Hieromonk also called a Priestmonk, is a monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

 who is also a priest in the Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholicism.

A hieromonk can be either a monk who has been ordained
In general religious use, ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination itself varies by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is...

 to the priesthood, or a priest who has received monastic tonsure
Tonsure is the traditional practice of Christian churches of cutting or shaving the hair from the scalp of clerics, monastics, and, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, all baptized members...

. In the Orthodox Church, a man must be either married or have been tonsured a monk before he is eligible for ordination
In general religious use, ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination itself varies by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is...

; however, when a married priest's wife dies it is not uncommon for him to become a monk, since the Church forbids clergy to enter into a second marriage after ordination.

Ordination to the priesthood is the exception rather than the rule for monastics
Christian monasticism
Christian monasticism is a practice which began to develop early in the history of the Christian Church, modeled upon scriptural examples and ideals, including those in the Old Testament, but not mandated as an institution in the scriptures. It has come to be regulated by religious rules Christian...

, as a monastery will usually only have as many hieromonks and hierodeacon
A Hierodeacon , sometimes translated "deacon-monk", in Eastern Orthodox Christianity is a monk who has been ordained a deacon...

s as it needs to perform the daily services.

In the Church hierarchy, a hieromonk is of higher dignity than a hierodeacon, just as a secular
Secular clergy
The term secular clergy refers to deacons and priests who are not monastics or members of a religious order.-Catholic Church:In the Catholic Church, the secular clergy are ministers, such as deacons and priests, who do not belong to a religious order...

 (i.e., married) priest is of higher dignity than a deacon. Within their own ranks, hieromonks are assigned order of precedence
Order of precedence
An order of precedence is a sequential hierarchy of nominal importance of items. Most often it is used in the context of people by many organizations and governments...

 according to the date of their ordination. Ranking above Hieromonk is a Hegumen
Hegumen, hegumenos, igumen, or ihumen is the title for the head of a monastery of the Eastern Orthodox Church or Eastern Catholic Churches, similar to the one of abbot. The head of a convent of nuns is called hegumenia or ihumenia . The term means "the one who is in charge", "the leader" in...

 and an Archimandrite
The title Archimandrite , primarily used in the Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Catholic churches, originally referred to a superior abbot whom a bishop appointed to supervise...


In some countries, married clergy are referred to as "white clergy" while monastic clergy are called "black clergy" because monks should always wear black clothing but married clergy in many parts of the world typically wear white (or gray, blue or some other color) cassock
The cassock, an item of clerical clothing, is an ankle-length robe worn by clerics of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Anglican Church, Lutheran Church and some ministers and ordained officers of Presbyterian and Reformed churches. Ankle-length garment is the meaning of the...

s and rasons.

The proper title for a Hieromonk is, "the Reverend Hieromonk (religious name
Religious Name
A religious name is a type of given name bestowed for a religious purpose, and which is generally used in religious contexts. Different types of religious names may be in use among the clergy of a religion, as well in some cases among the laity....

)". The form of address is, "Hieromonk (name)", "Father Hieromonk (name)", "Father (name)", or, informally, "Father". As with all Orthodox monks, a hieromonk is not addressed by his family name
Family name
A family name is a type of surname and part of a person's name indicating the family to which the person belongs. The use of family names is widespread in cultures around the world...

, but only by his religious name. In writing, if it becomes necessary to use his family name—for instance, to distinguish him from another hieromonk with the same religious name—the family name should be placed in parentheses. Example: "Hieromonk John (Smith)". In cultures where a patronymic
A patronym, or patronymic, is a component of a personal name based on the name of one's father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor. A component of a name based on the name of one's mother or a female ancestor is a matronymic. Each is a means of conveying lineage.In many areas patronyms...

 is customary, monks are never addressed by their patronymic, but only by their religious name.

In Western Christianity, a priest who is also a monk is termed a "religious priest" or "regular clergy
Regular clergy
Regular clergy, or just regulars, is applied in the Roman Catholic Church to clerics who follow a "rule" in their life. Strictly, it means those members of religious orders who have made solemn profession. It contrasts with secular clergy.-Terminology and history:The observance of the Rule of St...

", i.e., living under a monastic rule (Latin: regula) .

In Roman Catholicism ordained monks are referred to as "Choir Monks" and non-ordained are called "Lay Brothers."

See also

  • Hieromonk Makarije
    Hieromonk Makarije
    Hieromonk Makarije is the founder of Serbian and Romanian printing, having printed the first book in Serbian language and the first book in the territory of Walachia ....

  • Hieromonk Seraphim Rose
  • Degrees of Eastern Orthodox monasticism
    Degrees of Eastern Orthodox monasticism
    The degrees of Eastern Orthodox monasticism are the stages an Eastern Orthodox monk or nun passes through in their religious vocation.In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the process of becoming a monk or nun is intentionally slow, as the monastic vows taken are considered to entail a lifelong...

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