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Glossary


 
Acolyte
1. a person especially commissioned by the bishop to serve in the mass (as the second preliminary stage to priestly orders) 2. altar servers (for example, candle bearer). Greek: akoluthos (follower)
Alb
White garment with sleeves that the priest wears under his vestments; refers to the baptismal garment. Latin: albus (white)
Almandine
Red semi-precious stone used in the early Middle Ages to decorate jewelry.
Alpha
First letter of the Greek alphabet, also a symbol for the “beginning.”
Altar
Table on which the Eucharist is celebrated. Latin: altare (raised place)
Altarist
Priest who was to serve at a certain altar.
Ambo
Lectern in the church from where the Word of God is proclaimed.
Anachronism
Placement of an occurrence characteristic of the present in the past; institutions or behavior no longer up-to-date.
Annex church
A church which is annexed to another church.
Apostle
“Ambassadors” sent forth by Jesus himself as authorized messengers to spread the Kingdom of God, namely His 12 “Disciples”: Peter, Andrew, James the Greater, John, James the Less, Phillip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, Thaddeus, Simon, and Judas Iscariot (Gospel of Matthew 10:3), who was replaced by Matthias, chosen in a casting of lots (Acts of the Apostles according to Luke 1:15 ff.). Paul also expressly names himself as an Apostle because knows that he was sent by Jesus Himself to proclaim the Gospel.
Apse
Half-circular extension on a church where, for example, an altar is placed.
Archbishop
In general in the western Catholic Church since the 8th century, the primary bishop of a Church province, whom other bishops are subordinate to. Sometimes it is only an honorary title. The office of Archbishop exists not only in the Catholic Church but also in the Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran Churches (in Scandinavia, the Baltic States).
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament was a chest of acacia wood covered in gold, with poles for carrying, containing the tablets of the Ten Commandants and the staff of Aaron. The Ark was taken with the Israelites on their exodus from Egypt and stood in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem.
Ascetic
Originally physical mortification or spiritual exercises in the search for wisdom and morality, used today principally in a religious sense. In many religions, practiced as abstention from nourishment and sexual intercourse or as physical mortification. The goal is the perceived magical or mystic unity with the deity or the attainment of transcendental abilities. In Christianity, asceticism is viewed as positive: 1. as a practice to enter into Christian life; 2. as striving to attain Christian perfection; and 3. as special renunciation of the earthly as a sign of the expectation of the Heavenly Kingdom; thus especially in the orders of the Catholic Church.
Attribute
Symbol identifying a saint, for example, a key for Saint Peter or a pilgrim’s shell for Saint James.
Baptistery
Baptism chapel, baptism church; Greek, baptizein: (baptize)
Basilica
1. Early Christian 3- or 5-aisled hall-like church 2. papal honorary title for famous churches. Greek, basilik (royal [hall])
Benedictine
Latin: Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviation OSB, oldest Catholic order of monks in the Western world, founded in the 6th century. Benedictines live according to the rule set down by Benedict of Nursia, which requires constant presence in the monastery or convent (stabilitas) A regular amount of labor became prescribed, with the principle: ora et labora (Latin: “pray and labor”). Labor, handiwork, and intellectual activity enjoy equal recognition with singing the offices for the liturgy of hours. The Cluniac (monastery at Cluny, France) reform brought about a revival of the Benedictine monasticism. Originally, the individual Benedictine monasteries or convents existed independent of one another; in the 14th/15th centuries, they joined together to form congregations (several abbeys under the supervision of a single abbey, from which certain impulses and ideas on monasticism emanated, for example, in Beuron, St. Ottilia); in 1893, the Benedictine Confederation was formed under an Abbot Primate. Habit: black, normally with hood, leather cingulum (belt) and a black cucullus (vestment with wide sleeves used by the Benedictine order).
Benefice
An income enjoyed in earlier times by a priest holding an ecclesiastical office, such as a parish, monastery, or a post of canon in a chapter.
