Terminology - Glossary N

Term Definition

NICENE CREED – The statement of the Orthodox Christian faith expressed in twelve articles. This formula of the confession of faith was made at the first Council of Nicea (in 325) and expanded at the first Council of Constantinople (in 381). The Western Church made an alteration in this original form by adding the Filioque,… Read More


NIKA – NIKA is a Greek word meaning “conquers” (and is not an abbreviation!), referring to Christ’s conquest of Hades and His victory over death and sin. NIKA is stamped on the prosphora below the initials Ic Xc which are abbreviations of “Jesus Christ.” Initials of Greek words meaning “By this thou conquer.” These initials… Read More


NIMBUS – A nimbus can also refer to the halos of light around the heads of angels and saints in icons. Also in icons, Christ’s nimbus (halo) carries the cross and contains the Greek words meaning He Who Is  


NOCTURNE – Nocturne is the midnight service of the Church. In monasteries it usually begins the all-night vigil of the monks. It contains a number of psalms together with the normal prayers found in other services, such as the call to worship, the Thrice-Holy, the Our Father, the Troparion, etc. Its theme is obviously the… Read More


NOMOCANON – A compendium of the Orthodox Church law consisting of canons of Councils and pertinent civil legislation.


NON-CHALCEDONIANISM  – Non-Chalcedonianism is the view(s) of those churches that do not accept the Confession of Chalcedon as defined at the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon of 451. Some Christian denominations accept the doctrines of the previous council at Ephesus in 431, but do not accept, for varying reasons, the teachings of Chalcedon. The most substantial… Read More


NORMAL STATUTES – The rules and regulations adopted by the Sobor for the guidance and the administration of the external affairs of the Church.


NOUS – The nous is our highest faculty. It has been called: the “eye of the psyche,” the “eye of the heart,” and also the “energy of the psyche.” When cleansed, the nous resides and operates from within the heart; it can perceive God and the spiritual principals that underlie creation; it is cognitive, visionary,… Read More


NOVATIANISM – The name of a heresy saying that people who apostasize or commit serious sin can never be absolved.


NOVICE – One undergoing a period of probation before taking the monastic vows.


NUMBERS – The history of religion in the time of the Prophet Moses, and the Law given through him from God. Book of the Old Testament, one of the five books written by Moses. The title Numbers refers to the census or numbering of the people of Israel at the beginning of this book, but… Read More


NUN – A woman who has taken the monastic vows. In Orthodoxy monasticism embraces both men and women. The general rules for the organization of monastic life, the Monastic Grades, Tonsure, Habit, etc., are the same for all monastics, and the goals and aspirations of monastic life likewise are the same for both men and… Read More


NUNC DIMITIS – Two Latin words beginning the Song of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32) sung at Vespers : “Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart”