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Apolytikion of the Church of the Resurrection

Thou hast revealed the earthly majesty of the dwelling place of the holy glory, O Lord, as the brilliance of the firmament on high. Make firm its foundation unto ages of ages, and receive our fervent supplications which are offered to thee, there in, through the intercessions of the Theotokos, O life and Resurrection of all.

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Glossary of Orthodox Terminology

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
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  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
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  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z



-The Aramaic term of intimacy used in addressing one's father, somewhat equivalent to the English "Daddy." Christ uses Abba in addressing God the Father. St. Paul tells believers that their relationship with God through the Holy Spirit is so personal that they too may speak to Him as intimately as to their own father (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15).


-(from masc. abbot; Gr. Hegoumeni). The female superior of a community of nuns, appointed by a bishop; Mother Superior. She has general authority over her community and nunnery under the supervision of a bishop.


-(from Aram. abba, father; Gr. Hegoumenos, Sl. Nastoyatel). The head of a monastic community or monastery, appointed by a bishop or elected by the members of the community. He has ordinary jurisdiction and authority over his monastery, serving in particular as spiritual father and guiding the members of his community.


-The prayer offered by a bishop or presbyter for the forgiveness of sins. Following His glorious Resurrection, Christ breathed on His Apostles and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" John 20:22, 23). This gift of proclaiming God's forgiveness of sins remains forever in the Church. It is exercised in the sacraments of baptism and confession—the reconciliation to the Church of Christian believers who have sinned and repented. The priest or bishop is the witness who bears testimony to the repentance; only God forgives sins.


-(Gr. Nisteia). A penitential practice consisting of voluntary deprivation of certain foods for religious reasons. In the Orthodox Church, days of abstinence are observed on Wednesdays and Fridays, or during other specific periods, such as the Great Lent (see fasting).


-The follower of a priest; a person assisting the priest in church ceremonies or services. In the early Church, the acolytes were adults; today, however, the duties are performed by children (altar boys).


-A forty-day period of prayer, repentance, and fasting in preparation for Christmas. The word stems from the Latin word for "coming"; during the fast the faithful prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. (See also FASTING.)


-A large veil used to cover the diskos and chalice.


-(Gr. Syngeneia). The spiritual relationship existing between an individual and his spouse's relatives, or, most especially, between godparents and godchildren.

-The Orthodox Church considers affinity an impediment to marriage.


-The period of time between a feast of the Lord or Theotokos and the apodosis ("leavetaking") thereof.

-During an afterfeast, the hymns of the feast itself replace those from the Octoechos.

-The liturgical life of the Church reflects this extended celebration by continuing to express the themes of the feast in the divine services celebrated during the afterfeast.

-Most commemorations that have an afterfeast also have a forefeast.

  • Pascha—afterfeast: 38 days (leavetaking: Wednesday before Ascension)
  • Ascension—afterfeast: 8 days (leavetaking: Friday before Pentecost)
  • Pentecost—afterfeast: 6 days (leavetaking: following Saturday)
  • Nativity of the Theotokos (September 8)—afterfeast: 4 days (leavetaking: September 12)
  • Elevation of the Holy Cross (September 14)—afterfeast: 7 days (leavetaking: September 21)
  • Presentation of the Theotokos (November 21)—afterfeast: 4 days (leavetaking: November 25)
  • Nativity of Christ (December 25)—afterfeast: 6 days (leavetaking: December 31)
  • Theophany (January 6)—afterfeast: 8 days (leavetaking: January 14)
  • Presentation of Christ (February 2)—afterfeast: 7 days - shortened or omitted altogether if February 2 falls on or after the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee. (leavetaking: February 9)
  • Transfiguration (August 6)—afterfeast: 7 days (leavetaking: August 13)
  • Dormition (August 15)—afterfeast: 8 days (leavetaking: August 23)


-Greek for the unconditional love which God extends to His people. Agape also designates a communal meal connected to the Eucharist which was a practice of the early Church (1 Cor. 11:20 34).

Agape Vespers

Paschal Vespers of love.

Age of Reason

-This is the time in life when an individual begins to distinguish between right and wrong and becomes morally responsible for himself.

-It is considered to begin at the age of seven or so, and no later than twelve.


-According to the Slavonic Typicon, the different Canonical Hours (including Midnight Office and Typica) may be grouped together into aggregates so that there are three major times of prayer a day: Evening, Morning and Midday.

-This is to conform with Psalm 55:17, "Evening, morning, and noonday will I tell of it and will declare it, and He will hear my voice." While the aggregations will vary depending upon the liturgical season, the most common groupings are as follows:

  • Evening—Ninth Hour, Vespers
  • Morning—Midnight Office, Matins, First Hour
  • Noonday—Third Hour, Sixth Hour, Divine Liturgy (or Typica )

-On the eves before Great Feasts and Sundays in some traditions, Vespers, Matins, and the First Hour are served together in an aggregation called the All-Night Vigil.

-In other traditions it is more common for the Ninth Hour and Vespers to be served separately the evening before, and for Matins to be served in the morning before the Liturgy. Some Great Feasts prescribe a Vesperal Divine Liturgy to be served on the afternoon before; in these cases, Great Compline is substituted for Vespers during the All-night Vigil.


-The sacrificial lamb in the Old Testament.

-Symbolically Christ was called the "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (JOHN 1:29).

-Accordingly, in the Orthodox Church, the name Agnets is attributed to our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and that part of the holy bread is called Agnets which is taken out of the prosphora and is designated for the mystical change into the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ.


-The philosophical position that the existence or non-existence of God is unknowable.

-Condemned by the Orthodox Church for being a belief in error for denial of the truth of God and Jesus Christ.


-(Gr. "verbal words; not written"). Sayings or deeds of Christ which were never written or recorded in the Gospels (cf. John 21:25).


-An akathist hymn (also encountered as transliterated from the Greek, Akathistos, and the Russian, Akafist), taking its name from the Greek for 'not sitting', is a liturgical text in honour of a specific saint, feast, event or need. Common akathist hymns exist in dedication to Jesus and to various saints, but the most common is that to the Mother of God, in existence already in 532, traditionally composed by Saint Romanos, and was added to before its official recognition by the church in 626. Akathists consist of alternating short stanzas (kontakia) and long stanzas (ikoi), the latter often of repeated refrains of exultation.

Akathistos Hymn

-A hymn of twenty-four stanzas honoring the Theotokos


-(in Latin, accidie) is literally fatigue or exhaustion, but in technical usage refers to the spiritual and physical lethargy which can plague those pursuing the eremetic life.

-The reference in Psalm 90 (91 MT) to the "demon of noonday" is traditionally identified as akedia. It can take the form of listlessness, dispersion of thoughts, or being inattentively immersed in useless activity.


-Greek term for (a) the order of a service , or (b) the service itself.

-When a new saint is canonized a complete akolouthia for that saint is written, including all necessary texts for hesperinos, orthros and the Divine Liturgy, and normally an akathist and paraklesis of the saint.

-Full akolouthiai exist for many saints never formally canonized.


-(Lat.; Gr. stichari[on]; Sl. Podriznik). The long white undergarment of the clergy, with close sleeves, worn under the chasuble or the sakkos.

All-Saints Sunday

-A feast day of the Orthodox Church collectively commemorating all the Saints of the church who have remained anonymous.

-This feast day is celebrated on the Sunday following Pentecost.


-A story filled with symbolism illustrating a spiritual reality beyond the actual historical event being described. In the ancient Church, scholars of the School of Alexandria tended to consider many incidents in the Bible as allegorical, whereas the School of Antioch practiced a more historical approach to Scripture. Although Scripture contains some pure allegory (some parables of Christ, portions of Revelation), overemphasis on allegory may tend to de-emphasize or even deny the historicity of Holy Scripture. On the other hand, a denial of allegory robs the Scriptures of their deeper meaning. It is possible for a story to be both historical and allegorical. The majority of Church Fathers combined both elements in interpreting the Bible. See Luke 15:4-7; Gal. 4:21-26. (See also TYPE.)


-The Greek form of the Hebrew word Hallelujah, which means "praise God." Orthodox Christians sing a chorus of Alleluia interspersed with psalm verses prior to the Gospel reading at the Divine Liturgy.

Alleluia Day or Season

-Weekdays on which ‘Alleluia’ rather than ‘God is the Lord’ is chanted at Orthros as appointed by the Menaion or Great Horologion.


-The Arabic term for God, and as such it is used in Orthodox churches in Arabic-speaking lands.

All-Night Vigil

-A service of the Orthodox Church that consists of Vespers, Matins, and the First Hour; in parish churches it is celebrated in the evenings before Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feasts; in monasteries the A. N. V. sometimes follows a somewhat different format.


-Works of mercy or monetary gifts given to help the poor. Throughout the Scriptures, God's people are called to help those less fortunate than themselves (see Matt. 25:31-46).


-The act of giving alms. Understood as a virtue in obedience to the commandment and witness of Christ.

Alpha and Omega

-The letters which begin and end the Greek alphabet, and symbolize the beginning and the end. The Alpha and the Omega is also used as a title of Christ (Rev. 1:8).


-The area behind (i.e. to the east of) the iconostasis in an Orthodox Chuch, also called the Sanctuary. Only males are allowed to enter the Altar area, and only with a blessing for a specific duty of service in the Church.

-Sometimes used colloquially to refer to what is properly called the Holy Table, found centrally in the sanctuary, on which the Eucharist is celebrated and around which the central motions of the Divine Liturgy are carried out.

Altar Table

-(Gr. Hagia Trapeza; Sl. Prestol). The square table in the middle of the altar, made of wood or marble, on which the Eucharist is offered.

-It is dressed with the "Altar Cloth" and contains the relics deposited there by the consecrating bishop.

-The center of the table is occupied by the folded Antiminsion, on which the ceremonial gospel book is placed, and behind this is the tabernacle with the "reserved gifts."


"So be it" in Hebrew. Amen is said or sung at the close of a prayer or hymn, showing the agreement of the people to what has been said (Deut. 27:15 26; 1 Cor. 14:16).


The raised area in front of the iconostasis, on which certain portions of the divine services take place. Most characteristically, it is on the ambon that the deacon stands when proclaiming the litanies; and the 'Prayer before the amvon', proclaimed by the priest, is made before it at the end of the Liturgy.


-A lectern or icon stand.

-A wooden stand or podium placed on the right side of the soleas near the south door of the altar. Usually with a sloped top, it is used as a stand for the gospel book or an icon.


-The central prayers of the Divine Liturgy, sometimes called the Canon or the prayers of consecration. In the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom these begin with the deacon's 'Let us stand aright, let us stand in fear, let us attend, that we may offer the holy oblation in peace', and the choir's response: 'Mercy of peace, a sacrifice of praise...'.


-A formal ecclesiastical ban, curse, or excommunication.

-A vehement denunciation.

-Used adjectivally or adverbially in reference to a person or a teaching that has been denounced or placed under a ban of excommunication ('He is anathema' or 'That doctrine is anathema').

-Apart from formal excommunication, the term is sometimes used in reference to a group or practice that is shunned


-Othros hymns, based upon the Psalms of Ascent (119-133), chanted before the prokeimenon of the gospel.


-(Gr. Anachoritis, "a departurer"). A solitary monk or hermit; an individual who withdraws from society and lives a solitary life of silence and prayer.


- Bodiless powers created before the creation of the physical universe. The English word "angel" comes from the Greek word for "messenger." Throughout the Scripture, angels are messengers who carry the Word of God to earth (e.g. Gabriel's visit to Mary, Luke 1:26-38). The Orthodox Church teaches that there are nine "choirs" or groups of angels: Angels, Archangels, Powers, Authorities, Principalities, Dominions, Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim (see Gen. 3:24; Is. 6:2; Eph. 1:21; Col. 1:16; 1 Thess. 4:16; 1 Pet. 3:22).


-Short hymns chanted between the versus of Psalm 130 at festal Great Vespers.


-The visit of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to inform her that she had been chosen to bear Christ, the Son of God. The Feast of the Annunciation is celebrated exactly nine months before Christmas. Mary's Son was no ordinary child, but God's divine Son and Word in human flesh (see article, "Mary," at Luke 1; Is. 7:14; Luke 1:26-38; John 1:1-14).


-Literally, "against Christ" or "instead of Christ." Antichrist is used by John to refer to (a) the opponent of Christ who will arise at the end of this age, and (b) the "many antichrists" who stand against the Son of God (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3).


-Blessed bread distributed following the dismissal of the Divine Liturgy.


-Cloth, usually imprinted with the entombment of Christ, issued by the bishop of the diocese and kept on the holy table.


-(Gr. "alternate utterance or chanting"). A short verse from the scriptures, especially the psalms, sung or recited during the liturgy and other church services.

-Any verse or hymn sung or recited by one part of the choir or chanters in response to another part.


-(Gr. "hidden or secret"). Some of the books of the Bible not accepted by all denominations of Christians as true and divinely inspired. Some of them were written much later but attributed to important individuals of the apostolic times, thus bearing a misleading title (pseudepigrapha).

-Old Testament Apocrypha -

  • The Deuterocanonical Books of the Old Testament that are accepted by the Orthodox Christian Church but are not accepted by Protestants as part of its official canonical contents, but of close association with the Bible. They are included in the Orthodox Bible because they were included in the Septuagint which was in use at the time of Jesus, and the authors of the New Testament. They are not called apocrypha by the Orthodox Church.

-New Testament Apocrypha -

  • Books of the apostolic times that were not included in the canon of scripture, but may have reputed apostolic or prophetic authorship, are called Apocryphal. These writings of the early Christian church give accounts of the teachings of Jesus, aspects of the life of Jesus, accounts of the nature of God, or the teachings of his apostles and of their lives. These writings often have links with those books which are regarded as canonical. According to Orthodox teaching they may be read for personal edification but are not authoritative for doctrine. Other books called Pseudoepigrapha writings, are false writings that carried the names of the apostles and introduced false teachings and fanciful stories.


-(Gr., Sl. Otdanive). The "octave-day" of a feast day which lasts more than one day and usually occurs eight days after the actual feast day. The Apodosis of Easter occurs forty days after the feast, on the eve of the Ascension.


-The name of a heresy saying that all will be saved, even if they reject God. In 543 the doctrine of apokatastasis was condemned by the Synod of Constantinople.


-The name of a heresy saying that Christ did not have a human soul, but the Logos fulfilled that role. Apollinarianism was condemned at the Second Ecumenical Council.


-Texts or other works delivered in defence or justification of a doctrine or practice. (see Apology, below).

-The field of study or practice of theological apology.


-Any person who engages in theological apologetics.

-More loosely, any person who defends anything (e.g. 'She is an apologist for the rights of the poor').

-In patristic study, refers most often to one of the writers of the second century AD, who engaged in the defence and justification of the Christian faith in the Graeco-Roman empire; e.g. Justin the Philosopher, Athenagoras, Melito.


-From the Greek apologia, meaning 'defence' or 'justification'. Most often refers to a text, oration, or other means of defending the rectitude and reasonableness of the Christian faith.

-The title given to the First and Second Apologies of Justin the Philosopher, the Apologeticum of Tertullian of Carthage, and the apologetic works of other patristic apologists.


-The principal troparion of a given feast.

-First principal hymn of the day; also known as troparion or dismissal hymn.


-Abandonment of one's religious faith, one's principles, or a cause.This sin is committed when a Christian or body of believers rejects the true faith of Christ (1 Tim. 1:5 7; 4:1-3).

-Can refer specifically to the abandoning of the teachings and practices of the Church.

-In scriptural and theological writings, may refer to the rebellion of the angels before the creation of the earth, including the fall of Lucifer.

-In some apocryphal writings or contexts, refers to the prophecy of rebellion in the book of the Apocalypse (Revelation).


-One who is in apostasy.

-The devil; Satan (often encountered as capitalised: 'The Apostate challenged Christ...').


-The hymns and psalm versus chanted near the end of Vespers and Daily Orthros.

-These are Stikhera accompanied by verses usually taken from the Psalms.

-Aposticha are unique in that they start with a hymn, rather than a verse as stichera usually do.


-From the Greek meaning 'One who is sent', refers most often to any member of the group of twelve disciples chosen by Jesus to preach the Gospel. They were originally sent by Jesus to preach in pairs (see Mark 6.7-13). These were Sts Simon (also called Peter, Cephas); Andrew, Peter's brother, the first-called; James and John, the sons of Zebedee; Philip from Bethsaida; Bartholomew (sometimes identified as the same person as Nathaniel of John 1.45-51); Thomas the twin; James, the son of Alphaeus; Matthew; Simon the Canaanite, also known as 'the Zealot'; Judas Iscariot (replaced after his apostasy and suicide by Matthias); and Jude (sometimes called Thaddaeus).

-The word is also used of the Seventy (or 72) sent by Christ, as well as of Paul, the repentant persecutor whom the risen Jesus sent as "apostle to the Gentiles" (Rom. 11:13). Great missionaries in the Church, such as Mary Magdalene (the "apostle to the apostles"), Thekla, Nira, Vladimir, and Innocent of Alaska are called "equal to the apostles." The extension of the apostolic ministry in the Church today is in the episcopacy. (See also EPISCOPACY.)

-Following on the traditional mission of these first apostles to preach the Gospel throughout the earth, the term may also refer to a missionary of the early Church.

-A leader of the first Christian mission to a country or region.

-The term also refers to the collection of epistles in a bound volume, for reading at the Divine Liturgy. The epistle reading is often known as 'The reading of the Apostle'.

Apostolic Canons

-A collection of eighty-five decrees of ecclesiastical importance, referring mainly to ordination and the discipline of the clergy. The church believes that they were originally written by the Apostolic fathers.

Apostolic Fathers

-Men who lived during the first century of Christianity; for the most part, this group comprised the disciples of the Apostles; their teachings and writings are of great spiritual value to Christians. Major fathers are St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Polycarp of Smyrna, St. Clement of Rome, and the unknown author of Didache.

Apostolic Succession

-The direct, continuous, and unbroken line of succession transmitted to the bishops of the Church by the Apostles. The bishops, who form a collective body (that is the leadership of the Church), are considered to be successors of the Apostles, and, consequently, the duties and powers given to the Apostles by Christ are transmitted through "the laying-on-of-hands" to the bishops and priests who succeeded them by ordination (cheirotonia) to priesthood.


-A rank of bishop; see below, Bishop, for fuller definition.


