Akathist: a special, lively service to Jesus Christ, the mother of God, or a saint during which one should stand; literally, “not sitting.”
All-Night Vigil: a service sung on the eve of a special feast; it is usually comprised of Vespers, Matins, and the First Hour.
altar: the sanctuary or the Holy of Holies; the eastern part of the church building, separated from the nave (the main body of the church) by the iconostase (a wall with icons). The altar contains the Holy Table and the Table of Oblation and has an adjoining sacristy and vestry for the storage of sacred vessels and vestments. Entry into the altar is through the Royal Doors in the middle of the iconostase and the deacon's doors to the north and south. Only ordained clergy (priests, deacons, and bishops) are allowed through the Royal Doors, and only men (and boys) who are appointed to serve are allowed through the deacon's doors.
archimandrite: the highest rank conferred upon a priest-monk, above hieromonk and hegumen and just below bishop, on which is conferred the rule of one or several monasteries.
Baptism: the Mystery or Sacrament of initiation into the Christian life. In the Orthodox Church this is accomplished through triple (complete) immersion, once each in the name of the persons of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is immediately joined to the Mystery of Chrismation (Confirmation), and followed by the first communion at the next Divine Liturgy. In the Orthodox Church Baptism of infants is the norm, and is performed as soon after birth as is practicable. In old Russia, due to the uncertainty of life in those days, this was usually done within a few days of birth in the absence of the mother who was still recovering from childbirth and had not yet fulfilled her forty days of purification.
Batiushka: an endearing term for a priest or monk. The first syllable is accented.
Canon: a set of hymns and verses sung to a particular saint or in honor of a feast; a rule or decree of an historic church council.
catholicon: the main church of a monastery.
cell: room or dwelling place of a monastic.
cliros: the place in church where the services are read and sung.
coenobium: a monastery in which monastics live a common life under an abbot or abbess.
Eucharist: Holy Communion, the Mystery or Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, celebrated as the Divine Liturgy. From Greek, Eucharistia (Thanksgiving). According to Orthodox doctrine, the bread and wine that are offered become the Body and Blood of Christ, but the manner of this change is a mystery. These Gifts are offered to Orthodox Christians who have prepared by prayer, fasting, Confession, and attendance at the entire cycle of the Divine Office, including vespers and matins before the Divine Liturgy.
Great Lent: the extended period of abstinence beginning on the Monday of the seventh week before Pascha (Easter) to the vigil and Divine Liturgy on the Sunday of Pascha comprising 48 days in all. The rules of the Orthodox Church prescribe abstinence from meat, eggs, dairy products, fish, wine and oil. The fast is relaxed on Saturdays and Sundays to permit wine and oil, and on Palm Sunday and Annunciation Day (25 March) to permit fish as well. Orthodox Lent begins on a different day of the week than in western Christendom because a different method is used for counting the forty days.
Great Schema: the habit or clothing of a monk of the highest grade of monasticism, or more particularly, the part of the habit peculiar to this degree, namely the analavon, or black stole with the cross and instruments of the Crucifixion embroidered in red; also called the “angelic habit,” since it signifies a striving to live the life of the angels in purity and devotion to God alone. In the Russian church, this degree is bestowed only on a tried monk of long experience, since it obligates him to a severe rule of prayer, solitude, asceticism, and devotion to God for the balance of his life, and it signifies a total departure from the world. Few monks ever attain to this degree, the usual rank of senior monks in the Russian Church being the small schema. From the Greek, schema, form or plan.
hermitage: a monastic dwelling, traditionally of a solitary monastic, but often used interchangeably with the word “monastery.”
hierarchical service: a service served by a bishop (hierarch) accompanied by lesser clergy.
hierodeacon: a monk who is in the rank of deacon.
hieromonk: a monk in priestly rank.
his Grace: a form of address for a bishop meaning literally, (his) very sacredness.
holy fathers: saints who left writings on prayer, life, and doctrine of the Church. They are also called Doctors or teachers of the Church.
Holy Synod: the governing body of any national Orthodox Church, whose membership consists of the senior bishops of that church.
