Why Do Catholics ...?
On EWTN, I heard that one priest of the hierarchy of a Christian Oriental Church (maybe Copt or Orthodox) was called ‘Beatitude’ and not ‘Father’ or ‘Bishop.’ Could you explain why, please? Also, what is the origin of ‘bishop’? I understand that a priest is named ‘Father,’ as he is the father of the Catholic family that is the parish, but I do not know about ‘bishop.’
“‘Beatitude’ simply means ‘blessed,’ so the person could be called ‘the one who is blessed’ or ‘called to be blessed.’ St. Paul effectively started the practice. He wrote to the Christians of the various Churches as ‘the saints residing in ...’ or, more literally, ‘the holy ones.’ This is the root of salutations such as ‘Your Beatitude’ or ‘Your Holiness’ for leaders in the Church,” responds Colin Donovan, EWTN vice president of theology. “Like ‘saint,’ it is what they should be and what they are called to be, by the dignity of their order, whether baptism or holy orders.
“In Scripture, the chief pastors of the particular churches founded by the apostles are called episkopos, literally ‘overseer,’” he explained. “From this Greek word derives the Latin episcopus and many related words in other languages, including English words such as ‘episcopacy’ and ‘episcopal.’ ‘Bishop’ has a more complicated origin from episkopos, by way of Anglo-Saxon and Old English, during the course of which it was reduced to piskop and later softened in pronunciation as ‘bishop.’”
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