Article 13. The crest, forms of address & vesting


Section 13.01 The crest

Heraldry among bishops has been a custom for over one thousand years and used by Orthodox Christian and Roman Catholic prelates alike to illustrate ecclesiastical rank, to differentiate one province from another, and to identify monastic jurisdictions of religious orders and congregations.  Founded in 1994, the Inclusive Orthodox Church, its clergy and institutions of religion take their armorial from the Church's first bishop, Daniel of Mount Carmel.

This emblem symbolizes the solemn devotion of the Church to the One God in the three persons of the X Father and of the X Son and of the X Holy Spirit and honor of the Mother of God—the Theotokos—as the Church’s Holy Patroness.

Heraldic colors and symbols which appear on the coat of arms are placed charged upon the shield (escutcheon) which is formally described as having proper charges with honorable ordinaries, as follows:

I.  The crosier, miter (Latin: mitra pretiosa) of gold and red (French: or and gules, respectively) with attached orphreys (Italian: auriphrygiata) or gold-fringed side-flaps (Latin: infulae) and primatial or Patriarchal Cross behind in pale the shield are the episcopal ensigns of a bishop.

II.  Chevron-in-chief is blue (azure) surmounting a field of Gules, and at the center of the Chevron (chief point middle) is garnished a Fleur-de-lys.

III.  Upon the shield's field of red (gules) is a common charge of nature placed exactly in mid-shield (fesse point), a half-sun which rises out of splendor with rays (dimidiate demi-soleil flamant assurgent) and colored golden (or) and orange (tenne).

IV.  Below is another common charge of nature at the shield's naval point (nombril) of ocean waves (onde), with three compartments of wavey lines, each being azure, alternating with another two compartments, composed of wavey lines, both lined in green with emerald tint color (vert-emeralde).

Coat of arms have symbolic meaning, as follows:

I.  The bishop's ceremonials.  The ecclesiastical helmet (miter), staff-of-office (crosier) and a cross constitute the formal episcopal regalia of bishops.  Such ensigns on the coat of arms are represented behind (in pale) the shield.  These symbols of office represent that the Church’s bishops hold both geographic and ecclesiastical authority (ordinary jurisdiction).  These specific episcopal ensigns also designate that the Church is wholly and licitly constituted from within the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

II.  The fleur-de-lys centered on the chevron's azure field is a symbol of devotion to our patroness, the Theotokos, the Mother of God.  The fleur-de-lys is an ancient symbol of France, the birthplace of many holy saints in the Orthodox Christian and Roman Catholic churches.

III.  Sunrise in full splendor (flamant assurgent) symbolizes the light of the risen Christ, while the gules and or are sun colors to honor the Polynesian peoples in whose lands the Church was established.

IV.  Ocean waves (onde) are charged on the shield and symbolize the unlimited pool of divine grace available to the People of God through the Christ.  The emerald-green wave represents the Church's geographic Pacific Ocean location.

Section 13.02 General guidelines for titles

Bishops take the name of their geographic location and boundaries of their jurisdiction.  They accept the title “Orthodox Bishop of [Name of Jurisdiction]”.

The apostolic president may hold regional and geographic ordinary jurisdiction as the needs of the Church require or of his prerogative, and he is extended the title of “Orthodox Bishop of Mount Carmel,” which he retains for so long as he shall live whether or not he retires or leaves office.  Upon his repose, his successor is then bestowed this titular title for his lifetime, and thereafter each to his successor and so unto the ages of ages.

The apostolic president is the only prelate who may be named ab initio an archbishop of the Church or receive honors of a titular archiepiscopal see.  He may decline such an honor.  The apostolic president accepts such elevation only upon the unanimous confirmation of the synod of bishops.  Such honor is given by the grace of the Holy Spirit and accepted in humility only for the benefit of the people of God.  No other prelate of the Church may accept an episcopal title greater than that of bishop or its non-English equivalent.

Incardinated prelates already elevated prior retain their title of archbishop.  The apostolic president may, at his prerogative, use the title “The (Arch)Bishop and Apostolic President”.  Bishops may choose to be called “Bishop” or “Father,” as he may prefer.  Under special circumstances and for extraordinary services rendered that warrant exceptional recognition, the apostolic president reserves the right to amend Section 13.2.  Other than as enumerated in her canon, the Church does not award titles of honor or office.

Section 13.03 Ecclesiastical titles of courtesy

(i) Apostolic president

The episcopal title of the apostolic president shall be ‘Bishop [Name] of Mount Carmel’ and he shall have honorary jurisdiction over Mount Carmel in Palestine, now at the city of Haifa, Israel.  He is, in addition, “Bishop [Name] of [Geographical name of the area of ordinary jurisdiction],” in such circumstances.

(ii) Bishops

All bishops of the Church bear the title of their geographic jurisdiction, as aforementioned herein, as they have been approved by the apostolic president.

