Terminology - Glossary E

Term Definition

EAGLE – (Sl. Orletz) A round piece of carpet about 20 inches in diameter with the figure of an eagle with outstretched wings on which the Bishop stands during celebration of services. It symbolizes the authority of the bishop over his province.


EASTER – The Feast of the Resurrection of Christ, also known as Pascha (from the Hebrew word for Passover). Christ proclaimed Himself as the true Passover and offered Himself as a sacrifice. Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter according to the decree of the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325: the first Sunday following the first full… Read More


EASTER BASKET – Following The Resurrection Matins and Liturgy it is traditional among Slavic peoples to have their “Easter baskets” blessed. There are traditional foods among every Slavic group: Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian, Montenegrin, etc. Following is a list of foods commonly included in the basket. It is not necessary to… Read More


EASTWARD POSITION – From a very ancient custom the celebrant at the altar and the people at worship face the East, so the churches are built to have the altar side face the East. Christ is like the rising sun giving warmth and light to the Christian way of life.


ECCLESIA – (Gr. “the gathering of the people”). 1) The gathering of the faithful at the church for worship and fellowship; 2) the church where the liturgy is celebrated; 3) the Church as the Body of Christ.


ECCLESIARCH – An ecclesiarch, or sacristan, in the Orthodox Christian Church is an officer of the church who is charged with the care of a church and its properties particularly in monasteries. His position resembles that of a sacrist in the Western Church. In large monasteries and important churches the ecclesiarch may be assisted by… Read More


ECCLESIASTIC – relating to a church. Greek ekklesiastikos referred to the ancient Athenian political assembly. First century Christians writers adopted the word to mean “assembly of believers,” or “church.”


ECCLESIASTICAL – 1) Having to do with the Church. Appropriate to a church or to use in a church. 2) Of or relating to a church, especially as an organized institution.


ECCLESIASTICAL YEAR – The ecclesiastical year, which according to Byzantine practice begins on the first of September, is divided between movable and immovable or fixed holy days. The movable holy days are determined by the date of Easter – the most important of all feast days -, which is in a class by itself. The… Read More


ECCLESIOLOGY – The branch of theology studying the nature, constitution, function, and membership of the Church.


ECONOMY – (oikonomia) 1) the management of a household. In theology the term refers first of all to God’s providence as the divinity extends itself beyond the inner life of the Trinity: all that pertains to the created worlds and to the divine actions taken on their behalf and for their salvation. The supreme example… Read More


ECUMENICAL COUNCILS – An assembly of representatives of the Church legally convoked, for the settlement of ecclesiastical affairs, formulating dogmas and making rules of faith and morals. The Orthodox Church recognized seven Ecumenical Councils.


ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT – (Ecumenism) An attempt by the Christian churches throughout the world to find some basis for the re-union of Christendom. The Ecumenical Movement takes as its guiding principle the Protestant view of the Church. Protestants hold that there is no single truth and no single visible Church, but that each of the many… Read More


EDICT OF MILAN -The decree of Emperor Constantine in 313 granting freedom in the exercise of their religion to Christians.


EIGHT TONES – A system of classifying liturgical poetry and melodies into eight categories, known as Tones. Derived originally from the Palestinian practice of singing Paschal hymns to a different melody (Tone) on each of the eight days of the feast, the Eight Tones came to be applied to eight week-long cycles of hymns. As… Read More


EINOS (pl., EINOI) – The Praises sung during Matins. Also called Lauds.


EIS POLLA ETI DESPOTA – Greek for ‘Many Years, Master.’


EISODOS – The procession or entrance, referring to either the Little or Great Entrance.  Also called Introit.


Ekphonesis – In a general sense, the chanted reading and exclamations of sacred text, which are used in the Orthodox Catholic Churches. In terms of melodic character, e. stands between psalmody, in which deviations from the main reciting tone occur only at the beginnings and endings of phrases, and singing proper, which has a well… Read More


EKTENIYA – (EKTENIA Litany) A series of petitions chanted by the priest or deacon to each of which the choir responds. It is supplication or fervent prayer that comes out of the heart.  These petitions call upon God’s mercy.


ELECT – (an appellation or Title of Jesus) “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” Isa 42:1


ELEMENTS – The material things used in the Holy Sacraments, like the bread and wine in Holy Communion and water in Baptism.


ELEVATION OF THE CROSS – The Elevation of the Cross, (or Exaltation of the Life-Giving Cross), celebrated on the fourteenth of September, commemorates the finding of Christ’s Cross by Saint Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century; and, after it was taken by the Persians, of its recovery by the Emperor… Read More


EMINENCE, HIS – Title given to the Metropolitan and Archbishop.