- "Cleric" redirects here. For other uses, see Cleric (disambiguation)
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional.
Depending on the religion, clergy usually take care of the ritual aspects of the religious life, teach or otherwise help in spreading the religion's doctrine and practices. They often deal with events such as childbirth, baptism, circumcision, coming of age ceremonies and death.
In Christianity there is a wide range of formal and informal clergy positions, including deacons, priests, bishops, and ministers. In Shia Islam, religious leaders are usually known as imams or ayatollahs.
The term ultimately comes from the Greek "κλῆρος" - klēros, "a lot", "that which is assigned by lot" (allotment) or metaphorically, "inheritance". Within Christianity, especially in Eastern Christianity and formerly in Western Roman Catholicism, the term cleric refers to any individual who has received the clerical tonsure, including deacons, priests, and bishops. In Latin Roman Catholicism, the tonsure was a prerequisite for receiving any of the minor orders or major orders before the tonsure, minor orders, and the subdiaconate were abolished following the Second Vatican Council. Now, the clerical state is tied to reception of the diaconate. Minor Orders are still given in the Eastern Catholic Churches, and those who receive those orders are 'minor clerics.'
The use of the word "cleric" is also appropriate for Eastern Orthodox minor clergy who are tonsured in order not to trivialise orders such as those of Reader in the Eastern Church, or for those who are tonsured yet have no minor or major orders. It is in this sense that the word entered the Arabic language, most commonly in Lebanon from the French, as kleriki (or, alternatively, cleriki) meaning "seminarian." This is all in keeping with Eastern Orthodox concepts of clergy, which still include those who have not yet received, or do not plan to receive, the diaconate.
The term clerk derives from cleric, since in medieval times the clergy were one of the few groups who could read, and therefore were often employed to do bookkeeping and similar work. The term clerical work continues to this day to refer to such functions.
A priesthood is a body of priests, shamans, or oracles who have special religious authority or function. The term priest is derived from the Greek presbyter (πρεσβύτερος, presbýteros, elder or senior), but is often used in the sense of sacerdos in particular, i.e., for clergy performing ritual within the sphere of the sacred or numinous communicating with the gods on behalf of the community.
In general, Christian clergy are ordained; that is, they are set apart for specific ministry in religious rites. Others who have definite roles in worship but who are not ordained (e.g. laypeople acting as acolytes) are generally not considered clergy, even though they may require some sort of official approval to exercise these ministries.
Types of clerics are distinguished from offices, even when the latter are commonly or exclusively occupied by clerics. A Roman Catholic cardinal, for instance, is almost without exception a cleric, but a cardinal is not a type of cleric. An archbishop is not a distinct type of cleric, but is simply a bishop who occupies a particular position with special authority. Conversely, a youth minister at a parish may or may not be a cleric. Different churches have different systems of clergy, though churches with similar polity have similar systems.
In Anglicanism clergy consist of the orders of deacons, priests (presbyters) and bishops in ascending order of seniority. Canon, archdeacon, archbishop and the like are specific positions within these orders. Bishops are typically overseers, presiding over a diocese composed of many parishes, with an archbishops presiding over a province, which is a group of dioceses. A parish (generally a single church) is looked after by one or more priests, although one priest may be responsible for several parishes. New clergy are ordained deacons. Those seeking to become priests are usually ordained priest after a year. Since the 1960s some Anglican churches have reinstituted the diaconate as a permanent, rather than transitional, order of ministry focused on ministry that bridges the church and the world, especially ministry to those on the margins of society.
For the forms of address for Anglican clergy, see Forms of Address in the United Kingdom.
Before the ordination of women as deacons, priests and bishops began within Anglicanism they could be ordained as 'deaconesses'. Although they were usually considered having a ministry distinct from deacons they often had similar ministerial responsibilities.
In Anglican churches all clergy are permitted to marry. In most national churches women may become deacons or priests, but while fifteen out of 38 national churches allow for women bishops, only five have ordained any. Celebration of the Eucharist is reserved for priests and bishops.
