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

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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
Nicholas Damascus
As an infant, I was baptized as an Eastern Orthodox Christian. However, I would say that becoming a Christian is a work in progress, and I often wonder would there be enough evidence to convict me of becoming a Christian. The Orthodox Church is the ancient Church that Christ and the Apostles established. It is not a religion but rather a way of life. It is not about rules and regulations but rather guide posts to make choices to transition to what we were designed to become. Becoming Orthodox is not a conversion but more so a transformation of self. It’s not about being right: it is about “right being.” In John 14:6, Christ says I am the Way (to love and serve one another), the Truth (there is only one reality), and the Life (that life source is love). I invite you to submit any topics or questions to “Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian” on the website. Join me in finding our way back home to the original teachings of the Church. When you change the way you look at things, things change the way they look.

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