Bishop
In the Catholic Church, the bishops are also denoted as the successors of the Apostle Peter. They serve the people of God in the name of Jesus Christ as the principal teacher, shepherd, and priest. They consecrate priests and deacons and share tasks with them. Greek, episkopos: supervisor
Bull
Originally a seal made of metal, then the document itself: the most solemn form of papal proclamations and law-giving in Latin, often cited by their first words (e.g., “Unam Sanctam” [one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church] 1302).
Campanology
The study of bells: the practical aspects of bells — how they are cast, tuned, and sounded. It also refers to the whole culture of bell-ringing.
Canon
1. A clergyman belonging to the chapter or the staff of a cathedral or collegiate church; 2. a regulation or dogma decreed by a church council or a provision of canon law; 3. an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture; 4. a contrapuntal musical composition in which each successively entering voice presents the initial theme usually transformed in a strictly consistent way.
Capuchins
The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap) is an order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. As a mendicant order, initiated in 1525 by Matteo de Bascio, they are dedicated to preaching and mission and are dedicated especially to pastoral care. They live in complete poverty. The order has been active in Germany since about 1600.
Carthusians
The Carthusian Order is an enclosed Christian religious order founded by St. Bruno in 1084. The monastery is headed by a prior. The name is derived from Chartreuse, a French valley in the Alps which was where St. Bruno built his first hermitage. They observe strict silence and fasting, live in cells and have only a few activities together. (The word “chartreuse” green is also derived from the original monastery).
Cassock
A close-fitting ankle-length garment worn especially in Roman Catholic and Anglican churches by the clergy (pope: white, cardinals: crimson, bishops and other high-ranking clergy: red, otherwise: black; in tropical regions also grey of white).
Catechism
Lessons in Christian teaching, forming a part of practical or pastoral theology, typically oral, and traditionally under the guidance of a parent, pastor, or priest, religious teacher, or other individuals in church roles (including a deacon, religious brother or sister, or nun).
Cathedral
A bishop’s church.
Cathedral canon
Member of a cathedral chapter.
(Cathedral) cantor
Lead singer in the liturgy. Latin: cantor (singer)
Cathedral Dean
The Cathedral Dean is responsible for the religious services of the Cathedral chapter and for the sacristy; in both areas, he is authorized to issue instructions. In the case of illness or absence, he is the deputy of the Cathedral Provost.
Cathedral Chapter
Important advisory body of the bishop. In some places, it has the right to elect the bishop.
Cathedral Church
“Cathedral” derives from cathedra, Greek: seat. The bishop’s seat is located in a prominent place in the cathedral. The church is also the main and mother church of a diocese. Not only Mass is celebrated in the worship services of the church calendar year, normally with great solemnity, but services are held which are reserved for cathedrals alone, ones that are significant for the entire diocese: the consecration of priests and deacons, the chrism oil, to name a few.
Cathedral Close
An enclosed area surrounding a cathedral, which, in the Middle Ages, was invested with special rights and laws.
(Cathedral) Preacher
A position created around 1500 for a theologically trained clergyman, often later a member of the Jesuits, who held sermons in the Cathedral.
Cathedral Provost
Head of the Cathedral chapter, he bears the seal and represents the Cathedral chapter to the outside world. In addition, he conducts the business of the Cathedral chapter and the Cathedral. He is responsible for executing the decisions of the Cathedral chapter. Latin: praepositus (president/chairman)
Cathedral Sacristan
Officeholder in the cathedral who cares for the liturgical objects, sacred vessels, vestments, and the art objects of the cathedral. In addition, he conducts an annual inventory.
(Cathedral) Vicar
Clergyman without an independent office, in the Catholic Church, 1. Cardinal Vicar, the cardinal who administers the Diocese of Rome as deputy of the Pope; 2. Apostolic Vicar, titular bishop as deputy of the Pope in Missionary areas; 3. Vicar-General, general deputy of the bishop; 4. Parish vicar, priest as deputy of a parish priest.
Choir screen (rood screen)
Wall or screen between congregation or the laity and the choir in the church reserved only for the clergy; derived from the lectern which stands in the front part of the choir, from which low choir walls developed in the Romanesque era. A stage is located on the wall from which the doxologies were read (glorification, for example, at the end of the Eucharist prayer in the mass: “Through Him and with Him . . .”) or where the choristers stood; in addition, the choir wall is broken up by a passage. In many cases, the wall is decorated with reliefs or statues. After 1563, the choir screens (walls) were removed in almost all Catholic churches.
