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There are various words used for "priest" in Russian language: поп, батюшка, священник, иерей, ксендз... What are emotional connotations of this words and when are they appropriate to use?

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  • священник is the current neutral word. It's a Church Slavonic loanword.
  • поп is colloquial, can be considered even slightly derogatory. Earlier it was the neutral word. It's most used in proverbs. It's a Germanic loanword.
  • батюшка is a diminutive of батя, father. It's used to address a priest but can be used in third person too. It has mostly positive connotations showing spiritual proximity.
  • иерей is a strict term for a certain rank in a Russian Orthodox church. It's rarely used outside the church context. It's a Greek loanword through Church Slavonic.
  • ксёндз is a Polish Catholic priest. Used informally. It's not correct to call the other (non-Polish) Catholic priests that and should not be used in formal speech. It's a Polish loanword, from Old Slavic *кънѧдзь (князь in modern Russian) which is borrowed from Germanic *kuningas (akin to English king)
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