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A more Formal way to open a greeting in a letter other than "Dear ____" ? Answered

Basically I'm supposed to be writing a letter to my bishop for my confirmation class and blah blah but that's another story. The point is I need to figure out how to address him without using the word "dear" in the beginning. I thought it would be simple but I just realized how I've never really seen it done any other way. I have his name so that's not a problem but what would you recommend?


This is late, but I feel the need to inform you now. After the fact. A year and a half later.

Anyway, you could have used "Your holiness".

Damn. Oh, well.

You know what the funny thing is? I ended up not even doing this letter project and still got confirmed despite all of my missing projects only to declare myself atheist to everyone else other than my extended family.

Wow. Just kick His Holiness and everyone else right in the balls.

*good on ya*

I'm gonna receive a lot of flak for this one but uh...what balls? >_>

It was a joke at the time, a rather crude one, inferring that the people he mentioned didn't have balls...

I don't think I can help you, but there is this one small tip. According to my English teacher, "To whom it may concern" is correct english and is useful when writing to a company or something. But that would not be appropriate for writing to the bishop, because you already know who is going to read the letter.

Alternatively, maybe you could simply start with "Greetings" right away. And maybe, but I'm not sure, "Good sir ____" might also be proper English. Other then that, the only thing I can think of is "your excellency" which Caarntedd already suggested.

Don't bother trying to be fancy.  Just talk out of your heart.  More people like it when you don't try and just flow.


8 years ago


I can't think of a more formal way to open a greeting letter other than Dear so i'm just not gunna write one.

Yo, Bish-dude!

Maybe not...

Try this.

Your house number and street
Your town and post code

2 March 2010

The Most Reverend _________ 
Bishop of ____________
His street number and street
His town and post code

Your Excellency,

__body of letter___________

Yours faithfully
__your signature_____

This is based on old letter writing guidlines of my employer (government). A bit out dated in the electronic age, but hopefully should be formal enough for you.

Even in this electronic age, paper letters and proper addressing is still important.

There is no way that an email can be as respectful as a proper well written letter.

What about "Esteemed"?

if you are getting this i have some things to tell you so LISTEN TO ME

Maybe not...

Try asking bing for letter openings.

There are clear guidelines for formal salutations, both in letters and in person.  For a Roman Catholic bishop, the appropriate salutation is "Your Excellency".  You may also use, "Dear Bishop XXX," but that is rather more colloquial.


8 years ago

In the English language, all formal and social letters should use the salutation, "Dear..."
In the case of a Bishop, you should begin the letter with the salutation, "Dear Bishop XXXXX"

Ah, I see why they were trying to tell us. *smacks forehead* I thought the directions were implying we shouldn't use the word dear when it was actually telling us not to use his first name. Can't believe I didn't catch that before...

You could try "To whom it may concern," but that wouldn't be to good for a Bishop letter.

Google didn't give me many good ideas, but a more thorough search may give more/better results.

As I type that, KGB commercials come to mind.