National Anglican churches are presided over by one or more primates or metropolitans (archbishops or presiding bishops). The senior archbishop of the Anglican Communion is the Archbishop of Canterbury, who acts as leader of the Church of England and 'first among equals' of the primates of all Anglican churches.
Being a deacon, priest or bishop is considered a function of the person and not a job. When priests retire they are still priests even if they no longer have any active ministry. However, they only hold the basic rank after retirement. Thus a retired archbishop can only be considered a bishop (though it is possible to refer to 'Bishop John Smith, the former Archbishop of York'), a canon or archdeacon is a priest on retirement and does not hold any additional honorifics.
Ordained Catholic clergymen are deacons, priests or bishops, i.e., they belong to the diaconate, the presbyterate, or the episcopate. Among bishops, some are metropolitans, archbishops, or patriarchs, and the Pope is the Bishop of Rome. With rare exceptions, cardinals are bishops, although it was not always so; formerly, some cardinals were unordained laymen and not clergymen. The Holy See supports the activity of its clergy by the Congregation for the Clergy (), a dicastery of Roman curia.
Canon Law indicates (canon 207) that "by divine institution, there are in the Church [Latin: Ecclesia] clergy [Latin: clerices] distinguished from laics". This distinction of a separate class was formed in the early times of Christianity; one early source reflecting this distinction is the writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch. The original clerics were the bishops (the Twelve Apostles) and the deacons (their seventy appointed assistants); the presbyterate actually developed as a sort of semi-bishop (cf. the disused chorepiskopos, "rural bishop"). In the Catholic Church, only men are allowed to be members of the clergy.
Catholic clerical organization is hierarchical in nature: before the reforms after the Second Vatican Council, the tonsure admitted a man to the clerical state, after which he could receive the four minor orders (ostiary, lectorate, order of exorcists, order of acolytes) and then the major orders of subdiaconate, diaconate, presbyterate, and finally the episcopate, which is defined in Catholic doctrine as "the fullness of Holy Orders". Today the minor orders and the subdiaconate have been replaced by lay ministries and the tonsure no longer takes place, the clerical state being tied to reception of Holy Orders rather than being symbolically part of a bishop's household.
The exceptions are certain papally approved Indult Catholic societies as well as Eastern Catholic churches. In the Eastern Churches, clergy status is extended to all holders of minor orders (which are retained in these traditions) and seminarians. Thus, in eastern Churches, deacons, priests, bishops, etc. are all called "Father," while those not in Holy Orders are addressed most often as "Brother," despite the monastic implications of the title (in the Western or Latin Church, only priests are addressed as "Father," deacons are addressed as "Deacon", and bishops by various titles such as "Your Excellency," "Bishop," or "Most Reverend Father in God"). This distinction can lead to some inter-Ritual issues, such as the wearing of clerical apparel and the signing of one's name, especially if attending, living, or working in a mostly Roman Rite institution.
Monks and other religious are not necessarily part of the clergy, unless they have received Holy Orders. Thus, the unordained monks, nuns, friars, and religious brothers and sisters should not be considered part of the clergy. Holy Orders is one of the Seven Sacraments considered to be of Divine institution in Catholic doctrine.
As many colleges at Medieval universities were restricted to members of the clergy, the term also survives in students' organizations at some ancient universities, such as Goliardia. These are echoes of the Medieval Goliards, the clerici vagantes. The term clerici vagantes , or "wandering clerics," comes from the Medieval phenomenon of clergy who had either abandoned their diocese or otherwise lost their incardination, and so sometimes took to wandering as bands of entertainers particularly through university towns. The Council of Trent tried to abolish this use, and only in recent times the rule was restored that a clericus has a perpetual and absolute obligation to serve the diocese or the Order to which he is assigned; only with a special authorization he can be accepted in the jurisdiction of another diocese or of another Order.