-See below, Diocese.


-An honorific rank of non-monastic priest; see below, Presbyter for fuller definition.


-The name of a heresy saying which denied the true Divinity of Jesus Christ, so-called after its author, Arius, a presbyter in the Church of Alexandria.

-This heresy was condemned at the first Ecumenical Council held in Nicea in 325.

Armenian Church

-A monophysite denomination which broke from the Orthodox Church in the fifth century (451 A.D.). Communities which belong to the Armenian Church exist in the United States and other parts of the world.


-The Theotokos is often called an Ark, for the Glory of God settled on her, just as the Glory of God descended on the Mercy Seat of the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 25:10-22).

Ark of Salvation

-The Church is the ark of salvation and we are all gathered into that ark. Just as one could not survive outside of Noah's ark, the same goes for the Church.

-It is truly the Ark in which mankind may be saved from the flood of corruption and sin.


-A Festal service during which five loaves and bread, wine, and olive oil are blessed.


-The container in which the presanctified gifts are reserved.


-The symbolic "Bread of Life" which is blessed on Pascha; left in the Church for all of Bright, and then prayerfully distributed to the people on Bright Saturday, although sometimes given on Saint Thomas Sunday.


-The ascent of Christ to Heaven following His Resurrection as Son of God in the flesh (Luke 24:50, 51; Acts 1:9-11). Christ's Ascension completes the union of God and humanity, for a Man who is God now reigns in Heaven.


-From the Greek for 'preparation' (originally a sporting term, referring to the athletic preparations for events and games), most often refers to rigorous self-denial and active self-restraint, in purification of the will and the whole human person for a more active participation in the life in Christ. Broadly indicates the practice of holistic means to engage the human person in the Christian life.

-May refer to specific ascetical acts: e.g. fasting, vigils, almsgiving.

-May refer to the personal practices of an individual's Christian life (e.g. 'His ascesis was severe').

-It is so called man's effort as well as the method he uses to pass through the three stages of the spiritual life: purification of heart, illumination of the nous and theosis.

-Since this is achieved through the commandments of Christ, ascesis is man's struggle to keep the commandments of Christ. Thus ascesis is connected with the keeping of the commandments and the healing of man.


-A person who commits himself or herself wholly to a life of ascesis, renouncing material comforts and leading a life of austere self-discipline.

-Sometimes a title used in reference to saints or individuals of a reputed ascetical riguour. adj., sometimes as 'ascetical'

-An act or behaviour grounded in the aims of ascesis. May also refer to the whole of life as an ascetical project; 'The Ascetical Life'.

-Pertaining to or characteristic of an ascetic; self-denying and austere: an ascetic existence.


-(from Gr. askesis, "athlete") A life of struggle—the crucifixion of the desires of the flesh, through a life of prayer, fasting, and self-denial. Through asceticism the Christian fights temptation to sin and thereby grows in spiritual strength. Such spiritual classics as The Philokalia and The Ladder of Divine Ascent give directions for the ascetic life (see Luke 9:23; Gal. 5:24).

-The principles and practices of an ascetic.

-The doctrine that the ascetic life frees the soul and body from bondage to the passions, and permits union with God (see deification).

Ascetic Theology

-A theological field studying the teachings and the writings of the ascetics of the Church (see also mysticism).


-The action of kissing the Gospel Book, an icon, the hand of the bishop or priest.

-At Easter the celebrant bestows the sign of Christian joy to the members of the congregation.

Assembly of the Faithful

-It is the very meaning of the word “Church,” those on earth and those in heaven, with the angels before the throne of God.

-The liturgy begins with the gathering of the faithful with their shepherd in one place at the same time.

-The assembly of the faithful in one place is the fundamental precondition for communion, which is gradually built up among the faithful and between them and God in the course of the Liturgy.


-(Gr. "little star"; Sl. Zvezditsa). A sacred vessel having two arched metal bands held together in such a fashion as to form the shape of a cross. It is placed on the paten and serves to prevent the veil from touching the particles of the Eucharist.


-(Gr. "godlessness"). Denial of the existence of God. An atheist accepts only the material and physical world or what can be proven by reason.

Athos, Mount

-A peak, about 2,034 m (6,670 ft) high, of northeast Greece. It is the site of the semi-independent monastic state of Mount Athos (known also as Aghion Oros, 'The Holy Mountain'), originally founded in the tenth century though settled far earlier. Athos is often understood as the heart of Orthodox monasticism, and remains to this day a significant locus of monastic practice in the Orthodox world.


-A monk of Mount Athos (e.g. 'He is an Athonite'; or in commemorations, 'St Athanasius the Athonite').

-A practice or custom originating in or common to the Holy Mountain. In particular this may refer to specific liturgical or ascetical practices, or to monastic typika and customs.

-Colloquially, often taken to refer to something characterised by an intense and driving asceticism (e.g. 'His fasting was almost Athonite').

Augmented Litany

-The Litany which begins with the petition Let us all say... Sometimes this Litany begins with the petition Have mercy on us...


-The rule of God over the world and the legitimate authority given by God to those ordained to shepherd the faithful (Heb. 13:17). Also, one of the nine choirs of angels. (See also ANGELS.)


-From the Greek for 'self-headed', refers to an Orthodox Church that is no longer the functional 'daughter' of a 'mother patriarchate', and which is governed by its own 'head' (kephalos) - usually either a Patriarch or Metropolitan.


-A hymn which serves as the melodic and metrical model for other hymns.


From the Greek for 'self-ruling', refers to an Orthodox Church that has been granted a degree of functional governing independence by its mother patriarchate, and which thus carries out a large degree of its governing locally, whilst still retaining its connection to the mother Church. In the missionary development of new lands, this is the status granted to a Church prior to autocephaly.


-A term applied to certain hymns composed according to the principles of prosomoia, which bear a particularly close similarity to one another, often beginning and ending with the same words.


-(Gr. "worthy"). An exclamation made at ordination to signify the worthiness of the individual chosen to become a clergyman.



-To enact a baptism (see below).

-Colloquially, to convert a people or land to the Orthodox Church (e.g. 'Sts Cyril and Methodius began to baptise the Russian land').


-The religious mystery (sacrament) of entry into the Church and new birth in the Christian life, marked by the immersion of the body into water following prayers of exorcism, preparation and avowal. One of the principal sacraments of the Church, baptism is intrinsically linked to the sacrament of chrismation.

-(from Gr. baptizo, "to be plunged") The sacrament whereby one is born again, buried with Christ, resurrected with Him and united to Him. In baptism, one becomes a Christian and is joined to the Church. In Christ's baptism, water was set apart unto God as the means by which the Holy Spirit would bring to us new life and entrance into the heavenly Kingdom (see article "Holy Baptism," at Rom. 6; Matt. 3:13

-Usually performed on infants, with Godparents presenting the child for baptism in the presence of the parents, and themselves speaking the confessions of faith and vows on behalf of the child. May also be performed on adults who are received into the Church by this means. Colloquially, the conversion of a land or people to the Orthodox Church (e.g. 'The baptism of Russia').

Baptismal Garments

-(Gr. Fotikia or baptisika; Sl. krizhma). The garments brought by the godparent to dress the infant immediately after the immersion in Baptism.

-In Orthodoxy, these garments are considered sacred and must be either kept safely or destroyed by fire.

Baptismal Name.

-(Gr. onoma). The individual's name given in baptism, commonly the name of a saint who becomes the individual's Patron Saint.

-The baptismal names of the first-born are usually those of their grandparents.


-A special room or area in the form of a pool for baptizing in the ancient Church. Gradually, it was replaced by the baptismal font (see kolymbethra).


-Literally, "exalted happiness." The ninefold blessing of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount is called the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12).


-The acceptance of the truths of the gospel. More than a mental assent, belief as used in the NT includes trusting in God from the heart. Such belief results from (1) hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17) and (2) a gift of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:8). Although a Christian is saved by belief in Christ, faith without action (that is, a distinct movement of the will to follow Christ) is hollow and void of the righteousness necessary to salvation (see article, "Justification by Faith," at Rom. 5; Matt. 7:21; John 3:16; James 2:14 26).


-Literally, "good word"; blessing. Benedictions were given by Christ (Luke 24:50, 51) and by the Apostles (2 Cor. 13:14), and are given by the bishop or priest at the close of every Divine Liturgy.


-(Gr. Digamia). The act of contracting a new marriage while a previous one is still binding, an act forbidden by the Orthodox Church.


-One who has been ordained to the major order of the clergy in this office.

-In the New Testament there is no clear distinction between the offices of bishop and elder (presbyter), both of which function as leaders of the community. However, by the mid- to late first century, the Church began to reserve the title bishop for the men of spiritual qualification who were consecrated to follow the Apostles in their office of oversight (see article, "The Four 'Orders' in Church Government," at 1 Tim.; Acts 1:15 26; 14:23; 1 Tim. 3:1-7).

-An office of the major orders of the clergy. A bishop (from the Greek episkopos, 'overseer') is the highest order of clergy in the Church, successor to the apostles in the charism of governing the Christian faithful. In present practice, bishops are always drawn from the ranks of the monastics, and thus are never married. All bishops in the Church are canonically equal, but there are distinctions of administrative rank among them. These are:

Ruling bishops (i.e. those who govern a diocese or territory):

  • Diocesan Bishop: The normal rank of bishop, in charge of a diocese.
  • Archbishop & Metropolitan: A title granted to a bishop in charge of a large or senior see; or at times as an honorific for long-serving bishops. In the older practice, preserved in the Slavic and Antiochian traditions, the rank of Metropolitan is higher than that of Archbishop; in the Greek practice this order is reversed.
  • Patriarch: A title reserved for the primates of certain autocephalous churches.

Non-ruling bishops (i.e. a bishop who does not rule his own diocese):

  • Patriarchal vicar: A bishop appointed by a patriarch for a specific task.
  • Auxuliary bishop: A bishop serving in a diocese or territory as assistant to the diocesan bishop. Titular bishop: of two types: [1] As a bishop named for an ancient but no-longer-extant see, in order to serve in a territory where it is not possible to consecrate a bishop of locale title (e.g. the ruling diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Sourozh, Great Britain, is normally title 'Bishop of Sourozh', rather than 'Bishop of London'). [2]As a bishop given a titular rank in order to serve in a specific auxiliary capacity.


-Evil and reproachful language directed at God, the Virgin, the Saints, or sacred objects. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a mortal and unforgivable sin because it presumes that God's saving action in this particular case is impossible (cf. Matt. 12: 31).

Blessing of the Loaves

-(Artoclasia) A ceremony occuring at the end of Vespers at Vigils, when a Litya is served.

-A table is placed in the center of the church, and set on it are five loaves together with three small vessels, containing wine, oil, and grains of wheat.

-During the singing of the troparion, the priest goes around the table censing it; he then says the prayer of blessing and recalling the five loaves at the feeding of the five thousand in the desert.

Born Again

-Literally, "born from above." A person must be born again to new life in Christ to enter God's eternal Kingdom. This new birth takes place through the sacrament of Holy Baptism John 3:16; Rom. 6:3, 4; Gal. 3:27). Spiritual life begins by receiving the Holy Spirit in baptism, and it is a dynamic process which continues throughout life.


-A bending of the body from the waist in an act of reverence or homage.

Brothers of the Lord

-St. James, the first bishop of Jerusalem, Joses, Simon, and Judas are referred to as brothers of Christ (Matt. 13:55). In the ancient Middle East one's close relatives were frequently referred to as brothers and sisters. Also, there is an ancient tradition that the "brothers and sisters" of Christ were actually children of St. Joseph from an earlier marriage; they are called the children of Mary although they are actually her stepchildren. Thus, these references to siblings of Christ do not contradict the ancient belief of the Orthodox Church that the Virgin Mary was a virgin before, during, and after the birth of Christ. The absence of blood brothers is suggested by Christ's act of entrusting Mary to the care of the apostle John (John 19:26, 27), which would have been against the Mosaic Law had she had other natural children.

Bright Week

The week immediately following the Sunday celebration of Pascha, in which no fasting is permitted, and during which the Divine Liturgy is normally celebrated every day, with the Royal Doors and the Deacon's Doors are left open throughout.


-(Gr. Taphe; Sl. Pogrebeniye). The act of interment of the dead body of one of the faithful in consecrated ground, according to the appropriate Orthodox rites and service of burial (Nekrosimos).

-The Church may deny an Orthodox burial to those who have committed a mortal sin such as blasphemy, suicide, denial of faith, or acceptance of cremation.


-Of or relating to the ancient city of Byzantium.

-Of or relating to the Byzantine Empire.

-Of or belonging to the style of architecture developed from the fifth century AD in the Byzantine Empire, characterised especially by a central dome resting on a cube formed by four round arches and their pendentives and by the extensive use of surface decoration, especially veined marble panels, low relief carving, and colored glass mosaics.

-Of the painting and decorative style developed in the Byzantine Empire, characterised by formality of design, frontal stylised presentation of figures, rich use of color, especially gold, and religious subject matter.

-Due to its connection with the Byzantine Empire, may also refer to the Orthodox Church or the rites performed in it.

-Within the Roman Catholic communion, 'Byzantine Catholic' often refers to a church or region that maintains the worship of Byzantine Rite (sometimes known as 'Uniate').

-A native or inhabitant of Byzantium or the Byzantine Empire.

Byzantine rite

-Performing church services according to the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

-Christians who belong to Roman Catholic jurisdictions and accept their beliefs, but follow the customs of the Greek Orthodox Church, celebrating the liturgy in Greek, Slavonic, or in their native language, but in the Orthodox fashion.



-(Gr. Hemerologion). The yearly system determining the Orthodox holidays and hours.

-The Orthodox year begins on September 1.

-Because all feasts were arranged according to the Julian (old) Calendar, many Orthodox churches follow it to the present day, while other Orthodox churches have adopted the Gregorian (new) Calendar (since 1924).


-(Gr. Keri[on]). Candles made of beeswax are used in the Orthodox Church as a form of sacrifice and devotion to God or Saints.

-They are used in various Orthodox services and ceremonies and are symbolic of Christ, who is "the Light of the World."

-According to a different symbolism, the two elements of a candle represent the two natures of Christ: the Divine (the burning wick) and the Human (the wax body).


-The official declaration by the Church that a deceased Christian of attested virtue is a saint, to be honored as such, and worthy of imitation by the faithful.


-From the Greek for 'measuring stick' or 'rule', refers in the earliest Christian writings to a 'rule of faith' (kanon pisteos), or summary confession of the central tenets of Christian life and thought.

-An ecclesiastical rule (sometimes 'law') established by a Church council.

  • As 'canon law', in reference to the collected body of Church canons, used to guide the life of the Christian community in its ascetical aims.
  • Often in reference to the collection of canons known as The Rudder.

-The delimited list of scriptural books deemed authoritative by the Church (i.e. 'the scriptural canon'). In the Orthodox Church, these are:

  • Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Kingdoms (1 Samuel), 2 Kingdoms (2 Samuel), 3 Kingdoms (1 Kings), 4 Kingdoms (2 Kings), 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, 1 Esdras, Ezra (2 Esdras), Nehemiah (2 Esdras), Tobit, Judith, Esther, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, Job, Psalms, Odes, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Wisdom, Sirach, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
  • New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Apocalypse

-Liturgical texts and acts:

  • The theological hymn in nine odes (canticles) sung after the reading of the Gospel at Matins.
  • Any similarly-structure hymn, as said at various times (e.g. the Canon of Repentance, Canon to the Holy Angels); often found as acrostics.
  • At times used in reference to the anaphora, or central prayers of the Divine Liturgy, beginning with 'Mercy of peace...'.

-An established principle (e.g. 'the canons of polite society').

-A basis for judgment; a standard or criterion.

-A group of literary works that are generally accepted as representing a field (e.g. 'the canon of ascetical literature'), or the output of a specific author ('the Pauline canon').

Capital Sin (or Mortal or Deadly sin)

-Great offenses against God, or moral faults which, if habitual, could result in the spiritual death of the individual.

-The following sins are considered to be mortal: pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. These are the "Seven Deadly Sins" of the phrase.


-(Gr. Raso; Sl. ryassa). The long black garment with large sleeves worn by the Orthodox clergy as their distinct attire.

-Another such cassock with narrow sleeves (Gr. Anteri; Sl. Podrasnik) is worn under the cassock. It symbolizes the death of a clergyman to this world and his burial and subsequent dedication to God and his heavenly kingdom.


-A summary of doctrine and instruction, teaching the Orthodox faith in the form of questions and answers.

-The catechetical or Sunday school of each parish is responsible for such instruction of children or other faithful.


-(Gr. "those who learn the faith"). A convert to Christianity in the early church who received instruction in Christianity but was not yet baptized.

-Catechumens were permitted to attend the first part of the Eucharist (Liturgy of the Catechumens), but were dismissed before the Consecration of the Gifts.


-(Gr. "the main chair"). The principal church of a bishop's jurisdiction, the chief church in every diocese.


-In some traditions, one of the minor orders of the clergy, given to the chief singer or choir leader in a parish.


-The bishop’s throne located in the sanctuary, directly to the east of the holy table.


-Of universal scope; from the Greek katholikos, 'thoughought the whole' (i.e. of the world). Including or concerning all humankind; universal: 'what was of catholic rather than national interest'.

-In ecclesiological terms:

  • Of or relating to the Church's universal scope, as in the Creed: 'One, holy, catholic and apostolic Church'.
  • Confessionally, often of or involving the Roman Catholic Church.

-A member of the Catholic church

  • At times used by Orthodox
  • Most often used by members of the Roman Catholic Church


-The unmarried state of life.

Unlike the Roman Church, Orthodoxy permits a clergyman to be married; however, his marriage must occur before his ordination to be a deacon or presbyter.

-Orthodox bishops are only chosen from the celibate clergy, but widowers, who have accepted monastic vows, may also be chosen.


-(Gr. Thymiato; Sl. kadillo). A metal vessel hung on chains, used in church ceremonies for burning incense.

There are twelve small bells attached to the chains, representing the message of the twelve Apostles.


-(Gr. Potirion; Sl. Vozduh). A large cup of silver or gold, with a long-stemmed base, used for the Eucharist.

It is one of the most sacred vessels of the church and is handled only by the clergy.


-(Gr. Protosyngelos). The chief administrator and church notary in a diocese or archdiocese.

-He is the immediate administrative assistant to the bishop and handles all records, certificates, and ecclesiastical documents of his jurisdiction.