All bishops are titled “The Most Reverend,” which is a courtesy related to their standing autonomous association with the Church and Synod of Bishops.

(iii) Abbots and abbesses

Consecrated abbots having received the abbatial blessing carry the formal title “The Right Reverend.”  Non-consecrated abbots and abbesses are known with the title “The Very Reverend Father Abbot or Prior (Deacon & Priest) or for a layman hegumen, The Venerable Father Hegumen [Name]” or “The Venerable Abbess or Mother [Name]”.

A hegumen is a monastic layperson or cleric who has been elected leader by the community.  All monks or nuns upon taking vows are referred to as Father or Mother, whether or not ordained or clerics.  Novices in formation are called Brother or Sister.  The Church follows Western tradition in referring to the separate communities of men and women as either a “monastery” or "convent."

The Church also recognizes many new forms of religious life have arisen and welcomes their appropriate forms of community, governance and spirituality as contributions from the Holy Spirit.

(iv) Priests

The archpriest of the Church and those priests who hold the geographic provincial position as "dean" are to be titled “The Very Reverend” and are to be referred to as “The Archpriest, Father [Name]” or “Dean [Name]”.

All other priests, irrespective of seniority, are titled “Reverend [Name]” and addressed as “Father”.

(v) Archdeacons, deans and vicars forens

Provincial and vicarial bishops may appoint certain worthy and senior priests and deacons to serve inside their jurisdiction, using the titles “Archdeacon of [Geographic Name]”, “Dean of [Geographic Name]” or “Vicar of [Geographic Name]”, as discussed above (reference iv).

(vi) Deacons

Deacons may be referred to as either “Deacon [Name]” and are referred to as “The Reverend Father Deacon [Name].”

(vii) Minorites (subdeacons and readers)

Members of the minor orders are referred simply as “Subdeacon [Name].”  All other positions in minor orders are referred to by their function “Reader [Name]”.

Section 13.04 Ecclesiastical style of dress

(i) Bishops

Prelates of this Church, including vicars apostolic may dress in traditionally styled Greek, Russian or Latin episcopal garb or the cassock of a monk, as may be their individual preference.

Western-styled business suits, with either black shirts or white shirts and ties may be worn as circumstances warrant for non-liturgical occasions.  Bishops may, as well as clergy, dress in appropriate secular cloths suitable to persons conducting professional business in their geographic local as appropriate to climatic conditions.

If Latin, he wears the “abito piano” or house cassock either of which may be trimmed in blue or red with Tyrrean purple girdle and zucchetto, pectoral cross, an episcopal ring which is traditionally of gold and amethyst and crosier.

If he chooses Orthodox episcopal style, he wears the monastic cassock or rason, outer rason and mantya.  He may carry a walking stick and use the rabdos during liturgy at which he either presides or is prelate of honor.

No bishop may carry either a Latin or Orthodox crosier except within his own boundaries of jurisdiction.

Provincial bishops using the Orthodox style may wear at one time either a panagia or an engopion, but not both at the same time.  Only the apostolic president is allowed to wear the panagia or engopion with an episcopal pectoral cross.  The pectoral cross represents his position as both a bishop and as the visible head of the Church.

Under special circumstances, a priest may be conferred a pectoral cross designating special honors by mandatum of the apostolic president upon the recommendation of his bishop.

(ii) Priests and other clergy

Those incumbents who are not consecrated bishops yet hold Church offices, such as the vicar general (if he is not a bishop), the archpriest of the Church, as well all archdeacons, deans and vicars may wear clerical garb trimmed in Tyrrean purple.  They may not wear red piping or red buttons, which are reserved for bishops.

Senior priests who have been nominated by their respective bishops to be invested with the honor of wearing the pectoral cross are the only priests allowed to do so with the permission of the apostolic president.  Their garb is not trimmed in color and their title remains that of “Reverend Father.”

All other clergy: priests, deacons, and those in minor orders are prohibited of wearing a pectoral cross either during liturgy or in public.

During liturgy and on occasions when in public clerical garb, personal jewelry such as bracelets, rings and pendants are not to be worn.  All clergy dress as may be appropriate to their service to God and not according to vanity.  Clergy are encouraged to adopt a style of dress so as to distinguish them as servants of God but not to be ostentatious or unseemly and untidy.  Clergy attire of any kind is never given on loan or as a gift other than for other legitimate liturgical or ministerial use.

In countries and locales when clerical garb gives cause to danger or is against the political climate or civil sanction, secular cloths are recommended.  Clergy are also encouraged to develop clean personal habits, wash themselves and their hair regularly, as well to wear clean clothes.  Those clergy with beards should keep them trimmed and neat.  All clergy are encouraged to wear a haircut style which allows them to blend in with the secular population and culture of the locale in which they reside.

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DATE LAST UPDATED: 24 February 2014