so I presume that you are referring to members of the Eastern Orthodox church. There could still be differences between a theologian and a priest in other denominations. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 19:16, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Merger proposalEdit

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result was merge into Clergy. -- StAnselm (talk) 06:40, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

It seems that the Cleric article is covering exactly the same territory as this article, and so I propose that it be merged into Clergy. StAnselm (talk) 02:42, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Support. I don't think there is any essential difference between "clerics" and "clergy". Anglicanus (talk) 14:37, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Category:Former clergyEdit

I think we should have a category for people who renounced priesthood. Category:Former clergy? Comments? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 19:32, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

External links modifiedEdit

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Clergy. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

As of February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete these "External links modified" talk page sections if they want to de-clutter talk pages, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template {{sourcecheck}} (last update: 15 July 2018).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 08:51, 9 August 2017 (UTC)


af — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:40, 30 March 2018 (UTC)

Return to "Clergy" page.