Choir wall
A wall or barrier in the church separating the choir, reserved for the clergy, from the lay people in the congregation. The choir wall differs from the choir screen in that it runs along the sides of the choir, forming a separate “room.” The walls are generally more than 6.5 ft/2 m high and decorated with bas-reliefs.
Chrism
Oil (symbolic of the Holy Spirit) consecrated by the bishop during Holy Week in the Chrism mass; used in administering the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, in the consecration of churches, chalices, patens, altars, and altar-stones, and in the solemn blessing of bells and baptismal water. Greek: Chri(s)ma (anointing oil).
Chrism Mass
Mass in which the bishop blesses the three holy oils during Easter week (if possible, on the morning of Maundy Thursday): chrism, catechumen oil (for anointing before baptism), and oil for anointing the sick.
Cleric
Member of the clergy (as opposed to the laity)
Clergy
Generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. Greek kleros (a lot, that which is assigned by lot [allotment] or metaphorically, heritage).
Christ
Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messiah (“the Anointed”), dignifying name for Jesus.
Clergy Houses
Houses in the area surrounding the Cathedral with the residences of the Cathedral chapter members.
Cloisonné
A glass smelting technique in which different colored glass powder is placed between metal barriers and smelted and polished.
Cloister
A covered walkway with arcades open to all sides of an inner courtyard; a cloister is often vaulted and richly ornamented with sculpture and painted decorations. It joins the main rooms of a monastery or convent and serves as a walkway for processions. Cathedrals also formerly had cloisters.
Codex
Originally wax tablets with writing. Beginning in the 1st century AD, papyrus scrolls were used, than parchment leaves made into a book. In the 4th and 5th centuries, the codex finally replaced the scroll as the book form. From the 13th century on, paper was frequently used in Europe instead of parchment.
Concelebration
The rite by which several priests say Mass together, all consecrating the same bread and wine; it was reintroduced into the Catholic liturgy as the highest form of celebrating the Eucharist.
Confirmation
In the Catholic Church, that sacrament in which the Holy Spirit is given to those already baptized in order to make them strong in Christ. The sacrament is administered by the laying on of hands, anointing with chrism, and the words of the bishop or authorized priest. Confirmation exists in the Protestant Church as well. Latin: confirmation (affirmation).
Concordat
Contract between a secular government and the pope as head of the Catholic Church concerning the relationship between State and Church. In Germany, the following concordats remain valid: the Baden (1932), Bavarian (1924 and 1978), Prussian (1929), and Lower Saxony Concordats (1965 and 1973), the North Rhine-Westphalia Concordat with the Holy See (1984) and the Reich Concordat (1933).
Consecrate
To dedicate to a sacred purpose; to induct (a person) into a permanent office with a religious rite; especially to ordain to the office of bishop; to make or declare sacred; especially to devote irrevocably to the worship of God by a solemn ceremony.
Crook
Curved upper section of a crosier, as the crook on a shepherd’s staff.
Crosier
A bishop’s staff, as a shepherd’s crook.
Cross reliquary
Normally the work of a goldsmith, the reliquary serves to hold a relic of the Holy Cross.
Crypt
Lower church in the “cellar” of a church. Greek: krypta (hidden)
Deacon
An official consecrated by the bishop, but not a priest, a deacon may proclaim and interpret the Gospel, perform baptism, celebrate weddings and funerals, and is to carry out charitable tasks. For some, the office of deacon is a preliminary stage to becoming a priest; others remain as deacons, who may marry. Greek: diakonos (servant).
Diaconate
Combination of several parishes, administrative area of a dean.
Dignitary
Ecclesiastical person in the Catholic Church in the high position of a dignitate, a high office holder such as a member of a chapter, cathedral or collegiate foundation (for example, Cathedral provost or dean).
