The Reverend is a style used as a prefix to the names of many Christian clergy and ministers. It is correctly called a style rather than a title or form of address. The style is also sometimes used by leaders in non-Christian religions such as Buddhism.Fact|date=July 2008


In English usage it is traditionally considered incorrect to drop the definite article, "The", before "Reverend". When the style is used within a sentence "The" begins with a lower-case letter. The common abbreviations for "The Reverend" are "The Rev", "The Revd" and "The Rev'd".

Although there is no distinct plural form it is not uncommon to find "The Reverends" used. This is grammatically incorrect since, in English, adjectives do not decline according to number. When a number of clergy are referred to they should be styled individually, e.g. "The Reverend John Smith and the Reverend Hank Brown". In a list of clergy, however, "The Revv" is sometimes put before the list of names.

"The Reverend" is traditionally used with Christian names (or initials) and surname, such as "The Reverend John Smith" or "The Reverend J.F. Smith". Use of the prefix with the surname alone ("The Reverend Smith") is considered a solecism in traditional usage (although "The Reverend Father Smith" or "The Reverend Mr Smith" are correct though somewhat old-fashioned uses). So also with the use of the prefix as a form of address: in some countries Anglican priests are often addressed by the title of their office, such as "Vicar", "Rector" or "Archdeacon". They may also be addressed simply as "Mr Smith". In many Protestant churches, especially in the United States, ordained ministers are often addressed as "Pastor" (as in "Pastor John" or "Pastor Smith"). Some titles, such as Canon, may be used together with the Christian name or both names, for example, "Canon John" or "Canon John Smith". Orthodox and Roman Catholic priests are usually addressed as "Father" or, for example, as "Father John" or "Father Smith". This has also become more common for male priests in the Anglican Communion, especially since the Oxford Movement. Some female Anglican clergy use the style "The Reverend Mother" and are addressed as "Mother".

In the 20th and 21st centuries it has been increasingly common for "Reverend" to be incorrectly used as a noun and for clergy to be referred to as being either "a Reverend" or "the Reverend" ("I talked to the Reverend about the wedding service."). Clergy are also often addressed just as "Reverend" or, for example, "Reverend Smith" or "The Reverend Smith".


"The Reverend" may be modified to reflect ecclesiastical standing and rank. Modifications vary across Christian traditions. Some examples are:

Anglican Churches

*Deacons are styled either as "The Reverend", "The Reverend Deacon", or "The Reverend Mr" (males), or "The Reverend Mrs, Ms or Miss" (females).
*Priests are usually styled either as "The Reverend", "The Reverend Father" or "The Reverend Mother" (even if not a religious). Less frequently, male priests are styled as "The Reverend Mr" and females as "The Reverend Mrs, Ms or Miss".
*Heads of some women's religious orders are styled as "The Reverend Mother" (even if not ordained).
*Canons are often styled as "The Reverend Canon".
*Deans are styled as "The Very Reverend".
*Archdeacons are usually styled as "The Venerable" ("The Ven").
*Abbesses, abbots and bishops are styled as "The Right Reverend".
*Archbishops and primates are styled as "The Most Reverend".

Catholic Churches

* A transitional deacon: "The Reverend Mr"
* A permanent deacon: "Deacon" (in writing and in speaking)
* Diocesan priests: "The Reverend"
* Priests who are members of mendicant or monastic orders: "The Reverend Father"
* Priests with various grades of jurisdiction above pastor (vicars general, judicial vicars, ecclesiastical judges, episcopal vicars, provincials of religious orders of priests, priors of monasteries, deans, for instance): "The Very Reverend"
* Abbots of monasteries: "The Right Reverend"
* Abbesses of convents: "The Mother Superior", with their convent's name following, e.g. "The Mother Superior of the Poor Clares of Boston" in written form while being referred to simply as "Mother Superior" in speech. [ [ Catholic Forms of Address] ]
* Supernumeraries apostolic, Honorary prelates, and Chaplains of His Holiness: "The Reverend Monsignor"
* Bishops and archbishops: "The Most Reverend" in the United States and Ireland. In Great Britain and some countries of the Commonwealth, bishops are styled "The Right Reverend" and archbishops are styled "The Most Reverend".

However, none of these are ever addressed as "Reverend" or "The Reverend" alone. Instead, deacons are addressed as "Deacon"; priests are addressed as "Father"; honorary prelates as "Monsignor"; bishops and archbishops as "Your Excellency" (or "My Lord" for bishops and "Your Grace" for archbishops in the United Kingdom and some other countries).

