Definition of hierarch in English:



  • A chief priest, archbishop, or other leader.

    • ‘A postulant who wishes to enter the spiritual life has a sponsor who presents him to the hierarch.’
    • ‘Anselm of Canterbury, eleventh-century theologian, monk and Church hierarch, is arguably the major figure in the theological road from Augustine to Aquinas.’
    • ‘Thirteen bishops of Great Russian origin and merely two Ukrainian hierarchs were consecrated in the 1760s.’
    • ‘Certainly there have been notable Orthodox hierarchs in this country and abroad, many of them Russians, whose vision of Orthodoxy and its catholic mission was a resplendent one.’
    • ‘There is a mosaic in Ravenna portraying saints, martyrs, hierarchs, and faithful laity, each of them holding a crown that they will place at the feet of Christ.’
    • ‘The works of their most respected theologians and thinkers are not only still unavailable in most of Russia's seminaries, but are also viewed by many hierarchs as heretical.’


Late Middle English: via medieval Latin from Greek hierarkhēs, from hieros ‘sacred’ + arkhēs ‘ruler’.