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Christianity A to Z : P

A complete dictionary of common terms used in Christianity.

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squares Pantheism

Literally 'All is God'. A system of belief that God is not separate from the universe that he created. Thus the world and God are identical and all that exists, is in some sense divine. This contrasts with the Christian position which is known as Theism.

squares Paraclete

From the Greek 'comforter': another term used for the Holy Spirit.

squares Passion, The

The sufferings of Christ during the final days of his life, especially in his crucifixion. The passion forms the basis for the stations of the cross, a popular Catholic devotion.

squares Paten

A dish, often made of silver, on which bread is placed during the eucharist. The wine is held in a Chalice.

squares Pentecostalism

See the entry under Protestant denominations.

squares Pieta

A statue or ornament depicting the Virgin Mary lamenting the dead Christ, who she holds on her knees.

squares Pope

The term can mean:

  1. The Bishop of Rome (also known as 'The Holy Father')
  2. The Patriarch of Alexandria
  3. The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
squares Presbyterian Churches

See the entry under Protestant denominations.

squares Proselyte

A convert to the Christian faith. Evangelisation is sometimes called 'proselytism'.

squares Proskomide

Greek: 'preparation'. In the Orthodox church, the Proskomide is the service of preparation of the bread and the wine that takes place before the Eucharist (see the entry 'Prosphora' below).

squares Prosphora

Greek: 'offering'. The consecrated bread used in the Orthodox church as part of the Eucharist.

squares Protestant

See the separate section on Protestantism.

squares Pulpit

A stand, often made of wood, and used in a church by either the clergy or those reading at a service.

squares Purgatory

In Roman Catholic theology, a place of cleansing and preparation for Heaven. Those who die with unremitted venial sin must expiate those sins in Purgatory before admission to Heaven. See also the entry under Limbo.

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