-(Gr. echos; Sl. glas). The music proper to the Orthodox services.

-There are eight tones or modes in the Orthodox Byzantine chant, chanted by the chanters or cantors.


-(Gr. Psaltis). A lay person who assists the priest by chanting the responses and hymns in the services or sacraments of the church.

-Today, chanters have been replaced to some extent by choirs.


-(Gr. Parekklisi[on]; Sl. Chasovnya). A side altar attached to a larger church or a small building or room built exclusively or arranged for the worship of God.

-A chapel can belong to an individual or an institution, or can be part of a parish church.


-(Gr. feloni[on]; Sl. felon). A sleeveless garment worn by the presbyter in the celebration of the liturgy.

-Short in front, with an elongated back, and an opening for the head, it is one of the most ancient vestments of the Church, symbolizing the seamless coat of Christ.

Cherubic Hymn

-(Gr. "the song of the angels"). Liturgical hymn sung after the Gospel-reading and during the Great Entrance.

Its text in English is as follows:

  • "We, who mystically represent the Cherubim, And chant the thrice-holy hymn to the Life-giving Trinity, Let us set aside the cares of life That we may receive the King of all, Who comes invisibly escorted by the Divine Hosts."


(Gr. Myrron). Sanctified oil composed of several ingredients and fragrances, used in the sacrament of Chrismation (after Baptism).

-The Holy Chrism in the Orthodox Church is exclusively prepared by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and is blessed in a series of preparations and ceremonies.

-Holy Thursday is customarily the day of its consecration.


-The sacrament completing baptism, whereby one receives the gift of the Holy Spirit through anointing with the Chrism, a specially prepared oil which must be consecrated by a bishop. On several occasions in Acts, a baptized Christian received the gift of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of the hands of an Apostle (see Acts 8:14-17; 19:6). Chrismation is a continuation of that ancient practice in the Church. See article, "Chrismation," at Acts 2.


-(Gr. Ladopano; Sl. knzhma). A piece of white linen for the wrapping of the infant after Baptism.

-The Orthodox preserve it as a sacred object because it signifies the purity and holiness of the baptized Christian.


-The theological study of the person and deeds of Jesus Christ. Linked intrinsically to the study of the Trinity, of whom Christ is confessed as 'One of the Holy Trinity'.


-The living body of Christ, begun in the encounter with Christ in the Spirit, and borne alive throughout history through the testimony of the apostles and the teachings of the seven ecumenical councils. The place of encounter with God in the holy mysteries, which binds the people of God into one community, or ecclesia.

-The faithful are called out of the world to be the Church: the body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the New Israel, the ark of salvation, the assembly of the faithful. Through the Church, Christians are united to Christ and to each other. In this community, the believer receives the grace of God through the sacraments and hears the truth of the gospel. This mystical transformation of people into one body in Christ takes place in the Eucharist. Because Christ is the Head of the Church, the Church is a reflection of the Incarnation, with both human and divine qualities (see 1 Cor. 10:16, 17; Gal. 6:16; Eph. 4:12; 5:22-32).

-The Church consists of the prophets and saints of both the Old and New Covenants, the angels and the concrete, historical community of believers in this earthly life. Those who have gone on before us are known as the Church Triumphant, while those in this life are known as the Church Militant.

-With a place-name: Used to refer to that portion of the Church located in a specific region (e.g. 'the Greek Church', 'the Russian Church'), or a specific city (e.g. 'the Corinthian Church).


-(Gr. Sarantismos). A service of thanksgiving and blessing of women after childbirth.

-In the Orthodox church, this rite is performed on the fortieth day after birth and is reminiscent of the Old Testament ceremony of purification (Lev. 12: 2-8) and the presentation of Jesus at the Temple (Luke 2: 22-29).

Clean Week

-The first full week of Great Lent, following the Sunday of the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise (often known as Forgiveness Sunday). This is normally a week of most stringent fasting; in monasteries there will often be a complete fast for the first three days of the week.


-Those individuals set aside through ordination for service in the Church; from the Greek kleros, or 'allotment, assignment'. The clerical orders, or ranks, are divided into major and minor:

-Major Orders: Those clergy consecrated to the service of the Divine Liturgy and other services of the Church, and her oversight, who receive the charism of this service from the Holy Spirit through ordination. They are:

  • Bishop, including Patriarchs, Metropolitans and Archbishops
  • Presbyter (priest), including Protopresbyters, Hieromonks and Archpriests
  • Deacon, including Protodeacons, Archdeacons and Hierodeacons

-Minor Orders: Those clergy dedicated to other forms of service in the Church, often in assistance to those in major orders, who are dedicated to such service through ordination by tonsure. They are:

  • Subdeacon
  • Reader
  • In some traditions, cantor (chief singer)

-Collectively, all those who serve in any of the ranks of the major or minor orders.


-An heretical perception of the clergy, whereby those in clerical orders are understood as being 'higher' or 'better' than other members of the Church; or in which clergy are understood as a different category of person.


-The Law of God, given first in the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, and completed or fulfilled by the teaching of Christ (Ex. 20:1-17; Matt. 5:1—7:27; John 15:12).


-(Gr. koinonia) A common union of the most intimate kind, enjoyed by Christians with God and with each other in the Church. This communion is especially realized in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist John 6:56; 1 Cor. 10:16, 17).

-The act of participating in and receiving the Eucharist.

-A relationship of intimacy

-Relationally, from the Greek koinonia, referring to personal inter-relatedness.

  • Firstly of the trinitarian relationship of Father, Son and Spirit
  • Of all Christians through their communion in Christ
  • Of the saints, living and departed ('the communion of the saints').

Communion of Saints

-The Orthodox Church believes that all the people of God-members of the Church, either the living on earth or the departed in heaven-are in constant communion and fellowship with each other in faith, grace, and prayers, since they constitute one Body in Christ-the Church.


-(Gr. Apodeipnon; Sl. Velikoye PovecheAye). A worship service performed after dusk.

-It is often combined with Vespers to form an all-night vigil.

-There is a Great Compline and its abridgement, known as Small Compline.


-The avowal or verbal witness of faith in Christ, leading to salvation (Rom. 10:9).

-The sacrament of the forgiveness of sins, whereby the repentant sinner confesses his sins to Christ in the presence of the priest, who pronounces God's absolution of those sins (see article, "Confession," at 1 John; John 20:22, 23; 1 John 1:9).


-A person who defended and publicly confessed the Faith, thereby exposing himself to persecution (Homologetis).


-(Gr. Heirotonia). The ordination of an individual to priesthood through the sacrament of Holy Orders.


-The beginning of salvation, occurring when a person repents, believes the gospel, and enters into a personal relationship with Christ. Conversion is not merely a change of belief but the beginning of a new life in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), which is a process of growth into the image and likeness of God. Our salvation is the working together of conversion, justification, and sanctification throughout life.


-The state of mortality and sinfulness, the universal condition of fallen humanity. All are born into a world suffering the consequences of the Fall, the sin of Adam and Eve. These consequences include physical suffering, death, lack of perfection and a tendency to sin. See Ps. 53:3; Is. 53:6; Rom. 3:23; 1 John 5:19.


-The universe, or "world," created by God from nothing. It is controlled by God; He is the life of the world. Sin has corrupted the entire cosmos, and the rule of evil will not be abolished until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The universe will finally be redeemed by Christ when He comes again to transform the cosmos into a new heaven and a new earth. See Gen. 1:1; Rom. 8:19-22; Rev. 21:1.


-A group of Christians gathered to deliberate and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to administer the Church and decide on various doctrinal, moral, and liturgical questions. The Orthodox Church is conciliar (operating by councils) on all levels, from a parish to a worldwide council. While councils are not seen as infallible, their decisions become part of Church life when they are received by the entire Church. Besides the Jerusalem Council recorded in Acts 15, the Church counts Seven Ecumenical Councils in her history.


-An agreement or testament between men or between God and His people. In the Old Testament, God chose the people of Israel, ending with John the Baptist, to prepare the way for the coming of His Only Begotten Son. Through Christ, the covenant was perfected, and the promises of God to Abraham and the Jews are fulfilled through the Church, the New Israel, the New Covenant people of God. See Gen. 13:14-16; Gal. 3:6-9; 1 Pet. 2:9, 10.


-(Gr. ktisis) Everything made by God. The term creation is applied to the cosmos in general and to mankind in particular. Our regeneration in Christ and the resurrection of the dead are both often called the "new creation." Creation has no existence apart from God, but is nevertheless distinct from God. (That which is not created, such as divine grace, the divine energies, belongs to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.)


-A formal statement of religious belief; a confession of faith.

-Creeds in their earlier forms were used by the apostles, and many are recorded in the New Testament (Eph. 5:14; 1 Tim. 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:11-13).

-When used in an absolute manner (e.g. 'The Creed'), most often refers to the central creed of the Orthodox Church, that formulated by the ecumenical council of Constantinople in AD 381 (though it is often known as the 'Nicene Creed', since the council of Constantinople was in fact revising a creed drafted earlier by the first ecumenical council, held in Nicaea in AD 325).


-(Gr. Ravdos or Pateritsa). The pastoral staff of a bishop, signifying his responsibilities and the authority by which he spiritually rules his flock.


-(Gr. Stephana). A metal crown or wreath made of cloth in the shape of lemon blossoms, with which the priest "crowns" the newlyweds during the sacrament of Matrimony.

-The crowns are white, signifying purity, and represent the power that is given to the newlyweds to become "king and queen" of their home.


-A form of execution of criminals used by the ancient Romans in which the offender is nailed through his wrists and ankles to a cross. A crucified person usually died from suffocation after becoming too exhausted to pull himself up in order to breathe. Besides Christ Himself (Matt. 27:35-50), the Apostles Peter, Andrew, James the Less, and Simon were also crucified.


-(Gr. anathema) To cut off, separate; the opposite of blessing. A divine curse is God's judgment. Christ delivers believers from the curse caused by their inability to live by the law of God (see Gen. 3:14-19; 9:25; Mark 11:21; Gal. 3:10-14).



-Eternity spent in hell under sentence of personal condemnation for rejecting the love and truth of God as revealed perfectly in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. See Matt. 25:31-46; John 3:18.


-A symbol of sin and rejection of God, who is light and whose followers walk in the light of righteousness. See John 1:5; Rom. 13:12.


-A male who has been ordained to the diaconate: the first of the major orders of the clergy. The deacon is characterised in liturgical vesture by the orarion worn over his left shoulder.

-Literally, "servant." Originally seven deacons were ordained to assist the apostles with the temporal affairs of the Church (Acts 6:1-7). This established office has continued in the Church. A deacon assists the bishop and priest, but cannot preside over the Eucharist, give blessings or pronounce absolution. In the New Testament (Rom.16:1) and the early Church, women also served as deacons or deaconesses (1 Tim. 3:813; see note on v. 11).

-Of the ranks of deacon, there are:

Non-monastic deacons:

  • Deacon: The canonical order of clergy
  • Double-orarion: An honorific in the Slavic traditions, normally not awarded earlier than give years after ordination as deacon. This rank is characterised by a double-length orarion, which is crossed diagonally over the deacon's chest (in Greek and Antiochian practices, all deacons are given the double orarion at ordination).
  • Protodeacon: An honorific, given normally not earlier than twenty years after ordination as deacon. Protodeacons are characterised by a broader orarion, on which are sometimes embroidered the words 'Holy, Holy, Holy', in emulation of the cherubic hymn of the angels at the throne of God.

Monastic deacons:

  • Hierodeacon: The title of a monastic who has been ordained a deacon.
  • Archdeacon: Awarded by the patriarch after many years of service. The senior deacon at a patriarchal cathedral may be given the title Archdeacon as a sign of office.


-A pious lay woman assisting in the church as a caretaker or charity worker.

-The practice of using deaconesses in the Church was very ancient; however, it gradually disappeared.

Deacon's Doors

-The doors to the left and right (i.e. north and south) of the central Royal Doors of the iconostasis in the Church. They are called the Deacon's Doors because the deacons most frequently enter and depart from them during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in order to proclaim the litanies from the amvon; though in fact they are the doors used by all the clergy and servers who enter the altar.


-(Gr. Proistamenos). An honorary title given to a presbyter, meaning:

  • the senior priest in a cathedral of a diocese;
  • the senior priest in a large parish;
  • the head of the faculty in a theological seminary.


-The aim of the Christian life, articulated by St Athanasius: 'God became man, that man might become God' (On the incarnation of the Word, 54). Deification refers to the process of being joined to the communion of God in his energies, sanctified by the Holy Spirit into union with Christ.

-The grace of God through which believers grow to become like Him and enjoy intimate communion with the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit

-The act or process of being deified.

-The condition of being deified.


-In some translations, in reference to the nature of God, or God's ousia.

-With the definite article, can at times refer to God ('the Deity').

-In some translations, a synonym for 'godhead'.


-The dead. Following death and judgment, those who have accepted God's truth and love as fully revealed in Christ and the Holy Spirit inherit eternal life in heaven. Those who have rejected His gift inherit eternal darkness. See Luke 16:19-31; Heb. 9:27.


-Satan, the leader of the fallen angels. Called by Jesus the father of lies John 8:44), Satan tempts the faithful to join his rebellion against God. The Greek word for devil means "separator"; he seeks to pull people away from God. Although not evil by nature, the devil turned by his free choice from what was according to nature to what was against it. At the end of time, Christ will judge the devil and his followers and cast them into hell. See Matt. 25:41; Luke 10:18; 1 Pet. 5:8.


-The life of learning, growing, self-sacrifice, and commitment required of every Christian. A Christian not only believes in Christ but leaves everything to follow Him. See Matt. 4:18-22; 7:21-23; Luke 9:23; Gal. 5:24.


-A scattering of people outside their original homeland.

-Those areas of the world where Orthodox Christians live and practice the faith, but which are outside the canonical territory of the autocephalous and autonomous churches.


-A two-branched episcopal candelabrum, denoting the two natures of Jesus Christ (divine and human).

-The Trikeron (triple candleholder) signifies the Holy Trinity.


-The geographic area under the archpastoral care of a ruling bishop.

-Of these, there are multiple types beyond the basic diocese:

  • Archdiocese: A large or important diocese or set of dioceses; usually ruled over by an Archbishop.
  • Metropolis / Metropolitanate: An ancient or large diocese; usually rules over by a Metropolitan. Exarchate: Usually a missionary dicoese.
  • Eparchy: An ecclesiastical province, where the primate of the church has immediate authority.


-A list of the living and departed commemorated during divine services.

-An official roster of the names of the heads of Orthodox jurisdictions read during the liturgy by concelebrating bishops or by the head of an ecclesiastical jurisdiction.


-A footed plate for the eucharistic bread.


-(Gr. Apolysis; Sl. Otpust). The closing prayers and benediction, including the dismissal hymn (Apolytikion), in a church service.

Dismissal Theotokion

-The theotokion appointed to be sung after the troparia at the end of Vespers, after God is the Lord... at Matins and at the end of Matins.

Divine Liturgy

-The central liturgical rite of the Orthodox Church, often known simply as 'The Liturgy' (from the Greek for 'work of the people). Actually refers to a number of different configurations of the Liturgy, based on the central anaphora prayers of the service as traditionally composed by differing authors. The most common variations in use in the Orthodox Church are:

  • The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, the standard Liturgy used on normal Sundays and weekdays throughout most of the year.
  • The Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great, used primarily during Great Lent and on the feast of St Basil, as well as certain other feasts.
  • The Divine Liturgy of St James, used at certain points in the Church year in some places.


-The state or quality of being divine.

-With the definite article, can at times refer to God ('the Divinity')

-Godlike character.

-A type of academic theological degree (a degree in Divinity, as opposed to a degree in Theology, might be characterised by its focus on multiple religious traditions as opposed to Christianity solely - but there is no hard-and-fast characterisation of the distinction).


-The teaching of the Church, called variously the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9), the apostles' doctrine (Acts 2:42), or sound doctrine (Titus 1:9; see 2 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 16:17).


-A doctrine or a corpus of doctrines relating to matters such as morality and faith, set forth in an authoritative manner by the Church.

-An authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or confession, especially one considered to be absolutely true.


-A statement made in definitive doctrinal form by the Church.


-The principle theotokion of each tone.

-It is always used at Sunday Vespers (Saturday evening) at Lord, I have cried... It is used at the same place at Vespers on Friday evening (in the tone of the week) and at Doxology, Polyeleos, and Vigil services (in the tone of the preceeding sticheron).


-The teaching of the Church, called variously the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9), the apostles' doctrine (Acts 2:42), or sound doctrine (Titus 1:9; see 2 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 16:17).


-The hymn chanted after Glory.


-Doxology in Orthodox Christian practice refers to a short verse or hymn praising God. The word comes from the Greek doxa, meaning glory, and logos, meaning word or speaking.

- Doxologies are a continuation of the practice of praising God in the pre-Christian Jewish synagogues.

-A hymn of great antiquity, beginning with the words of the angels, Glory to God in the highest...

-Its use is appointed at Compline, Midnight Office and Matins. There are two variations, one of which is sung (also known as the "Great Doxology"), the other of which is read.



-(Gr. Dikephalos aitos; Sl. Orletz). Small circular rug or permanent design on the church's floor, presenting a double-headed eagle with outstretched wings soaring over a city.

-It signifies the watchfulness and authority of the bishop over his diocese.

-The double-headed eagle was also the symbol of the Byzantine Empire.


-The Christian feast of the resurrection of Christ. See below, Pascha, for full definition.

-The day on which this feast is observed, the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or next after the vernal equinox, after the conclusion of the Jewish Passover.

-As 'Eastertide' (Paschaltide), the period of time between the feast of the Resurrection and the leavetaking of Pascha, on the eve of the Ascension.


-(Gr. "the gathering of the people"). The gathering of the faithful at the church for worship and fellowship;

-The church where the liturgy is celebrated;

-The Church as the Body of Christ.


-The branch of theology or history that is concerned with the nature, constitution, and functions of the Church.

-Articulation of the structure and working of the Church.


-Of worldwide scope or applicability; universal (from the Greek oikoumene, meaning 'of the whole household'; also has a history of imperial usage as refering to the extent of the Byzantine Empire).

-Of or relating to the whole of the Orthodox Christian.

-In reference to the councils of the Church, refers to those councils deemed universal in their dogmatic and doctrinal authority.

