Terminology - Glossary K

Term Definition

KAIRON  – ‘Time’ or ‘permission.’ The prayers said by the clergy prior to the Liturgy in preparation for such service.


KALIMAVKI – The black, perpendicular headdress, draped with the black veil, worn by monastics, archimandrites, and bishops.


KAMILAUKA – A hat worn by the clergy, black cylindrical and has a flat top. Its use is liturgical.


KANON – Versicles sung at Matins, divided into nine Odes.


KANT – (pl. kanty or kanti) – A type of polyphonic extra-liturgical song, which was widespread in Russia, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia in the 17th-18th centuries. Originally kant were composed on religious texts (sacred or spiritual k.); in the 18th c., the subject matter came to include patriotic, everyday, and romantic themes. In musical terms,… Read More


KATAVASIA (KATABASIA, ‘Song of descension.’ ) – in Greek this word implies the act of “descending” or “coming down.” It is the name given to the hymn that concludes the ode of a Canon. During the singing of the Katavasia the two choirs are to “descend” from their places (the kliros) and assemble in the… Read More


KATHISMA – 1) A kathisma (pl. kathismas or kathismata; from Grk. kathemai, “sit”) is a twentieth part of the Psalter, that is, a section conveniently readable in one sitting or session. Each of the twenty kathismas is subdivided into 3 sections called stases or antiphons. A kathisma is often followed by meditative expository hymns called… Read More


KATHISMA HYMN – (Sedalen)  a hymn sung as an introduction to “sitting,” i.e., a period of rest following such things as the lengthy chanting of the Psalter, the singing of the Polyeleos, or the singing of several Odes from the Canon at Matins.


KELLIA – Monk’s room or cell in a monastery.


KENOSIS – Literally, “emptying.” The word is associated with humility or humiliation. God the Word humbled Himself by becoming man (with no change in His divinity), suffering death on the Cross for the world and its salvation (Phil. 2:5-8).   God’s self-limitation, His Divine condescension, especially in taking on human nature in Christ.


KERYGMA – (Gr. “message; preaching”). Proclaiming or preaching the word of God in the manner of the Apostles. It is a method of church instruction centered mainly on Christ and the concept of salvation.


KIEVAN CHANT – One of the liturgical chants of the Russian Orthodox Church, which first developed in the southwestern region of Rus’ as a variant of znamenny chant, and then spread to Muscovite Russia in the 17th c. Melodies of K. c. tend to be shorter and simpler rhythmically than znamenny melodies; distinctions between recitative-like… Read More


KING – (an appellation or Title of Jesus) “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” Matt 21:5 “Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.”… Read More


KINGDOM OF GOD – God’s rule over the world, showing (1) His absolute sovereignty as Creator and (2) His sovereignty over the faithful who voluntarily submit to Him. The Kingdom of God was made manifest by Christ and is present in the world through the Church. The fullness of the Kingdom will come when Christ… Read More


KINGDOM OF HEAVEN – The Kingdom of Heaven is Christ Himself, not a physical place or location. It is within Christ that the Kingdom is to be experienced. For this reason, we cannot think of the Kingdom as something we are either “in” or “out” of. Through baptism and a life of repentance, we participate… Read More


KINGS – Books known as the historical books of the Old Testament. The two books of the Samuel (1st and 2nd Kingdoms in the Orthodox Bible) are concerned primarily with the history of Israel during the times of the Prophet Samuel, King Saul and King David. Originally one unified work, Samuel was early divided into… Read More


KISS OF PEACE – A kiss on the cheek or the shoulder given by one believer to another as a sign of Christian unity and fellowship (1 Cor. 16:20). The clergy, and in some places the faithful, exchange the kiss of peace before saying the Nicene Creed during the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church.


KLIROS – (also krilos) (pl. klirosi) (1) special areas, usually elevated, to the right and left sides of the iconostasis, where singers stand during the liturgy; (2) an ensemble of singers on the kliros (see choir)


KLOBUK – A klobuk is an item of non-liturgical clerical clothing worn by Orthodox Christian monastics and bishops who follow the Slav traditions. It is composed of a kamilavka covered with an epanokamelavkion (veil) that are attached to each other. Generally speaking, metropolitans in the Slavic Churches wear white klobuks, as a sign of their… Read More


KNEELING VESPERS – Kneeling Vespers is served on the evening of Pentecost. In this service the posture of kneeling  (a posture of penitence that is avoided during the glorious, joyful celebration of Pascha)  is reintroduced to the liturgical life of the Church. Several “kneeling prayers” are prayed by the priest while the faithful kneel.


KNOWLEDGE – Knowing and experiencing the truth of God and salvation through Jesus Christ. Spiritual knowledge (1) is frequently identified with Christian doctrine; (2) is applied to the spiritual meaning of the Scripture; and (3) refers to mystical and contemplative knowledge, not merely intellectual knowledge of God. Its aim and effects are to enhance man’s… Read More


KOINONIA – 1) A Greek word meaning communion or intimate fellowship. This relationship exists between the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and also between Christians who are united by love into one body in Christ. (Acts 2:41, 42; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 John 1:1-7). See also COMMUNION. 2) Communion Hymn sung during the Divine… Read More


KONDAKARIAN NOTATION – One of the oldest types of musical notation in Kievan Rus’, imported from Byzantium at the time Christianity was received. KONDAKARIAN NOTATION is found in collections of kontakia, known as Kondakari, from which it derives its name. KONDAKARIAN NOTATION is ideographic by nature, and consists of two rows of neumes above the… Read More


KONDAKARIAN SINGING – One of the types of liturgical singing that arose in Kievan Rus’ following Byzantine models. Kondakarian Singing was by nature quite melismatic and was performed in solo fashion by virtuoso singers, while the congregation sang refrains. It was used to perform kontakia, Communion Hymns, and select verses from the Psalms. Kondakarian Singing… Read More