Holy Table: the altar Table, located in the middle of the sanctuary, on which the Eucharist is consecrated, and before which the celebrant (priest or bishop) stands during the Divine Liturgy and at the more important parts of vespers and matins. The Holy Table contains relics of saints, and its appurtenances may only be touched by ordained clergy. The Slavonic word, Prestol, means Throne, since this is considered to be the Throne of Christ, Who is mystically present. Unlike altar tables in western denominations, they face east, away from the people and towards Christ, the source of light, and are not attached to the wall, but can be circumambulated, as while censing.
icon: a sacred image or depiction of our Lord, or of His saints, or of some sacred event. These, like the Gospel book and the cross, are objects of veneration by the faithful, but not of absolute worship, which is due to God alone. The reverence accorded these objects is directed to their prototype, to the one who is portrayed. In Russian or Slavonic, they are also called images (obrazy). These were the subject of controversy in the Church during the seventh and eighth centuries, when a faction called iconoclasts, or icon-breakers, gained power in the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, and persecuted those that venerated icons on the pretext of combating idolatry. Iconoclasm was condemned by the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787, which affirmed the distinction between absolute worship and veneration, and approved the veneration of icons since they portray God incarnate, the Lord Jesus Christ. The controversy continued, however, until the final restoration of icons in 842, which is now celebrated on the first Sunday of Lent at the Triumph of Orthodoxy. From the Greek, eikon, image or depiction.
iconostasis: a screen partitioning the altar area from the nave of the church on which icons are placed; the “Royal Doors” and deacons' doors allow the clergy and acolytes to enter or exit the altar.
irmos (pl. irmoi): the opening stanza of each canticle of a Canon.
kathisma (pl. kathismata): one of the twenty sections into which the Psalter is divided for use in Church services.
klobuk: head covering with a veil worn by monastics.
kontakion (pl. kontakia): a hymn used in the Divine services in honor of a particular saint or feast.
Ladder (of Divine Ascent): an ascetical treatise composed in the sixth century by St. John Climacus (“of the Ladder”) who lived on Mt. Sinai, in which perfection and growth in the spiritual life is compared to a progression or a ladder. This work is a basic text on the ascetic life in the Orthodox Church, and has enjoyed popularity among the pious, both lay and monastic, throughout the centuries, both in Russia and in the entire Orthodox world.
lampada: an oil lamp hanging before an icon.
Latin School: schools founded on the model of western scholasticism in Russia in the 17th and 18th centuries, in which the language of instructions was Latin.
lavra: a large coenobitic monastery.
Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts: a Communion service on Wednesdays and Fridays of Great Lent combined with vespers. So called because the Gifts (the Eucharist) that are distributed were consecrated on the preceding Sunday at the Divine Liturgy and reserved. Orthodox practice forbids the celebration (or consecration) of the Eucharist on a weekday of Lent, since this is considered to be unsuitable to a time of penitence. This service was established in the ancient times so that the faithful should not be deprived of nourishment for the spiritual labor of Great Lent. It is usually attributed to St. Gregory the Great, Pope of Rome.
Lives of the Saints: accounts of the life, labors, and martyrdoms of the Saints, usually arranged according to the calendar, with one or more (usually several) readings for each day of the year. These are usually contained in twelve volumes, one for each month of the year. They were read in monasteries during meals, and were popular reading by lay people as well.
Lord's Day: literally, “Day of Resurrection.” In the Orthodox Church, Sundays are a weekly commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ, which fact is reflected in the Russian word for the day, Voskresen'e or Resurrection. St. Tikhon was promised that his repose would be on the “Day of Resurrection.”
mantia: a mantle; the pleated outer robe worn by tonsured monks or nuns.
Matins: one of the daily services which takes place late at night or early in the morning. (According to the daily cycle it is scheduled at 3:00 a.m.) This service is comprised chiefly of psalms and a Canon of hymns which differ from day to day.
Matushka: an endearing term for a priest's wife or for a nun. Accented on the first syllable.
metochion (in Russian, podvorye): a dependency of a monastery, usually near or in a large city, for the economic needs of the monastery.
metropolitan: a bishop who rules a metropolitan diocese (metropolia), ranking below patriarch, and above archbishop. A metropolitan diocese is a diocese of a major city. From the Greek metropolites, or citizen of a mother (meter) city (polis).
