Papadopoulos is the most common Greek surname. It means "son of a priest". The female version is Papadopoulou.

I wonder why.

As far as I know, priests don't marry and are celibate, meaning they can't father a child. So, how did this become a common surname?

Does the expression "son of a priest" carry another meaning that I'm missing?

  • 13
    Priests of the Eastern Church are not bound to the same restrictions of celibacy as Roman Catholic priests - ie, they can be married. Also, priestly celibacy was not an original requirement of the Church anyway, but came later.
    – Mark Beadles
    Jun 18, 2019 at 1:07
  • 3
    @Mark Beadles You have it backward. Priests cannot marry. Married men can be ordained. The order (no pun intended) matters.
    – C Monsour
    Jun 18, 2019 at 14:02
  • 2
    @Mark Beadles It's also not true that it's that rare for married men to be RC priests. You are confusing RC with "Latin Rite RC".
    – C Monsour
    Jun 18, 2019 at 22:13
  • 2
    @CMonsour I think it is rare; the other particular churches have far fewer priests. Jun 18, 2019 at 23:39
  • 3
    @PieterGeerkens You seem to be unaware of the existence of Roman Catholics (i.e., they recognize the authority of the bishop of Rome) who are not Latin Rite (i.e., they do not use the Western Liturgy and have a separate clerical hierarchy subordinate to the pope). These are collectively Eastern Rite Roman Catholics, for example including the Maronites and including the Ukrainian Greek Catholics. And they most certainly allow the ordination of married men to the priesthood.
    – C Monsour
    Jun 19, 2019 at 2:11

1 Answer 1


In the Orthodox Church parish priests are virtually always married. Monks and higher clergy (Bishops etc.) are celibate.

  • 4
    I believe they are only allowed to marry before taking their clerical vows. Yes, many are married. I think "virtually all" deserves a citation. Of course, the question is about the past. Jun 18, 2019 at 16:29
  • 1
    @AaronBrick. Yes, they need to marry before ordination.
    – fdb
    Jun 18, 2019 at 18:41

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