Glossary of Religion
Learn the definitions of religious terms and concepts with our extensive Glossary of Religion. Choose a letter above or explore the random terms below.
- Veneration of Saints
- no in Protestantism; yes in other branches
- A white linen robe worn by Jewish men on special occasions to signify purity, holiness and new beginnings.
- Great Schism
- The division between Eastern and Western Christendom, which occurred in 1054 AD.
- ("growth, expansion"). The impersonal Absolute, the unproduced Producer of all that is. In the Vedas, Brahman is the force behind the magical formulas. In the Upanishads it is the supreme, eternal principle behind the origin of the universe and of the gods. In Vedanta philosophy, it is the Self (atman) of all beings and knowledge of Brahman results in liberation (moksha).
- A building or a part of a building containing a baptismal font and set aside for the Christian ritual of baptism. Free-standing baptisteries are usually octagonal in shape; eight is the symbolic number of salvation.
- A Japanese school of Buddhism named after Tien Tai mountain in China and the Tien Tai school of Chinese Buddhism that arose there. In 805 Tendai was introduced in Japan by Saicho at his Enryakuji temple on Mount Hiei near Kyoto. Saicho's teachings were based on the 'Lotus Sutra' and centered around his belief that all forms of life can equally attain Buddhahood. Tendai includes aspects of Shingon and Shinto.
- Palm Sunday
- The Sunday before Easter, commencing Holy Week and the sixth and last Sunday of Lent. Palms are blessed and carried in a procession that represents Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem during the last week of his life. The procession dates to the fourth century in Jerusalem. In the Middle Ages, the procession went from church to church.
- bhumisparsha mudra
- Buddhist hand gesture representing calling the earth to witness.
- 13 Articles of Faith
- A list provided by Joseph Smith when he was asked about the basic beliefs of the Church.
- (Sanskrit; Pali Tipitaka, "three baskets"). The collection of Buddha's teachings, in three sections: sutra, vinaya, and Abhidharma. They are the oldest collection of Buddhist teachings, written around the 3rd century BCE.
- (Arabic, "fasting," also spelled siyam). Religious fasting, especially during the month of Ramadan, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
- Christian feast and festival observed on December 25 to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Its observance is first documented in Rome in 336, as a Christian replacement for the pagan festival held on the winter solstice to celebrate the birth of the unconquered sun.
- Christian rituals or sacraments that vary by denomination, but always involve the immersion of a person in water, or the application of water by pouring or sprinkling; baptisms betoken the initiation of the baptized into the church. Baptism is symbolic of moral or spiritual purification or regeneration. When the baptized is a baby, it includes the naming of the infant.
- A type of Jewish mysticism characterized by an ascetic lifestyle, strict observance of the commandments, and loud ecstatic forms of worship and prayer. Its origins are usually traced back to Poland in the late 18th century and it was developed in opposition to rabbinic authority and certain Jewish traditions. Hasidism emphasizes prayer as a means of communicating with God as opposed to study of the Torah.
- Church of England
- A Christian denomination sometimes considered a "middle way" between Catholicism and Protestantism. Originating with King Henry VIII's break with the Roman Catholic Church in 1534, it is the state religion of the United Kingdom.