Terminology - Glossary H

Term Definition

HABAKKUK (Avakkum, Abbacum) – One of the books known as the prophetical books of the Old Testament. This Prophet, who lived at the time of the height of Babylonian power, wrote probably between 608-598 B.C. He confronts the disturbing problem of why a just God is silent when the wicked swallows up the man more… Read More


HADES – 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).


HAGGAI (Aggaeus) –  One of the books known as the prophetical books of the Old Testament.The Prophet Haggai preached in Jerusalem from the 6th to 9th months of 520 B.C. In five addresses, he exhorted Zerubbabel the Governor and Joshua the High Priest to assume official leadership in the rebuilding of the Temple and urged… Read More


HAGIA SOPHIA – The Church of the Holy Wisdom at Constantinople. Architecturally one of the greatest and most important churches in Christendom. Built under the Emperor Justinian in 532. After the capture of the city by the Turks in 1453 it was turned into a mosque, and since 1934 a museum.


HAGIOGRAPHY -. (Gr. Hagiologia) The lives of Saints. 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.


HALO – (nimbus, type of  mandorla) A circle of light pictured around the head of a saint to show holiness. The halo represents the light of divine grace suffusing the soul, which is perfectly united and in harmony with the physical body. In the theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church, an icon is a “window… Read More


HEART – 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. (Matt. 5:8; 6:21; 22:37; Luke 6:45; John 7:38; Rom. 2:29; 10:9, 10; Heb. 13:9.) The… Read More


HEAVEN – The place and state of perfect blessedness where those who are saved shall be in the full light of God’s presence forever.


HEBREWS – (Epistle of St. Paul to  the Hebrews) – The main theme of the letter to the Hebrews is to compare the sacrifice of Christ to the sacrifices of the priests of the Old Testament. The Old Testament priests made continual sacrifices of animals for themselves and the sins of the people, entering into… Read More


HEGUMENOS – (Gr. leader, Sl. Egumen) A rank given to a hieromonk. The common name for the head of a monastery.


HEIR OF ALL THINGS – (an appellation or Title of Jesus) “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” Heb 1:2


HEIRMOLOGION – (Irmologion) – One of the basic liturgical books of the Orthodox Church, which contains the heirmoi for the entire year. There are two types of Heirmologion : a reader’s version, which contains only texts, and a singer’s version, in which the texts are supplied with musical notation. In the western Ukrainian and Byelorussian… Read More


HEIRMOS – (Irmos pl. Heirmoi, Irmosi) – A hymn that stands as the first troparion in each ode of a kanon and serves as a thematic link between the Scriptural canticles and the feast being celebrated. In the Greek originals, the h. established the melodic and metric model used in subsequent stanzas of each ode.


HELL – Place and state of condemnation in which the fallen angels and lost souls are tormented eternally. Hell, unpopular as it is to modern people, is real. The Orthodox Church understands hell as a place of eternal torment for those who willfully reject the grace of God. Our Lord once said, “If your hand… Read More


HERESY – 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).


HERMIT – One who, from religious motives, retires into a solitary life, and practices works of prayer and fasting in close union with God.


HESYCHASM – 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… Read More


HETERODOXY – Different, alien, and presumably false belief or teaching. The Orthodox Church describes as such all other Christian denominations. Departure from orthodoxy is called heterodoxy.


HIERARCHY – The higher clergy, rulers in spiritual things.


HIEROMARTYR – One of the various customary saint titles used in commemoration at divine services when remembering saints on the Church Calendar. A martyr who is also a clergyman.


HIGH PRIEST – (an appellation or Title of Jesus) “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” Heb 4:14


HISTORICAL BOOKS  (of the Old Testament)  – The books of Jesus the son of Nun (Joshua), Judges, Ruth, Kings, Paralipomena, the book of  Esdras, and the books of  Nehemiah and Esther. HISTORICAL BOOK (of the New Testament)  – Acts of the Apostles  


HOLINESS, HIS – Title of respect given to a Patriarch.


HOLY – 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… Read More