Current canon law prescribes that to be ordained a priest, an education is required of two years of scholastic philosophy study, and 4 years of theology; dogmatic and moral theology, the Holy Scriptures, and canon law have to be studied within a seminary or an ecclesiastical faculty at a university. This reflects the scholastic and intellectual traditions of the Latin Church.
Promises of celibacy and obedience are required as a condition for ordination to the diaconate and priesthood in the Latin Rite (celibacy is not required, however, for permanent deacons who are already married, but they are forbidden from remarrying should their wife die); this is a disciplinary and administrative rule rather than a dogmatic and doctrinal one. Celibacy has taken many forms in different times and places. The Council in Trullo (Quinisextum Concilium) in 692 barred bishops from marrying, but did not prevent married men from becoming priests and excommunicated those deacons who divorced their spouses in order to become ordained. This rule is still followed for ordained deacons in the Latin Rite, as well as for priests in the Eastern Catholic Churches. Married men are not ordained priests in the Latin Rite, although married priests do exist who were ordained in the Anglican church and later received into the Roman Catholic Church. Also Eastern Rite Catholics such as the Melkites follow Orthodox practice in allowing married men to the ranks of deacon and priest. See also Presbyterorum Ordinis for a modern statement of the nature of the Catholic priesthood.
Clergy have four classical rights:
- Right of Canon: whoever commits real violence on the person of a clergyman, commits a sacrilege. This decree was issued in a Lateran Council of 1097 (requested by Pope Urban II), then renewed in the Lateran Council II (1139)
- Right of Forum: by this right clergy may be judged by ecclesiastical tribunals only. Emperor Constantine I granted this right for bishops, which was subsequently extended to the rest of the clergy by Imperial Decree
- Right of Immunity: clergy cannot be called for military service or for duties or charges not compatible with their role
- Right of Competence: a certain part of the income of clergy, necessary for sustenance, cannot be sequestered by any action of creditors
The extent to which these rights are recognized under civil law varies dramatically from country to country, with traditionally Catholic countries being more inclined to respect these rights.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has no dedicated clergy, and is governed instead by unpaid local priesthood holders and paid general authorities. No formal theological training is required. All clergy members are called by revelation and the laying on of hands by one who holds authority. Jesus Christ stands at the head of the church and leads the church through revelation given to a living prophet and Twelve Apostles. The Prophet and Apostles lead over the quorums of the seventy which are assigned geographically over several "stakes" within the church. Each stake has a stake president who has two counselors and a high council which preside over the stake. The stake is made up of several congregations called "wards" or "branches." Individual congregations ("wards") are led by a Bishop or branch president who was called to his position by the church's hierarchical leadership, and he serves until released from the position.
Generally, all worthy males at (or above) the age of 12 are ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood as deacons, teachers or priests, authorizing them to perform certain ordinances and sacraments, and adult males are ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood, as elders, seventies, or high priests in that priesthood, which is concerned with spiritual leadership of the church. Although the term "clergy" is not typically used in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it would most appropriately apply to ward bishops and stake presidents. Merely holding an office in the priesthood does not imply authority over other church members or agency to act on behalf of the church.
The Orthodox Church has three ranks of holy orders: bishop, priest, and deacon. These are the same offices identified in the New Testament and found in the Early Church, as testified by the writings of the Holy Fathers. Each of these ranks is ordained through the Sacred Mystery (sacrament) of the laying on of hands (called Cheirotonia) by bishops. Priests and deacons are ordained by their own diocesan bishop, while bishops are consecrated through the laying on of hands of at least three other bishops.
Within each of these three ranks there are found a number of titles. Bishops may have the title of archbishop, metropolitan, and patriarch, all of which are considered honorifics. Among the Orthodox, all bishops are considered equal, though an individual may have a place of higher or lower honor, and each has his place within the order of precedence. Priests (also called presbyters) may (or may not) have the title of archpriest, protopresbyter (also called "protopriest", or "protopope"), hieromonk (a monk who has been ordained to the priesthood) archimandrite (a senior hieromonk) and Hegumen (abbot). Deacons may have the title of hierodeacon (a monk who has been ordained to the deaconate), archdeacon or protodeacon.
