Define clergyman/origin/types/roles/in churches/difference


The clergy is a class made up of priests who are guided by Christian doctrine, according to the mandates of the Catholic Church . The main task of the clergy is to guide the faithful towards the path of God, following the teachings of Christ they seek to take care that the faithful do not derail from religious life. The Church as an institution has a long life, from antiquity to the present  . Define clergyman

The clergy has existed since the Middle Ages , when the religious category enjoyed privileges equivalent to those of the nobility . The nobility and the clergy were the two powerful estates during the Middle Ages. These two estates were not clearly divided into society, many members of the nobility of the clergy turned and took up positions of power within the Church . The interests of the clergy and nobility often coincided, and this is not unusual because as we said, are these two powerful groups over the centuries . The superiority of the nobility and clergy rests on the work of the serfs.

Religion deeply marked the lives of people, there was nothing left outside religion . Also the word clergy can refer to the clergy as a whole .

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What is the clergy?

The term clergy comes from the Latin word clerus , which in turn comes from the Byzantine Greek kléros . Clergy often referred to all those people who have been ordained in a church service , such as priests and deacons. In other words, the clergy is the group of members of a church who are empowered to officiate the rituals of the same and who occupy any link in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, whose top is represented by the Pope.


A clergyman is an individual who received the sacrament of holy orders . This condition orients him to serve the Church in a particular condition. In this regard, it can be said that there are various gradations in this reception of order, but all of them imply an intermediation between God and men. In the Middle Ages, the clergy used to have an education special and more sophisticated, self – education of the context religious, circumstances sometimes made the term applied to those who received this education without thereby acquired the sacrament of Holy Orders, was above all a trade forged in a specific education.

What was the origin of the clergy?

The existence of this religious establishment dates back to the Middle Ages  when enjoyed some privileges equivalent to those who had the feudal nobility .

In the case of the Christian church , the clergy originates from the apostles and the seventies whom Christ appointed to carry his teachings to every city and village. The work that these men did was what is now known as missionary work, that is, they were teachers and evangelizers at the same time. This type of missionary work is clearly seen in the experience of the Jesuit Order in America during Spanish rule, the Jesuits in America sought to teach and convert the natives to Christianity  . The Church was an ally of the monarchiesin their tasks of conquering new territories. Thus domination over other peoples was justified under God’s commands, in other words, domination is seen as the extension of the kingdom of God. Define clergyman

As the church grew, a system of hierarchy or stratified categories was gradually imposed , referring to bishops and the lesser clergy. According to the conditions that were presented locally, it was necessary to establish different hierarchical ranks such as that of the archbishop and the archdeacon. These are in charge of supervising the set of members of the ecclesiastical community and the priests in a parish.

What is the role of the clergy? Define clergyman

The role of the clergy consists in the practice of worship, which includes teaching , the celebration of the liturgy, and preaching . It is also their responsibility to administer sacraments , such as: baptism, confirmation, marriage, extreme unction, etc. The clergy appears as a central actor in the formation of the Catholic family and his duties . One of the outstanding characteristics of the clergy is that they can act either inside or outside temples or places of worship. That is why those who make up the clergy may go to preach in hospitals, schools, and other places.

In certain countries, the clergy are covered by special laws . This is because clergymen enjoy ecclesiastical jurisdiction, that is, the privilege of being treated by ecclesiastical judges in all kinds of causes. It is also common that it is financed, or at least in part, by the State; In these countries there is no separation between the State and the Church, Christianity is the official religion although other religions are allowed. Although what is even more frequent is that it is the faithful themselves who finance the clergy through donations.  Define clergyman

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Types of clergy

The Christian clergy is divided into regular clergy and secular clergy. It is called regular clergy to which it is subject to the laws of a religious order dedicated to the service of the Church, to study and preaching the doctrine. This is characterized by making vows of obedience, poverty and chastity. Among the orders that form part of the regular clergy are: Franciscans, Benedict or Jesuits.

The secular clergy are those who live outside the cloister , live among the people, administer sacraments, are involved in the life of the community, and preach the word. In this group are the priests, bishops, archbishops, deacons and priests. The hierarchical organization of this class of clergy comes from the Pope, being the highest authority for Catholics , or from the Patriarchs for the Orthodox.

High and low clergy Define clergyman

Previously, it was called high clergy, which was made up of bishops, archbishops, abbots, cardinals and canons who came from wealthy families and were nobles of lineage. The lower clergy , meanwhile, was constituted by priests and deacons whose origin was humble  . In this way, the high clergy represented the nobility of clerical society; during the Old Regime these implications between nobility and clergy were clear, both sectors shared interests and its members belonged to the same powerful families  .

Clergy in the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church

Two of religions that have more commonalities are the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox  , the latter has more than 70 million adherents in Russia. However, there are also differences between them that have separated them over time. For example, the conditions that must be met by those who will be part of the clergy are different. Define clergyman

The relationship between the two religions has always been delicate because of ideological differences, the way each one approaches the faith and the teachings of the Bible . The division of these religions, which have a common origin, dates back to the mandate of the Emperor Constantine when the New Rome of Constantinople was founded in 330 AD, from this moment the norms of each institution would change and with them the composition of the clergy in each of them.

Differences between Catholic clergy and Orthodox clergy

One of the most obvious differences is that the Orthodox Church does not accept the absolute authority of the Catholic Pope over other Christians. The difference is so marked that, for decades now, the Russian Patriarch has not visited Rome and the Pope has not visited Russia.

On the other hand, the orthodox system established that the bishop of the city has absolute power . It was not even necessary for him to rigorously respond to the orders of the Patriarchate, in case these did not coincide with the will of the bishop. While the Catholic Church demands that priests and bishops respond to the will of the Pope . For his part, the Pope responds to those who preceded him, establishing a triangular hierarchy. Define clergyman

Celibacy in the clerical class Define clergyman

Another characteristic in which the Catholic and Orthodox clergy differ is that, although men are the only ones who can be ordained priests, in the Orthodox Church there are no limitations on their having a loving and family life . This means that in the Orthodox Church there are Priests and Deacons who can choose celibacy or, on the other hand, dedicate themselves to serving God but at the same time have a family.

The unique requirement that those who want to ordain must meet is that they have not been married several times. Those who choose celibacy must take vows and promise to remain celibate after they have been ordained. Define clergyman

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