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As in all fields of endeavour there are terms and phrases specific to that field. In Christianity and specifically the Orthodox Church, there is a plethora of terminology and phrases. The following is not an exhaustive listing of terminology and their definitions, but a basic introduction to proper ecclesial terms within the English language. Over time, Mode of Life Project will continue to build up the list and number of terms and their respective definitions that are presented here:


Abbot: The chief monk/clergyman who serves as the spiritual and administrative head of a monastery.

Archdeacon: A deacon appointed with administrative representative.





Chancellor: Priest serving as a bishop, legal officer or business manager.

Chaplain: Clergyman (even a layman) serving a particular ministry such as a prison priest or hospital.

Curate: Assistant to parish priest


Dean: Cathedral administrator



Metropolitan: Bishop with authority over several dioceses; an archbishop or primate. (A founding diocese, “mother Church” to other dioceses)



Padre: Military chaplain

Precentor: Clergyman who directs choral services in a cathedral.

Prelate: Hierarch, high-ranking official such as a bishop.

Primate: Chief bishop or archbishop.

Prior: Deputy head of a monastery, ranking below the abbot.



Rural Dean: Clergyman with authority over a group of parishes.



Suffragan: Assistant bishop in a diocese; bishop in relation to his archbishop.