Terminology - Glossary S

Term Definition

SABBATH – The seventh day of the week, originally a day of rest, for after creation “God rested on the seventh day” (Gen. 2:2). Since Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week, Sunday, the Church gathers on this day instead of the seventh to worship God. Sunday is also called… Read More


SABELLIANISM – The name of a heresy saying that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are only “modes” or “masks” of one divine Person.


SACRAMENT – Literally, a “mystery.” A sacrament is a way in which God imparts grace to His people. Orthodox Christians frequently speak of seven sacraments, but God’s gift of grace is not limited only to these seven – the entire life of the Church is mystical and sacramental. The sacraments, like the Church, are both… Read More


SACRAMENTAL FANS – (Sl. Ripidion, Gr .Exapteriga) Round metallic disk representing a cherub’s head surrounded by six wings, mounted on an upright shaft. Its original purpose was to keep away flies from the Holy Gifts during the anaphora. Two of these sacramental fans are usually placed in back of the altar and are carried at… Read More


Sacred Concerto – A piece of sacred music composed on a text that may be liturgical or non-liturgical (e. g., from the Psalms), which was sung after the Communion Hymn during the communion of the clergy at the Divine Liturgy. Sometimes hymns from other services, e. g., the All-Night Vigil, are sung as Sacred Concertos.


SACRIFICE – To offer something up to God. In the Old Covenant, God commanded His people to sacrifice animals, grain, or oil as an act of thanksgiving, praise, forgiveness, and cleansing. However, these sacrifices were only a foreshadowing of the one perfect sacrifice – Christ, the Word of God, who left the heavenly glory to… Read More


SACRILEGE – A violation or contemptuous treatment of a person, thing, or place, publicly dedicated to the worship of God. The administering or reception of sacraments in an unworthy manner is a sacrilege.


SACRISTY – (Gr. Skevophylahon; Sl. Riznitsa). A utility room at the right side (south) of the altar, where vestments and sacred vessels are kept and where the clergy vest for services.


SADDUCEES – A party in Judaism at the time of Christ. The Sadducees steadfastly held to a literal interpretation of the Law contained in the first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch or Torah), and rejected traditional interpretations favored by other groups of Jews, especially the Pharisees. Sadducees came from the priestly class… Read More


SAINT -Literally, “a holy person.” With God as the source of true holiness, all Christians are called to be saints (Rom. 16:2; 1 Cor. 1:1, 2). But from the earliest times, the Church has designated certain outstanding men and women who have departed this life and reached deification as worthy of veneration and canonization as… Read More


SAINT ANDREW THE FIRST CALLED –  St. Andrew was a Galilean fisherman of Bethsaida and was the first called of the Apostles of Christ (John 1:37-40), to whom he brought his brother Simon, called Peter. According to Church tradition, he suffered martyrdom at Patras in Achaia on an X-shaped Cross (St. Andrew’s Cross). Another tradition… Read More


SAINT ANTHONY THE GREAT – ( 356)  St. Anthony, commemorated January 17, is considered to be the Father of monasticism, and The Life of St. Anthony, by St. Athanasius, presents him as a truly inspiring example of monastic ascetical perfection. During the Arian controversies, he risked his life defending the Orthodox teachings of St. Athanasius… Read More


SAINT ATHANASIUS THE GREAT – Patriarch of Alexandria ( 373). St. Athanasius, commemorated January 18 and May 2, was a great defender of the Orthodox faith during the Arian controversies and was exiled five times for his labors. Among his major writings are The Incarnation of Christ and The Life of St. Anthony, which serve… Read More


SAINT BARNABAS – St. Barnabas, a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith (Acts 11:24), was a Jew from Cyprus, closely associated with the work of St. Paul. It was Barnabas who was sent to the Christians at Antioch, fetching Paul from Tarsus to help him. Later, he and Paul were sent… Read More


SAINT BARTHOLEMEW – In Holy Scripture, St. Bartholemew is to be identified with the Nathanael of John 1:45-51, of whom the Lord Himself witnessed, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile (John 1:47). According to Church tradition, he preached the Gospel in Lycaonia, India and Armenia, where he was martyred by being flayed alive…. Read More


SAINT BASIL THE GREAT – Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia ( 379). St. Basil, commemorated January 1 and January 30, was a notable theologian and spiritual writer of the 4th Century and is noted for his many writings on numerous theological and spiritual subjects, as well as commentaries on Holy Scripture. During the Sundays of Great… Read More


SAINT CYPRIAN – Bishop of Carthage ( 258). St. Cyprian, commemorated on August 31, was Bishop of Carthage during the persecutions of the Emperor Decius (250). He died as a martyr in 258, and among his many writings concerning Church life, the most important is On the Unity of the Catholic Church, which sets forth… Read More


SAINT CYRIL – Patriarch of Alexandria ( 444). St. Cyril, commemorated on January 18 and June 9, was the leader in the defense of Orthodoxy against the Nestorians, and was a firm defender of the veneration of the Virgin Mary as Theotokos. He was especially prominent in the deliberations of the Third Ecumenical Council.


SAINT EPHRAIM THE SYRIAN  – ( 373-9). St. Ephraim, commemorated January 28, was a major spiritual writer and hymnographer of the 4th Century, and is especially noted in Orthodox liturgical life for, among other things, his inspiring work, The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian, which is said at all of the weekday services… Read More


SAINT GREGORY – Bishop of Nyssa (4th Cent.). St. Gregory was the younger brother of St. Basil the Great and is commemorated on January 10. He is especially known for his spiritual writings, as well as various dogmatic works, including his Great Catechism.


SAINT GREGORY PALAMAS – Archbishop of Thessalonica ( ca. 1360).  St. Gregory, commemorated on November 14 and the Second Sunday of Great Lent, was a pious Monk of Mt. Athos, and later was elected to the See of Thessalonica as its Bishop. He is noted for his defense of the contemplative life of hesychasm (inner… Read More


SAINT GREGORY THE DIALOGIST – Pope of Rome ( 604). St. Gregory the Dialogist, commemorated March 12, was Pope of Rome in the 7th Century and was noted for his many literary works, including his Dialogues on the monastic Saints of Italy. To him is ascribed the writing-down of the beautiful Gregorian Chants as well… Read More


SAINT GREGORY THE THEOLOGIAN –  Archbishop of Constantinople ( 389). St. Gregory, commemorated January 25 and 30, was a fellow student and friend of St. Basil the Great and was a leading opponent of the Arians. He has been honored by the Church with the title Theologian, being one of only three, so honored (the… Read More


SAINT IGNATIUS –  Bishop of Antioch ( 107). St. Ignatius was the second Bishop of Antioch and is commemorated on December 20 and January 29. Martyred in the Arena at Rome, while on his way to martyrdom, he wrote seven letters to Christian communities, as well as to St. Polycarp, which contain valuable information on… Read More