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Priest vs. Reverend — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 18, 2023
"Priest" is an ordained minister in certain Christian churches, typically associated with performing rituals and sacraments, while "Reverend" is an honorific style or title for members of the clergy across various denominations.
Priest vs. Reverend — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Priest and Reverend


Key Differences

"Priest" and "Reverend" both pertain to religious vocations, but they serve different purposes. While "Priest" denotes a specific religious office, particularly within the Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox Christian traditions, "Reverend" is a respectful title given to many ordained clergy members.
A "Priest" typically performs sacraments, offers blessings, and tends to the spiritual needs of their congregation. "Reverend," as a title, is more general and can be applied to many members of the clergy, not just priests.
When addressing a Catholic "Priest," one might call them "Father," whereas addressing someone as "Reverend" applies across denominations and can preface other titles, such as "Reverend Doctor" or "Reverend Mr."
In Anglican traditions, a "Priest" might be referred to as both "Father" and "Reverend," showcasing how "Reverend" serves as a broader designation. "Reverend" is adaptable, fitting for priests, ministers, pastors, and other church leaders.
The specific roles and responsibilities of a "Priest" can vary based on their denomination, whereas the title "Reverend" doesn't detail specific duties but is an acknowledgment of religious authority or ordination.

Comparison Chart


An ordained minister in certain Christian denominations
A title for members of the clergy across various denominations


Specific to certain roles, like sacraments
General title for many clergy members

Associated Titles

Often addressed as "Father"
Can preface other titles (e.g., Reverend Doctor)


Narrower, pertains to specific denominations
Broader, used across various Christian denominations


Performs sacraments, blessings
Acts as an honorific title, no specific duties tied to it

Compare with Definitions


A person chosen to lead religious ceremonies.
The Priest led the marriage ceremony.


A title used to address or refer to members of the clergy.
Reverend Smith gave a moving sermon.


An ordained minister in the Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican Church.
The Priest conducted the Holy Communion service.


A style showing respect to clergy across denominations.
The Reverend Bishop will visit our parish.


A mediator between God and humankind in certain Christian denominations.
Many see the Priest as a spiritual guide and confidante.


A respectful address for an ordained person.
The Reverend will join us for dinner.


A person authorized to perform religious rituals.
The Priest blessed the congregation.


A designation acknowledging religious ordination.
The Reverend Doctor Jones is a theologian.


An individual with the authority to forgive sins in specific Christian traditions.
She went to the Priest for confession.


An honorific for ministers, pastors, deacons, and priests.
The Reverend Mother is respected by all.


A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities.


Used as a title or form of address to members of the clergy
The Reverend Pat Tilly


An ordained minister of the Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican Church, authorized to perform certain rites and administer certain sacraments
The priest celebrated mass at a small altar off the north transept


A member of the clergy
A retired reverend


A mallet used to kill fish caught when angling.


Deserving reverence.


Ordain to the priesthood
He was made deacon in 1990 and priested in 1994


Relating to or characteristic of the clergy; clerical.


In many Christian churches, a member of the second grade of clergy ranking below a bishop but above a deacon and having authority to administer the sacraments.


Reverend Abbr. Rev. Used as a title and form of address for certain clerics in many Christian churches. In formal usage, preceded by the
The Reverend Jane Doe.
Reverend John Jones.


A person having the authority to perform and administer religious rites.


A cleric or minister. Used with the.


To ordain or admit to the priesthood.


Worthy of reverence or respect


A religious clergyman (clergywoman, clergyperson) who is trained to perform services or sacrifices at a church or temple
The priest at the Catholic church heard his confession.
The Shinto priest burnt incense for his ancestors.
The Israelite priests were descended from Moses' brother Aaron.




A blunt tool, used for quickly stunning and killing fish


(informal) A member of the Christian clergy; a minister.


(Mormonism) the highest office in the Aaronic priesthood


Worthy of reverence; entitled to respect mingled with fear and affection; venerable.
A reverend sire among them came.
They must give good example and reverend deportment in the face of their children.


(transitive) To ordain as a priest.


A member of the clergy and a spiritual leader of the Christian Church


A presbyter elder; a minister


A title of respect for a clergyman


One who officiates at the altar, or performs the rites of sacrifice; one who acts as a mediator between men and the divinity or the gods in any form of religion; as, Buddhist priests.
Then the priest of Jupiter . . . brought oxen and garlands . . . and would have done sacrifice with the people.
Every priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.


Worthy of adoration or reverence


To ordain as priest.


A clergyman in Christian churches who has the authority to perform or administer various religious rites; one of the Holy Orders


A spiritual leader in a non-Christian religion

Common Curiosities

What's the difference between a pastor and a "Priest"?

Both are clergy, but "Priest" is specific to certain Christian denominations, while pastors can be found in various Protestant churches.

Do all Christian denominations have "Priests"?

No, the title "Priest" is specific to certain denominations like Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Orthodoxy.

What's the female equivalent of "Reverend"?

"Reverend" itself is gender-neutral and can be used for any gender.

Is every "Priest" addressed as "Reverend"?

Often yes, especially in Anglican traditions, but the exact title can vary based on the denomination.

Is "Reverend" exclusive to Christianity?

Primarily, but it might be used informally in other contexts. However, its primary association is with Christian clergy.

Is "Reverend" a job title?

No, "Reverend" is an honorific or respectful title, not a job description.

How is a "Priest" different from a monk?

A "Priest" leads religious services and sacraments, while a monk often lives in a monastic community and may not perform these same duties.

How does one become a "Priest"?

It requires religious education, a period of discernment, and an ordination process specific to the denomination.

Can a "Reverend" be a woman?

Yes, many denominations ordain women, and they can be addressed as "Reverend."

Can a "Priest" get married?

In Catholicism, typically no. However, in other denominations like Anglicanism, they can.

Can a deacon be called "Reverend"?

Yes, in many denominations, deacons can be addressed as "Reverend."

Are all "Reverends" ordained?

Typically, the title "Reverend" is used for ordained clergy, but specifics can vary by denomination.

What do you call a "Priest" in the Anglican Church?

They can be addressed as both "Father" and "Reverend."

Is "Reverend" used outside of religious contexts?

Rarely. Its primary association is with members of the Christian clergy.

Is "Reverend" a formal or informal title?

"Reverend" is a formal title, showing respect for a clergy member's position.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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