His Holiness

His Holiness is a style and form of address (in the variant form Your Holiness) for some supreme religious leaders. The title is most notably used by the Pope, Oriental Orthodox Patriarchs, and Dalai Lama.


His Holiness (Latin: Sanctitas) is the official style used to address the Roman Catholic Pope and Oriental Orthodox Patriarchs. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has the title of His All-Holiness (abbreviation HAH).

In February 2013, the Holy See announced that former Pope Benedict XVI would retain the style "His Holiness" after resigning and becoming Pope Emeritus.

The term is sometimes abbreviated to "HH" or "H.H." when confusion with "His/Her Highness" is unlikely. The associated form of address is "Your Holiness".

Later, it is also used for certain other Eastern Patriarchs, notably those who head a church or rite which recognizes neither Rome's nor Constantinople's primacy.

In respect of the Deposit of faith (Latin Fidei depositum, or Orthodoxy to the paratheke), it there exists a technically called process of beatification which starts its first phase – in order to be claimed Servant of God – uniquely after the death of the purported saint. This process is mandatory also for the popes, while in the history of the Church not for all popes it was started at all, nor all of them were claimed to be saint and subconsequently venerated. No living people can be claimed as a saint, given that:

  1. Communion of saints concerns all human and angelic creatures of Jesus Christ God saved with him in Paradise;
  2. No human creature can be sure to be saved until his death, because Church refuses the native predestination from God for a non-universal "set" of creatures, as well as it refuses also any individual or collective prescience on the future use of our freedom.

On the contrary, in the Lord's Prayer the believers asks God "and lead us not into temptation", to which Christ Himself was induced by the personal angel called Satan. For temptation cause sin, in that people can't be empowered to have the certainty for their final after-death destination, to which the particular judgement of Jesus will physically address their souls: the Hell, the Purgatory or the Paradise.

Also, by effect of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the sick, the Roman Catholic Church still professes and believes that anyone can regret his sins until the instant time of his death, can be forgiven and thus saved by Jesus Christ God through the guardian angel and the others of the hierarchy sent by the Blessed Virgin Mother of God, venerated as the Queen of Angels and celebrated in the Coronation of the Virgin. This is in accordance with the Biblical references to:

  • the penitent thief, which was saved by the faith on Jesus Christ the Lord on the cross;
  • the opposite case of Judas the betrayer, who dead suicide by hanging and was damned to the Hell (suicide is a mortal sin and Jude is the unique example in all the Bible).

A more orthodox appellative for bishops has been the Latin title Servus servorum Dei ("Servant of the servants of God"), referred to the Lord's foot washing and the Imitation of Christ that He suggested to the apostles (John 13:1–17). This title has been reserved across centuries uniquely for all the bishops and the Pope himself, which was also called the Bishop of Rome. The Bishop of Rome concerned to a primus inter pares (first among equals), as point of union between his Petrine Primacy and the Servus servorum Dei like he were a bishop equal to other bishops.
Finally, as designated successors of the Apostles by Jesus Christ God, all of them has been called to and honored for the Imitation of Christ as to be the "Servant of the servants of God", like eleven of the twelve apostles did.

Other religions

The English language honorific "His Holiness", and as female version "Her Holiness", has commonly been used for religious leaders from other traditions, including Buddhism[1] (for figures such as the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa, and the Je Khenpo in Bhutan), Shinto[2] in Ahmadiyya Islam for the Caliph and in Dawoodi Bohra sect of Ismaili Shia for esteemed office of Da'i Al-Mutlaq, Syedna.

It is also used in certain new religious movements such as Hare Krishnas of Hinduism.


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