Terminology -

Term Definition

CANON – Literally, “a rule. (Gr)“ It describes (1) the inspired Books of the Bible – the Canon of Scripture; (2) the rules and decrees issued by the early Church (Acts 15:23-29) and by Ecumenical Councils – Canon Law; and (3) certain parts of worship, such as the Liturgical Canon or the Canon of Matins…. Read More


CHRISMATION – 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… Read More


CHURCH – 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… Read More


COMMANDMENT – 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).


COMMUNION – (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).


CONFESSION – (1) The avowal or verbal witness of faith in Christ, leading to salvation (Rom. 10:9). (2) 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 (1 John; John 20:22, 23; 1 John 1:9)…. Read More


CONVERSION – 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…. Read More


CORRUPTION – 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.( Ps. 52[53]:3; Is. 53:6; Rom. 3:23; 1 John 5:19.)


COSMOS – 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… Read More


COUNCIL – 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… Read More


COVENANT – 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… Read More


CREATION – (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.)


CREED – A statement of belief. 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). The creed used throughout the Church was adopted at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 and expanded at the Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381. The Nicene Creed is used at baptisms, the Divine Liturgy, and in personal daily prayers.


CRUCIFIXION – 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,… Read More


CURSE – (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 (Gen. 3:14-19; 9:25; Mark 11:21; Gal. 3:10-14).


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… Read More


CULTS – The word “cult” has several meanings. The usage to which we refer designates a group of people who focus on a religious doctrine which deviates from the Tradition of the historic Church as revealed by Jesus Christ, established by His Apostles, and guarded by the seven Ecumenical Councils of the Church. A cult… Read More


DAMNATION – 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. (Matt. 25:31-46; John 3:18.)


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


DEACON – 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… Read More


DEIFICATION – 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 (2 Cor. 3:18; 5:17; 2 Pet. 1:2-4).


DEPARTED – 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.( Luke 16:19-31; Heb. 9:27.)


DEVIL – It means slanderer or deceiver. 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… Read More


DISCIPLESHIP – 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. ( Matt. 4:18-22; 7:21-23; Luke 9:23; Gal. 5:24.)