Ecclesiastical Glossary

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Each page contains all the entries for a single letter of the alphabet. Use the page controls at the bottom of each page to navigate: 1=A, 2=B, 3=C, 4=D, etc.


narthex Entrance area of a church outside the nave; where we make transition from the world to God’s house.

Nativity Latin ‘birthday’. The nativities of Jesus and St. John the Baptist are celebrated in the Church Year; nearly all other commemorations are celebrated on the date of one’s death.

nave Latin ‘ship’. The main portion of a church building where people gather to worship and pray.

Nicene Creed See Creed.

NIKA Greek monogram for ‘Victor’. Often seen along with “IC XC” to indicate “Jesus Christ, Victor”

nimbus Latin ‘cloud’. The round shape, often with a cross in it, that often accompanies pictures or symbols of God the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit.

Nunc Dimitti Latin  “now let [your servant] depart’. Simeon’s Song (Luke 2:29–32); the Post-Communion Canticle after the distribution of the Lord’s Supper.

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