The lower clergy are not ordained through Cheirotonia (laying on of hands) but through a blessing known as Cheirothesia (setting-aside). These clerical ranks are subdeacon, reader and altar server (also known as taper-bearer). Some churches have a separate service for the blessing of a cantor.
Ordination of a bishop, priest, deacon or subdeacon must be conferred during the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist)—though in some churches it is permitted to ordain up through deacon during the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts—and no more than a single individual can be ordained to the same rank in any one service. Numerous members of the lower clergy may be ordained at the same service, and their blessing usually takes place during the Little Hours prior to Liturgy, or may take place as a separate service. The blessing of readers and taper-bearers is usually combined into a single service. Subdeacons are ordained during the Little Hours, but the ceremonies surrounding his blessing continue through the Divine Liturgy, specifically during the Great Entrance.
Bishops are usually drawn from the ranks of the archimandrites, and are required to be celibate; however, a non-monastic priest may be ordained to the episcopate if he no longer lives with his wife (following Canon XII of the Quinisext Council) In contemporary usage such a non-monastic priest is usually tonsured to the monastic state, and then elevated to archimandrite, at some point prior to his consecration to the episcopacy. Although not a formal or canonical prerequisite, nowadays bishops are normally required to have attained a University degree, usually but not necessarily in theology.
Usual titles are Your Holiness for a patriarch (with Your All-Holiness for the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople), Your Beatitude for an archbishop in charge of an autocephalous church, Your Eminence for an archbishop, Master or Your Grace for a bishop and Father for priests, deacons and monks though there are variations between the various Orthodox Churches.
Orthodox priests, deacons, and subdeacons must be either married or celibate (preferably monastic) prior to ordination, but may not marry after ordination. Remarriage of clergy following divorce or widowhood is forbidden. Married clergy are considered as best-suited to staff parishes, as a priest with a family is thought better qualified to counsel his flock.
Clergy in Protestantism fill a wide variety of roles and functions. In many denominations, such as Methodism, Presbyterianism, and Lutheranism, the roles of clergy are similar to Roman Catholic or Anglican clergy, in that they hold an ordained pastoral or priestly office, administer the sacraments, proclaim the word, lead a local church or parish, and so forth. The Baptist tradition only recognizes two ordained positions in the church as being the elders (pastors) and deacons as outlined in the third chapter of I Timothy
The process of being designated as a member of the Protestant clergy, as well as that of being assigned to a particular office, varies with the denomination or faith group. Some Protestant denominations, such as Methodism, Presbyterianism, and Lutheranism, are hierarchical in nature; and ordination and assignment to individual pastorates or other ministries are made by the parent denominations. In other traditions, such as the Baptist and other Congregational groups, local churches are free to hire (and often ordain) their own clergy, although the parent denominations typically maintain lists of suitable candidates seeking appointment to local church ministries and encourage local churches to consider these individuals when filling available positions.
Some Protestant denominations require that candidates for ordination be "licensed" to the ministry for a period of time (typically one to three years) prior to being ordained. This period typically is spent performing the duties of ministry under the guidance, supervision, and evaluation of a more senior, ordained minister. In some denominations, however, licensure is a permanent, rather than a transitional state for ministers assigned to certain specialized ministries, such as music ministry or youth ministry.
Many Protestant denominations reject the idea that the clergy are a separate category of people, but rather stress the priesthood of all believers. Based on this theological approach, most Protestants do not have a sacrament of ordination like the pre-Reformation churches. Protestant ordination, therefore, can be viewed more as a public statement by the ordaining body that an individual possesses the theological knowledge, moral fitness, and practical skills required for service in that faith group's ministry. Some Lutheran churches form an exception to this rule, as the Lutheran Book of Concord allows ordination to be received as a sacrament.
