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Ask an Eastern Orthodox Christian: How do I address an exarch from Turkey or Greece?

Clergy at All Saints' Antiochian Orthodox Church, Raleigh, United States (L to R): priest, two deacons, bishop. Wikipedia photo by Andrew Stephen Damick

Ask an Eastern Orthodox Christian: How do I address an exarch from Turkey or Greece?


By Nick Damascus

Q: What is the proper way to address someone who is an exarch, male and from Turkey or Greece?

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, an exarch (ἔξαρχος in the Greek) can be a bishop, metropolitan or archbishop. He is an appointed representative of the patriarch of a specific “see” and usually governs a distant province on behalf of and under the jurisdiction of that patriarch.

In the early Church, a “see” was a major area of jurisdiction. During the first 1,000 years of Christianity there were five historic patriarchal centers (sees) known collectively as the Pentarchy — four Eastern Orthodox sees consisting of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople and the See of Rome in the west which, in 1054, left the other four centers marking the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church.

The four Eastern Orthodox centers continued to be united in faith, doctrine, Apostolic tradition, sacraments, liturgies and services as one holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic church not adding to, altering or subtracting from the original faith.

As an example of how to properly address an exarch, let’s take Archbishop Demetrios. He is an exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which is located in Instanbul, Turkey. Because he is an archbishop, the proper salutation or greeting would be, “Your Eminence.” The full address is “His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.”

If the exarch is an archbishop, the salutation would be “Your Eminence.” If the exarch were a metropolitan, the form of address and salutation would be the same as for an archbishop. If the exarch were a bishop, the form of address would be “The Right Reverend Bishop of…” and the salutation or greeting would be “Your Grace.”

See “Forms of Addresses and Salutations for Orthodox Clergy” for a complete list.

Nicholas Damascus

About Nicholas Damascus

Nick Damascus is one who seeks to discover and apply the proverbial question of what is truth and wisdom, to fill that gaping hole, to become complete and to become realistically and synergistically functional. In an attempt to live the Christian life, which he says is a definite work in progress, he has discovered that he's created the Christ that fits his lifestyle and agrees with his ego (and boy what an ego, he says), carefully avoiding what God intended him to be.

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