Diocese
Area administered by a bishop. The diocese is named after the seat of the bishop. Greek: dioikesis (administrative unit)
Ecumenicism
Initiatives to achieve unity within the Christian Church, which have become ever more effective since the end of World War I. Greek oikoumene, (the inhabited world)
Electoral Prince
Prince who had the right to vote to elect the German King (who then became the Holy Roman Emperor).
Eucharist
Earlier “The Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.” The “body and blood” of Christ are present in the form of bread and wine in the Eucharist sacrament and can be received in this form in the communion service, the Mass. Greek: eucharistia (thanksgiving, before the consecration)
Eucharist Adoration
Adoration of the resurrected Christ in the form of the bread (consecrated host), kept in the  tabernacle or exhibited in a monstrance (vessel to exhibit the host, normally made of precious metals).
Evangelary (Gospel Book)
A liturgical book containing the texts of all four Gospels or those portions of the Gospels which are to be read during Mass on any particular day in the church calendar.
Evangelist Symbols
An association of the writers of the four Gospels with winged animals, based on the interpretation by Saint Jerome (4th century) of texts in Ezekiel 1:5-10, 10:14 and Revelation 4:7. Matthew: an angel; Mark: a lion; Luke: an ox; and John: an eagle.
Finial
An ornament terminating the point of a spire, pinnacle, etc. Gothic decoration, formed as a bud of blossom with leaves formed as a cross.
Four Cardinal Virtues
The main virtues; in Catholic ethics: justice, wisdom, temperance, and courage, as an expansion of the three “theological virtues”: faith, hope, and love.
Globus cruciger
Latin: the “cross-bearing orb,” belonging to royal insignia, symbolizes the world. The globe is crowned by a cross and signifies Christ’s dominion over the World.
Gloria
Beginning of the song of praise by the angelic host to the shepherds at the birth of Christ (Luke 2:14): “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.” It is a part of both the Catholic as well as most Protestant liturgies.
Gospel
1. General term for the message of salvation through Jesus Christ; 2. the Gospel writings in the New Testament of the Bible by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; 3. the Gospel reading in the liturgy. Greek: euangelion (good news)
Habit
Dress characteristic of a calling, rank, or function, for example, a monk’s habit.
High Mass
The celebration of the Mass in the Catholic Church on Sundays and holidays.
Holy Week
In Christianity the last week of Lent. It includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) and Good Friday, and lasts from Palm Sunday until but not including Easter Sunday. It commemorates the last week of the life of Jesus Christ culminating in His crucifixion on Good Friday and His resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Hood Molding (Wimperg)
Gothic ornamental gable with tracery or an open structure. Its edges are set with crockets (stylized carving of curled leaves, buds or flowers), with the gable flanked by pinnacles and its top usually crowned by a finial.
Host
The unleavened bread used in the celebration of the Eucharist. Latin: hostia (sacrifice)
Hymn
A celebratory song of praise since Antiquity to honor heroes and gods. The Latin word hymnus is specifically a Christian derivative from the Greek, ultimately derived from to sing.
Iconography
The study of the contents of pictorial art. Iconography interprets the symbolic content and message of pictorial art.
Imperator
Title of Roman or medieval Emperor.
Intaglio
When used in the context of jewelry, it refers to incised (negative) image, and is the opposite of cameo, a raised (positive) relief image.
Intarsia
A form of wood inlay that is similar to marquetry (veneer), especially in furniture. Different colored woods, mother of pearl, ivory, or the like can be used.
Lauds
Morning prayer service of the Catholic Church, one of the two “principle hours” in the  Catholic Liturgy of the Hours. It consists of a hymn, Psalms, scripture reading, benedictus, (“Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel”), intercessions (a prayer to God on behalf of another person), the Lord's Prayer, closing prayer, blessing and dismissal. Latin: laudes (hymn of praise)
Legal Entity
A juristic person, an artificial entity that the law treats for some purposes as if it were a person, such as an incorporated organization.
Diocesan Consultors
In a diocese, a college of consultors consists of priests charged with advising the bishop in certain matters pertaining to the administration of the diocese, one duty being to elect a diocesan administrator during a period sede vacante.
Lector
1. Reader of the Scripture reading during worship service 2. one specially commissioned by the bishop to read the liturgical readings from the Scriptures (first step toward Holy Orders). Latin: lector (reader)
Levites
Name in the Catholic Church for deacons with solemn liturgical functions.
