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I would like to greet our pastor in Polish and found your post for ordinary time. Would you mind posting the greeting and response to Christmas and Easter? I haven't been able to find them.

Asked 24.12.2015 03:36 AM (CET)
Answered 26.12.2015 03:42 PM (CET)

Dear Olga,

I can answer your question only if by "pastor" you mean specifically a Catholic priest or an Orthodox priest, or a Christian believer in general (of any denomination), but I cannot answer it if you specifically mean a Prostestant minister or preacher. In Polish if you say "pastor" (the same spelling in Polish as in English), we mean an Protestant or Evangelical minister only, and we never apply this word to a Catholic of Orthodox priest. The reason why I cannot answer the question as relating to Protestantism or Evangelical Christianity is that there are very few of them in my region and I do not know their specific customs.

I am not aware of any specif Christmas greetings very popular in Roman Catholicism throughout the country. Yet here in the Eastern Poland, and also in the parts of Western and Northern Poland, where Orthodox Christians and Greek Catholics are commonly met, the Roman Catholics often take over some of their customs (and vice versa).  The traditional, liturgical Christmas greeting of Eastern Christianity is: "Chrystus się rodzi!" (Christ is born!) or "Jezus się rodzi" (Jesus is born!"). The answer then is "Sławmy Jego" or "Chwalmy Jego!" (Glory be to Him!) (the first one is closer to the one in the Old Church Slavonic language).
Among the Roman Catholics the greeting takes the form "Chrystus nam się narodził!" (Christ has been born to us!) and the answer is "Chwalmy Go!" (Let's glorify Him! OR Glory be to Him!)

The same may be said about Easter greetings, although this one seems more popular than the Christmas one, even among the Roman Catholics in Central and Southern Poland. It is a liturgical greeting among Eastern Christians, and a traditional one among Roman Catholics: "Chrystus zmartwychwstał!" (Christ is risen from death! Christ has resurrected!), the answer being "Prawdziwie powstał!" or "Prawdziwie zmartwychwstał!", or "Zaprawdę zmartwychwstał!", or "Zaiste zmartwychwstał!" (Truly / Really / In truth He is risen / He is risen from death / He is resurrected!" - the choice of the adverb for "truly" being of no importance).

I think that if you use any one of them towards a Protestant Pastor, you should also be well understood, as the birth and resurrection of Christ are a shared belief among all Christians and there is nothing denomination-specific in them, so even if you are not answered in the 'traditional way' it is still correct to express your faith that way. Then you might always say: I was told that the traditional answer to this is ...."

I can also tell you that sometimes during the Christmas period people greet each other (priests including) with the beginning words of Christmas carols (kolędy), like: "Bóg się rodzi - Moc truchleje!" (God is born - the powers tremble!), or with their respective refrains, like: "Chrystus się rodzi - nas oswobodzi" (Christ is born - He will save us!) or" "Gloria, gloria - in excelsis Deo!") (in Latin: Glory, glory - to God in the Highest!).

As fas as the common religious daily greetings concerned, apart form the previously quotedref="">previously quoted</a>: "Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus!" with the answer "Na wieki wieków, Amen", it is more and more common to greet a priest, or a monk, or a nun, or even a lay Christian with the words: "Szczęść Boże!" (God bless [you]!) or "Szczęść Boże, Księże! / Księdzu! // Ojcze! / Ojcu! // Siostro! / Siostrze! // Bracie! / Bratu!" (God bless you, Priest! // Father! // Sister! // Brother!) [the first one of each pair is the form of direct address or Vocative case; the second one is the Dative case, the form showing "to/for whom" the blessing is intended, so it corresponds rather to English "May God bless the Priest // Father // Sister // Brother"; both forms are common and grammatically correct). The answer then is the same: "Szczęść Boże!", maybe with an addition of "Panu! // Pani! // Państwu!" (Sir! OR Gentleman! // Madam! // Madam and Sir! OR Ladies and Gentlemen!). This last one I have also heard among Polish Protestants.