In the Orthodox Church these are seven:

  • I Nicaea, AD 325
  • I Constantinople, AD 381
  • Ephesus, AD 431
  • Chalcedon, AD 451
  • II Constantinople, AD 553
  • III Constantinople, AD 680-681 (including the decrees and canons of the Quinisext council [the council in Trullo] of 692, considered by the Orthodox Church as part of the canonical output of the sixth ecumenical council of III Constantinople)
  • II Nicaea, AD 787

-Churches of the Oriental Orthodox Communion accept the first three of the above councils as authoritative, but not the subsequent.

-Roman Catholic Churches accept the above councils, with the exception of the Quinisext council of 692.

-With respect of inter-church relations, concerned with establishing or promoting unity among churches or religions.

Ecumenical Patriarchate

-The "First Among Equals" of all the Orthodox autocephalous churches, it was founded by St. Andrew the Apostle.


-The movement of Christian Churches toward a mutual understanding of their problems and the concept of unity and love willed by Christ.


-Hymn chanted while the clergy enter the sanctuary during the Little Entrance at the Divine Liturgy.


-(Gr. "long" or "elongated"). A type of petition or litany used in Orthodox services, particularly in the liturgy.

-They refer to the world in general, peace, leadership, and those in need. The response to an ektenial petition is "Lord have mercy."


-The opening portion of the Divine Liturgy, from “Blessed is the kingdom…through the thrice-holy hymn.


-(Gr. "moving in a circle"; "circulating"). A letter by the head of an Orthodox jurisdiction (Archbishop or Patriarch) to those under his spiritual authority.

-The content of such a letter may vary, but it must refer to specific administrative or spiritual topics concerning the faithful.


-Used theologically, that which radiates from the hidden essence or nature of God. The energies of God, such as grace, are not created, and allow the believer to enter into a personal relationship with God while preserving the unique character of God, whose essence always remains hidden from humanity. Moses was permitted to see the glory of God, His energies, but was forbidden to gaze on the face of God, His hidden essence. See Ex. 33:18-23; 2 Pet. 1:2-4.


-(Gr. "blessing for renewal"). The ceremony of consecration of a new church, conducted only by a bishop.

-It is performed before the Eucharist, and it mainly consists of the washing of the Holy Table of the altar, the depositing of relics in it, and the blessing of the church icons.


-Pectoral icon worn by bishops.


-(Gr. Eisodos). The solemn procession of the celebrating clergy carrying the Gospel at the liturgy, after the antiphons (Small Entrance), and carrying the Holy Gifts during the chanting of the cherubic hymn (Great Entrance).


-Resurrection Gospel chanted at Sunday Orthros and those hymns that are dependent upon it.


-The monastic black veil hanging over the back of the kalymafki of a celibate Orthodox clergyman, especially the prelate of a church (see kalymafki).

-Some Orthodox prelates of Slavic background wear white epanokalymafko.


-Monastic black cap and veil.


-(Gr. "province, region"). An ecclesiastical jurisdiction headed by a bishop, metropolitan, or archbishop.


-(Gr. "on the knee"; Sl. Palitsa or Nabedrennik). An oblong or rhomboidal vestment (approx. 12 x 12 inches) suspended from the belt and hung over the right side above the knee of a clergyman of higher rank.

-It signifies the cloth used by Christ to wipe his disciples' feet before the Last Supper and also signifies the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

-Diamond-shaped piece of liturgical vesture suspended to hang on the right thigh, common to bishops and certain priests.


-(Gr. Epiklesis). Special prayer or petition by the Priest to "invoke" or to call upon the Holy Spirit, in order that God's Grace will descend for the consecration of the Holy Gifts at the Eucharist.


-Wrist-cuff worn as liturgical vesture, common to bishops, priests, and deacons.


-Literally, "a breaking through from above"; the word means a manifestation of God. Examples of epiphanies are the burning bush (Ex. 3:1-6) and the Transfiguration of Christ (Matt. 17:1-13). Twelve days after Christmas, the Church celebrates the Feast of Epiphany to honor the manifestation of the Holy Trinity at the Baptism of Christ (Mark 1:9-11).

-A liturgical feast:

  • One of the Great Feast of the Church year, third in rank after Pascha and Pentecost, known in the Orthodox Church as the Feast of Theophany. See full definition under Theophany, below.
  • In western Christian communions, the feast celebrating the manifestation of the divine nature of Jesus to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi, usually observed on 6th January.

-A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something.

-A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realisation.


-The branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, its extent and validity.

-Considerations of the nature of knowledge and knowing.


-A letter, especially a formal one.

-A literary composition in the form of a letter.

-Of scriptural books:

  • One of the letters included as a book in the New Testament (see above, canon).
  • An excerpt from one of these letters, read during the divine services of the Church.

-In modern practice, a letter composed by a bishop to his diocese, or by a patriarch to the whole of his church, at various occasions throughout the ecclesiastical year.


-The order of bishops in the Church (from Gr. episkopos, "overseer"). See also BISHOP.

Episcopal Throne

-Bishop’s throne on the south end of the solea.


-Large, cloth icon of the entombed Christ.


-(Gr. "on the tomb"; Sl. Plaschanitsa). The winding sheet on which the dead body of Christ is sewn or painted, representing his shroud.

-An ornamented bier representing the tomb of Christ. On Good Friday, the Epitaphios is placed on the bier, which is adorned with flowers, and is carried in a procession representing the funeral of Christ.

-The special service on Good Friday evening commemorating the burial of Christ.


-(Gr. "about the neck"). One of the most important vestments, hanging from the neck down to the feet. An Orthodox priest must wear this particular vestment to perform a sacrament.

-Liturgical stole common to bishops and priests.

-The distinctive liturgical garment of the priest: a long stole wrapped around the neck and descending down over the chest to the ground, with its two sides sewn together. It symbolises 'the beard of Aaron'.

Equal to the Apostles

-(Gr. Isapostolos). An honorary title given to saints such as St. Constantine and Sts. Cyril and Methodios for their missionary work in the Church.


-The study of the last days (Gr. eschaton). According to the Holy Scriptures, Christ will come again at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, destroy the power of evil, and fully reveal the everlasting Kingdom (Matt. 25:3146; Rev. 20:10—21:1). See also SECOND COMING.


-The end times, referring to the 'last days' of fallen existence.

-Adjectivally, referring to a doctrine or statement concerning the last days.


-(Gr. ousia) Also translated as substance, nature or being. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are "of one essence." Jesus Christ is "of one essence" with God the Father and the Holy Spirit in His divinity, and "of one essence" with all human beings in His humanity. God's essence is beyond the understanding and comprehension of His creatures. God can be known by humans through the divine energies and operations of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Ex. 33:18-23). See also ENERGY.


-Colloquially, time without beginning or end; infinite time.

-Theologically, existence beyond time, beyond the constraints of beginning or end.

-The timeless state following death.

-The afterlife; immortality.


-The origin and historical development of a linguistic form as shown by determining its basic elements, earliest known use, and changes in form and meaning, tracing its transmission from one language to another, identifying its cognates in other languages, and reconstructing its ancestral form where possible.

-The branch of linguistics that deals with etymologies.


-Taken from a Greek word meaning "thanksgiving," Eucharist designates Holy Communion. At the Last Supper Christ gave thanks (Matt. 26:27; 1 Cor. 11:24), and embodied in the communion service is our Own thanksgiving. The word came into use very early, as exemplified by its use in the writings of the apostles ("Now concerning the Eucharist...." Didache 9:1) and the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch (Ign. Phil. 4:1, about A.D. 107).

-The central mystery (sacrament) of the Church, in which consecrated gifts of bread and wine are offered to Christ, returned as his true body and blood, which the faithful receive after a preparation of strict ascesis, including fasting and confession. The eucharistic sacrament is celebrated as the Divine Liturgy, the central liturgical service of the Church. Also known as Communion.

-The consecrated elements of the Eucharistic rite: the Body and Blood of Christ.

-May also refer to the service of the Divine Liturgy, including the reception of the holy gits; as in the prayer of thanksgiving after communion: 'May this holy Eucharist be for me a healing gift...'.


-(Gr. "the book of prayers"; Sl. Sluzhebnik). A liturgical book used by the clergy, containing the various services, sacraments, and prayers required for the administration of sacraments and other ceremonies and services of the Church.


-The proclamation of the evangelion, the 'good news' of redemption. In Orthodox praxis this takes the form of proclamation of the gospel texts and the eucharistic mission of Communion in Christ. Of or pertaining to the missionary work of bringing the encounter with Christ to those yet to experience it, or in need of experiencing it more fully.


-Any one of the authors of the four New Testament gospel books: Sts Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

-One who practices evangelism, or the proclamation of the life in Christ and the conversion of Christ's creation to his Body, the Church.


-Hymns having the refrain, “Blessed art thou, O Lord; teach me thy statutes.”


-The hymn chanted after the cannon and before the praises at Orthros.

-It refers to Christ's activity after the Resurrection, particularly His dispatching of the disciples to preach to the world.


-(Gr. "six-winged angels"). Metallic banners adorned with representations of angels, which are carried at various processions during church services.


-(Gr. "representative with full authority"). The head of an ecclesiastical jurisdiction, usually an Archbishop, representing the head of the Church (i.e., Patriarch) in the administration of a national Church.


-Literally, "out of communion." This judgment is pronounced by the Church on willfully heretical, immoral, or divisive persons who refuse to repent of their sins, it excludes them from the sacramental life of the Church (1 Cor. 5:1-5) Excommunication is not viewed as eternal damnation but a discipline pertaining only to this life. It is administered for the salvation of the person cut off from communion, with the hope that this act will ultimately bring the sinner to repentance.


-Critical explanation or analysis, especially of a text. From the Greek ex + ago, 'to draw out' (i.e. a meaning).


-Black outer clerical robe having a full body and long, wide sleeves.



-Belief and trust in Christ as one's Savior. The effects of this faith are freedom from the power of the devil, the attainment of virtue, and progress toward perfection and union with God. One is saved by faith through grace—a living faith manifested by a righteous life (see article, "Justification by Faith," at Rom. 5; Rom. 3:28; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8; James 2:14 17).


-The Processional Fan, bearing an Icon of the Holy Angels, held by the Altar-Servers, over the Icons, Gospels, the Holy Gifts, etc. during the Divine Services.


-To abstain 'from food and transgressions', according to the ascetical understanding of the Church.

  • To eat very little or abstain from certain foods.
  • To refrain from certain activities.
  • To increase attentiveness to prayer, almsgiving, and other acts of virtue.

-To abstain intentionally from anything (e.g. 'She is fasting from internet activity')

-Indefinitly ('a fast') refers to any period of fasting defined by the Church or in a personal spiritual rule. The Church sets out the following standard fasts:

  • Every Wednesday (in commemoration of the betrayal of Christ) and Friday (in commemoration of his crucifixion); with certain exceptions during the year (e.g. during Bright Week)
  • In monastic contexts, every Monday (in commemoration of the holy angels, whose life monastics strive to emulate)
  • Great Lent, often known as 'The Fast': the six weeks leading up to Pascha.
  • The Nativity Fast: the forty days from 15th / 28th November to 24th December / 6th January, in anticipation of the Feast of the Nativity of Christ (Christmas). This fast is sometimes called St Philip's Fast, as it commences on this saint's feast day.
  • The Apostles' Fast: From the week following Pentecost (variable dating, depending on the date of Pascha) until the feast of Sts Peter and Paul (29th June / 12th July).
  • The Dormition Fast: The two weeks leading up to the feast of the dormition of the Mother of God (15th / 28th August).

-With the definite article, as 'The Fast', usually refers to Great Lent.


-An ascetic exercise whereby one gives up certain foods, usually meat and dairy products, as a means of disciplining the body.

-Fasting is a part of the ascetic life and a sign of repentance.


-God the Father is one of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. God the Son is eternally begotten of God the Father. God the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from God the Father (see Matt. 28:19; John 14:10; 15:26).

-"Father" is a title given to one's spiritual father based on the custom of the Jews, who spoke of their father Abraham or their father David, and on the words of Paul, who called himself the father of his flock.

Fathers of the Church

-(Gr. Pateres). Pious and educated individuals, most of them bishops, who lived during the first eight centuries of Christianity.

-They wrote extensively about, taught, explained, and defended the faith of the Church. The most important Orthodox Fathers are St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. John Chrysostom, St. Athanasius the Great, St. Cyril of Alexandria, and St. John of Damascus.


-A day dedicated to the commemoration of a specific saint or event.

-Of these, the Orthodox Church numbers twelve as Great Feasts, or those of particular, central significance. Seven of these are dedicated to Christ, and five to the Mother of God:

  • 8th / 21stSeptember, the Nativity of the Mother of God
  • 14th / 27th September, the Elevation of the Holy Cross
  • 21st November / 4th December, the Presentation of the Mother of God in the temple
  • 25th December / 7th January, the Nativity of Christ (Christmas)
  • 6th / 19th January, Theophany, the Baptism of Christ (Feast of the Holy Trinity)
  • 2nd / 15th February, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple
  • 25th March / 7th April, the Annunciation to the Mother of God
  • The Sunday before Pascha, Palm Sunday
  • Forty Days after Pascha, the Ascension of Christ
  • Fifty Days after Pascha, Pentecost
  • 6th / 19th August, the Transfiguration
  • 15th / 28th August, the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Mother of God

-Other feasts are celebrated throughout the Church's year.

-A large, elaborately prepared meal, usually for many persons and often accompanied by entertainment; a banquet.

-Superlatively, as 'The Feast of Feasts', refers to the celebration of Pascha; an expression found in the Paschal hymnody.


- Literally, "communion"; the unity of believers through Christ based on the fellowship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christians are united into a special fellowship through their love for one another and common union with Christ (Acts 2:42; 1 John 1:3, 7). See also COMMUNION.


-A Latin word meaning "and the Son." Western churches began adding this word to the Nicene Creed several centuries after it was written: "I believe In the Holy Spirit . . . who proceeds from the Father and the Son."

This "filioque clause" is judged by the Orthodox Church as error because it is contrary to what Jesus taught (John 15:26); thus, it confuses correct belief concerning the Holy Trinity.

The addition of the filioque in the West was a major factor contributing to the Great Schism m A . D . 1054.


-In New Testament usage, flesh refers to fallen human nature, which, through its ties to the world and mortality, struggles against spiritual growth and leads one into sin. Christians are called to subdue the lusts of the flesh so that they may grow in union with Christ (see Rom. 8:4 9; Gal. 5:16-24).

-In Christology, flesh refers to the sinless human nature of Christ, or the Body of Christ. In liturgical usage, there is reference to the flesh of Christ in the Eucharist.


-The days leading up to a feast of the Lord or Theotokos. During a forefeast, hymns of preperation for the feast replace those from the Octoechos.


-The remission of sin and guilt through the love of Christ.

-Forgiveness is given originally in baptism; forgiveness for continuing sin is reclaimed through repentance. As God has forgiven the sins of believers, so are Christians to forgive those who have sinned against them (Matt. 6:14, 15; 18:21-35; 1 John 1:9).

Forgiveness Sunday

-The name sometimes given to the Sunday of the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise; that is, the last Sunday before the beginning of Great Lent.

-It takes this more common name from the Vespers of Forgiveness celebrated in the evening, which in the Slavic tradition contains the Rite of Mutual Forgiveness, which many consider the liturgical starting-point of Lent.


-The sin of sexual intercourse outside of marriage The word is also applied to polygamy and to many successive marriages.

-The Greek term means sexual immorality in general. Fornication is strongly condemned in Scripture (see 1 Cor. 6:16 18; Gal. 5:19; Col. 3:5.)

Free Will

-The freedom to choose between good and evil, between God and sin which is one aspect of humanity created in the image of God.

-According to Orthodox teaching, sin stains the image of God but does not destroy it. Human beings may choose to accept or reject the gospel, but must suffer the consequences of their decision (see Gen. 3:22, 23; Rev. 3:20).



-A non-Jew. Christ and His Apostles preached the gospel first to the Jews, who were chosen by God to prepare the way for the Messiah. Christ died for all, Jew and Gentile; thus, salvation is offered to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. Those Gentiles who believe in Christ become the true sons of Abraham, who was chosen by God before the Law was given. See Acts 11; 15:1-29; Rom. 1:16; Gal. 3:6-9.


-Charismatic or spiritual gifts are blessings and abilities given by the Holy Spirit to believers for the building up of the body of Christ. The gifts of the Spirit serve the general good of the whole Church. It is possible to confuse spiritual gifts with natural talents and emotions, or to misuse the genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit, resulting in pride and self-righteousness. For this reason, the Orthodox Church has always stressed humility and obedience to spiritual authority in the use of the gifts.

-Note that the Holy Spirit Himself is a gift (Rom. 5:5), as are baptism and the other sacraments. See Rom. 12:6 8; 1 Cor. 12; 13; 1 John 3:24.


-The divine splendor of God, or a specific manifestation of God's presence frequently likened to a cloud, smoke, or brilliant light. To serve and worship God is to glorify Him. Through the Holy Spirit, Christians are being changed to be like God and to reflect His glory. (See Ex. 19:9, 16-18; Is. 60:1; Luke 2:9; Rom. 8:16 18; 2 Cor. 3:18; 4:6.) See also SHEKINAH.


-Literally, "speaking in tongues." St. Paul uses the term to describe not an emotional experience but a spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12:10), though not one of the higher gifts (1 Cor. 14:1-5). At Pentecost the gift was given to allow those present to hear the gospel in their native language (Acts 2:6); in Corinth, the gift is an ecstatic utterance (1 Cor. 14:2). The Apostle warns against too much emphasis on this experience, urging instead that believers seek to manifest love (1 Cor. 13:1) and communicate the gospel intelligibly (1 Cor. 14:19). Glossolalia has never played a significant role in historic Orthodox spirituality. See 1 Cor. 12—14.


-A very complex ancient heresy that was manifested in many different forms and beliefs.

-The Gnostics taught that Christ had imparted secret knowledge "gnosis," to a select few, who in turn transmitted hidden truths to an elite. Central to Gnosticism is the denial of the goodness of matter, leading to a denial of the reality of the Incarnation of the Son of God and of His bodily Resurrection.