Lierne vaulting
Late Gothic vaulting in which ribs are added to form a network pattern.
Liturgy
Official order of worship in the Church; originally a public duty, a service to the state undertaken by a citizen. Greek: leiturgia (public duty)
Liturgy Constitution
Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, was approved by the Second Vatican Council on December 3, 1963. It concerns the “participation by the Christian people,” a greater transparency in the rites and symbols, and a greater use of the vernacular in the Mass.
Magnificat
Mary’s hymn of praise beginning with the Latin “Magnificat anima mea Dominum” (My soul doth magnify the Lord) found in the Gospel of Luke 1:46-55. In the Western Church, the Magnificat is a part of the vesper liturgy. It has been set to music many times.
Mass
The celebration of the Eucharist in Western liturgy of the Catholic Church, of Old Catholic Churches, of the Anglo-Catholic tradition of Anglicanism, and of some largely High Church Lutheran regions.
Master of Ceremonies
Priest or layman who sees to the correct order of the liturgy (at the side of the bishop or priest).
Messiah
1. The king and high priest of Israel authorized as God’s chosen by being anointed with oil. 2. the awaited universal King of Salvation from the lineage of David at the end of time. The New Testament views Jesus of Nazareth as this Messiah but, in contrast to a majority of Jewry at that time, viewed Him as being spiritually oriented and apolitical: Jesus has shown Himself to have authority as the Messiah through his works and affirmed by God through His crucifixion and resurrection but not through any display of external power of His own.
Miter
In its modern form in Western Christianity, the miter is a tall folding cap, consisting of two similar parts (the front and back) rising to a peak and sewn together at the sides. Two short flaps always hang down from the back. This head covering is worn by bishops and abbots (head of a monastery).
Monastery cell
The private room of a monk. Latin: cella (closed area, room)
Mosque
Islamic roofed building for prayers of the congregation.
New Testament
Abbreviation: New Testament; the collection of canonical (recognized) writings of Christianity, comprising four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), the Acts of the Apostles, 13 letters of the Apostle Paul, 7 Catholic letters, the letter to the Hebrews, and the Revelation (Apocalypse) of John, altogether 27 books. The collection was officially recognized around 400 first in the Greek Church (367) and in the Roman Church (382), and in the other parts of the then Christian world abound 600.
Obelisk
A tall, four-sided stone pillar that gradually tapers as it rises and terminates in a pyramid; originally an Egyptian symbol of the sun, normally covered with hieroglyphic (Ancient Egypt) inscriptions. Roman Emperors brought obelisks to Europe; today obelisks from Egypt can be found in Rome, Paris, London, and Istanbul.
Old Testament
abbreviation Old Testament, Old Covenant, in the Christian Church, the normal designation for the canon (recognized, official) of Scriptures bearing witness to the covenant of God with Israel, as opposed to the new covenant in Jesus Christ, in which God includes all of humanity. The Scriptures of the Old Testament were written during a period of about 1000 years (the most recent being the Book of Daniel between 167 and 164 BC). The books have a long-lasting influence because of the use in Jewish worship service and study of the Scriptures.
Ordinariate
All the various organs through which an ordinary, and especially a bishop, exercises the different forms of his authority. The diocesan administration is headed by the Vicar-General.
Ordinary
1. A prelate exercising original jurisdiction over a specified territory or group; 2. often capitalized, the parts of the Mass that do not vary from day to day.
Patron saint
A saint whose protection is enjoined for an individual, a community, or a place (patron saint, name saint, titular saint of a church).
Pectoral cross
Bishops and cardinals wear this pendant cross on a chain over their habits, normally an artistically fashioned cross.
Pentecost (Whitsun)
Christian feast (holiday) on the 50th day after Easter to commemorate the pouring out of the Holy Spirit over the Apostles assembled in Jerusalem (Acts of the Apostles 2); this feast day was first documented in the 3rd century. It forms the conclusion of the Easter holidays. In Germany, it is celebrated on two days and manifests Christian and pre-Christian and non-Christian customs. In Christian art, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is generally depicted with Mary standing among the Apostles, with the “tongues of flame” over their heads and the dove of the Holy Spirit.