Protestant Churches

In some countries, such as the United States, the term "Pastor" (such as "Pastor Smith" in more formal address or "Pastor John" in less formal) is often used rather than "The Reverend". "The Reverend", however, is still often used in more formal or official written communication.

Presbyterian Churches

The Moderators of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and United Church of Canada, when ordained clergy, are styled "The Right Reverend" during their year of service and "The Very Reverend" afterwards. Church ministers are styled "The Reverend". Moderators of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) are styled simply "The Reverend". By tradition in the Church of Scotland, the ministers of St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, (also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh) and Paisley Abbey, are styled "the Very Reverend".

Eastern Orthodox Churches

*A deacon is referred to as "The Reverend Deacon" (or Hierodeacon, Archdeacon, Protodeacon, according to ecclesiastical elevation), while in spoken use the title "Father" is used (sometimes "Father Deacon").
* A married priest is "The Reverend Father", a monastic priest is "The Reverend Hieromonk"; a protopresbyter is "The Very Reverend Father"; and an archimandrite is either "The Very Reverend Father" (Greek practice) or "The Right Reverend Father" (Russian practice). All are simply addressed as "Father".
* Abbots and abbesses are styled "The Very Reverend Abbot / Abbess", and are addressed as "Father" and "Mother", respectively.
* A bishop is referred to as "The Right Reverend Bishop" and addressed as "Your Grace" (or "Your Excellency").
* An archbishop or metropolitan as "The Most Reverend Archbishop / Metropolitan" and addressed as "Your Eminence".
* Heads of autocephalous and autonomous churches are styled differently, according to their rank and seniority.

Oxford University

The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University is formally known as "The Reverend the Vice-Chancellor" even if he or she is not a member of the clergy.


Most Jewish ministers of religion have the title Rabbi, which denotes that they have received rabbinical ordination (semicha). It is, however, not essential to be a rabbi to practise as a Jewish 'minister of religion'. In particular, few cantors (chazzanim) are rabbis, but many are empowered to perform such functions as witnessing marriages. In this case they often use the style "The Reverend".

Notes and references

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  • reverend — REVERÉND, reverenzi, s.m. Titlu dat preoţilor sau călugărilor; cuvios. ♦ spec. Titlu dat pastorilor anglicani; persoană care poartă acest titlu. – Din fr. révérend, lat. reverendus. Trimis de LauraGellner, 17.11.2008. Sursa: DEX 98  reverénd s.… …   Dicționar Român

  • Reverend — Rev er*end, a. [F. r[ e]v[ e]rend, L. reverendus, fr. revereri. See {Revere}.] Worthy of reverence; entitled to respect mingled with fear and affection; venerable. [1913 Webster] A reverend sire among them came. Milton. [1913 Webster] They must… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • révérend — révérend, ende (ré vé ran, ran d ) adj. 1°   Digne d être révéré (vieilli en cet emploi). •   Qu Archiménide vienne, il aura son paquet, Fût il plus révérend cent fois qu il ne nous semble, LA FONT. l Eunuque, V, 2. 2°   Titre d honneur qu on… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • reverend — early 15c., worthy of respect, from M.Fr. reverend, from L. reverendus (he who is) to be respected, gerundive of revereri (see REVERENCE (Cf. reverence)). As a form of address for clergymen, it is attested from late 15c.; earlier reverent (late… …   Etymology dictionary

  • reverend — reverend, reverent, reverential 1. In its general meaning, reverend means ‘deserving reverence’, and is most often found in clerical contexts even when it is not a formal title, whereas reverent means ‘showing reverence’ in wider contexts: • He… …   Modern English usage

  • reverend — [rev′ə rənd, rev′rənd] adj. [ME < MFr < L reverendus, ger. of revereri: see REVERE1] 1. worthy of reverence; deserving to be revered: used with the as an honorific epithet for a member of the clergy, prefixed to the first name or initials… …   English World dictionary

  • reverend — Reverend, [rever]ende. adj. Digne d estre reveré. Il ne s employe que pour un titre d honneur qu on donne aux Prelats & aux Personnes religieuses. Reverend Pere en Dieu Messire N. le Reverand Pere tel. la Reverende Mere Superieure. le tres… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • reverend — Reverend, Augustus, Reuerendus, Venerandus. Reverend envers son pere, Perindulgens in patrem …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Reverend — (engl., spr. Rewerend), in England u. Nordamerika der Titel der Geistlichen, unserem Hochehrwürden entsprechend; Right R. (spr. Reiht r.), der Titel der Bischöfe, unserm Hochwürden entsprechend …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Reverend — (spr. réwwerend, v. lat. reverendus), in England gebräuchlicher Titel der Geistlichen, entsprechend unserm Hochwürden. Vgl. Rev …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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