Use of the Very Reverend

How to Address a Very Reverend

The Very Reverend is not an office. Rather, it is a courtesy title used when addressing a high member of the clergy such as an Anglican Dean.  I have also encountered a Roman Catholic dean (of a deanery) addressed as the Very Reverend, but I’ve never seen it suggested in an official Roman Catholic forms of address style book, so I am slow to suggest it. I wonder if they just picked up a British form?

Confirm the office held by the individual, then follow the link to Anglican Dean.

—-The Very Reverend is used before a (full name) or (initial[s]) + (Surname). Examples of correct forms include:
——–The Very Reverend Mark M. Phillips
—-—-The Very Reverend C. M. Phillips

—-‘The Very Reverend’ describes an individual: The person is a very reverend person. It is not used without a name:
—-—-Incorrect: The Very Reverend Dean of St. Peter’s Cathedral
—-—-Correct: The Very Reverend Mark M. Phillips
—-—-Correct: The Dean of St. Peter’s Cathedral

– Robert Hickey


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”