Pericope
Excerpts from the Gospels to be read during divine service arranged according to the order in the Church calendar; also Gospel Book.
Pilgrim
Someone who undertakes a religious pilgrimage, traditionally a visit to a place of some religious significance. Latin: peregrinus (to go far afield)
Prebend
A stipend furnished by a cathedral or collegiate church to a clergyman (as a canon) in its chapter.
Prebendary
1. A clergyman receiving a prebend for officiating and serving in the church; 2. an honorary canon in a cathedral chapter.
Predella
Base of an altarpiece, normally decorated with paintings or bas-reliefs; in the baroque era often in connection with a relic shrine.
Prelate
1. A high ranking clergyman (for example, Vicar-General, abbot, etc.); 2. an honorary title awarded by the pope for a deserving priest. Latin: praelatus (placed in front, honored).
Presbyterium
1. A body of priests taken collectively (in the Catholic Church) 2. presbytery (Board of Elders) in the Protestant Reformed or Presbyterian Church 3. altar area of a church. Greek: presbyteros (older man, priest, principal person)
Priest
In the Catholic Church, the priest is a person who has received the Sacrament of Order by which grace and spiritual power for the discharge of ecclesiastical offices are conferred. The Sacrament of Holy Orders is administered by the bishop. To participate in the priesthood of Christ and to be called to mission as proclaimed by the bishops,  the priest practices his office in three ways: he proclaims the Word of God, administers the sacraments, and is shepherd to his congregation. Only an ordained priest may celebrate the Eucharist, hear confessions, grant absolution, and anoint the sick. As with all clergy of the Catholic Church, the priest is obligated to a celibate (unmarried) life, regular prayer, and to obedience to his bishop.
Procession
Solemn and orderly movement of people on religious occasions, combined with prayer and hymn singing (for example: Corpus Christi procession or the entry procession at the beginning of worship service).
Prophecy
The prediction of future events or the speaking of divine words (divine revelation) through chosen human messengers (prophets).
Prophet
The recipient of divine revelation through visions or hearing and one who proclaims God’s will or the secret and the future. Prophets in the past formed their own station or class (as in the Old Testament or as priests in the Roman cult of deities). The great prophets of the Old testament achieved significance as recipients, proclaimers, and instruments of the Word of God, especially of judgement and prophecy (Moses, Elijah, Elisha), also handed down in the books of the prophets since the 8th century BC (Amos). In the New Testament, John the Baptist and especially Jesus are viewed as the fulfillment and instruments of prophecy in the Old Testament.
Psalm
Pray/song from the Old Testament book of “Psalms.” Greek: psalmos (string music, song)
Rabbi
Medieval and modern title of a Jewish scholar/teacher employed by a Jewish congregation. The rabbi is religious teacher and preacher, he determines questions of religious/ritual practice.
Relief
A sculptured artwork where a modeled form projects out from a flat background. Depending on the degree of relief, the form may be called bas-relief (low), half, or high relief.
Relic procession
Christians in the Middle Ages carried the relics of their saints through the streets of their town or around the walls during processions on certain saints’ feast days or during times of danger because of war, crop failure, and pestilences. As late as 1948, the shrine of the Three Magi was carried in a procession in Cologne as thanksgiving for the end of World War II.
Relics
Remains of the bones of saintly people (primary relic), also clothing  and articles of use from a saint (secondary relic). In commemoration of the custom in Early Christianity of celebrating the Eucharist over the graves of the martyrs, relics were frequently placed into the altar stone in a so-called sepulcrum (grave). Latin: reliquiae (remains).
Reliquary
Precious receptacle of gold and gemstones to hold relics.
Rochet
A knee-length linen vestment with tight-fitting sleeves generally worn over the cassock by high ranking clergy to worship services (other than during the liturgy). It is decorated with lace or embroidered borders, broader at the hem and narrower on the sleeves. Latin: roccus (skirt).
Sacrament
An outward sign of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification. The Catholic Church celebrates seven sacraments: baptism, confirmation, Holy Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, Holy Orders (for example, of deacons, priests, or bishops), and matrimony. Latin: sacramentum (holy sign).