-Several schools of Gnosticism taught that salvation consisted of liberation from the physical body and of growth to a higher, non-physical, spiritual level of existence. Orthodoxy has always rejected Gnosticism, teaching that the world and man were created good and will be redeemed by Christ and transformed at the end of this age (Gen. 1:1-31; Rom. 8:1922; I Cor. 15:35-55; Rev. 21:1).


-(Godfather, Gr. Nounos; Godmother, Gr. Nouna).

-Sponsors at Baptism and Chrismation taking the responsibility for the faith and spiritual development of the newly-born Christian.

-The Orthodox people highly regard the spiritual bond and relationship between godparents and their godchildren, and marriage between them is prohibited (see affinity).

Gold Cross

-A type of pectoral cross; see below, Pectoral Cross, for fuller definition.


-Literally, "the good news." The term comes from the ancient title announcing the ascension of a new ruler to the throne. The Christian gospel is summarized in the statement, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Matt. 3:2; 4:17).


-The gift of God's own presence and action in His creation. Through grace, God forgives sins and transforms the believer into His image and likeness. Grace is not merely unmerited favor—an attitude of God toward the believer.

-Grace is God's uncreated energy bestowed in the sacraments and is therefore truly experienced. A Christian is saved through grace, which is a gift of God and not a reward for good works. However, because grace changes a person, he or she will manifest the effects of grace through righteous living. See John 1:17; Rom. 5:21; Eph. 1:7; 2:8; 2 Thess. 1:12; 1 Pet. 5:5.

Great Lent

-The liturgical season covering the six weeks before Pascha (Easter), beginning on Forgiveness Sunday and culminating in Holy Week; sometimes known as 'The Great Fast' or simply 'The Fast'. This period is characterised by attentiveness to asceticism and fasting.

-In western Christian traditions, the corresponding season of Lent: the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday until Easter.

Guardian Angel

-(Gr. Phylakas Angelos). The Orthodox believe that certain angels are appointed by God at baptism to guide and protect each faithful person. A prayer of the Orthodox Liturgy asks for "an angel of Peace, a faithful guide and guardian of our soul and bodies."



-A Greek word equivalent to the Hebrew Sheol—the realm of the dead. Following His burial and before His glorious Resurrection, Christ liberated the righteous dead in Hades, enabling them to enter Paradise because He had destroyed sin and death by His life-giving death (1 Pet. 3:18-20).

Hagia Sophia

-(Gr. Agia Sophia). The Cathedral of Constantinople in which the Ecumenical Patriarchs and Byzantine Emperors were enthroned.

-It is the greatest Orthodox church, dedicated to the Holy Wisdom of God. It was built by the emperor Justinian in the year 532 A.D.; its architecture is an outstanding example of the so-called Byzantine Orthodox order.


-(Gr. Hagiologia). The writings of the Church Fathers and the study of the lives of the saints. The Orthodox Church is a reservoir of such writings, which the faithful are urged to read for their spiritual growth and development.


-(or Chatzis; fem. Hatjina; Ar. "pilgrim"). A title or name given to those who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and are "baptized" in the Jordan River.

-Such a pilgrim may assume the title of Hatjis for the rest of his or her life. One also may attach this word before the baptismal name to produce a variation such as Hatji-Yiorgis or Hatji-Yiannis. Such names often become surnames, especially common among Greeks.


-In scriptural terms, the spiritual center of one's being. The heart is the seat of divine presence and grace and the source of moral acts. The transformation of the heart is the major work of God's saving grace. See Matt. 5:8; 6:21; 22:37; Luke 6:45; John 7:38; Rom. 2:29; 10:9, 10; Heb. 13:9.


-The abode of God, the angels, and the souls of those who are vouchsafed salvation.

-An eternal state of communion with God; everlasting bliss.

-The sky or universe as seen from the earth; the firmament. Often used in the plural.


-The existence of eternal broken communion with God and creation; often equivalent to 'damnation'.

-In some loose expression, a state of separation from God; exclusion from God's presence (but cf. Psalm 118).

-In apocalyptic writing, often spatial: the abode of condemned souls; the place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death, presided over by Satan.

-In ancient texts, the abode of the dead, identified with the Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades.


-(Gr. "new and personal belief or idea"). The denial or rejection of a revealed dogma or belief accepted and professed by the Church. An individual who begins a heresy is a heretic and is excommunicated.

-Following one's own choice or opinion instead of divine truth preserved by the Church, so as to cause division among Christians. Heresy is a system of thought which contradicts true doctrine. It is false teaching, which all true Christians must reject (Matt. 7:15; 2 Pet. 2:1).

-Colloquially, often taken as the opposite of Orthodoxy.

Heretismoi. (see Akathistos hymn).

Hermit. (see Anchorite).


-A spiritual movement in the Byzantine Empire (fourteenth century) developed on Mount Athos, Greece.

-The term means "to be quiet" and signifies the system of spiritual development through meditation, contemplation, and perfection to the degree of absolute union with God (theosis).

-It is one of the forms of Orthodox Mysticism and is still practiced in the Orthodox world.


-Different, alien, and presumably false belief or teaching.

-The Orthodox Church describes as such all other Christian denominations.


-The higher clergy or College of bishops who are assigned to rule over spiritual matters of the church.

High Place

-The holy part of the Church, located in the eastern most section of the Church "behind" the Holy Altar Table.

-Whenever a server passes from one side of the altar through the High Place, he always crosses himself.

-Prior to any Entrances, etc. Altar-Servers reverently gather at the High Place.


-Literally, "set apart" or separated unto God; also, blessed, righteous, sinless. The word, therefore, refers to God as the source of holiness, to the Church and its sacraments, to worshipers of the true God, and to those of outstanding virtue. Those who are transformed by the Holy Spirit become holy as God is holy (Rom. 12:1; 1 Pet. 1:14 16; 2:9).

Holy Mountain (See above, Athos.)

Holy Spirit

The third person of the Holy Trinity, whom the Creed confesses is 'the Lord, the giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the Prophets'.

Holy Water

-Gr. Agiasmos). Water blessed at the service of the "Great Blessing" on the feast day of Epiphany (Jan. 6) or on other occasions (Small Blessing).

-It is used for the blessing of people, as at Holy Communion, or for the blessing of things for their well-being.

Holy Week

-The week at the conclusion of Great Lent, immediately before Pascha, known fully as 'The Great and Holy Week of the Passion of the Lord'. It begins with the Sunday of Palms and culminates in Holy Saturday.

Holy Wisdom. (see Hagia Sophia).


-A sermon, especially one intended to edify the faithful in advance of reception of the holy Eucharist. Homilies are generally understood in the Orthodox Church to be liturgical in dimension, delivered as part of the Divine Liturgy as preparation for reception of the holy gifts.

-Pejoratively, a tedious moralizing lecture or admonition.


-An expectation of something desired.

-Christian hope is trust and confidence in the eternal goodness of God, a faith that Christ has overcome the suffering of this world. God is both the cause and goal of hope (John 16:20-24, 33; Rom. 5:2; 8:24, 25; 2 Thess. 2:16).


(Gr. "Book of the Hours"; Sl. Chasoslov). The Liturgical book containing the services and prayers of the different hours of the day, i.e., Compline, Matins, Vespers, and the Office of the Hours (see hours).


-In Orthodox monasteries, monks maintain special services for the main hours of the day. Each hour commemorates a special event, as follows:

  • First hour (6:00 A.M.): Thanksgiving for the new morning and prayer for a sinless day.
  • Third hour (9:00 A.M.): the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
  • Sixth hour (12:00 noon): the nailing of Christ to the Cross.
  • Ninth hour (3:00 P.M.): the death of Christ.


-A liturgical text intended to be sung. The most common short forms are the troparion and the kontakion.

Hymn of Ascents

-Tese hymns in each of the Eight Tones, are chanted at Sunday Matins immediately before the Prokeiminon.

-They are divided into three antiphons (but four in the case of the eighth tone), each antiphon being made up of three troparia.

-At weekday vigils, for both saints and feasts, the first antiphon of the Hymns of Ascents of the fourth tone is used.

-Also known as Hymns of Degrees, Antiphons


-The corpus of the Church's hymns and musical texts.

-The practice of singing hymns and liturgical texts in the divine services of the Church.


-A hymn sung at Matins on certain Great Feasts and Sundays: (1) On Great Feasts it occurs after the third tone of the canon. (2) On Sundays it comes at the end of the reading of the kathismata (i.e., after the Evlogitaria of the Resurrection and the Small Litany).


-A technical theological term for "person" or something which has an individual existence.

-The word is used to describe the three Persons of the Godhead: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

-Hypostasis is also used to describe the one Person of Christ, who is both truly divine and truly human.



-A hymn having its own unique melody and not used as a model for any other hymns. Most of these melodies have been lost. Idiomela, therefore, are generally chanted in the appointed tone.


-Image. Christ is "the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15). Because Christ is God who became Man, He can Himself be pictured or imaged. Thus, icons of Christ— together with those of His saints - express the reality of the Incarnation. Orthodox Christians honor or venerate icons, but never worship them, for worship is due to God alone. The honor given to icons passes on to the one represented on the icon, as a means of thanksgiving for what God has done in that person's life.

-A representation or picture of a sacred or sanctified Christian person or event, usually in paint but sometimes in mosaic.

-Used liturgically in the Orthodox Church and in the veneration of Christians at home.

-The mystical image of God in humankind; i.e. the 'image of God' (cf. Genesis 1.26-28).


-(Gr. "the breaking of icons"). It refers to the conflict in the Byzantine Empire between 727 and 843 over the use of icons in the church.

-The Seventh Ecumenical Council (787 and 843) decreed the use of icons, following in the main teaching of St. John of Damascus.


-The study and the art of painting of icons.

In the Orthodox Church, iconography was developed mainly in the monasteries, which became the centers of its study and development.


-From the Greek for 'icon-stand': the screen or wall of icons that separates the Altar (sanctuary) from the Nave in an Orthodox Church.

-The iconostasis normally has three doors: the central Royal Doors, immediately in front of the Holy Table; and the two Deacon's Doors.

-On the Royal Doors are normally depicted the Annunciation of the Mother of God and the four Evangelists, while to the left of these doors (from the perspective of the priest facing the people) is the icon of Christ, and to his right is the icon of the Mother of God.


-A statue or other image of a false god; also, anything that is worshiped in place of the one true God. Money, possessions, fame, even family members can become idols if we put them ahead of God (see Lev. 26:1; Col. 3:5).


-This is a short composition that follows the Kontakion, between the Sixth and Seventh Odes of the Canon.


-(or Eiliton, Gr.). The silk cloth used to wrap the corporal (or antiminsion).


-Enlightenment. In the Bible, darkness is often used as an image of sin and death. To be illuminated is to be shown the true path of righteousness in God, thereby being led out of the darkness of sin and death.

Baptism is called illumination, because in it we are delivered from sin and death and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. See Ezra 9:8; Ps. 13:3; 18:28; Eph. 1:18.


-(Gr. eikon) Literally, "icon." The Bible teaches that man was created in the image and likeness of God.

-Men and women reflect the divine image in their ability to reason and to rule nature, and in freedom of action. Although sin has darkened or stained God's image, it has not annihilated it. Through Christ, the image of God is renewed in man as believers are transformed by the grace of the Holy Spirit. See Gen. 1:26; Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18. See also ICON.


-"God is with us," a title of Christ the Messiah, God in the flesh (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:22, 23).


-Eternal life. Those who follow Christ will rise to eternal life with Him in heaven; those who reject Him will be resurrected to eternity in hell (John 3:16-18; 5:26-29).


-From Latin, meaning "to become flesh." Christ is God Incarnate: He became flesh—that is, human—thereby sanctifying human flesh and reuniting all humanity to God.

-Literally, 'enfleshed, embodied'; theologically, 'made human'.

-Of the Son of God, invested with human nature and for the salvation of humankind.

-According to Orthodox doctrine, Jesus Christ is perfect God and perfect Man (Luke 1:26 38; John 1:1-14; Phil. 2:5-7).


-The act of becoming incarnate.

-The doctrine that the Son of God was conceived in the womb of the Mother of God, and that Jesus is true God and true man.

-In other religious contexts: a bodily manifestation of a supernatural being.

-One who is believed to personify a given abstract quality or idea.


-The sap of the frankincense tree, or other aromatic substances, dried and burned in honor of God.

-The offering of incense has been associated with the worship of God since God commanded Moses to burn incense to Him in the tabernacle. The prophet Malachi (1:11) predicts, "among the Gentiles [the Church] . . . incense shall be offered . . ." The Magi offered frankincense to the infant Christ.

-Incense manifests the prayers of the saints as they ascend to heaven. It is found in every revelation of the worship of God in heaven. See Ex. 30:1-8; Matt. 2:9-11; Rev. 5:8.

Infant Baptism

-There are numerous biblical passages which support the ancient Christian practice of infant baptism, which was universal in the Church until the Anabaptist reaction after the Protestant Reformation. Among these are: "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 19:14); the baptism of whole households and families, presumably including children (Acts 16:14, 15, 25 33); and Paul's comparison between circumcision, which was given to infants, and baptism (Col. 2:11, 12). See John 3:3-6; Rom. 6:3, 4; Gal. 3:27; 1 Pet. 3:21.


-Supplication to God in behalf of another person.

-Christ intercedes before God the Father in behalf of the repentant sinner, and God's people intercede for one another (see Is. 53:12; Jer. 27:18; Rom. 8:34).


-The hymn sung at the Small Entrance in the Liturgy, as the clergy enter the Sanctuary.

-There is a standard Introit beginning O come let us worship... which is used on most days; certain Great Feasts have a special Introit, which is said by the deacon or priest. Also known as Entrance Hymn.


-The opening hymn of each ode of a canon.

-This is the Theme Song of each Ode of the Canon. The word Irmos means link, since originally the Troparia that followed it were sung in the same rhythm, and thus were linked to it.



-The incarnate Son of the Father, second person of the Trinity, whose life is the substance of the Church.

Jesus Prayer

-Also called the 'Prayer of the Heart': a short, ascetic prayer uttered repeatedly; known in form as an 'arrow prayer'.

-It has been widely used, taught and discussed throughout the history of Orthodox Christianity.

-The precise words of the prayer vary, from the most simple being simply the holy Name, 'Jesus', to the more common extended form: 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'


-Originally one of God's chosen people who followed the covenant given to Moses by God. In the Old Testament, the Jews are (1) citizens of Judah; (2) the postexilic people of Israel; or (3) the worshipers of Yahweh.

-God chose the Jews to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God.

-Through Christ the distinction between Jew and Gentile has been overcome, and all those who follow Him have become the true chosen people of God. See Acts 22:3; Rom. 1:16; 2:28, 29; Gal. 3:28; 1 Pet. 2:9.


-In the biblical sense, God's decision on the worthiness of one to enter heaven or to be condemned to hell.

-Following death, all will be judged, and Christ will return again to confirm that judgment.

-Because of sin, no one can earn a place in heaven by his own righteousness. However, through Christ, sin is forgiven and overcome, and those who have followed Him are granted a place in heaven. See Matt. 25:31 46; John 5:24; 16:8-11; Heb. 9:27; Rev. 20:11-15.


-In ecclesiology: The territorial region overseen by a specific bishop, or the territorial extent of a Diocese.

-Also the overlapping boundries of dioceses under differing mother patriarchates; a phenomenon particular to the diaspora.

-The right and the authority of a bishop to rule over his diocese as a spiritual overseer. It includes legislative, judicial, and executive authority, which can be exercised only by individuals who have been canonically ordained and appointed to rule over the jurisdiction in question.


-The act whereby God forgives the sins of a believer and begins to transform him or her into a righteous person.

-No person can earn justification by works of righteousness, for justification is the gift of God given to those who respond to the gospel with faith.

-God also helps those who cooperate with His grace to become righteous.

Saving faith is not mere belief but a commitment to Christ that is manifested by works of righteousness.


Kalymauki or kamilafki

-The black cylindrical hat worn by Orthodox clergy.

-The black monastic veil (epanokalynafkon) worn by the celibate clergy at various services or ceremonies is attached to the kalymauki (see Epanokalymafkon).


-Liturgical hymn

-The twenty stanzas into which the Orthodox Psalter is divided.

-The second kanon of the Matins.


-Literally, "emptying." The word is associated with humility or humiliation.

-God the Word humbled Himself by becoming man (with no change in His divinity), suffering death on the Cross for the world and its salvation (Phil. 2:5-8).


-(Gr. "message; preaching"). Proclaiming or preaching the word of God in the manner of the Apostles.

-It is a method of church instruction centered mainly on Christ and the concept of salvation.

Kingdom of Gos

-God's rule over the world, showing (1) His absolute sovereignty as Creator and (2) His sovereignty over the faithful who voluntarily submit to Him.

-The Kingdom of God was made manifest by Christ and is present in the world through the Church. The fullness of the Kingdom will come when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead, creating anew heaven and earth. See Mark 1:15; John 3:3 5; Rom. 8:20, 21; 1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Rev. 21:1—22:5.

Kiss of Peace

-A kiss on the cheek or the shoulder given by one believer to another as a sign of Christian unity and fellowship (see 1 Cor. 16:20).

-The clergy, and in some places the faithful, exchange the kiss of peace before saying the Nicene Creed during the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church.


-Knowing and experiencing the truth of God and salvation through Jesus Christ.

-Spiritual knowledge (1) is frequently identified with Christian doctrine; (2) is applied to the spiritual meaning of the Scripture; and (3) refers to mystical and contemplative knowledge, not merely intellectual knowledge of God.

-Its aim and effects are to enhance man's responsibility, to aid in discernment of good and evil, and to lead people to God. See Luke 12:47, 48; 1 Cor. 13:2; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 4: 16.


-A Greek word meaning communion or intimate fellowship.

-This relationship exists between the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and also between Christians who are united by love into one body in Christ. See Acts 2:41, 42; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 John 1:1-7. See also COMMUNION.


-A large, often movable, circular basin on a stand, containing the water for immersion in Baptism.

-It symbolizes the Jordan River or the pool of Siloam.


-A thematic hymn in common use in the Church.

-Originally a lengthy hymn of one or two introductory stanzas and a long series of 18-30 strophes, the kontakion was a kind of hymnic homily (the Greek comes from the word for 'pole', indicating the great length of the original texts, which were rolled around a pole).

-In modern practice it is a short hymn, most often sung during the Divine Liturgy, after the troparia, and during weekday services.

-A liturgical hymn that gives an abbreviated form of the meaning or history of the feast of a given day.

