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Christianity A to Z : A

A complete dictionary of common terms used in Christianity.

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Latin: Anno Domini - 'In the year of our Lord'.

squares Agnosticism

Literally, 'Without Knowledge'. The view that is not possible to know definitively whether God exists or not.

squares Anabaptist

The anabaptist ('rebaptiser') movement began alongside the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. The name came from the practice of rebaptising adults who had previously been baptised as children.

squares Anglicanism

See the entry under Protestant denominations.

squares Apostle

Greek: apostolos - 'one who is sent'. In the Bible reference is made to the twelve apostles. These are: Andrew, Bartholomew, James, James the Less, John, Judas, Matthew, Philip, Peter, Simon, Thaddeus and Thomas. Judas was later replaced by Mathias and Paul and Barnabas were also known as apostles.

The term is also sometimes applied the to leader of the first Christian mission to a country. For example, St. Patrick is sometimes known as the 'Apostle to Ireland'.

squares Apparition

A term often used in the Catholic church to denote an appearance of the Virgin Mary. Examples include the apparitions at Lourdes, France (1858) and Fatima, Portugal (1917).

squares Arianism

Associated with Arius of Alexandria (c.256-336). The heretical doctrine that Christ was a created being and was therefore not eternal or equal to God the Father. This view was repudiated at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D.

squares Ash Wednesday

This day marks the beginning of the Christian festival of Lent. The name derives from the tradition of placing ashes on the forehead, as a symbol of penance.

squares Asperges

Latin: 'sprinkling'. A ceremony in the Roman Catholic Church, whereby holy water is spread over the altar and the congregation during the Mass.

squares Assumption of Mary, The

The Roman Catholic Dogma (Proclaimed in 1950) that Mary was taken directly body and soul into Heaven. There is no definitive position as to whether Mary actually died, but some traditions state that she did and was assumed immediately afterward. The feast day (15th August) is a Holy Day of Obligation.

squares Attributes of God

Amongst others, there are three main attributes of God: Omnipotence, Omnipresence and Omniscience i.e. God is all-powerful (Psalm 115:3), present everywhere (Jeremiah 23:23-24) and all-knowing (Isaiah 40:13-14).

squares Ave Maria

Latin for 'Hail Mary'. Also the title of a common prayer used in the Roman Catholic Church:

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

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