Sacred
Holy, consecrated (in contrast to profane [secular, normal]). Latin: sacralis (consecrated).
Salian
From the Salian Franks. The Salian Franks were a Germanic ruling dynasty who can be traced to the Moselle and Saar into the 7th/8th centuries. Their territories in Worms and Speyer on the Rhine can be documented for the 10th century. After the Ottonian dynasty died out, the Salian dynasty began with Conrad II (1024) the ruling family of German kings and Holy Roman Emperors. The Salian dynasty ended with the death of Emperor Henry V in 1125.
Sarcophagus
Stone coffin.
Scepter
A staff of arm’s length with a decorated end. It counts among the symbols of power in the insignia of a king.
Second Vatican Council
The Catholic Church Council from 1962-1965 in the Vatican, called by Pope John XXIII and continued by Pope Paul VI for a renewal of the Catholic Church and for a reconciliation of the Christian Churches. Four constitutions were passed: on the liturgy (admission of national languages); the Church, Revelation (unity of the Holy Scriptures, tradition, and Church teachings); the Church in the world of today; 9 decrees: on the pastoral tasks of bishops; ecumenicism, the Eastern Catholic Churches, service and life of priests, the education of priests, life in Holy Orders, mission, lay apostleship, the mass media; 3 declarations: on religious freedom, non-Christian religions, Christian education.
Secularization
Confiscation of Church property by the state. The ecclesiastical territories remaining in Germany after the Reformation of the 16th century were dissolved in 1803 by a resolution of the Imperial Diet (Reichstag) of the Holy Roman Empire. The secularization also encroached on the Imperial monasteries. Together with the dissolution of the Catholic universities supported by the ecclesiastical states (mostly Trier, Mainz, and Cologne), the secularization created the most profound caesura in the history of German Catholicism.
Sede vacante
A diocese that has no bishop.
Station
A predetermined stopping place for certain prayers (as in the Stations of the Cross) or other actions during worship.
Tabernacle
Small chest for keeping the consecrated hosts (left over from the Mass celebration); it is distinguished by the “altar lamp,” an oil or candle light that burns day and night in front of the altar. Latin: tabernaculum (tent).
Taize Prayer
Special form of worship, consisting mostly of meditative singing, based on an idea from the Communauté de Taizé (Protestant brotherhood with a character similar to that of religious orders). The community was founded in 1940 by Roger Schutz and is located in Taizé near Cluny, France. The members of the community observe the commandments of the Gospels: celibacy, poverty, and obedience.
Theology
The scholarly teachings about God. The word derives from Greek philosophy (love of the truth) and means the critical interpretation of myths (the commentary on classical sagas of gods and heroes), which was to “explain” the world.
Tolerance Edict
Wrongly named “edict,” an agreement was established in 313 between Constantine the Great and Licinius in respect to their political policy toward religions in the Roman Empire. The agreement was based on the tolerance edict issued by the Eastern Emperor Galerius in 311 at Serdica (Sophia, Bulgaria). With the agreement, Christianity was accepted in the Roman Empire, and its followers were called upon to pray for the Emperor and the Empire. In addition, the Christian clergy in Milan were granted privileges the non-Christian priests did not have.
Tracery
Curved openwork shapes of stone or wood as a decorative component of Gothic windows: can be three-leaved (trefoil), four-leaved (quatrefoil), five-leaved (cinquefoil), six-leaved (sexfoil).
Tympanum
The space between a door lintel and the arch, normally filled with bas- or other reliefs in medieval church architecture. French cathedrals (Arles, Autun, Chartres) and churches in Germany have especially elaborate tympanums.
UNESCO
Abbreviation for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the UN Charter.
Vespers
Evening prayer service in the Church (part of the liturgy of the hours). Latin: vesper (evening).
Vigil
In the Catholic Church, a preparatory worship service on the evening before a particular Church feast or holiday. In the liturgy of the hours of monks, the first morning prayer, normally still during the night. It consists of Psalms and readings.
Vita communis
A religious community that does not take vows.

 
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