Priest vs Bishop – Difference Between Priest and Bishop

A religious institution is a group of people associated with a specific religion, majorly Christianity, and follows all the religious practices, rituals, and other such performances associated with the religion.

A religious institution appoints several different people at different posts depending upon their responsibilities, abilities, and their experience.

A priest and a bishop are two such positions at which people can be appointed for a religious institution.

Priest vs Bishop

The main difference between a priest and a bishop is that the responsibility of a priest is to perform religious practices and rituals during events that are associated with the religious institution. On the other hand, the responsibility of a bishop is to hold the authority and oversee the practices of a religious institution.

Priest and Bishop

Priests are associated with several different religions. A priest decides to follow a certain religion of their belief and practice priesthood for that particular religion.

Some of the most common religions in which priesthood is practiced by a large number of people are Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Shanto, Christianity, and more. 

Bishop is an English word that is derived from the Greek word epískopos. The meaning of the Greek word is ‘overseer’ or ‘watcher’.

As the name suggests, a bishop is a person who oversees all the religious performances and authorized the practices and rituals of the religious institution to which the bishop belongs.

Comparison Table Between Priest and Bishop

Parameters of comparisonPriestBishop
Position in the hierarchy of the Holy Catholics ChurchThe position of a priest is second in the hierarchy of the holy Catholics Church. The position of a bishop is first in the hierarchy of the holy catholic Church.
Religion associatedA priest can follow the priesthood in association with any religion. A bishop is majorly associated with Christianity.
OfficeA priest can only practice priesthood. A bishop can practice priesthood as well as other Christian clergies.
Assisted byThe deacon assists a priest in performing the responsibilities. Both deacon and priest assist a bishop in performing the responsibilities.
ResponsibilitiesA priest can perform teaching and counseling.A bishop cannot perform teaching and counseling.

Who is a Priest?

A priest is a person who has several different responsibilities which vary from one religious institution to the other and from culture to culture.

The major responsibility of a priest is to perform and even authorize all the religious rites which are generally practiced within a religious institution. They majorly perform the rites which are associated with sacrifice and deities. 

Apart from these, a priest can also provide counseling to people who feel detached from God. They provide marital counseling to people, prenuptial counseling, and even hear confessions at regular intervals.

Priests are considered as a messenger from God, so they also provide spiritual counseling to people which helps them establish a connection with God.

The position of a priest or also called the office of the priest is known as the priesthood. The blessings of a priest are considered extremely holy by many people belonging to different religions as well in which priesthood is practiced.

That is the reason why priests are also called in marriages, at the time of childbirth, and other such events so that they can give their blessings which are directed by God to the people.

Who is a Bishop?

Roman catholic and eastern orthodox are the two further classifications of the religion Christianity among others. In these groups of Christianity, a bishop is a person who is a successor of the apostles.

This succession of apostles to a bishop is known as apostles succession. A bishop is a person who is believed to be connected to God and they are given the responsibility to practice priesthood by Jesus Christ.

That is why a bishop can also practice priesthood and several other religious responsibilities as well which are separate from the religious responsibilities of a bishop.

It is also believed that Jesus Christ has given the responsibility to the bishop to authorize, govern, and sanctify the body the Christ. The responsibilities of a bishop can vary on a large basis.

Thus, depending upon the responsibilities of a bishop, further classifications can be done, that is to say, a bishop can be divided into several different categories depending upon the responsibilities and authorities.

Some of the major types of bishop are patriarch bishop, catholicos bishop, primate bishop, presiding bishop, major archbishop, metropolitan bishop, suffragan bishop, area bishop, titular bishop, auxiliary bishop, and more.

Main Differences Between Priest and Bishop

  1. A priest is a person who performs religious rites and rituals during religious events. On the other hand, a bishop is a person appointed by any religious institution to look after and authorize religious events.
  2. A priest is an ordained leader of a religious institution. Whereas, a bishop is an ordained minister.
  3. The position of a priest is lower as compared to the position of a bishop in the hierarchy of the holy catholic Church. On the contrary, the position of a bishop is higher compared to the position of a priest in the hierarchy of the holy catholic Church.
  4. A priest has fewer responsibilities to perform in a religious institution as compared to a bishop. On the other hand, a bishop has more responsibilities to perform in a religious institution as compared to a priest.
  5. The priesthood can be practiced in several different religions. Whereas, a bishop is majorly appointed in Christianity.


Priest and bishop, both belong to any religious institution. Though they might have several common responsibilities and duties, they are two different posts.

According to the hierarchy of the holy catholic Church, there are three divisions or posts.

The person at the third position is known as a deacon, the person at the second position is known as a priest, and the person at the first and the highest position is known as a bishop.

Both deacons and priests associated with a religious institution assist the bishop in the responsibilities belonging to that specific religious institution. 


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