For RC altar boys, the commonly accepted greeting of a priest is "Króluj nam Chryste!" (Christ, be our King!), the answer being "Zawsze i wszędzie" (Always and everywhere!), these two phrases being the beginning of a religious song sung especially on the last Sunday of the liturgical calendar, the Sunday of the Feast of Christ the King.

I hope this will help you establish closer ties with your pastor and parish.

All the best,


Comment 26.12.2015 10:07 PM (CET) Thank you so much, Maciej! He is a Roman Catholic priest and when I attempted to use the Christmas greetings you suggested, his face lit up like an angel. I appreciate your quick reply and additional info you provided. Many thanks and blessings to you, Olga

Reply 27.12.2015 08:53 AM (CET) Dear Olga, I was rather expecting to read that my answer was a bit too late for this year's Christmas, so to read the contrary that it was timely and of help to you is a great pleasure. Thank God, Christmas this year lasts a bit "longer" as it happened on Fiday. I wish you Merry Christmas Time (even that it is only the Holy Family Sunday today, but still within the "twelve days of Christmas") and a Happy New Year. May God bless you, too. Maciej  

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Maciej St. Zięba


I am native Polish and from time to time I teach Polish to foreigners. I know (passively of actively) more than 15 other languages - so I can answer many questions concerning Polish grammar, pronounciation, spelling, etymology and usage - as compared to English, French, German, Russian, Dutch, Esperanto or Norwegian. Also questions concerning other Slavic languages, Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan, or general linguistics, especially scripts (writing systems and transcriptions) - are welcome.


Teaching English, French, and Esperanto to Poles, Polish to foreigners, teaching Sanskrit, Mandarin Chinese, Classical Chinese and Tibetan. Tour Guide in English, French, Russian and German. Former President of the Regional Examination Committee for Tourist Guides (English and French)(1999-2005).

Polish Oriental Society (since 1979); International Association of Buddhist Studies (since 1986); Klingon Language Institute (since 1986); Learned Society of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (since 1989); Polish Philosophical Association (since 1997); Universala Esperanto-Asocio (since 1978).

Books: "Origin of the World According to Rigveda" (Montreal 1996); "Our River Bug. Creating Conditions for Development of the Border Areas of Poland, Ukraine and Belarus through Enhancement and Preservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage" (Lublin 2008); "Migration - a Challenge to the 21st century" (Lublin 2008); "Migracja zarobkowa do Woch" (Job migration to Italy) (Lublin 2008); more than 100 articles in "Powszechna Encyklopedia Filozofii" (Universal Encyclopedia od Philosophy) vol. 1-10 (Lublin 2000-2009); many more in Polish, some of them available online, see: here and here (a list up to 2012.

Studying philosophy at Catholic University of Lublin (Poland) 1976-81; PhD in Philosophy (1989). Having learned languages in Gdansk and Gdynia (Russian, Esperanto, Latin, English - International Bacalaureate), Lublin (KUL - French, German, Dutch, Sanskrit, Latin, Ancient Greek; UMCS - Chinese, Japanese; elsewhere - Esperanto, Spanish, Italian), Paris (IIAP - French; INALCO - Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese; Sorbonne - Sanskrit), Asker (Norwegian, while working in a kindergarten!), Montreal (McGill - Chinese); Rome and Venice (Italian); Taichung, Taiwan (Chinese), Shimla, India (sanskrit). Self-taught: Slavic languages (other than Polish and Russian), Hungarian, Korean, Vietnamese, Klingon and several other.

Awards and Honors
2012 Golden Medal of Civil Service of Poland; 2012-13 Taiwan Fellowship - Tunghai University (Taichung)

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AllExperts users (since 12/03/2003); Wikipedia readers in many languages (since 2004); students learning languages (since 1979).

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