Clergy is an all-inclusive phrase which refers to any officially recongized authoritative figure within a religious institution. Such individuals are scholars of their chosen religion and are practiced in all rites and practices thereof. They are often looked upon by members of a congregation as their spiritual leader.
Types of clergy Edit
Pope is the title attributed to the highest authoritave figure and spirital leader of the Christian church. The office of the pope is known as the Papacy. His ecclesiastical jurisdiction is often called the "Holy See", or the "Apostolic See" based upon the Church tradition that the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul were martyred in Rome. The pope is also head of state of Vatican City, a sovereign city-state entirely enclaved within the city of Rome.
In many denominations of the Christian religion, an archbishop is a bishop of higher rank. Like popes, patriarchs, metropolitans, cardinal bishops, diocesan bishops, suffragan bishops, etc., archbishops belong to the category of bishops, the highest of the three traditional orders of bishops, priests (presbyters), and deacons. One becomes an archbishop by being granted the title or by ordination as chief pastor of a metropolitan see or of another episcopal see to which the title of archbishop is attached.
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the Anglican churches, bishops claim apostolic succession, a direct historical lineage dating back to the original Twelve Apostles.
A priest or priestess is a person having the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities. Their office or position is the priesthood, a term which may also apply to such persons collectively. Catholic priests are known to be scholars in the ways of the occult and the supernatural. 19th century priests were particularly aware of the threat posed by vampires and could be trusted to guard themselves against the undead or administer last rites to a vampire victim, insuring that they be buried in consecrated ground. Priest vampire hunters often arm themselves with crucifixes, holy water and the holy sacrament. In the modern era, some priests are schooled in the Rites of Exorcism and may be called upon to perform an exorcist if one is suspected of being possessed by a malevolent spirit of a demon.
A pastor is an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. In some countries the term is used in relation to Protestant churches. It can also be used in reference to priests and bishops within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox churches.
A vicar is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior. The Pope uses the title Vicarius Christi, meaning, the vicar of Christ. An apostolic vicar is a bishop or priest who heads a missionary particular Church that is not yet ready to be a full diocese - he stands as the local representative of the Pope, in the Pope's role as bishop of all unorganized territories.
A reverend is a style most often used as a prefix to the names of Christian clergy and ministers. There are sometimes differences in the way the style is used in different countries and church traditions. The Reverend is correctly called a style but is often and in some dictionaries called a title, form of address or title of respect. The style is also sometimes used by leaders in non-Christian religions such as Judaism and Buddhism.
A nun is a woman who has taken vows committing her to live a spiritual life. She may be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live her life in prayer and contemplation in a monastery or convent. The term "nun" is applicable to Catholics – both eastern and western traditions – Orthodox Christians, Anglicans, Lutherans, Jains, Buddhists, Taoists, and Hindus.