Moleben: a prayer service in which the faithful ask for heavenly help or give thanks to God.
monk: one who has taken life-long vows of poverty, chastity, stability, and obedience in the rite of tonsure. A monk forswears acquisitiveness, fleshly pleasures, and self-will for the sake of salvation and for the love of Christ. It is customary in the Orthodox Church to recognize three grades of monasticism, distinguished by increasing degrees of asceticism: rasophore monk, monk of the small schema, and monk of the great schema. The complete habit or monastic garb belongs to the great schema, while lesser parts of the habit are given to the lower grades. From the Greek, monachos, alone or unique.
novice: a layman who is preparing to be a monk, but has not yet taken the vows. As such, he wears the inner cassock (podrjasnik), lives as part of a monastic community, and is under the guidance of a spiritual father. Since he is not bound by vows, he may without prejudice terminate his novitiate and return to the world if he finds the monastic life unsuitable. The usual period of novitiate is three years, but this may be longer or shorter according to the discretion of the monastic authorities and the spiritual father. In the life of St. Tikhon, his friend, Nikandr Bekhteev, remained a novice until his death.
nameday: the feast day of the saint whose name one bears.
obedience: in addition to its ordinary meaning, it signifies a duty assigned and carried out as part of one's obedience to the superior or elder.
omophorion: outer stole used by Orthodox bishops.
Pannikhida: a service of prayer for those who have reposed.
Pascha: the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
patronymic: a Russian normally has three names. His first name is his baptismal name and must be the name of a saint venerated by the Orthodox Church, his middle is the patronymic, which is the father's name with a characteristic ending meaning son of or daughter of. Most patronymics end in –(ov)ich for men and –ovna (or –ichna) for women. The last name is the surname or family name. At the time of St. Tikhon, peasant surnames were not yet fixed, and thus St. Tikhon's surname is given variously as Sokolov or Sokolovsky.
Peter's Fast: more usually called the Peter and Paul Fast, Apostles' Fast or Apostles' Lent. The period of abstinence beginning on the day after the Sunday of All Saints (the Sunday after Pentecost), and continuing to the Feasts of Saints Peter and Paul on the 29th of June. Thus it varies in duration from eight days to six weeks depending on the date of Pascha. The rules for abstinence are not as strict as in Great Lent in that wine and oil are permitted except on Wednesdays and Fridays, and fish is permitted on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (24 June).
podrasnik: the basic robe worn by all monastics, including novices.
podvig: an ascetic feat, spiritual labor or simply, Christian struggle.
pood: an old Russian weight measurement equaling 36 pounds.
Prayer of the Ambo: the prayer at the end of Divine Liturgy asking the Lord's blessing and protection for the Church and the people. So called because it is read at the foot of the Ambo or the part of the soleas (dais) directly before the Royal Doors.
prayer rope: a knotted rope commonly used by monastics and many Orthodox Christians in saying the Jesus Prayer.
Prologue: a collection of brief lives of saints and homilies for every day of the calendar year. It includes the Synaxarion (brief lives of the saints of the day to be read after the sixth ode at matins) as well as other supplementary material.
prosphoron (pl. prosphora): a small round loaf of bread prepared especially for the Divine Liturgy.
prostrations: a gesture of reverence, worship, or respect. There are two kinds, greater and lesser prostrations or bows. It is performed with the Sign of the Cross followed by a bow either down to the ground (a great prostration) or from the waist (lesser prostration or bow), depending on the degree of reverence or humility that is expressed. Also called a metania, from the Greek, metanoia, or repentance.
rason: the black outer garment worn by monastics and clergy over the inner cassock. It is similar to the cassock, except that it is usually made of heavier material, has long, wide sleeves, and is not worn with a belt.
rasophore monk: a monk of the lowest degree of monasticism, above novice and below small schema. He has a blessing to wear a rason or outer cassock, and a monk's hat (klobuk) with a veil. Having made a commitment to the monastic way of life, he is considered a member of the brotherhood.
relics: pieces of bone or objects associated with a holy person, which are venerated by the faithful.
ryassa: the outer cassock worn by tonsured monastics.
ryassaphore: a monastic who wears a ryassa but has yet to be fully tonsured a monk or nun.
riza: a precious metal covering used to adorn an icon.
saccos: an ornate robe worn by a bishop during Divine Services.
sacristy: the place where censers, sacred vessels, and other utensils used for divine services are kept.
samovar: a metal urn used for heating water for tea.
schema-monk: one who has taken on the highest and strictest monastic discipline, leading a life of seclusion and prayer. He wears the “schema,” a special cowl and stole.
schema-nun: a nun who is tonsured into the “schema.”
