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Advent - The season, starting 4 Sundays before and leading up to Christmass, when the Church meditates upon Our Lord's first coming among us, and the time when he shall return again.
Ascension - The day forty days after Easter (Ascension Day) when Our Lord returned to his Father's right hand in heaven. It is understood as a part of his being glorified after his Incarnation.
Atonement - The condition of living "at one" with someone, especially God or another person, after having been separated by some offensive misdeed or action. To make atonement in a religious sense involved the offering of something of value, most especially for Christians the offering of Our Lord's own life.
Baptism - The sacrament of initiation into the Church. It means a sharing in the death and resurrection of Our Lord and takes place either with the immersion in, or pouring of water upon, a person in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Bishop - One appointed to the highest order of ministry, in succession to the apostles, and who is responsible for the care of the clergy and people in a diocese along with the government of that diocese. He is empowered to ordain priests and deacons, and also joins with other bishops to ordain new bishops.
Catholic - From the greek words 'kata' (according to) and 'holos' meaning whole. Churches in the Catholic tradition recognise and respect the historic continuity of the Episcopate, the three sacred orders of ministry, the truth of the gospel, the three creeds, and the value of prayer and sacraments.
Chasuble - The outermost vestment, normally in the liturgical colour of the day. Typically a single sheeted vestment (something like a poncho) and is a recalling of the robe that Christ wore on the day of the Crucifixion that was woven from top to bottom without seam. Normally only the celebrant of the Eucharist will wear a chasuble.
Deacon - One appointed to the serving ministry of the Church, and who shares in the proclamation of the Gospel. The first deacons were appointed by the apostles in the early Church. Diakonios to serve is clearly distinct from doulos the slave.
Easter - The Principal Solemnity of the Christian year. The time at which the Resurrection of Our Lord from the dead is celebrated. We are an Easter people. We live in the light of resurrection.
Epiphany - The English version of a Greek word meaning "manifest". The day (January 6th) when the Church celebrates the coming of the Wise Men from the East to present gifts to Our Lord. Also that time of the Church's year after the Christmass season when we consider how Our Lord was made manifest, that is shown forth or revealed, to the world at large, of whom the Wise Men were representative.
Faith - An active trust in God, born of the hope of future glory.
God - The Supreme Being, who has created and sustains all things, in whom we live, and move, and have our being.
Heaven - The dwelling place of God, his angels and all the saints. A place of perfection without end, and the future hope for those who believe.
Icon - Greek meaning 'image'. Icons are painted images of Jesus, The Trinity, or The Saints and most prominent in the Eastern Traditions of Christianity. The Greek Influences in the early Celtic Christianity means that they have a place in Anglican spirituality. The Orthodox see icons as 'windows of heaven'. They mean we should look through the icon into heaven. As Christians we are called to be icons - made in the image and after the likeness of God - and showing by the way we live our lives that there is another dimension - that people might see something of heaven, of God, of a crucified redeemer in the way we live.
Incense - A resin that produces a sweet smell when burned. Traditionally offered in Christian ceremonies, especially the Mass , and which is reminiscent of the glory cloud of God's presence in the ancient Tabernacle / Temple.
Jerusalem - The city of the great King David, forerunner and human ancestor of Our Lord. The place where the old covenant Temple was located.
King - An earthly ruler, but most especially applied to Our Lord as king supreme of the universe.
Law - Under the Old Covenant the rules and precepts (especially the Ten Commandments) set down for the children of Israel. Originally meant as a guide to assist in developing holy lives and behaviour, but which became burdensome when reduced to mere regulatory practice.
Lent - The season, beginning on Ash Wednesday, 40 days long in which Christians prepare for Easter by examining their lives and meditating upon Our Lord's suffering and death. Sundays during this time are considered to be "in Lent" but not "of Lent"
Mary - The Blessed Virgin Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, chosen by God's grace for that singular honour. From her was imparted to Our Lord his human substance.
Nazareth - The earthly home of Our Lord for the early part of his life. Located in the north of Israel, it is in the area known as Galilee which in old times was considered border territory.
Omniscient - The characteristic of being all knowing, as it applies to God
Pentecost - The occasion fifty days (thus Pente) after Easter when God poured the Holy Spirit upon the Church to give it courage and energy to proclaim boldly the message of Our Lord's resurrection to all the world.
Priest - One appointed to offer sacrifice to God, principally Our Lord as the Great High Priest. The primary role of the priest is to intercede for the people of God. The Church ordains men to fulfil this office as Our Lord's representatives.
Qumran - Early in 1947 a couple of shepherds tossing stones in the valley heard an echo as the stone hit a container. They discovered a huge cache of parchments and papyrus sealed in barrels to preserve them. The documents date from the period 150 BCE to 70 CE - the Dead Sea Scrolls. Some of the texts are Biblical that we already know. Some of the them are Apocryphal documents. Some of the texts where either secular or to do with the life and order of the community that had stored the documents. The Essene Community that lived here was a radical Jewish community, from the time of Jesus, and has led to a lot of speculation about the similarities between the life expressed here and the New Testament accounts of John the Baptist.
Repentance - The active turning away from a life of selfishness and evil.
Resurrection - The Resurrection clearly defines the Christian faith, in terms of doctrine, hope and lifestyle. Resurrection speaks of New Life, New Beginnings, and the triumph of Jesus, in that though crucified, on the third day was alive for evermore.
Sabbath - Under the Hebrew Covenant the day (Saturday) set aside specifically for rest and the worship of God, in honour of God's rest in the Genesis creation. In time, under the Christian covenant, this was transferred to Sunday in honour of the Resurrection of Our Lord.
Thurible - A ceremonial vessel with chains and sometimes also bells attached, used for the burning of incense.
Trinity - The Orthodox belief and doctrine that God is One in substance and Three in person, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Unction - The sacramental rite, also known as anointing, wherein a priest / bishop applies holy oil (symbolic of the Holy Spirit) to a person together with prayer for a particular purpose, most commonly for those who are sick in accordance with the precept outlined in the Letter of St James, but also for those approaching death that they may be sanctified. The rite is also used at Holy Baptism, Ordinations, and the Coronation of Monarchs as we read in the holy scriptures. .
Votive offering - An offering made to God in fulfilment of a vow, especially with respect to the Mass.
Wisdom - More than the accumulation of factual knowledge wisdom is the capacity to know how to live well and to give glory to God. In ancient times, and still today, it is understood to be a gift from God. King Solomon in particular was considered to be most wise and mentioned this gift in his writings.
Xavier - St Francis Xavier a Spanish Jesuit missionary to the East who lived in the 1500s.
Yom Kippur - The yearly Day of Atonement, and most solemn day of the year, for the Jewish people. The details of the original form of the ceremony, which are quite different in modern times, are specified in the Book of Leviticus.
Zeal - To be single minded and devoted to a cause and / or a person with all one's heart and soul.
Zion - The Hebrew name for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and was the seat of the first and second Holy Temple. It is the most holy place in the world for Jews, seen as the connection between God and humanity. Observant Jews recite the Amidah three times a day facing Zion in Jerusalem, praying for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, the restoration of the Temple service, the redemption of the world, and for the coming of the Messiah.