Terminology - Glossary D

Term Definition

DAILY CYCLE – The cycle of liturgical services of the Orthodox Church, comprised of Vespers, Compline, Nocturns, Matins, First Hour, Third Hour, Sixth Hour, and Ninth Hour; Divine Liturgy, though strictly speaking not part of the d. c., falls between Sixth and Ninth Hour. According to church tradition, the Daily Cycle begins with Vespers, at… Read More


DAILY VESPERS – Daily Vespers is an abbreviated form of Great Vespers and is served on any day that Great Vespers is not appointed. Generally, Daily Vespers is served by a priest alone without the assistance of a deacon, although there is some variation in this practice. At Daily Vespers, the Small Entrance is usually… Read More


DALMATIC – (Sl. Stichar) A vestment open on the sides, with wide open sleeves and an opening for the head, worn by the deacon in solemn, or worn by the bishop underneath the chasuble during the celebration of Divine Liturgy.


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.)


DANIEL – One of the books known as the prophetical books of the Old Testament. The Prophet Daniel lived in Babylon in the time of King Nebuchadnezzar. The book itself consists of six stories (Ch. 1-6), which illustrate how faithful Jews, loyally practicing their religion, were enabled, by God’s help, to triumph over their enemies… Read More


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.)


DAVID – (an appellation or Title of Jesus)  “But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.” Jer 30:9


DAY STAR – (an appellation or Title of Jesus)  “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” 2 Pet 1:19 (also: morning star)


DAYSMAN – (an appellation or Title of Jesus)  “Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.” Job 9:33


DAYSPRING – (an appellation or Title of Jesus)  “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,” Luke 1:78


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


DEACONESS – 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.


DEAN – 1) A senior priest at a cathedral; 2) an elected or appointed supervisor of a Deanery; 3) the faculty head of a theological seminary.


DEANERY – A territory consisting of several parishes, under the spiritual rule of a Dean.


DEATH – The death which came from the sin, of Adam is twofold: bodily, when the body loses the soul which quickened it, and spiritual, when the soul loses the grace of God, which quickened it with the higher and spiritual life. The soul can die also, but not so as the body. The body,… 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).


DELIVERER – (an appellation or Title of Jesus) “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:” Rom 11:26


DEMESTVENNY CHANT – One of the monophonic chants of the Russian Orthodox Church; first mentioned in a source dating from 1441, it flourished in the 17th c. Hymns performed in Demestvenny Chant primarily belonged to solemn feast-day services and were marked by complexity of rhythm and freedom of melodic stucture. The hymns of Demestvenny Chant… Read More


DEMESTVENNY NOTATION – a type of neumatic notation used in early Russian church singing for notating monophonic demestvenny chant.


DEMESTVENNY POLYPHONY – A type of early Russian polyphony, dating from the 16th-17th c., that was contrapuntal in nature and characterized by a complex texture resulting from the relative rhythmic independence of the component voices.


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.)


DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS – (an appellation or Title of Jesus)  “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.” Hag 2:7


DESPOTA – When speaking with a Bishop, you should say “Bless, Despota [Thés-po-ta]” (or “Vladika [Vlá-dee-ka]” in Slavonic, “Master” in English). It is also appropriate to say, “Bless, Your Grace” (or “Your Eminence,” etc.). You should end your conversation by asking for a blessing again. This is in respect to the bishop’s teaching ministry  (ie,… Read More


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… Read More