Six Psalms: Palms 3, 37, 62, 87, 102 and 142, intoned by a reader in the center of the church at the beginning of Matins.
schism: a division, or separation of a group of people from the body of the Church. In the 17th century a group of clerics resisted the reform rites of the Russian Church, instituted by Patriarch Nikon, which was intended to conform Russian usage to the practice of the Greek Church of that time. These clerics and their followers separated from the Russian Church considering any change in ritual to be a change of faith. Since these Old Believers or Old Ritualists had no bishops, and had no way of perpetuating their clergy, they came to be known as Priestless (Bezpopovtsy), and having no hierarchy or leadership, they fragmented into many groups, some with more and some with less Orthodox doctrine. Subsequently some groups obtained a hierarchy from outside and formed the Priested (Popovtsy) group. Eventually many of these groups were received back into the Russian Church with permission to retain the Old Ritual late in the 19th century in a movement called the Edinovjerie (“one-faith”). At the time of St. Tikhon, they were a powerful force in some of the less settled parts of Russia, forming an active opposition to established authority, both ecclesiastical and governmental.
Septuagint: the translation of the Old Testament into Greek that was made in Alexandria in Egypt two centuries before Christ. It differs from the Hebrew text established in the fourth century after Christ by the Jewish Masorete scholars by slight variations in readings, enumeration of chapter and verse (notably in the book of Psalms), and the inclusion of certain books not found in the latter. This is the Old Testament of the early Christian Church, and is the basis of the Latin Vulgate Bible and the Slavonic Bible, and is accepted as authoritative in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. The Protestant Bible, however, is based on the later Masoretic Hebrew text. It is interesting to note that the original edition of the King James Bible included the additional books found in the Septuagint. These were translated from the Greek and included with the Old Testament. In later edition of the King James Bible, these books were omitted. From the Latin word for seventy, septuaginta.
sexton: also called a sacristan, the lay member of the parish clergy whose duty it is to look after the sacristy and church furnishings. His duties include lighting the candles and lamps, attendance at church services, singing, and otherwise assisting the priest
skete: a small monastery; usually a close-knit “family” with the abbot or abbess as its head.
skufia: a soft cap worn by monastics.
Slavonic: also called Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavonic, the liturgical language of all Slavic Orthodox Churches (Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, and Ukrainian). It is a dialect of south Slavic developed in the eighth through tenth centuries, and at one time easily understood by all Slavic nations. It bears roughly the same relation to Russian as Church Latin does to Italian or as Church Greek does to modern Greek.
sticheron (pl. stichera): verses of liturgical poetry which are sung in the Divine services.
Table of Oblation: a small table at the left side of the sanctuary on which the bread and wine are prepared for the Eucharist. At the Office of Preparation or the Prokomedia (from the Greek, proskomede, or preparation), particles are taken out of the prosphora (offering bread) in commemoration of the living and the dead by name, and placed before the Lamb or the piece of bread that is to be consecrated for Holy Communion. At the time of Cherubic Hymn, the Holy Gifts (the bread and wine that is offered for Holy Communion) are transferred from the Table of Oblation in a solemn procession (the Great Entry) out the (north) side door of the altar and through the Royal Doors and placed on the Holy Table. Before the procession, if a bishop should serve, he commemorates all the concelebrating clergy by name as they come up to him one by one and kiss his shoulder.
Theotokos: the Greek word for the Mother of God; literally, “the God-birthgiver.”
tonsure: the rite whereby a novice is clothed in the monastic habit and becomes a monk or nun.
trapeza: the monastery refectory; also the communal meal in the refectory.
Tri-hypostatic: being of three Hypostases, Tripersonal, or Triune. Hypostasis is individuality, or that which distinguishes an individual from a class, similar to but broader in meaning than Person. Orthodox doctrine teaches that God is one in Essence, but Three in Hypostases or Persons. Godhead or Divinity applies to His Essence. From the Greek Trisypostatos, or tris-, three and hypo, under or sub and stasis, standing; that which underlies.
Trinity: a common name for Pentecost, the feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. One of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church. It is celebrated for three days, on Pentecost and the two following days. In the Russian Church it is customary to decorate the church with greenery on this day to symbolize the newness of life in the Holy Spirit.
troparion (pl. troparia): a hymn used in the daily cycle of services and also at Divine Liturgy in honor of a particular saint or feast.
Unction: the Sacrament of Anointing, usually for the sick or dying.
verst: a unit of distance, slightly longer than a kilometer, or about five-eighths of a mile.
vestry: the place adjoining the altar where the vestments are kept.
vicar: in the Russian Church, a suffragan or auxiliary bishop; a bishop who does not rule a diocese of his own, but governs part of the diocese as a ruling bishop as his deputy.