Terminology - Glossary C

Term Definition

CALENDAR – The calendar in use at the time when Christianity began was the Julian, devised by Julius Caesar. The Russian Orthodox Church follows this calendar to this day in keeping the feasts and saints’ days and fasts. The new calendar (Gregorian) was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII and is used in the… Read More


CANDLES – Candles are used on the altar and on candle stands before icons. The candle expresses the warmth of devotion to the Savior, the Mother of God or the Saint to whom we pray. Candles on the altar are symbols of Christ as the “Light of the World.”  Candles are used in many ceremonies,… Read More


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


CANONIZATION – The ceremony by which a deceased Christian is declared by the Church to be regarded as a saint. The word canonization means that a Christian has been found worthy to have his name placed in the canon (list) of saints of the Church. This canon is read during the services of the Church…. Read More


CANTICLE – One of as many as fourteen Biblical and extra-Biblical odes originally gathered into an appendix to the Psalter to facilitate the singing of divine services; specifically, one of the scheme of nine canticles used at Matins by the Palestinian monks as the basis for the genre of liturgical poetry called the kanon. The… Read More


CANTOR (or Lector) – A layman who sings or leads the congregation in singing the responses at services. He also reads the Epistle.


CAPTAIN OF SALVATION – (an appellation or Title of Jesus) – “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Heb 2:10also “pioneer of salvation“


CAPTAIN OF THE LORD’S HOST (army) – (an appellation or Title of Jesus) “And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?” Josh 5:14


CAROL– (Sl. Kolyada) A vernacular hymn adopted for popular singing at a festival, usually Christmas.


CARPENTER – (an appellation or Title of Jesus)  “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.” Mark 6:3


CARPENTER’S SON – (an appellation or Title of Jesus) “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? ” Matt 13:55


CASSOCK – (Sl. ryassa) A long black garment reaching from the shoulders to the ankles, worn by the clergy.


CATACOMES – Catacomb (from the Greek kata kumbas, meaning “near the low place or ravine”) was originally the name of a particular district in Rome, but later referred to subterranean Christian burial places throughout the Roman Empire. Catacombs have been discovered in Anatolia, Malta, and North Africa, and in the cities of Naples, Paris, Syracuse,… Read More


CATECHISM – Elementary instruction in Christian doctrine in the form of questions and answers.  An Orthodox Catechism is an instruction in the orthodox Christian faith, to be taught to every Christian, to enable him to please God and save his own soul. It is a Greek word, signifying instruction, or oral teaching, and has been… Read More


CATECHUMEN – In the early Church a person undergoing training and instruction preparatory to Christian Baptism. They were assigned a place in the church and remained there during the first part of the Liturgy, then they were solemnly dismissed when the priest exclaimed: “Depart all ye catechumens…”


CATECHUMENS, LITURGY OF – The second of three parts of the Divine Liturgy. The first part is the Proskomedia, or Preparation, the second is the Liturgy of the Catechumens which begins with censing of the altar and the people and the exclamation “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father. . ..” and continues to the… Read More


CATHEDRA – (a) An elevated place in the center of the church where a bishop is robed and where he remains until the Little Entrance. (b) The chair for the sole use of the bishop in the sanctuary of a cathedral. It is a sign of the bishop’s authority.


CATHEDRAL – The church of a diocese in which the bishop has his permanent throne or cathedra; usually and properly the cathedral is found in the town from which the diocese takes its name and where the bishop lives.


CATHOLIC – The word is derived from Greek and simply means universal, or all-embracing. It is one of the marks of the Orthodox Church, signifying that the Church of Christ is for all ages, for all nations and is the Ark of Salvation for all mankind. In the Slavonic version of “The Creed,” the word… Read More


CATHOLIC CHURCH – The Church is catholic because of its relation to God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The word catholic means full, complete, whole, with nothing lacking. God alone is full and total reality; in God alone is there nothing lacking. Sometimes the catholicity of the Church is understood in terms of the Church’s… Read More


CELEBRANT – Person who celebrates the Holy Eucharist – priest or bishop. A deacon may not celebrate the Holy Eucharist, but may assist.


CELEBRATION – Sacred performance of the Divine Liturgy.


CELIBACY -The state of being unmarried.? In the Orthodox Church candidates for the Holy Orders may be married or unmarried. After ordination a deacon or priest cannot marry. Bishops are chosen from celibates or widowers who have taken the monastic vows.


CENSER – (Thurible). (Sl. Kadillo) Vessel with cover hung on chains used for burning incense in church ceremonies.