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Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center

Priests - Abounas / Abunas - Reverend Fathers

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Vestments Patterns For Vestments Clergy Dress

A priest is the spiritual descendant/successor of the Holy Apostles. The Holy Apostles were appointed by Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ to be His representatives on earth. Then, a priest is the representative of Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ on earth.

A priest can be the head of the Church in an parish or have a special assignment.

Order of Hierarchy

The order of hierarchy, beginning with the so-called minor orders and going up the ladder:

  1. Lector or reader
  2. Sub-deacon
  3. Deacon
  4. Priest
    • then honorary titles
      • Archpriest - Highest highest honor given to a married priest. - Wears the silver pectoral cross and is called "The Right Reverend".
      • Archimandrite - Wears the silver pectoral cross and is called "The Right Reverend".
      • Mitred Archpriest
      • Mitred Archimandrite
  5. Bishop
  6. Archbishop (sometimes Metropolitan Archbishop)
  7. Patriarch

Title of "Abouna / Abona / Abuna"

The word "Abouna / Abona / Abuna" means "our father" (small f) . This word is used for priests. The word "Abana" means "our Father" (capital / uppercase F). This word is used for Holy God the Father . The word "Abana" is the first word of the "The Lord's Prayer"

Honorary Title of "Khoury" or "Khouri"

The Arabic word "Khoury" or "Khouri" is a title meaning “Priest”. It is the custom for Melkite Greek Catholic priests to add this title prior to their family name. Then, the English translation of the phrase “Abouna Boutros Khoury Bisharah” is “Our Father Boutros The Priest Bisharah”.

Honorary Title of Stavrophor

In 2002, His Excellency / Eparch / Bishop / Sayedna / Sayidna John Elya granted to all the Priests - Abounas / Abunas - Reverend Fathers in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church Eparchy of Newton Roslindale, Massachusetts, United States the privilege of wearing a cross. Then, the all the Priests - Abounas / Abunas - Reverend Fathers are "Stavrophor". This Greek word means "Cross-bearer".
His Excellency / Eparch / Bishop / Sayedna / Sayidna John granted this privilege on the occasion of his 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

Form of Address

Form of Address for one Priest

The word "Abouna" or "Abuna" is singular. For one priest, the singular form is used.
Priests are usually addressed and referred to as "Abouna" or "Abuna" which means "our father".
A formal example is Hadrat al-Ab al-muhtaram.
No first or last name is used.

In some situations, two or more priests are present. Then, the word "Abouna" can address or refer to any of the present priests. Then, to specify to which Abouna the person is addressing or refering to, "Abouna first name" is used.
For example, "Abouna Boutros" is used to distinguish from "Abouna Boulos".
The formal example is "Hadrat al-Abawayn (Boutros) al-muhtaramayn".

In some situations, two or more priests with the same first name are present. Then, to specify to which Abouna the person is addressing or refering to, "Abouna first name last name" is used.
For example, "Abouna Boutros Bisharah" is used to distinguish from "Abouna Boutros Diab".

The formal written title is "Abouna first name last name" or "Reverend Father first name last name".
For example, the English translation of the phrase “Abouna Boutros Bisharah” is “Father Reverend Boutros Bisharah".

Priests are not called "Abouna last name" or "Father last name".

Form of Address for two Priests

The word "al-Abawayn" is dual. For two priests, the dual form is used.
For example, "Fathers Peter and Paul" is "al-Abawayn Boutros wa-Boulos.
A formal example is "Hadrat al-Abawayn (Boutros wa-Boulos) al-muhtaramayn".

Form of Address for three or more Priests

The word "al-aabaa'" is plural, that is this word refers to three or more priests.
For example, "Fathers Peter, Paul and John" is "al-aabaa' Boutros, Boulos wa-Yuhanna.
A formal example is "Hadrat al-Aabaa' (Boutros wa-Boulos wa-Yuhanna) al-muhtarameen.


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Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center
Martha Liles
Web URL address: Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center or http://www.mliles.com/melkite/
E-mail: mliles@mliles.com or mliles@mliles.com

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Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center is dedicated to my cousins: Bucky (Richard C. Liles) and Shirley (Shirley Jean Liles Buck). Bucky fell asleep in the Lord on Dec. 12, 2000 and Shirley fell asleep in the Lord on Nov. 8, 2001.
O God of all spirits and of all flesh, who have destroyed death, overcome the devil, and given life to the world: grant, O Lord, to the souls of your servants Bucky and Shirley, who has departed from this life, that it may rest in a place of light, in a place of happiness, in a place of peace, where there is no pain, no grief, no sighing. And since You are a gracious God and the Lover of Mankind, forgive him/her every sin he/she has committed by thought, or word, or deed, for there is not a man who lives and does not sin : You alone are without sin, your righteousness is everlasting, and your word is true. You are the Resurrection and the Life, and the repose of your departed servants Bucky and Shirley. O Christ our God, and we send up glory to You, together with your eternal Father and your all-holy, good and life-givng Spirit, now and always and for ages upon ages. Amen.

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Last Updated: Sunday, August 22, 2010, 18:53:22, CDT
The current date and time is: Thursday, October 23, 2014, 09:24:50, CDT or Thursday, October 23, 2014, 14:24:50, GMT