Forms of Clerical Address - Episcopal Diocese of San Diego Forms of Clerical Address - Episcopal Diocese of San Diego

Forms of Clerical Address

ordinations

Clerical titles can cause considerable confusion. This is particularly so when it comes to writing letters or verbally addressing priests – who unfortunately cannot agree among themselves what they should be called. Some prefer Mr. or Ms., others Father or Mother with either their last or their first names. Some abhor the choices made by others. The only way to be sure of what they prefer is to ask them. In this diocese, failing other knowledge, you are pretty safe addressing priests as either Mother or Father. In other, more “protestant” dioceses, you may not be. Fortunately, with bishops, deans, archdeacons, canons and deacons, things are simpler.

Presiding Bishop
Full title: The Most Reverend
Abbreviated title: The Most Rev.
Top of letter: Dear Bishop,
In conversation: Bishop (last name, if more than one bishop is present)

Bishop
Full title: The Right Reverend
Abbreviated title: The Rt. Rev.
Top of letter: Dear Bishop,
In conversation: Bishop (last name, if more than one bishop is present)

Dean
Full title: The Very Reverend
Abbreviated title: The Very Rev.
Top of letter: Dear Dean,
In conversation: Dean (last name, if more than one dean is present)

Archdeacon
Full title: The Venerable
Abbreviated title: The Ven.
Top of letter: Dear Archdeacon
In conversation: Archdeacon

Canon
Full title: The Reverend Canon
Abbreviated title: The Rev. Cn.
Top of letter: Dear Canon
In conversation: Canon (last name)

Priest
Full title: The Reverend or The Reverend Doctor
Abbreviated title: The Rev. or The Rev. Dr.
Top of letter: Depending on the individual’s preference:
Dear Father, Dear Mother, Dear Rev.
In conversation: Father (last name); Mother (last name) or Father (first name) or Mother (first name)

Deacon
Full title: The Reverend Deacon
Abbreviated title: The Rev. Deacon
Top of letter: Dear Deacon,
In conversation: Deacon (last name)