His Holiness

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His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI (born 1927)
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI (born 1927)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso (born 1935)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso (born 1935)

His Holiness is the official style or manner of address in reference to the leaders of certain religious groups. In the Catholic Church and its Eastern Rite, the style is used when referring to the Pope. It is also used in reference to some patriarchs of Eastern Orthodoxy. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama is also addressed in the same manner in English, as are other Buddhist leaders such as Sakya Trizin, the Patriarch of Sakyapa. In the Hinduist tradition, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, leader of the Transcendental Meditation movement, is also styled "His Holiness" by his followers


In Catholicism, the style derives from the Latin Sanctitas. It was originally used for all bishops, but from the 7th century on, it was only used for patriarchs and some secular rulers, and from the 14th century on its use has been restricted to the Pope.

The title is used officially in international diplomacy and in formal contexts without regard for its doctrinal, philosophical and theological origins.

See also

Use of courtesy titles and honorifics in professional writing

Styles used by monarchs and royalty Imperial Crown of Austria
Reigning monarchs

His Apostolic Majesty (HAM) | Britannic Majesty (HBM) | Canadian Majesty (HCM) | His Holiness (HH) | Imperial and Royal Majesty (HIRM) | Imperial Majesty (HIM) | Majesty (HM) | Royal Highness (HRH) | Highness (HH) | Serene Highness (HSH)

Members of Royal Families

Imperial and Royal Highness (HIRH) | Imperial Highness (HIH) | Royal Highness (HRH) | Grand Ducal Highness (HGDH) | Highness (HH) | Serene Highness (HSH)

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