Terminology - Glossary M

Term Definition

MAGI  –  (Sl. Volhvy) A name given to the “Wise Men from the East,” who were guided by a star.


MAGNIFICAT – The prayer or hymn sung by the Virgin Mary when she visited St. Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist, shortly after the Annunciation (Luke 1:46 55). Sung frequently during Matins in the Orthodox Church, this hymn takes its title from the Latin for the beginning phrase, “My soul magnifies the Lord.”… Read More


MAJOR ORDERS – Major Orders in the Orthodox Church refers to the three degrees of ordained clergy: bishop, presbyter, and deacon. Persons who hold these offices are charged with the celebration of the divine services and the administration of Church life. They have received the grace of the Holy Spirit to perform these jobs through… Read More


MAKARIZMOI – A Greek term referring to ‘The Beatitudes’.


MALACHI – One of the books known as the prophetical books of the Old Testament. The Prophet Malachi (meaning My Messenger) lived in the period from 500 to 450 B.C. One central theme dominates this Prophet’s thought: faithfulness to the Lord’s Covenant and its teachings. The book is divided into two parts: 1) (Ch. 1-2:16)… Read More


MAN – (Gr. anthropos) Frequently used in the Bible in the generic sense for both man and woman. Man is the pinnacle of God’s creation, for only he among the creatures was made in the image and likeness of God. (Gen. 1:26, 27; Luke 4:4.)  God’s vision of humanity far exceeds our limited understanding, this… Read More


MAN CHRIST JESUS – (an appellation or Title of Jesus)  “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” 1 Tim 2:5


MAN OF SORROWS – (an appellation or Title of Jesus)  “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isa 53:3


MANDORLA – The mandorla or the nimbus is an iconographic symbol in the shape of a circle or an almond-shaped oval signifying heaven, Divine Glory, or Light. Mandorla is Italian for “almond.” The mandorla is simply the iconographic way of representing heavenly glory, mystery, and majesty. The mandorla is one of the clearest and most… Read More


MANICHAEISM – A heretical Persian Gnostic religion, highly dualistic.


MANTIA – Bishop’s mantle, purple or blue in color open in front but fastened at the neck and at the foot where it is ornamented with four squares of embroidery typifying the Scriptures, from which issue the streams of doctrine in the form of red and white horizontal stripes.


MARCIONISM – The name of a heresy that is the rejection of Hebrew “god” in favor of New Testament “god.”


MARK – (Gospel of St. Mark) – This Gospel is generally believed to have been the first written of the Gospels. Ancient tradition ascribes it to John Mark (Acts 12:12; 15:37), who composed it at Rome as a summary of Peter’s witness. This Gospel is primarily a collection of narratives depicting Jesus as being constantly… Read More


MARRIAGE – MARRIAGE in the Orthodox Church is forever. It is not reduced to an exchange of vows or the establish­ment of a legal contract between the bride and groom. On the contrary, it is God joining a man and a woman into “one flesh” in a sense similar to the Church being joined to… Read More


MARTYR – (Gr. martyria) Literally, “a witness.” Normally, the term is used to describe those who give their lives for Christ. Martyria has two meanings: (1) witness or testimony, especially that which God bears to Christians, and which Christians bear to the world; and (2) martyrdom, especially Christ’s Passion, and the martyrdom of Christians for… Read More


MARTYRIKON – a sticheron commemorating the martyrs


MARTYROLOGY – A list for every day of the year of martyrs and other saints whose feast or commemorations occur on each day.


MARY OF EGYPT, SUNDAY OF – The Fifth Sunday recalls the memory of Saint Mary of Egypt, the repentant harlot. Mary tells us, first of all, that no amount of sin and wickedness can keep a person from God if he truly repents. Christ himself has come “to call sinners to repentance” and to save… Read More


MARY, THE ALL-HOLY VIRGIN  – The Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ; Christ is God, therefore she is the Mother of God. The Orthodox venerate her with an honor above that accorded to other saints and regard her “above the Cherubim and more glorious than the Seraphim.”  MARY is called Theotokos, meaning “God-bearer” or “the… Read More


MASS – In the Western Church it is the service of the Eucharist. In the Orthodox Church this service is called the Divine Liturgy.


MASTER – 1)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


MATINS – The early morning prayer service in the Orthodox Church. It begins with six psalms and has the reading of one of the eleven Resurrection Gospels, followed by the Canon with nine Odes and also the Great Doxology. It always is served before Divine Liturgy, sometimes on the eve of a holy day. The… Read More


MATRIMONY – The Sacrament which blesses and sanctifies the contract of Christian marriage and gives special grace for harmonious and peaceful living.


MATTHEW   (Gospel of St. Matthew) – Although the document is internally anonymous, the authorship of this Gospel has been traditionally ascribed to St. Matthew. The surviving testimony of the Church Fathers is unanimous in this view, and the tradition had been accepted by Christians at least as early as the 2nd century up to… Read More