Terminology - Glossary O

Term Definition

OBADIAH (Abdias) – One of the books known as the prophetical books of the Old Testament. The prophecy of Obadiah, who prophesied sometime after the Fall of Jerusalem, consists of an oracle against Edom, one of Israel’s neighbors. This book is the shortest book of the Old Testament and consists of three parts: 1) an… Read More


OBIKHOD – One of the liturgical chant books of the Russian Orthodox Church, which developed in the second half of the 15th-early 16th centuries, and which contains the hymns of the Ordinary for Vespers, Matins, and Divine Liturgy, as well as the main hymns of the Proper from the Octoechos, Heirmologion, and Festal Menaion. The… Read More


OBLATION – a) Proskomedia. A service of preparation of the elements of bread and wine before the beginning of Divine Liturgy, (b) Table of Oblation (Zhertvennik) The table on the left side of the Sanctuary where the preparation of the elements is made.


OCTAVE – The commemoration of a feast over a period of eight days from the day of the feast to the Apodosis (Otdaniye).


OCTOECHOS – (OKTOECHOS) The Book of the Eight Tones, it is one of theliturgical books of the Orthodox Church. The Octoechos (or Paraklitiki) covers each of the eight tones, or melodic patterns, together with its accompanying  hymns, sung throughout all the services for the seven days of the week, beginning on Saturday evenings. The cycle… Read More


ODE – (Sl. Irmos) Biblical Odes (also called canticles) One of the nine canticles of the canon sung at Matins. They are nine hymns that are taken directly from Scripture.? The (First) Song of Moses (Exodus 15:1-19), The (Second) Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:1-43), The Prayer of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-10), The Prayer of Habakkuk… Read More


OF THE DAY – The expressions “of the day,” “for the day,” etc. mean of the day of the week (Monday, Tuesday, etc.), often the current or present day of the week. Thus, “troparion of the day” means, on Monday, the troparion of the Bodiless Hosts; on Tuesday, the troparion of St. John the Baptist;… Read More


OF THE SAINT –  The expressions “of the saint” and “of the saint of the day” mean the saint (or the icon, or other fixed feast) being commemorated that calendar date (for example, the saint for September 26, if that is the current date). Any reference to “saint” means the hymn can be found in… Read More


OFFICE –  A rite or service of prayers, hymns and Scripture readings.


OFFSPRING OF DAVID – (an appellation or Title of Jesus)  “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Rev 22:16


OIKOS– (Ikos) – A specially constructed stanza, in honor of a particular feast, which is sung, together with the kontakion, after the 6th ode of the kanon. The oikos develops the ideas expressed in the kontakion and, as a rule, concludes with the same words as the kontakion. Like the Kontakion, it is a condensed… Read More


OKTOECHOS – (Octoechos, or Book of the Eight Tones) Service book containing the Canons and hymns of the eight Tones, used at Vespers and Matins services. It contains poetic hymns, in the form of troparia, kontakia, canons, and so forth. They are divided into eight groups of melodies, or tones. Each tone contains the hymnody… Read More


OLD BELIEVERS – In the context of Russian Orthodox church history, the Old Believers became separated after 1666-1667 from the hierarchy of the Church of Russia as a protest against church reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon of Moscow. Old Believers continue liturgical practices which the Russian Orthodox Church maintained before the implementation of these reforms…. Read More


OLD MAN – One not transformed by the Holy Spirit, still a slave to sin and death (Rom. 6:5-7; Eph. 4:20-24).


OLD TESTAMENT – The first part of the Bible, the books written before the coming of Christ. They are divided into four groups: 1. Books of the Law; 2. Historical Books; 3. Doctrinal and 4. Prophetical. The Old Testament scripture begins with the five books of the Law called the Pentateuch, which means the five… Read More


OMOPHORION – A part of the vestment of a Bishop. A band of brocade worn around the neck, one end of which hangs on the front of the left shoulder and the other end hangs on the back from the right shoulder. It typifies the Good Shepherd taking upon his shoulders the wandering sheep.


ONE CHURCH – The Church is one because God is one, and because Christ and the Holy Spirit are one. There can only be one Church and not many. And this one Church, because its unity depends on God, Christ, and the Spirit, may never be broken. Thus, according to Orthodox doctrine, the Church is… Read More


ONLY BEGOTTEN – (an appellation or Title of Jesus) Our Lord Jesus Christ is called the “Son of God, the Only-begotten”, because He is the only Son begotten of the substance of God the Father. The Son of God was begotten of God the Father before all ages. This means that there was no time,… Read More


ORARION (orar in the Slavic traditions) – A part of the vestment of the Deacon, worn over the left shoulder and under the right arm. He holds up the front end when he chants the litany. The Subdeacon wears the Orarion crossed over his breast and the back. In some traditions, acolytes may sometimes be… Read More


ORDINAL –  Book containing the prayers and ceremonies in use at the Pontifican services ordination of deacons and priests, the blessing of the church building, etc.


ORDINATION – (Holy Orders) The sacramental act setting a man apart for the ministry of the Church by the laying on of hands of a bishop. The original meaning of ordination includes both election and imposing of hands (Acts 6:1-6; 14:23; 1 Tim. 4:14).    


ORIGENISM – The name of a heresy with a set of Platonized cosmological teachings and speculations of Origen.


ORIGINAL SIN – (Ancestral Sin) The fact that every person born comes into the world stained with the consequences of the sins of Adam and Eve and of their other ancestors. These consequences are chiefly: (1) mortality, (2) a tendency to sin, and (3) alienation from God and from other people. Original sin does not… Read More


ORTHODOX – (Gr. right believer, right worship ) One who professes the true doctrine as taught by the Holy Orthodox Church.