Definition of hierarch in English:



  • A chief priest, archbishop, or other leader.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A postulant who wishes to enter the spiritual life has a sponsor who presents him to the hierarch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Thirteen bishops of Great Russian origin and merely two Ukrainian hierarchs were consecrated in the 1760s.’
    • ‘Anselm of Canterbury, eleventh-century theologian, monk and Church hierarch, is arguably the major figure in the theological road from Augustine to Aquinas.’


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