Holy Mothers of Orthodoxy

by

Eva Catafygiotu Topping


Glossary

Acrostic
the initial letters of each line of the verse, in order, spell the hymnographer’s name
Aetiological or Etiological
assigning or seeking to assign a cause
Akathistos Hymnos
Akathist Hymn, a hymn dedicated to a saint, holy event or one of the persons of the Holy Trinity
Amartia
sin, literally missing the mark
Anastasis
Resurrection
Androcentrism
centered on, emphasizing, or dominated by males or stereotypical “masculine” interests
Anthropos
person, not gender specific
Apocrypha
a group of 14 books included in the Septuagint and the Vulgate as part of the Old Testament, depending on the bookthey are consider canonical or authoritive by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church but are usually omitted from Protestant editions of the Bible.
Aposticha
a set of hymns (stichera) accompanied by Psalm verses chanted towards the end of Vespers and Matins in the Eastern Orthodox Church
Apse
in architecture a semicircular recess in a building, usually vaulted and used especially at the end of a church
Ascetic
a nun, monk or hermit, living in a convent, monastery or alone in a wilderness
Bards
poets (including hymnographers)
Basileus
king, queen, emperor, empress
Blood taboo
ancient belief (superstition) that women are “unclean” during menstruation or for 40 days after the birth of a child and may not participate in the sacraments of the Church (still practiced in the Eastern Orthodox Church, even after it rejection by Christ in His healing of the woman with the 12-year flow of blood)
Byzantium
an ancient Greek city on the Bosporus and the Sea of Marmara: Constantine I rebuilt it and renamed it Constantinople A.D. 330, modern day Istanbul
Canon
1. In the Eastern Church: a liturgical sequence sung at matins, usually consisting of nine odes arranged in a fixed pattern, also spelled kanon
2. (canon law) the body of ecclesiastical law, usually plural- canons
Canonize
to place in the canon of saints, to glorify
Cherubim
a member of the second order of angels
Chiote
person from the Greek island of Chios
Church Fathers
teachers and writers of the early Christian church, eminent for their learning and orthodoxy, experience, and sanctity of life
Church Mothers
women who, by their teaching; preaching; baptizing; founding and leading churches [e.g. St. Phoebe, Deacon of the Church at Cenchrae and “a leader of many, and of myself” (Romans 16:2, Young’s Literal Translation)]; and defending Christianity, often with their lives, insured the survival and growth of the Christian Church
Cloister
a monastery or convent
Consecrated virgins
a designated order of women in the early Church who were set aside to remain virgins in order to serve the Church fully, without the responsibilities of family (evolved into nuns)
Corpus
a collection of writings
Cult
In Christianity: group of Christian people who embrace a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders or who follow a Christian personage whom they greatly admire and wish to imitate