Some Protestant denominations dislike the word clergy and do not use it of their own leaders. Often they refer to their leaders as pastors or ministers, titles that, if used, sometimes apply to the person only as long as he or she holds a particular office.
Islam, like Judaism, has no clergy in the sacerdotal sense. The title mullah (a Persian corruption of the Arabic maula, "master"), commonly translated "cleric" in the West and thought to be analogous to "priest" or "rabbi", is a title of address for any educated or respected figure, not even necessarily (though frequently) religious. The title shaikh ("elder") is used similarly.
The nearest Islamic analogue to the parish priest or pastor, or to the "pulpit rabbi" of a synagogue, is called under Sunni Islam the imam khatib. This compound title is merely a common combination of two elementary offices: leader (imam) of the congregational prayer, which in larger mosques is performed at the times of all daily prayers; and preacher (khatib) of the sermon or khutba at the required congregational prayer on Friday. Although either duty can be performed by anyone who is regarded as qualified by the congregation, at most well-established mosques imam khatib is a permanent (part-time or full-time) position. He may be elected by the local community, or appointed by an outside authority -- e. g., the national government, or the waqf which sustains the mosque. There is no ordination as such; the only requirement for appointment as an imam khatib is recognition as someone of sufficient learning and virtue to perform both duties on a regular basis, and to instruct the congregation in the basics of Islam. An imam has no religiousauthority, higher or special position in religious sense. Their opinions might be found valuable to their congregetion because of their knowledge on religious matters, but an imam's view of a religious matter is in no sense binding, infallible or absolute like the Catholic Church.
The title hafiz (lit. "preserver") is awarded to one who has memorized the entire Qur'an, often by attending a special course for the purpose; the imam khatib of a mosque is frequently (though not always) a hafiz.
The title `alim (pl. `ulamah), or "scholar", denotes someone who is engaged in advanced study of the traditional Islamic sciences (`ulum) at an Islamic university or madrasah jami`ah. In modern Shi`ah Islam, scholars play a more prominent role in the daily lives of Muslims than in Sunni Islam; and there is a hierarchy of higher titles of scholastic authority, such as Ayatollah.
There are several specialist offices pertaining to the study and administration of Islamic law or shari`ah. A scholar with a specialty in fiqh or jurisprudence is known as a faqih. A qadi is a judge in an Islamic court. A mufti is a scholar who has completed an advanced course of study which qualifies him to issue judicial opinions or fatawah. But again they are merely law professors, judges and lawyers; not priests.
The pastoral care function of the Christian priesthood is fulfilled for many Muslims by a murshid ("guide"), master of the spiritual sciences and disciplines known as tasawuf or Sufism. Sufi guides are commonly titled Shaikh ("Elder") in both speaking and writing; in North Africa they are sometimes called marabouts. They are traditionally appointed by their predecessors, in an unbroken teaching lineage reaching back to Muhammad himself. This lineal succession of Sufi guides is the nearest approach within Islam to the concept of Christian ordination and apostolic succession, but the similarity is superficial and a murshid is not a priest but merely a teacher of Sufi philosophy; they do not have any special or higher position than any other Muslim.
An aspiring Sufi pledges himself (or herself) to a murshid by taking a vow of obedience, or bai'ah. The aspirant is then known as a murid ("disciple" or "follower"). A murid who takes on special disciplines under the guide's instruction, ranging from an intensive spiritual retreat to voluntary poverty and homelessness, is sometimes known as a dervish.
During the Islamic Golden Age, it was common for scholars to attain recognized mastery of both the "exterior sciences" (`ulum az-zahir) of the madrasahs, and the "interior sciences" (`ulum al-batin) of Sufism. Al-Ghazali and Rumi are two notable examples.
