Every diocese has its own Bishop. Bishop is the
highest title of dignity and every clergyman serving at this level
(metropolitan, archbishop and bishop) can be called Bishop. The next lower
level is occupied by the pastors (Presbyters). They are entitled to head the
life of the parishes in cities and villages. Pastors are subdivided into
priests and archpriests. The oldest priest of the parish is called the
The lowest level of clergy is the Deacon. They
help Bishops and Priests to perform the mysteries,
they do not do it by themselves. The older deacons are called archdeacons.
Monks (hermits) are called "black"
clergy since they vowed not to marry (as opposed to the "white"
clergy who are married). There are three stages of monastic life: ryasophor,
mantle (or minor schema) and schema. Ryasophor means "the one wearing
ryasa" (ryasa is an everyday long garment of monks with wide sleeves).
Minor schema and greater schema ("form," "image") are
higher levels. They are characterized by stricter vows.
All the archpriests are monks. Their titles when
translated from Greek mean: "patriarch" — "forefather,"
"metropolitan" — "a person from the main clan," (Patriarchs
or metropolitans are the heads of all church organizations in Orthodox
countries.); ‘bishop" — "overseer," "archbishop" —
"chief pastor" (bishops and archbishops, rarely metropolitans, are
responsible for the church and administrative areas which are called diocese.
The monastic clergy are called archmonks, Father
Superiors and archimandrites. Archimandrite ("the supervisor of
caves") is the head of a big monastery or lavra (largest monasteries).
Some monks get that title as an award for his long and fruitful service to the
Church. Father Superior ("the leader") is the head of a usual
monastery or a parish church. The monks who are priests vowed to schema are
called archschemamonks, archfather Superiors and schemarchimandrites. Monks
serving as deacons are called hierodeacons, the older ones — archdeacons.
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