Eastern Orthodox Priests


Employment Prospects


Priests are employed by churches, religious schools that are affiliated with their parishes, seminaries, and community centers. Opportunities are available throughout the United States and around the world. Some priests work as chaplains in hospitals, hospices, and the military.

Starting Out

Bishops are responsible for decisions on ordination and parish assignments. During his last year of study or soon thereafter, a seminarian can petition his bishop for ordination. If his petition is accepted, the bishop sets a date and location for ordination to the diaconate and, in most cases, the priesthood. The bishop then assigns the priest to a parish in his respective diocese, or in another diocese in some instances. 

Advancement Prospects

Experienced priests may advance to the position of bishop, who oversees a group of churches in a particular diocese and ordains new priests. The Eastern Orthodox Church views bishops (who must be celibate) as the successors to Jesus’ 12 apostles. (In some Eastern Orthodox traditions, the role of bishop is filled by an experienced monk.) A senior bishop may be promoted to the position of archbishop, or metropolitan, who is in charge of a large ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The highest position in the Eastern Orthodox Church is patriarch, who oversees the entire archdiocese.

Tips for Entry

Contact your priest to let him know that you are interested in entering the priesthood. He can serve as a key mentor during your spiritual journey. 

Contact seminaries in your tradition to learn what is required to begin training.

Visit https://oca.org/questions/priesthoodmonasticism/requirements-that-lead-to-priesthood to read “Requirements That Lead to Priesthood.”