Judaism does not have clergy as such, although in the religion as given to Moses by God, there is a formal Priestly tribe known as the Kohanim who were leaders of the religion up to the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 70AD when most Sadducees were wiped out; each member of the tribe, a Kohen had priestly duties, many of which centered around the sacrificial duties, atonement and blessings of the Israelite nation. Today, Jewish Kohanim know their status by family tradition and DNA, and still offer the priestly blessing during certain services in the synagogue and perform the Pidyon Ha-ben (redemption of the first-born son) ceremony.
Since the time of the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, the religious leaders of Judaism have been the rabbis, who are technically scholars in Jewish law empowered to act as judges in a rabbinical court. All types of Judaism except Orthodox Judaism allow women as well as men to be ordained as rabbis and cantors  . The leadership of a Jewish congregation is, in fact, in the hands of the laity: the president of a synagogue is its actual leader and any adult Jew (or at least any male adult Jew in Orthodox congregations) can lead prayer services. Rabbis are not intermediaries between God and humans: the word "rabbi" means "teacher", and the rabbi functions as advisor to the congregation and counselor. The rabbi is not an occupation found in the Torah (Five books of Moses); the first time this word is mentioned is in the Mishnah. The modern form of the rabbi developed in the Talmudic era. Rabbis are given authority to make interpretations of Jewish law and custom. Traditionally, a man obtains one of three levels of Semicha (rabbinic ordination) after the completion of an arduous learning program in Torah, Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), Mishnah and Talmud, Midrash, Jewish ethics and lore, the codes of Jewish law and responsa, theology and philosophy.
Since the early medieval era an additional communal role, the Hazzan (cantor) has existed as well. Cantors have sometimes been the only functionaries of a synagogue, empowered to undertake religio-civil functions like witnessing marriages. Cantors do provide leadership of actual services, primarily because of their training and expertise in the music and prayer rituals pertaining to them, rather than because of any spiritual or "sacramental" distinction between them and the laity. Cantors as much as rabbis have been recognized by civil authorities in the United States as clergy for legal purposes, mostly for awarding education degrees and their ability to perform weddings, and certify births and deaths.
Additionally, Jewish authorities license mohels, people specially trained by experts in Jewish law and usually also by medical professionals to perform the ritual of circumcision . All types of Judaism except Orthodox Judaism license women as mohels, called mohelot (pl. of mohelet, f. of mohel) . As the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California states, "...there is no halachic prescription against female mohels, [but] none exist in the Orthodox world, where the preference is that the task be undertaken by a Jewish man." .
In many places, mohels are also licensed by civil authorities, as circumcision is technically a surgical procedure. Kohanim, who must avoid contact with dead human body parts (such as the removed foreskin) for ritual purity, cannot act as mohels, but some mohels are also either rabbis or cantors.
Another licensed cleric in Judaism is the shochet, who are trained and licensed by religious authorities for kosher slaughter according to ritual law. A Kohen may be a shochet. Most shochetim are ordained rabbis.
Only Orthodox Judaism maintains all of these traditional, fundamental requirements. Women are forbidden from becoming rabbis or cantors in the Orthodox world largely for halakhic reasons, primarily because this would affect many aspects of communal observances and practices. Most Orthodox rabbinical seminaries or yeshivas also require dedication of many years to education, but few require a formal degree from a civil education institutions that often define Christian clergy. The training in Jewish Law can be rigorous and extensive depending on the Teacher and School quality which varies widely, but critical thinking is encouraged. Some Orthodox Yeshiva's forbid secular education diue to the perceived negative influence on the individual, though professional education is not discouraged. However, there are many schools (yeshivas) that call themselves "modern" that function as colleges or universities, and which do offer formal, accredited degrees, including master's degrees in Music, Mathematics, Science, History in Religious Education, in Hebrew Letters and similar studies for cantors and rabbis. An example of this would be the Yeshiva University.