-The kontakion is sung after the sixth ode of the Canon in the liturgy and the Service of the Hours.

-St. Romanos the Melodist is considered to be the most important hymnographer of the Kontakion.

Koumbaros (fem. koumbara)

-The "best man" in a wedding.

-The sponsor in a baptism.

-The address that Greek Orthodox use for their best man or their child's sponsor.



-(Gr. Laikos; Sl. Miryane). Members of the Church who are not ordained to the priesthood.

Lamb of God

-Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world (John 1:29).

-In the preparation service, the bread and wine are made ready to be consecrated in the Eucharist service to follow. The priest cuts out the center section of the loaf, called "the Lamb," for use in Communion as the Body of Christ.

Lamentations service

-(Gr. Epitaphios threnos). Special hymns referring to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and His burial (see Epitaphios).


-The hanging lamps before Icons.

Lance or spear

-(Gr. Lonche). A small, lance-shaped, double-edged knife used by the priest for the cutting of the altar bread in the service of the Preparation of the Holy Gifts (see Proskomide).


-According to the Orthodox tradition, the Church adopts and uses the language of any particular country or ethnic group that she serves.

-The main liturgical languages in the Orthodox Church are Greek, the various descendants of old Church Slavonic, and Arabic.

Last Supper

-(Gr. Mystikos Deipnos; Sl. Taynya Vercherya). The last meal of Christ with His disciples in the "Upper Room" before his arrest.

-With this supper, he instituted the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.


-As in leavened bread, where a small amount of yeast will cause the whole loaf to rise, so a small amount of evil or good affects the whole body (see Luke 13:20, 21; 1 Cor. 5:7, 8).

-In contrast to the Old Testament bread, which was unleavened to show the Israelites' separation from the world (see Ex. 12:15-20), leavened bread—risen bread—is used in Orthodox Communion to show forth the Resurrection of Christ.


-One of the four periods set aside each year when we are called upon to fast and pray fervently.

-Before Pascha the lent is called: GREAT LENT or GREAT FAST.


-The Bible frequently uses light as a symbol of God and of that which is good, that which overcomes the darkness of sin and death.

-Candles are used in churches to symbolize the light of Christ.

-Christians are lights shining in the world to show the way of righteousness and salvation (see Matt. 5:14; John 8:12).


-A set of petitions offered to God by the Deacon.

-The faithful respond with either "Lord have mercy!" or Grant this, O Lord!"


-Of, relating to, or in accordance with the Divine Liturgy; e.g. 'a book of liturgical norms'; or as relating to celebrations of the other Divine Services.

-Using or used in Divine Liturgy.


-The theological field that studies the liturgies and the various services and rituals of the Church.


-The work or public service of the people of God, which is the worship of the one true God.

-The Divine Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Orthodox Church.

-The Liturgy most often used is the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. The Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great is used ten times a year, notably on the five Sundays of Great Lent.

-The Orthodox Church celebrates four different versions of the liturgy:

  • The Liturgy of St. James,
  • The Liturgy of St. Basil,
  • The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, which is the most common, and
  • The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts performed only during the period of Great Lent.


-(Gr. "word"). A symbol for Christ, the word incarnate, or "word made Flesh," which is also called "the Word of God" (cf. John 1:1-4).

Lord's Prayer

-The prayer taught by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount (cf. Matt. 6: 9-33 and Luke 11: 2-4).

-It begins with the phrase "Our father..." and is the most common Orthodox prayer.


-Charity, union, affection, friendship; unselfish concern for another's good.

-The love of Christians for each other and for the world is a reflection of the love between the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. See John 11:3, 36; 1 Cor. 13; 1 John 4:8, 16.



-The prayer or hymn sung by the Virgin Mary when she visited St. Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist, shortly after the Annunciation (Luke 1:46 55).

-Sung frequently during Matins in the Orthodox Church, this hymn takes its title from the Latin for the beginning phrase, "My soul magnifies the Lord." See 1 Sam. 2:1-10.


-(Gr. anthropos) Frequently used in the Bible in the generic sense for both man and woman.

-Man is the pinnacle of God's creation, for only he among the creatures was made in the image and likeness of God. See Gen. 1:26, 27; Luke 4:4.


-(Gr. Mandias). A distinctive and elaborate garment, purple or blue in color, worn by the bishop in various church ceremonies and services, such as Vespers, but not during the liturgy.


-(Gr. martyria) Literally, "a witness."

-Normally, the term is used to describe those who give their lives for Christ.

-Martyria has two meanings: (1) witness or testimony, especially that which God bears to Christians, and which Christians bear to the world; and (2) martyrdom, especially Christ's Passion, and the martyrdom of Christians for the faith (see John 1:6-15; Acts 6:8—7:60).


-(Gr. "a sign of witnessing"). Small decorative icons or crosses passed out to the guests who witness an Orthodox Baptism.


-A catalogue of martyrs and other saints arranged according to the calendar.


-The early morning prayer service in the Orthodox Church.

It begins with the reading of six psalms (Exapsalmos), the reading of the Gospel, the chanting of the Canon, and the Great Doxology.


-One who intervenes on behalf of another.

-Jesus Christ intervenes on behalf of the faithful before God the Father (1 Tim. 2:5).


-(Gr. Mnymosyno). A special service held in the Orthodox Church for the repose of the souls of the dead.

-Memorial services are held on the third, ninth, and fortieth day; after six months; and one or three years after death. Boiled wheat is used as a symbol of the resurrection of everyone at the Second Coming of Christ.


-A liturgical book containing the lives of the saints and the special hymns (stichera) for the feast-days of the Orthodox Saints. It is divided into twelve volumes, one for each month.


-The compassionate, steadfast love of God for sinners.

-Christians reflect the mercy of God by caring for others.

-The most frequent prayer in Orthodox worship is "Lord, have mercy." See Matt. 5:7; Eph. 2:v7; Titus 3:4 7.


-The Christ, the anointed one of God. Jesus Christ is the Messiah, fulfilling all the promises made by God to His chosen people (see Is. 7:14; 9:6; Matt. 16:13 17).


-Of repentance: The Greek term, indicating a literally a 'change of mind' or 'heart'; conversion, rebirth, regeneration.

-Liturgically, a prostration, either to the waist (a 'little metanoia') or fully to the ground (a 'great metanoia').


-The prelate of the largest or most important city (Metropolis) or province with primacy of jurisdiction.


-A thousand years.

-The Orthodox Church has traditionally taught that the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth before the final defeat of Satan, as recorded in Rev. 20:1-3, is symbolic of the rule of Christ through the Church, which is a manifestation of the Kingdom of God (see 2 Pet. 3:8).


-The intelligent faculty, the inner person; often used synonymously with "heart."

-There are two Greek words for mind: (1) nous, the mind which is separated from the sensible world and the passions (Rom. 8:7; 12:2); and (2) dianoia, the intellect (Matt. 22:37).


-A sign whereby God supersedes the normal laws of nature in a mysterious way in order to manifest His power as Master of the universe.

-Jesus Christ performed many miracles—some showing His mastery over nature, others demonstrating His power over sin, disease, and death.

-The apostles continued to manifest the power of God through miracles. Healings, weeping icons, and other contemporary miracles also show His power in the world today. See Matt. 8:1-34; John 11:144; Acts 3:1-9.


-A task given by God to His people.

-Christ sent the Seventy on a mission (Luke 10:1-24).

-St. Paul went on three missionary journeys to preach the gospel (Acts 13:1—14:28; 15:36—18:22; 18:23 21:16).

-The mission of the Church today is to proclaim Christ to the world.


-The jewelled crown wore by Bishops, Archmandrites and Mitered Archpriests during Divine Services.

-The official headdress or "crown" of a bishop.

-In Slavic churches, some archimandrites are allowed to wear the mitre as a recognition of their service to the church (mitrate or mitrophoros).

-The mitre derives from the crown of the Byzantine emperor.


-A community of persons, especially monks, bound by vows to the angelic life, and often living in partial or complete seclusion.

-The dwelling place of such a community.


-Of, relating to, or characteristic of a monastery.

-Resembling life in a monastery in style, structure, or manner, especially: Secluded and contemplative; Strictly disciplined or regimented; Self-abnegating; austere.

-Used often of individuals; e.g. 'He has a very monastic presence'.

-A monk or a nun.


-A man who is a member of a brotherhood, usually living in a monastery, devoted to an ascetic life of obedience, prayer and work under the guidance of an abbot.

-The female equivalent is a nun.


-A heresy which arose in the fifth century concerning the two Natures of Christ.

-The monophysites accepted only the Divine Nature of Christ and were condemned as heretics by the Fourth Ecumenical Council, at Nicaea (451 A.D.).


-A doctrine that proclaims that in the person of Jesus Christ there was but a single, divine nature.

-An adherent to this doctrine.


-The doctrine or belief that there is only one God.


-A heresy of the seventh century, which developed in an attempt to reconcile the monophysites with the Orthodox.

-The monothelites accept the two Natures of Christ, but deny His human will (Thelesis), accepting thereby only his Divine.

Mother Church

-The Church of Jerusalem, as being the first Christian Church.

-Commonly, the Orthodox consider as Mother Church the Ecumenical Patriarchate as being the senior Church of the Orthodox World.

Mount Athos

-The center of Orthodox monasticism, situated on a conical mountain on the Chakidi Peninsula, Greece.


-The ways of God, especially God's plan for salvation, which cannot be known with the rational, finite human mind, but can be experienced only by the revelation of God.

-The Orthodox Church also uses the term mystery for the sacraments of the Church. See Mark 4:11; 1 Cor. 2:7, 8; Eph. 5:32. see also SACRAMENT.


-The search through various prayers and practices to achieve unity with God in life (theosis) (see hesychasm).



-(Gr. Onomastiria or Onomastiki eorti). The tradition of the Orthodox people is to celebrate one's name-day instead of a birthday.

-Since the Orthodox people are usually named after a saint's name, all those having the same name celebrate together.

-Celebration of the name-day is considered to be spiritually important, and the celebrating individual develops special spiritual ties with his Patron Saint and consequently, with God.


-The entrance area of the Church, at the western end.

-Opposite the Narthex is the Altar. Certain liturgical rites, such as the baptismal exorcisms, betrothal at weddings, etc., are carried out in the narthex.


-A birth; especially the place, conditions, or circumstances of being born.

-A 'The Nativity', most often the feast of the birth of Christ (Christmas).

-Also, the feast of the births of other saints: e.g. the Mother of God, St John the Forerunner.


-The sum of the qualities shared by individuals of the same type. (The qualities which distinguish individuals of a type from one another make up the "person.")

-The Holy Trinity is one divine Nature in three Persons.

-Humanity is one human nature in many persons. Although stained by sin, human nature is good, having been created in the image of God.

-Through grace, the Holy Spirit restores the nature of believers to its true, uncorrupted state, so that they may grow into union with God. See Gen. 1:2631; 2 Cor. 3:18; 5:17.


-The central portion of the church building, between the narthex and the altar (sanctuary).

-It is in this portion of the church that the faithful gather for prayer.


-(Gr. Neophotistos). A newly baptized individual or convert of the early Church.


-Of or relating to the theological doctrine, declared heretical in 431, that within Jesus are two distinct persons, divine and human, rather than a single divine person.

-An adherent of Nestorian doctrine.

New Man

-One who is being transformed or deified by the Holy Spirit into a new creature in communion with God (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15).

New Jerusalem

-The center of the Kingdom of God which will be established following the Second Coming of Christ and the Last Judgment.

-The heavenly Jerusalem will take the place of the old earthly Jerusalem, and is called by Paul, "the mother of us all" (Gal. 4:26). See Rev. 3:12; 21:2.


-A person new to a field or activity; a beginner.

-A person who has taken the first steps toward entry into the monastic life.

-While in English this term 'novice' (from the Latin for 'new, newcomer') is most often used, the traditional title in the Orthodox culture for this phase of entry into the monastic life comes from the Greek dokimos monachos, loosely translated 'monk who is trying it out', indicating the phase as one in which the individual takes on more and more of the monastic life, without yet having made any formal or binding commitment to the monastery. Also called the novitiate.


-The female equivalent of a monk.

-A woman following the monastic life, living in a convent and leading a strict contemplative.


Oblation Table

-The table located on the northern wall of the altar.

-Here the Holy Gifts are prepared during the Service of the Proskomedia.

Old Man

-One not transformed by the Holy Spirit, still a slave to sin and death (Rom. 6:5 7; Eph. 4:20 24).


-(Gr. "eight modes" or Paraklitiki). Service book containing the canons and hymns of the eight tones or modes of Byzantine music.

-They are used in all services, arranged every eight weeks, one for each tone, and are attributed to St. John of Damascus (eighth century), one of the greatest Orthodox hymnographers and theologians.


-The state of being omnipotent; almighty power; hence, one who is omnipotent, i.e. God.

-Unlimited power of a particular kind; as, repentance's omnipotence.


-Presence in every place at the same time; or, unbounded or universal presence; ubiquity.


-Having total knowledge; knowing everything: the omniscient God.

-One having total knowledge.


-The distinctive liturgical vestment of the deacon; a length of decorated, broad fabric hung off the left shoulder, similar to the priest's epitrachilion (stole), but not worn around the neck.

-Archdeacons and Protodeacons wear a longer, crossed orarion.

-Subdeacons wear a Deacons orarion that is crossed in front and back.


-The sacramental act setting a man apart for the ministry of the Church by the laying on of hands of a bishop.

-The original meaning of ordination includes both election and imposing of hands (see article, "Ordination," at Acts 14; Acts 6:1-6; 14:23; 1 Tim. 4:14).

Original Sin

-The fact that every person born comes into the world stained with the consequences of the sins of Adam and Eve and of their other ancestors.

-These consequences are chiefly: (1) mortality, (2) a tendency to sin, and (3) alienation from God and from other people.

-Original sin does not carry guilt, however, for a person is guilty only of his or her own sins, not of those of Adam. Therefore, the Orthodox Church does not believe that a baby who dies unbaptized is condemned to hell. See Gen. 3:1-24; Rom. 5:12-16.


-From the Greek orthos ('straight, right') and doxa ('worship, practice, belief, glory'); i.e. right belief, right practice, right faith, right worship.

-Adhering to Christian faith as expressed in the seven ecumenical councils of the Church.

-Of the Orthodox Church

-Of or relating to any of the churches or rites of the Eastern Orthodox communion.

-Adhering to what is commonly accepted, customary, or traditional: e.g. 'an orthodox view of world affairs'.

-One that is a member of the Orthodox Church of the seven ecumenical councils.

-One that adheres to right beliefs, right practices, etc.

Orthodox Sunday

-The first Sunday of Lent, commemorating the restoration of icons in the church (see Iconoclasm).


-The quality or state of being Orthodox, as a member of the Orthodox Church of the seven ecumenical councils.

-Orthodox practice, custom, or belief.

-The beliefs and practices of the Eastern Orthodox communion.


-Also called Matins.

-The early morning prayer service in the Orthodox Church.

It begins with the reading of six psalms (Exapsalmos), the reading of the Gospel, the chanting of the Canon, and the Great Doxology.



-In much patristic writing, one who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew, especially an adherent of a polytheistic religion in antiquity.

-At times used pejoratively: One who has no religion; A non-Christian; A hedonist.


-Belief in religions other than Christianity, especially ancient Greek polytheism, which was a non-revealed religion.


-(Gr. Omophorion). One of the bishop's vestments, made of a band of brocade, worn about the neck and around the shoulders.

-It signifies the Good Shepherd and the spiritual authority of a bishop.

Palm Sunday

-(Gr. Kyriaki ton Vaion; Sl. Verbnoye Voskresenye). The Sunday before Easter, commemorating the triumphal entrance of Christ into Jerusalem.

-The Orthodox use palms or willow branches in the shape of a cross, which the priest distributes to the faithful after the liturgy.


-(Gr. "All Holy"). One of the Orthodox names used to address the Mother of God.

-In Orthodox art, the term Panagia denotes an icon depicting the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child, or the bishop's medallion (Encolpion) which usually is decorated with an icon of the Panagia (especially in the Russian Church). (See also Theotokos.)


-The belief that God is present everywhere and encountered in all things; as in the prayer to the Holy Spirit: 'O Thou who art everywhere present and fillest all things...'.


-A doctrine, deemed heretical by the Orthodox Church, identifying God with the universe and its phenomena.

-Belief in and worship of all gods.


-(Gr. "He who reigns over all; almighty"). One of the appellations of God.

-In Orthodox art, Pantocrator is the name of the fresco decorating the center of the dome, depicting Christ as the almighty God and Lord of the Universe.


-A story told to illustrate a greater truth through images related to the daily lives of the hearers.

-Christ's teaching is filled with parables.


-The place of rest for the departed in Christ.

-An intermediate resting place for righteous souls awaiting the resurrection.

-A state of being in perfected communion with God.

-The original Paradise, seen in Gen. 2:8 14, will be restored in its fullness following the Second Coming of Christ. See Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 2:7; 21:1.

-Colloquially, a place of ideal beauty or loveliness; or a state of delight.


-That which is true, but not conventionally logical: for example, that a virgin could bear a Son and yet remain a virgin, as did Mary; or that God can be One, yet three Persons.

-The Christian faith is full of paradoxes, because our intellect is not sufficient to comprehend the mind of God (see Is. 55:8, 9).


-A community of faithful in a given place, worshipping in the same church temple.

-In most places, a parish is headed by a parish priest and a deacon, though a cathedral parish may be headed by a bishop.

-Parishes are generally grouped together into a diocese, which covers a geographic territory and has a bishop at its head.

-The geographic expanse in which a given church temple is the locale of worship (e.g. 'The parish of St John contains the south end of Maple City'). This is a particularly British usage.


-Greek for "Passover."

-Originally Pascha designated the Jewish Passover; now, it is the Feast of the Resurrection of Christ.

-Christ is the Lamb of God whose sacrifice delivers the faithful from death, as the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb delivered the ancient Jews from slavery and death in Egypt (Ex. 12; 13; 1 Cor. 5:7, 8).

-Christ's rising from the dead.

-A type of cheese-based sweet often eaten during Paschaltide (the season of Pascha), containing many of the ingredients that were not eaten during Great Lent.

Paschal week

-(Gr. Diakaimsimos or "bright week"). The week following the Sunday of Easter (Pascha), signifying the spiritual renewal and joy brought to the world by the resurrected Christ.


