Terminology - Glossary L

Term Definition

LADDER – (an appellation of the Theotokos) In a dream Jacob saw a ladder ascending to Heaven, with Angels ascending and descending on it. The Theotokos is a Ladder, stretching from earth to Heaven, for on It God descended to man, having become incarnate.


LADDER OF DIVINE ASCENT – The Ladder of Divine Ascent is an ascetical treatise on avoiding vice and practicing virtue so that at the end, salvation can be obtained. Written by Saint John Climacus initially for monastics, it has become one of the most highly influential and important works used by the Church as far… Read More


LAITY – (Sl. Miryane) Members of the Church, the people of God. Sometimes the term laity is used for those who are not ordained.


LAMB – The symbol for the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross (cf. John 1:29). In the Orthodox liturgy the Lamb is the first square piece from the altar bread (prosphora), inscribed with the letters ICXC NIKA. This particular piece is to be consecrated during the Eucharist


LAMB OF GOD – 1) (an appellation or Title of Jesus) Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world (John 1:29). 2)In the preparation service, the bread and wine are made ready to be consecrated in the Eucharist service to follow. The priest cuts out… Read More


LAMENT – (Lamentation) formal expression of sorrow or mourning, especially in hymn, verse, or song; an elegy or dirge.


LANCE – A small knife, double edged and pointed with a handle ending with a small cross, which is used to cut out the particles from the prosphora during the service of Preparation –Proskomidiya.


LANGUAGE, LITURGICAL – In the Orthodox Church the language of any ethnic group becomes the language of the Church in that particular nation. The Greek language is used in church services among the Greeks, and Slavonic among the Russians, Serbs and Bulgarians, Japanese for people of Japan.


LAST ADAM – (an appellation or Title of Jesus)  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.   1 Cor 15:45


LAST SUPPER– (Sl. Taynaya Vecherya) The meal which Jesus Christ had with His Apostles in the upper room in Jerusalem the night before He was crucified. At this moment He instituted the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. In Slavonic it is called the Mystic Supper.


LATINIZATION – refers to the introduction of Roman Catholic elements of theology or praxis into non-Roman traditions. Examples of such traditions have included the Celtic, Mozarabic and Gallican Rites in the west, and the Byzantine, Maronite, and Coptic Churches in the east. In some cases, Latinization has completely supplanted the older traditions. In other cases,… Read More


LAURA – (lavra) A type of monastery which is directly under the authority of the Patriarch, viz. Troitska Laura in Moscow, Kievo-Pecherckaya Laura in Kiev. A large, rich monastery of importance that has special privileges and is A cultural center in the region it occupies.


LAWGIVER – (an appellation or Title of Jesus)  “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.” Isa 33:22


LAY – The words lay, laity, layman come from the Greek word laos which means people. “Laikos,” layman, is the one who belongs to the people, who is a member of an organic and organized community. It is, in other words, not a negative, but a highly positive term. It implies the ideas of full,… Read More


LAYMAN – The one  who shares in Divine election and receives from God a special gift and privilege of membership. It is a highly positive vocation, radically different from the one we find defined in Webster. We can say that in our Orthodox teaching each Christian, be he a Bishop, Priest, Deacon or just member… Read More


LAZARUS SATURDAY – Lazarus Saturday is a paschal celebration. It is the only time in the entire Church Year that the resurrectional service of Sunday is celebrated on another day. At the liturgy of Lazarus Saturday, the Church glorifies Christ as “the Resurrection and the Life” who, by raising Lazarus, has confirmed the universal resurrection… Read More


LEADER – (an appellation or Title of Jesus) “Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.” Isa 55:4


LEAVE-TAKING OF A FEAST – (Apodosis) The last day of the post-feast, on which the Typikon sometimes prescribes serving essentially the same service as on the first day of the feast.   St. Demetrios (October 26)—leavetaking: October 27 Nativity of the Forerunner (June 24)—leavetaking: June 25 Ss. Peter and Paul (June 29)—leavetaking: June 30 Beheading… Read More


LEAVENED – As in leavened bread, where a small amount of yeast will cause the whole loaf to rise, so a small amount of evil or good affects the whole body (Luke 13:20, 21; 1 Cor. 5:7, 8). In contrast to the Old Testament bread, which was unleavened to show the Israelites’ separation from the… Read More


LECTERN – A high movable reading desk of wood or metal with slanting top for reading the Gospel during Liturgy. It is brought in front of the Royal Doors on the Ambo and after the reading it is removed to the side.


LECTIONARY –  a book containing Scripture readings (pericopes) that are appointed to be read in Church services according to the cycles of the liturgical year. The lectionary goes back at least to the fourth century, and some of the oldest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament that have survived are Byzantine lectionaries.


LENT – (Great Lent) The seven weeks of fasting in preparation for the glorious Resurrection of Christ. The faithful attend special prayer services, go to confession and Holy Communion. Each Sunday is designated for special commemoration the first Sunday is the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the second –  St. Gregory of Palama, third – Veneration of… Read More


LENTEN DAILY VESPERS – Lenten Daily Vespers is served on the weekdays of Great Lent, unless the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is celebrated. For Monday through Thursday evenings, the general Daily Vespers form is altered by the inclusion of special lenten apolytikia, prostrations, special lenten prayers (including the prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian),… Read More


LENTEN SUNDAY VESPERS – Lenten Sunday Vespers is served on the Sunday evenings of Great Lent. The service begins as Great Vespers. After the Small Entrance, one of two lenten Great Prokeimena is chanted and the prayer Vouchsafe, O Lord is said. The remainder of the service follows the order of Lenten Daily Vespers, with… Read More