In Hasidic Judaism, generally understood as a branch of Orthodox Judaism, there are dynastic spiritual leaders known as Rebbes, often translated in English as "Grand Rabbi". The office of Rebbe is generally a hereditary one, may also be passed from Rebbe to student, or recognized by a congregation conferring a sort of coronation to their new Rebbe. Although one does not need to be an ordained Rabbi to be a Rebbe, most Rebbes today are ordained Rabbis. Since one does not need to be an ordained Rabbi to be a Rebbe, some points in history there were female Rebbes as well, particularly the Maiden of Ludmir.
Conservative Judaism maintains all of these traditional requirements. Yet, women are allowed to become rabbis and cantors in the Conservative movement, and, as of late, homosexuals are also allowed. Conservative Judaism differs with Orthodoxy in that it believes in Halakha Jewish Law as evolving with History and binding. However, the academic requirements are rigorous, as Conservative Judaism adds the following subjects as requirements for rabbinic ordination: one must first earn a bachelor's degree before entering the rabbinate. In addition studies are mandated in pastoral care and psychology, the historical development of Judaism and most importantly the academic study of Bible, Talmud and Rabbinic Literature, Philosophy and Theology, Liturgy, Jewish History, and Hebrew Literature of all periods.
Reconstructionist Judaism and Reform Judaism do not maintain the traditional requirements for study as rooted in Jewish Law and traditionalist text. Both men and women may be rabbis or cantors. The level of Jewish law, Talmud and responsa studied in five years of these denominations is similar to that learned in the first year of the more traditional Jewish seminaries. The rabbinical seminaries of these movements hold that one must first earn a bachelor's degree before entering the rabbinate. In addition studies are mandated in pastoral care and psychology, the historical development of Judaism; and academic biblical criticism. Emphasis is placed not on Jewish law, but rather on sociology, modern Jewish philosophy, Theology and Pastoral Care. Hebrew Union College is the seminary of the Reform Movement.
- see also Bhikkhu
Buddhist clergy are often referred to as the Sangha and consists of the order of monks (bhikshus) and nuns (bhikshunis) founded by Gautama Buddha during the 5th century BC, as well as lay priests in the modern era and ngagpas of the Tibetan tradition. According to scriptural records, these celibate monks and nuns in the time of the Buddha lived an austere life of meditation, living as wandering beggars for nine months out of the year and remaining in retreat during the rainy season. In modern times, however, the role of Buddhist clergy can vary greatly across different countries. For instance, in Japan and in some sects in Korea, monastic law regarding celibacy has been abandoned and Buddhist clergy do not take the ordination of a monk or nun but take alternate ordination which allows them to marry (though nuns, at least in Japan, tend to remain unmarried). Likewise, there are some lamas (Buddhist teachers) of the Tibetan tradition called "ngagpa," who do not receive monastic ordination. On the other hand, countries practicing Theravada Buddhism, such as Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Sri Lanka, tend to take a much more conservative view of monastic life, and continue to observe precepts that forbid monks from touching women or working in certain secular roles.
While female monastic (bhikkhuni) lineages existed in most Buddhist countries at one time, the Theravada lineages of Southeast Asia died out during the 14th-15th Century AD. Furthermore, it appears that the bhikkhuni lineage was never transmitted to Tibet in the first place and only the novice ordination is available to them. The status and future of female Buddhist clergy in these countries continues to be a subject of debate. In countries without a formal female monastic lineage, women may take other religious roles, but they are generally not granted the same rights and privileges as recognized male monastics.
The diversity of Buddhist traditions makes it difficult to generalize about Buddhist clergy. In the United States, Pure Land priests of the Japanese diaspora serve a role very similar to Protestant ministers of the Christian tradition. Meanwhile, reclusive Theravada forest monks in Thailand live a life devoted to meditation and the practice of austerities in small communities in rural Thailand- a very different life from even their city-dwelling counterparts, who may be involved primarily in teaching, the study of scripture, and the administration of the nationally organized (and government sponsored) Sangha. In the Zen traditions of China, Korea and Japan, manual labor is an important part of religious discipline; meanwhile, in the Theravada tradition, prohibitions against monks working as laborers and farmers continue to be generally observed.