-The table of dates for Easter and all movable feasts of the year.


-A term used to describe the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

-Holy Week is often called Passion Week, describing Christ's struggle and suffering in Jerusalem.

-Passions are human appetites or urges—such as hunger, the desire for pleasure and sexual drives—which become a source of sin when not controlled or directed by submission to the will of God (Rom. 1:26; 7:5; Gal. 5:24; Col. 3:5).

Pastoral theology

-The theological field that studies the ways and methods to be used by the clergy for carrying through their duties as Pastors of the Church.


-(Gr. Diskos). A small round and flat plate made of gold or silver on which the priest places the particles of bread at the celebration of the Eucharist.


-A rank of bishop; see above, Bishop, for fuller definition.

-A man who rules a family, clan, or tribe.

-One of the antediluvian progenitors of the human race, from Adam to Noah. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or any of Jacob's twelve sons, the eponymous progenitors of the 12 tribes of Israel.

-Of ancient Judaism: the head of the Sanhedrin in Syrian Palestine from c. 180 BC to AD 429.

-A very old, venerable man; an elder.


-An ecclesiastical jurisdiction governed by a patriarch.

-There are eight such jurisdictions today in the Orthodox Church, the four ancient Patriarchates of the East, and the four Slavic patriarchates.


-The study of the lives, writings, and doctrines of the Church fathers.

-The writings of the Church fathers.

Patron Saint

-(Gr. Poliouchos; Sl. Nebesny Pokrovitel). A saint chosen by a group, nation, or organization to be their special advocate, guardian, and protector.

-The Patron Saint of an individual is usually the saint after whom the individual is named.


-(Heb. shalom) Tranquillity, harmony with God, self, and other people made possible through Christ, who unites human beings to God and to each other. See Rom. 14:17; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 2:13-16; Phil. 4:6, 7.

Pectoral Cross

-A cross worn around the neck by priests and some bishops.

-In the Slavic traditions, all priests are given a pectoral cross at ordination as a sign of their office. In the Greek traditions the pectoral cross is not awarded until later.

-Of the above, there are different types:

  • Standard cross: The customary pectoral cross given to priests at ordination or on award; generally made of pewter.
  • -Gold cross: Awarded to a presbyter after some years of presbyteral service.
  • Jewelled cross: A higher honorific given after years of service.


-The first five books of the Old Testament.


-Originally an OT harvest festival celebrated fifty days following the Passover.

-In time, Pentecost became the commemoration of the giving of the Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

-Pentecost took on a new meaning with the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles at Pentecost.

-Through the Sacrament of Chrismation, Orthodox Christians experience their own personal Pentecost.

-Every Divine Liturgy becomes a Pentecost through the descent of the Holy Spirit on the faithful and the gifts (the bread and wine), transforming them into the Body and Blood of Christ. See Ex. 23:14-17; Lev. 23:15 21; Acts 2:1 41.


-The service book containing hymns and other texts for the divine services that take place from Pascha until the conclusion of the feast of Pentecost.


-(Gr. prosopon; Lat. persona) Regarding the Holy Trinity, there are three Divine Persons: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

-The Person of God the Son became Man, Jesus Christ, "for us and for our salvation" (Matt. 28:19). See also HYPOSTASIS.


-One of the parties of first-century Judaism.

-The Pharisees favored strict legalistic application of traditional interpretations of the Law stemming from oral Jewish traditions.

-Unlike the Sadducees, they believed in angels and in the resurrection of the dead.

-The Pharisees were generally hostile to the mission of Christ, who condemned their excessive legalism and their preoccupation with outward forms, ignoring true righteousness of the heart. See Matt. 3:7; 12:14; 22:34; 23:13-36. See also SADDUCEES.


-One who makes a journey to a religious shrine or a spiritual journey from sin and suffering in this life to eternal life with Christ in heaven. See Ps. 42:4; Heb. 11:13; 1 Pet. 2:11.

-Often used in reference to the classical Russian Orthodox spiritual work, The Way of the Pilgrim.


-(Gr. "for many years"). A prayer sung by the chanter or choir in honor of the celebrant bishop or presbyter.

- Its full version is: "for many years of life"


-(Gr. "oil candelabrum"; "abundance of oil and grace"). Special hymns sung during the Service of Matins.

-The great candelabra hanging from the ceiling of an Orthodox church.

-A descriptive adjective used to describe Christ as the God of Mercy.


-The worship of or belief in more than one god.


-Lit. 'Papa' or 'Father'.

In the Orthodox Church, two usual uses:

  • The title given to the patriarch of Alexandria.
  • In some monasteries, where all monastics are called by the title 'Father', the title 'Papa' is used to distinguish those who are also priests.

-In the Roman Catholic Church, the title given to the bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic magisterium.

-In the Oriental Orthodox communion, the title given to the Coptic patriarch of Alexandria.


-A divine attribute or energy (Matt. 6:13; Luke 1:35; Rom. 1:16).

-The authority and ability to act (Matt. 9:6).

-A category of angelic beings (Eph. 1:21).


-To glorify and give thanks to God or to speak highly of someone or something (Judg. 5:3; Ps. 9:1-14; Rom. 15:11).


-The living-out of the Orthodox life; i.e. the application of its doctrines and teachings at the pastoral level of personal life.

-Practical application or exercise of a branch of learning.

-Habitual or established practice; custom.


-Communion with God through words of praise, thanksgiving, repentance, supplication, and intercession.

-Prayer is "raising up the heart and mind to God" (St. John of Damascus).

-Usually prayer is verbal. However, prayer of the heart or in the Spirit, the highest form of prayer, is without words. See Matt. 6:5-13; 21:22; Rom. 8:26; Phil. 4:6; 1 Thess. 5:17.


-One of the major orders of the clergy (from the Greek for 'elder'); often known as Priest.

-Presbyter is one of the three orders of the ordained ministry of the Church: bishop, presbyter, and deacon.

-Whilst presbyter/priest is the canonical order, there are several types of presbyter, including honorifics:

Of non-monastic presbyters:

  • Archpriest: an honorific, equivalent to the monastic Archimandrite (though technically one rank lower), normally given in recognition of faithful service. In Greek practice is equivalent to Protopresbyter, though in Russian practice these are distinct ranks (with Protopresbyter the higher of the two). In Greek practice, Archpriests are given a pectoral cross. While Slavic custom is for all priests to wear the pectoral cross, Archpriests are often given the gold cross.
  • Protopresbyter: an honorific. In the Greek tradition equivalent to Archpriest. In the Slavic traditions, the highest rank of non-monastic clergy, of which there are normally only a small number at any given time.

Of monastic presbyters:

  • Hieromonk: The order of a monk who is also a presbyter.
  • Hegumen: Whilst technically the functional title of one who oversees a monastery (i.e. an abbot), also an honorific given to monastic presbyters, normally not before ten years of service as a hieromonk.
  • Archimandrite: An honorific normally given after thirty years in presbyteral service. Also a functional title for the head of a monastic community.

-In early writings, any elder.


-(Gr.; Sl. Matushka). An honorary title for the priest's wife or mother.


-See above, Presbyter.


-The state of being first or foremost.

-Ecclesiastical: The office, rank, or province of primate.


-To come forth from or come to.

-The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, the fountainhead of the Holy Trinity (John 15:26).


-The liturgical movement of the Clergy, Altar-Servers, Choir and Faithful usually around the outside of the Church.

-Processions are held during Holy Week, Pscha, Bright Week, and on Parish Feast Days.


-(Gr. "gradual introduction"). A liturgical verse or scriptural passage sung or read before the reading of the Epistle.

-It serves as an introduction to the theme of this particular reading.

-The Prokeimenon sung immediately before the Gospel Lesson is called the Alleluia.


-(Gr. "gathering of gifts" or "preparing to receive the gifts"; Sl. Shertvennik). The Service of the preparation of the elements of bread and wine before the Liturgy.

-It takes place on the Table of Oblation (Prothesis), which is situated at the left (north) side of the altar.


-To reveal by divine inspiration.

-To prefigure; foreshow or foretell.

-To reveal the will or message of God.

-To predict the future by divine inspiration.

-To speak as a prophet.


-One who proclaims the will of God and/or who foretells the future, especially the coming and mission of Christ, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. See Deut. 18:18; Acts 28:25.


-Of, belonging to, or characteristic of a prophet or prophecy: e.g. the prophetic books of the bible.

-Foretelling events as if by divine inspiration; e.g. 'his casual words that proved prophetic.'


-An offering that results in atonement, redemption, and reconciliation.

-Christ offered Himself on the Cross as a propitiation for our sins, to liberate humanity from sin and death. See Rom. 3:21-26; Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10.


-Literally, "one who comes toward." A proselyte is a convert to the Faith, usually from another religion.

-In the New Testament, the word usually refers to a Gentile convert to Judaism (see Acts 2:10; 13:43).


-The first part of the Divine Liturgy, preceding, "Blessed is the Kingdom..." and the Hours. The Liturgy of Peparation is performed on the Table of Oblation.


-(Gr. "offering gift, an item dedicated to God and offered as a votive," also prosphora). The altar bread which is leavened and prepared with pure wheat flour to be used for the Eucharist.

-It is round and stamped on the top with a special seal (sphragis or Panagiari).

-Sometimes it is made in two layers symbolizing the two natures of Christ (Human and Divine).

-The inscribed parts of the top are used for the Eucharist, and the rest of it is cut into small pieces to be distributed to the faithful (antidoron).


-A reverential bow.

-A Full Prostration is performed by crossing oneself and touching the knees, hands and forehead to the ground.

-A Half or Waist Prostration is performed by crossing oneself and bending over and touching the right hand (fingers) to the ground. The Waist Prostration (called a Metania) replaces the full prostration on the days we do not fully bow.


-God's sovereign care in governing His creation, especially His care for the faithful (Rom. 8:28).


-(Gr.; Sl. Amvon, "an elevated place, podium"). A small raised platform or elaborate podium at the left (north) side of the solea and in the front of the iconostasis.

-Decorated with representations of the four Evangelists.

_In some traditions, it is the place on which the deacon or priest reads the Gospel and delivers his sermon.


The Old Testament rite whereby one is cleansed of ritual impurity caused by such things as contact with leprosy or a dead body, or sexual functions.

-This cleansing consisted of making a sacrifice or being sprinkled with "water of purification" (Num. 19:9).

-Christ liberated the faithful from these rites. Christians are purified by the sacraments and by their spiritual struggle towards transforming their passions. See Lev. 12:6; Num. 19:9 21; Matt. 15:11; Luke 2:22-33; Acts 10:9-16; 15:1-29.




-The gathering of the Church on earth in the presence of Christ when He comes again to judge the living and the dead (1 Thess. 4:15-17).

-Orthodox theologians reject the recent minority view that the Church will be taken out of the world before the time of trouble preceding the Second Coming.

-Christ specifically teaches the faithful will experience the trials of tribulation (Matt. 24:>28)


-The first rank of the minor orders of the clergy in the Orthodox Church, generally concerned with the proper proclamation of the epistle and other liturgical reading.

-A person tonsured to this rank.

-Anyone who reads a text in the Church (where in some places texts are read by those not tonsured as readers).


-The removal of hostility and barriers between humans and God, and between individuals, accomplished by Christ (Rom. 5:11; 2 Cor. 5:18, 19).


-The deliverance of humanity from sin and death by Christ, who assumed humanity by His Incarnation, conquered sin and death by His life-giving death and glorious Resurrection, releases those who are in captivity to the evil one, and unites humanity to God by His Ascension (Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:15). See also DEIFICATION and SALVATION.


-(Gr. Leipsana Agia). The remains from the body of a Saint or even a Saint's possessions, such as clothes or vestments.

-The relics are honored and venerated by all Orthodox.

-Upon the consecration of a new church, the consecrating bishop embeds holy relics in the Altar Table, following the ancient traditions of the church in performing the Eucharist on the tombs of Martyrs (Martyria).


-(Gr. anamnesis) Making present by means of recollection.

-The Eucharist is not merely a calling to mind but a remembrance of and mystical participation in the very sacrifice of Christ, His Resurrection, His Ascension, and His coming again (1 Cor. 11:23 26).


-The forgiveness and putting aside of sins.

-As the faithful are released from their sins through the sacramental life of the Church, they in turn are called to remit the sins of any who have offended them See John 20:23; Acts 2:37, 38.


-To engage in repentance.

-To cause to feel remorse or regret, or to cause to change one's behaviour.


-Literally, "a change of mind" or attitude, and thus of behavior.

-God is the author of repentance, which is an integral part of baptism, confession, and ongoing spiritual life.

-Repentance is not simply sorrow for sins but a firm determination to turn away from sin to a new life of righteousness in Jesus Christ. See Matt. 4:17; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 John 1:9.


-The reunion of the soul and body after death which will revitalize and transform the physical body into a spiritual body.

-Jesus Himself is the firstfruits of perfect resurrection; He will never again be subject to death.

-Because He conquered death by His Resurrection, all will rise again: the righteous to life with Christ, the wicked to judgment. See John 5:28, 29; 1 Cor. 15:35 55.


-Being good, just, and blameless.

-All are called to a life of humble obedience to God.

-However, acts of righteousness cannot earn salvation. Rather, righteousness is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and the way in which Christians respond with living faith to God's gift of salvation. See Matt. 5:6, 20; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 5:22; James 2:14-26.


-Forms of worship, music, vestments, and architecture.

-Most Orthodox Christians follow the liturgical practice of the ancient Churches in the east (Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria), the rite commonly known as the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

-However, some Orthodox follow a Western Rite, forms that developed in the west before the separation of Rome from the Orthodox Church.


-Ceremonies and texts used in the worship of the Church. Having her roots in the temple and synagogue, the Church has employed ritual in her worship from the very beginning. See also LITURGY and WORSHIP.

Royal Doors

-The central doors of the iconostasis, located immediately in front of, and opening onto, the Holy Table / Altar.

-These doors are normally taken as symbolic of the gates of Paradise (Eden), and are often decorated in wood- or metal-work with vines and leaves.

-Normally depicted in icons on the Royal Doors are the Annunciation to the Mother of God (since the advent of the One announced to her is received in the Eucharist celebrated at the altar behind these doors and brought out to the people through them), and the figures of the four evangelists (since the proclamation of the Son was the work of these four).


-(Gr. Pedalion). The book containing the rules and regulations prescribed by the Ecumenical Synods and the Fathers. It is the Constitution of the Orthodox Church.



-The seventh day of the week, originally a day of rest, for after creation "God rested on the seventh day" (Gen. 2:2).

-Since Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week, Sunday, the Church gathers on this day instead of the seventh to worship God.

-Sunday is also called "the Lord's Day" and "the eighth day," because it transcends the Sabbath and is seen as being a part of heavenly time rather than earthly time. See Ex. 20:8-11; Acts 20:7.


-Literally, a "mystery." A sacrament is a way in which God imparts grace to His people.

-Orthodox Christians frequently speak of seven sacraments, but God's gift of grace is not limited only to these seven—the entire life of the Church is mystical and sacramental. The sacraments were instituted by Christ Himself (John 1:16, 17).

-The seven mysteries are baptism (Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 6:4; Gal. 3:27), chrismation (Acts 8:15-17; 1 John 2:27), the Holy Eucharist (Matt. 26:26 28; John 6:30-58; 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:23-31), confession John 20:22, 23; 1 John 1:8, 9), ordination (Mark 3:14; Acts 1:15-26; 6:1-6; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 4:14), marriage (Gen. 2:18 25; Eph. 5:22-33), and healing or unction (Luke 9:1 6; James 5:14, 15).


-To offer something up to God.

-In the Old Covenant, God commanded His people to sacrifice animals, grain, or oil as an act of thanksgiving, praise, forgiveness, and cleansing. However, these sacrifices were only a foreshadowing of the one perfect sacrifice—Christ, the Word of God, who left the heavenly glory to humble Himself by becoming Man, giving His life as a sacrifice on the Cross to liberate humanity from the curse of sin and death.

-In the Eucharist, the faithful participate in the all-embracing, final and total sacrifice of Christ. See Lev. 1:1—7:38; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 9:1—10:18. See also REMEMBRANCE.


-(Gr. Skevophylakion; Sl. Riznitsa). A utility room at the right side (south) of the altar, where vestments and sacred vessels are kept and where the clergy vest for services.


-A party in Judaism at the time of Christ.

-The Sadducees steadfastly held to a literal interpretation of the Law contained in the first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch or Torah), and rejected traditional interpretations favored by other groups of Jews, especially the Pharisees.

-Sadducees came from the priestly class and rejected the resurrection of the dead and the existence of angels.

-Christ condemned these Jewish leaders for their preoccupation with outward forms, ignoring or neglecting true righteousness of the heart (Matt. 16:1-12).


-Literally, "a holy person." With God as the source of true holiness, all Christians are called to be saints (see Rom. 16:2; 1 Cor. 1:1, 2).

-But from the earliest times, the Church has designated certain outstanding men and women who have departed this life and reached deification as worthy of veneration and canonization as saints or holy persons.

Sakkos or Dalmatic

-The main vestment worn by the bishop during the Liturgy.

-It originates from the vestments of the Byzantine emperor.


-The fulfillment of humanity in Christ, through deliverance from the curse of sin and death, to union with God through Christ the Savior.

-Salvation includes a process of growth of the whole person whereby the sinner is changed into the image and likeness of God. One is saved by faith through grace.

-However, saving faith is more than mere belief. It must be a living faith manifested by works of righteousness, whereby we cooperate with God to do His will.

-We receive the grace of God for salvation through participation in the sacramental life of the Church. See articles, "The New Birth," at John 3; "Justification by Faith," at Rom. 5; and "Deification," at 2 Pet. 1; 2 Cor. 3:18; 4:16; 5:17; Eph. 2:8, 9; Phil. 2:12, 13; James 2:14 26; 1 Pet. 2:2. See also DEIFICATION, JUSTIFICATION, REDEMPTION and SACRAMENT.


-Literally, "being set apart" to God.

-The process of growth in Christ whereby the believer is made holy as God is holy, through the Holy Spirit (see article, "Deification," at 2 Pet. 1; Rom. 6:22 with center-column note; Rom. 15:16). See also DEIFICATION, JUSTIFICATION and SALVATION.


-The Holy of Holies or Most Holy Place—the place in the Old Testament tabernacle or temple containing the ark of the covenant, the dwelling place of God.

-Only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place and only on the Day of Atonement.

