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Some Important Eastern Church Terms
Antiminsion: A rectangular cloth with an icon of the tomb of Christ, consecrated by the bishop and without which no sacrament can be preformed.
Antidoron: Blessed but unconsecrated bread given to all at the end of the liturgy.
Chrismation: Roughly, the Eastern equivalent of the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Council of Chalcedon: Convened in 451, the council fathers affirmed "Christ in two natures of one person without mixture, without change, without separation and without division." This definition was contrary to the traditional Alexandrian theology of "One incarnate nature of Christ." The council also established Constantinople as ranking second only to Rome and ahead of Alexandria and Antioch.
Council of Lyons II: An ecumenical council held in 1274 with the aim of ending disputes with the Greek Church. It added the words "and the Son" to the Nicene Creed, which resulted in its rejection by a Greek Council in Constantinople in 1277.
Council of Nicea: Inviting bishops from across the world in 325, the emperor Constantine hoped to settle the main disputes separating the faithful. The heresies of Arius were condemned and the Divinity of Christ was affirmed as being of the same substance as that of the Father (Arius claimed that Jesus was a creation of the Father, and was not Himself God); the date for the Feast of the Resurrection (Easter) was set according to the solar calendar; and the council formally established the primacy of the patriarchs of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch.
Divine Liturgy: The Eastern eucharistic service equivalent to the Mass.
Dormition of Mary: Roughly, the Eastern equivalent of the Assumption.
Ecclesia sui iuris: Latin term for autonomous Churches of their own rightful existence.
Eparch or Hierarch: The Eastern equivalent of a bishop.
Eparchy: The Eastern equivalent of a diocese.
Exarch: A bishop one rank below a patriarch.
Filioque: The Latin term "and from the Son" inserted into the Nicean Creed by the Latin Church in the year 1274. Considered by the Orthodox a major cause of theological division.
Great Fast: Eastern term for Lent, which for Eastern Churches begins on the Monday before Ash Wednesday (the 40 days are counted differently).
Great Vespers: Non-eucharistic Saturday evening service (does not count toward the Sunday obligation).
Greek Catholic: An outdated term for Byzantine Catholic.
Icon: A two-dimensional image written according to strict guidelines and venerated as would be the relic of a saint.
Iconostasis: An icon-adorned screen separating the altar from the church proper.
Metropolitan: Roughly, the Eastern equivalent of an archbishop.
Myrovannya: Slavic term for a festal anointing with blessed oil.
Mysteries: Roughly, the Eastern term for sacraments.
Patriarch: The highest-ranking bishop. The pope, for example, is the patriarch of the West.
Panakhyda: An Eastern requiem or memorial service.
Paraklesis: A service for the intercession of the Lord, the Mother of God, and the saints.
Pascha: Eastern term for the Feast of the Resurrection (Easter), derived from the term Passover.
Prosphora: Eastern term for the bread used for the host.
Raso or Ryassa: Eastern equivalent of a cassock.
Rite: A liturgical, theological, spiritual, and disciplinary patrimony of a distinct people manifested in a Church sui iuris.
Uniat or Uniate: A derogatory term for an Eastern Church in communion with Rome.
Zeon: Boiling water added to the chalice representing the Holy Spirit and the water from the side of Christ.
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