Currently in North America, there are both celibate and non-celibate clergy in a variety of Buddhist traditions from around the world. In some cases they are forest dwelling monks of the Theravada tradition and in other cases they are married clergy of a Japanese Zen lineage and may work a secular job in addition to their role in the Buddhist community. There is also a growing realization that traditional training in ritual and meditation as well as philosophy may not be sufficient to meet the needs and expectations of American lay people. Some communities have begun exploring the need for training in counseling skills as well. Along these lines, at least two fully accredited Master of Divinity programs are currently available: one at Naropa University in Boulder, CO and one at the University of the West in Rosemead, CA.
Main article: Imperial cult
Historically traditional (or pagan) religions typically combine religious authority and political power. What this means is that the sacred king or queen is therefore seen to combine both kingship and priesthood within his or her person, even though he or she is often aided by an actual high priest or priestess (see, for example, the Maya priesthood). When the functions of political ruler and religious leader are combined in this way, deification could be seen to be the next logical stage of his or her social advancement within his or her native environment, as is found in the case of the Egyptian Pharaohs. The Vedic priesthood of India is an early instance of a structured body of clergy organized as a separate and hereditary caste, one that occupied the highest social rung of its nation. A modern example of this phenomenon, meanwhile, is that of the priestly monarchs of the Yoruba holy city of Ile-Ife in Nigeria, where ritual ceremonies have been performed for centuries by the reigning Onis of the realm for the sustenance of the entire planet and its people.
Sikhism strongly recognizes the Guru of Sikhism as its Supreme Authority on Earth. But in events of a need of a more of physical authority then the five Jathedars of the five holy Takhts are to be approached. As they are considered as the Supreme Temporal authority of Sikhism.
In recent years findings have arisen that clergy are more at risk than the general population for obesity, hypertension and depression. Life expectancies for clergy have fallen in recent years. In the last decade the use of antidepressants by clergy has risen. It is not clearly known why these deteriorating qualities of life are now applying to members of the clergy. A likely explanation is a lack of time off from the job. Cell phones and e-mail combined with a sense of responsibility to both God and man are likely contributing factors.
- ^ κλῆρος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
- ^ Douglas Harper. "Online Etymology Dictionary - Clergy". http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=clergy&searchmode=none.
- ^ a b Cleric - Catholic Encyclopedia
- ^ Paul VI, Apostolic letter motu proprio Ministeria quaedam nos. 2–4, 64 AAS 529 (1972).
- ^ Ministeria quaedam no. 1; CIC Canon 266 § 1.
- ^ CCEO Canon 327; George Nedungatt, Clerics, in A Guide to the Eastern Code 255, 260 (2002).
- ^ "Vatican seeks to lure disaffected Anglicans". The Associated Press. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091020/ap_on_re_eu/eu_vatican_anglicans. Retrieved 2007–10–25.
- ^ Church of the Latter Day Saints LDS.org
- ^ Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers CCEL.org
- ^ Clergy Etiquette Orthodoxinfo.com
- ^ Ken Parry, David Melling, Dimitri Brady, Sidney Griffith & John Healey (eds.), 1999, The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity, Oxford, pp116-7
- ^ Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Book of Order: 2009-2011 (Louisville: Office of the General Assembly), Form of Government, Chapter 6 and 14. See also "Theology and Worship". http://www.pcusa.org/theologyandworship/issues/unplumin.pdf.
- ^ "Jonas Regina". http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/jonas-regina.
- ^ Taking a Break From the Lord’s Work — The New York Times
- "Priesthood". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- Church Administration - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
- Wlsessays.net, Scholarly articles on Christian Clergy from the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Library
- University of the West, Buddhist M.Div.
- Naropa University, Buddhist M.Div.
- Publications on Clergy at the Berman Jewish Policy Archive @ NYU Wagner
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