-When the early Christians built churches, they followed the general pattern of the temple, and the altar area is often called the sanctuary. See Ex. 26:31-35; 40:34, 35; Lev. 16:1-5; 1 Kin. 6:1-38; 8:1-11.


-Christ, the Son of the Father, as the one who brings salvation to the world through the Cross and the Resurrection.

-A person who rescues another from harm, danger, or loss.


-A separation or division into factions (from the Greek for 'to cut apart').

-A formal breach of union within the Church.

-The offence of attempting to produce such a breach.

-Disunion; discord.

-Although the Christian Church has witnessed several schisms, the most disastrous was the separation of the Greek Eastern and the Roman Western Church in 1054, dividing Christendom into two parts.


-A sacred writing or book (from the Greek graphe, 'a writing').

-The sacred writings of the Bible; often used in the plural. See above, under Canon of Scripture, for further details.

-A statement regarded as authoritative.

Second Coming

-At the end of the ages, Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead.

-Following the judgment, a new heaven and new earth will take the place of the old earth, which has been scarred by sin.

-Because Christ is already present through the Church, Christians enter into the Kingdom through their participation in the sacramental life of the Church as they await the coming of the Lord (see article, "The Second Coming of Christ," at Titus 2; Matt. 25:314 6; Rom. 8:18 21; 1 Thess. 4:16,17; Rev. 20:11 - 22:5). See also RESURRECTION.


-(Gr. Hedra or Thronos). The official "seat" or city capital where a bishop resides (esp. for a large jurisdiction); hence, the territory of his entire jurisdiction may be called his See.


-The many-eyed Angels that are closest to God at His Heavenly Throne.

Service books

-They are special books containing the hymns or the services of the Orthodox Church.

-There are eight, as follows: Gospel (Evangelion), Book of Epistles (Apostolos), Psalter (Octoechos or paraklitiki), Triodion, Pentecostarion, Twelve Menaia, Horologion, and Service or Liturgy book (Euchologio or Ieratiko).

Service Book or Ieratikon or Litourgikon or Euchologio

-(Sl. Sluzhebnik). The liturgical book containing the prayers and ceremonial order of the various church services including the Liturgy.


-The glory of God, frequently revealed in the symbols of fire and cloud in the Old Testament.

-Although Christians experience the energies of God, including His glory, they never penetrate beyond the cloud to the inner essence of God, which remains hidden. See Ex. 13:21; 24:15 18; 33:18-23; 40:34, 35; 2 Chr. 7:1; Matt. 17:1-5. See also ENERGY and ESSENCE.


-In Hebrew writings, the realm of shadows; the afterlife.

-Often equated to Hell, though sometimes to the 'place of rest' following death but before the final judgement.

Sign of the Cross

-The Orthodox make the Sign of the Cross to signify their belief in the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross for man's salvation.

-It is made by the right hand in a cruciform gesture touching the forehead, chest, right and left shoulders with the tips of fingers (the thumb, index, and middle finger joined together as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, the ring and little fingers touching the palm as a symbol of the two Natures of Christ).


-(Gr. hamartia) Literally, "missing the mark." This word in ancient Greek could describe the action of an archer who failed to hit the target.

-All humans are sinners who miss the mark of perfection that God has set for His people, resulting in alienation from God, sinful actions that violate the law of God, and ultimately in death. See Matt. 5:48; Rom. 3:23; 6:23; 1 John 1:8.


-A stranger or foreigner.

-Because the Church exists in a sinful world that has rejected God, Christians citizens of the Kingdom of God—are strangers in a foreign land. Therefore, faithful sojourners are on guard, lest they adopt the ways of the fallen society in which they live. See 1 Pet. 2:11; 1 John 2:1 917.


-An area with elevated floor in front of the iconostasis of the church, where the various rites and church ceremonies are held.

Son of Man

-An important messianic title of Christ, who is perfect God and perfect Man.

-The Gospels reveal that Jesus often applied this title to Himself.

-In Christ, the Second Adam, God assumed and perfected sinful humanity, freeing those who follow Him from the consequences of the rebellion of the first man, Adam. See Mark 2:28; 9:31; Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:21, 22, 45-49. See also INCARNATION.


-Sadness and grief caused by the realization of one's sins.

-The Scriptures distinguish between godly sorrow, which produces repentance, and ungodly sorrow, the sadness of being found out, which produces death (Matt. 5:4; 2 Cor. 7:9, 10).

-Christ has conquered suffering and death, the cause of sadness, and turns true sorrow to joy for His followers (John 16:20-22, 33).


-Articulation and study of salvation as effected by Jesus the Saviour (Gr. soter).

-Also, refer to the article on the Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church.


-A living substance, simple, bodiless, and invisible by nature, activating the body to which it brings life, growth, sensation and reproduction.

-The mind is not distinct from the soul but serves as a window to the soul.

-The soul is free, endowed with will, and the power to act. Along with the body, the soul is created by God in His image. The soul of man will never die (Gen. 1:26; 2:7; Matt. 10:28).


-(Gr. pneuma) Literally, "breath"; that which is living but immaterial.

-Spirit is used in three ways in Scripture. (1) The Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the Trinity (John 4:24; 20:22). (2) The angels are called spirits (Ps. 104:4). (3) The human spirit possesses the intuitive ability to know and experience God (Rom. 8:16; 1 Cor. 2:10 12).


-The ascetic and pious struggle against sin through repentance, prayer, fasting, and participation in the sacramental life of the Church. See Gal. 5:16 26; Phil. 2:12, 13. See also SYNERGISM.


-The liturgical utensil that sets above the Diskos and symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem that "stood over the place where the Young Child lay."


-Monastery or monastic community directly under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.


-A steward is one who manages property belonging to another.

-All a Christian has belongs to God.

-Thus, the Christian gives back to God out of the material blessings he has received from God for the work of the Church.

-In the Old Testament God commanded the faithful to give ten percent of their goods to God; though not under law, Christians should give at least as much. Christians are also stewards of the spiritual knowledge which God has entrusted to us.

-We must preserve the heritage of apostolic doctrine intact for future generations. See Gen. 14:18-20; Lev. 27:30 33; 1 Cor. 4:1, 2; 2 Cor. 9:6 8; 1 Pet. 4:10.

Stikheron (Stikhera)

-A Stikheron is a stanza sung between verses taken from the Psalms, primarily at Vespers (at Lord, I have called... and the Apostikha) and Matins (at the Apostikha).


-The first robe used by the Clergy. The Deacon's Stikharion is ornate.

-The Stikharion of the Altar-Servers is modeled after the Deacon's robe.


-The second rank of the minor orders of the clergy, generally concerned with assisting the bishop in liturgical service.

-An individual who is ordained to this office.


-In Orthodox usage, the manifestation in material form of a spiritual reality.

-A symbol does not merely stand for something else, as does a "sign'; it indicates the actual presence of its subject. For example, the dove is the symbol which brought to Jesus the descent of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:13-16).


-A brief biography of a saint read in the church on occasions of his feast day.

-Book or books containing lives of the saints.


-Literally, "gathering" or "assembly." Synaxis is the word used for the ancient Greek Senate.

-The first part of the Divine Liturgy is called the synaxis because the faithful gather to sing, to hear the Scriptures read, and to hear the homily.

-The saints' days are also called a synaxis, such as the Synaxis of St. Michael and all the angels.


-Reconciliation or fusion of differing systems of belief, as in philosophy or religion; viewed by the Orthodox Church as an heretical approach to religion.


-(from Gr. syn: same, together; ergos: energy, work) Working together, the act of cooperation.

-In referring to the New Testament, synergism is the idea of being "workers together with" God (2 Cor. 6:1), or of working "out your own salvation . . . for it is God who works in you" (Phil. 2:12, 13).

-This is not a cooperation between "equals," but finite man working together with Almighty God. Nor does synergism suggest working for, or earning, salvation. God offers salvation by His grace, and man's ability to cooperate also is a grace.

-Therefore, man responds to salvation through cooperation with God's grace in living faith, righteous works and rejection of evil (James 2:14-26). See also FREE WILL and PASSIONS.


-(see Ecumenical Council).


-(from Gr. syn: same, together; optic: eye, vision) The books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which hold essentially the same viewpoint and "look alike," are called the synoptic Gospels.



-(Gr. Artophorion; Sl. Darochranitelnitsa). An elaborate ark or receptacle kept on the Altar Table, in which the Holy Gifts of the Eucharist are preserved for the communion of the sick or for the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts during Lent.


-The seductive attraction of sin.

-Christ was tempted by Satan and has overcome the power of temptation.

-Those united to Christ are given His power also to withstand the temptation of sin through patience, courage, and obedience. See Matt. 4:1-11; 1 Cor. 10:13; Heb. 2:17, 18; James 1:12.


-To be grateful, to offer thanks, especially to God for His love and mercy.

-The Eucharistic prayer is called the thanksgiving (see 1 Thess. 5:18).


-(Gr. "miracle-worker"; Sl. Chudotvorets). A title given to some saints distinguished among the faithful for their miracles.


-The state of communion with God in the inner heart of the human person; often synonymous with perfected prayer and understood as the fulfilment of deification. Cf. the saying of Evagrius of Pontus: 'A man who prays truly is a theologian, and a theologian is a man who prays truly'.

-The study of the nature of God and religious Truth; rational inquiry into religious questions.

-A system or school of opinions concerning God and religious questions: Orthodox theology, Protestant theology, Jewish theology, etc.

-A course of specialised religious study, usually at a college or seminary.


-A manifestation of God in His uncreated glory.

-It refers also to Christ's resurrection appearances.

-The revelation of the Holy Trinity at the Baptism of Christ (Luke 3:21, 22) is the greatest theophany; it is celebrated in the Orthodox Church on Epiphany (Jan. 6).

-Other theophanies are found throughout the Bible. For example, God appeared to Abraham in the form of three men (Gen. 18:1-15), and to Jacob in a dream (Gen. 28:10 17). See also EPIPHANY.


-God-bearer, birth-giver, frequently translated "Mother of God." Because Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God, Mary is called the Mother of God to profess our faith that in the Incarnation, God was in her womb.

-Elizabeth called Mary "blessed" and "the mother of my Lord" (Luke 1:42, 43).

-At the Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431, the Church condemned Nestorius and other heretics who refused to call the Virgin Mary the Theotokos. For if it was not God in Mary's womb, there is no salvation for humanity. See also INCARNATION


-(Gr. "referring to Theotokos"; Sl. Bogorodichey). A hymn which refers to or praises Theotokos, the Mother of God.

-On Wednesdays and Fridays, these Theotokia usually take the theme of the Theotokos at the Lord's Crucifixion, and thus are called Cross-Theotokia (or Stavro-Theotokia).

Three hierarchs

-The Orthodox Church considers in particular three bishops (hierarchs) of the Church as Her most important Teachers and Fathers, who contributed to the development and the spiritual growth of the Church. They are St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. John Chrysostom.

-Their feast day is observed on January 30, a day also dedicated to Hellenic letters since the three hierarchs contributed to the development of Greek Christian education and literature.

Titular bishop

-An auxiliary bishop without his own territorial or residential diocese, who is usually assisting a senior bishop with a large jurisdiction (Archbishop or Patriarch).

-The episcopal title of a titular bishop is taken from an ancient diocese which once flourished but now exists only in name, and, therefore, a titular bishop does not have his own jurisdiction.


-The act of symbolically representing the obedience of proper and necessary to Christian life, enacted during the rite of baptism for all the faithful.

-The act of ordaining a person to a specific office of the clergy through a symbolic cutting of the hair of the head cross-wise, to reflect the obedience entered into by the person in taking on that office.

-The act of joining someone to the monastic life through the cutting of hair.

-As 'the tonsure' usually refers to the rite of formal / professed entry into the monastic life.


-The first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures.

-A scroll of parchment containing the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures, used in a synagogue during services.

-The entire body of religious law and learning including both sacred literature and oral tradition.


-That which is handed down, transmitted.

-Tradition is the life of the Church in the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit leads the Church "into all truth" (John 16:13) and enables her to preserve the truth taught by Christ to His Apostles.

-The Holy Scriptures are the core of Holy Tradition, as interpreted through the writings of the Fathers, the Ecumenical Councils, and the worship of the Church. Together, these traditions manifest the faith of the ancient undivided Church, inspired by the Holy Spirit to preserve the fullness of the gospel. See John 21:25; Acts 15:1-29; 2 Thess. 2:15.

-The transmission of the doctrine or the customs of the Orthodox Church through the centuries, basically by word of mouth from generation to generation.


A change or transformation.

-Christ was transfigured on Mt. Tabor, showing He is God in the flesh (Matt. 17:1-8).

-Christians are called to be transformed by the Holy Spirit into the image and likeness of God (Rom. 12:1, 2).

Tribulation (The)

-The Scriptures reveal that much trouble and violence—Great Tribulation—will engulf the world before the Second Coming of Christ (Matt. 24:4-29). See also ESCHATOLOGY, RAPTURE, and SECOND COMING.


-The liturgical service book containing the special hymns and texts used during Great Lent.

-The period between the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican, and Cheese-Fare Sunday.

-It takes its name from the special canons it contains for the service of matins, which have three odes per canticle.


-Literally, "Thrice Holy." The biblical Trisagion, "Holy, Holy, Holy," is the hymn of the angels before the throne of God (Is. 6:1-3; Rev. 4:8), and is one of the most important hymns of the Divine Liturgy.

-In the Tradition of the Church, this hymn has been amplified into the Trisagion frequently sung during services and said during prayers: "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us."

-The biblical use of "Holy" three times is an indication of the three Persons in the Godhead.

-Memorial Service performed by the graveside or in church for the repose of the soul.


-The triple candle holer carried by the Bishop in his right hand, symbolizing the Holy Trinity.


-A short hymn, most often in dedication to a specific individual, feast or theme.

-The chief troparion of a feast is called the apolytikion.


-A historical event that has a deeper meaning, pointing to our salvation in Christ.

-For example, the three days that Jonah spent in the belly of the fish is a type of the three days that Christ would spend in the tomb (Matt. 12:40).

-The serpent that Moses lifted up on the staff is a type of the lifting up of Christ on the Cross (John 3:14-16).

-The burning bush, aflame but not consumed, is a type of the Virgin Mary, who carried the incarnate God in her womb but was not consumed by His presence (Luke 1:2638).

-Noah's ark, which saved Noah and his family from death in the flood, is a type of baptism, which brings the believer from death to life (1 Pet. 3:18-22). See also ALLEGORY.


-God the Father and His Son and His Holy Spirit: one in essence and undivided.

-God revealed the mystery of the Trinity at Christ's baptism (Matt. 3:13 17), but even before that event, numerous Old Testament references pointed to the Trinity. For example, the frequent use of plural pronouns referring to the one God (Gen. 1:26); the three angels who appeared to Abraham (Gen. 18:1-16); and the Triple Holy hymn sung by the angels in Isaiah's vision (Is. 6:1 4) all suggest one God in three Persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19).



-Anointing of the sick with blessed oil, for the healing of body and soul.

-The gift of healing is bestowed by the Holy Spirit through the anointing, together with the prayers of the Unction service.

Unleavened Bread

-Bread baked without yeast.

-The Jews used unleavened bread for the Passover to symbolize the fact that they had no time to wait for the yeast to rise in the bread (Ex. 12:1-20).

-By contrast, the bread of the New Covenant is leavened. See also LEAVEN.



-(Gr. Esperinos; Sl. Litiya). An important service of the Orthodox Church, held in the evening, which is mainly a Thanksgiving prayer for the closing day and a welcome of the new one to come the following morning.

-On the eve of an important holiday, the Vesper Service includes Artoclasia or the blessing of the five loaves (Gr. artos; Sl. Litiya) for health and the well-being of the faithful.


-(Gr. Amphia). The distinctive garments worn by the clergy in the liturgy and the other church services.


-A particular immoral, depraved, or degrading habit, as contrasted with virtue.

-Christians are called to flee from the vices and preserve their purity (Rom. 13:13; Eph. 4:17-24). See also VIRTUE.


-(Gr. olonychtia). Spiritual exercises during the night preceding the feast day of a saint or another major feast, observed by various spiritual preparations, prayers, and services.


-A righteous characteristic such as self-control, patience, or humility; the opposite of vice or passion.

-As a person grows spiritually, he or she grows in virtue while the passions are conquered by the grace of God. See Phil. 4:8; 2 Pet. 1:2-7. See also PASSION.


Wisdom (Of God)

-A name for God's Son and Word; Christ is the Wisdom of God. Also, wisdom is given to the Church as a gift of the Holy Spirit. See John 1:1; 1 Cor. 2:6-8; Col. 3:16.


-(Gr. martyria) One who testifies by word and deed. In the New Testament, the word is also rendered "martyr," a reference to those who give their lives for the gospel of Christ.

-Also, the Holy Spirit bears witness to the spirits of those who believe in Christ, that they belong to Him. See Rom. 8:16; Heb. 10:15; 12:1; 1 John 5:6 12; Rev. 11:3 12. See also MARTYR.

Word of God

-(Gr. Logos) The Son of God, who from the mystery of His eternal birth is called the Word of the Father.

-The "Word became flesh" (John 1:14) for the salvation of the world. The Holy Scriptures are also called the Word of God, for they reveal the truth of God (John 1:1-14; 2 Pet. 1:19-21). See also INCARNATION.


-Literally, "to bow down." In the Christian sense worship is the adoration of God through participation in the services of the Church, the highest act of a Christian (John 4:19-24). See also LITURGY.


-(Gr. axios) Describes those who act in a manner befitting one who is a follower of Christ.

-No one is worthy of salvation in and of himself, but all are made worthy through Christ (see 1 Thess. 2:10-12).




-This is a short Troparion sung at Matins on Great Feasts and Sundays.



-Devotion; enthusiastic obedience to God; a quality of divine diligence or fervor.

-Christians are (1) called to follow Christ with enthusiasm and zeal (Acts 18:25; Rom. 12:10, 11) and (2) warned against misguided enthusiasm, a zeal "not according to knowledge" (Rom. 10:2).


-The hot water brought to the Priest at the time of receiving of Holy Communion. Also called Teplota.

- It is added to the chalice during the Communion hymn in commemoration of the water that flowed out of the side of the crucified Christ when he was pierced with the spear.


-The belt or girdle worn by the priests on his stichar.

-It signifies the power of faith.