Glossary of Christian & Religious Terms
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Icon (Ikon)
Greek eikon, image - in the Eastern Orthodox Church an image of Jesus or a venerated saint held as sacred. Iconography is the art of producing such images. Iconolatry is the worship of icons. Iconology is the study of icons. An iconostasis is a screen or partition decorated with icons separating the sanctuary from the rest of an Eastern Orthodox Church.


Greek - eikon (icon) + klaein (to break) - Anyone opposed to the religious use of images or advocating the destruction of such images, specefically a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church during the eighth and ninth centuries who denounced the use of icons. Iconoclasm is the actions or beliefs of an iconoclast.


Ecclesiastic Late Greek eidos, "form" -- an image of a god; heathen diety; spiritual impostor. Idolater: Ecclesiastic Late Greek eidololatres: eidolon (idol) + latris (hired servant) -- a worshiper of idols; devoted admirer.


Christian martyr and bishop of Antioch (c. A.D. 50-110), observed on February 1.

Ignatius of Loyola

Iñigo López de Recalde (1491-1556), Spanish priest and founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), observed July 31.


Abbreviation for one of the following three Latin terms: Iesus Hominum Salvator, Jesus, Savior of Men; In Hoc Signo (Vinces), in this sign (thou shalt conquer); In Hoc (Cruce) Salus, in this (cross) salvation. Originally ΙΗΣ, a contraction derived from the Greek word for Jesus (ΙΗΣΟΤΣ), used as a symbol or monogram. IHS is considerd a Latin misspelling of the Greek ΙΗΣ, of which the proper Latin form would be IES.


People who have or profess to have intellectual or spiritual enlightenment; any of various societies, usually secret, composed of such people. Illuminism is the doctrines or claims of any of the illuminati.

Immaculate Conception

Doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church that Mary conceived of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, but remained free of original sin.


Theological term for God's pervasive presence throughout the universe.

Immanuel (Emmanuel)

Hebrew, "God with us" ('im, with + anu, us + el, God); the name given by Isaiah to the coming Messiah (Isaiah 7:14), attributed to Jesus in Matthew 1:23.


Latin impanare (in, in + panis, bread), to embody in bread. Roman Catholic doctrine that the body and blood of Christ are present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist after consecration by the priest, with no actual change in their substance (transubstantiation).


Modern Latin, "let it be printed" -- license or permission, particularly by an ecclesiastical censor, to publish or print a book, article, etc.


Theological term, to ascribe a condition (such as goodness or guilt) from one person to another.


Latin (in, in + carnis, flesh -- past participle of incarnari, to be made flesh), in human form, ascribed to God becoming man in the form of Jesus Christ.


Without material body or substance, as spirits or angels.

Index Expurgatorius

A list of books that the Roman Catholic Church forbade its members to read unless certain passages condemned as dangerous to the faith were deleted or changed.

Index Librorum Prohibitorum

A list of books that the Roman Catholic Church forbade its members to read, except by special permission, which were condemned as dangerous to the faith.


In the Roman Catholic Church, a remission of temporal or purgatorial punishment still due for a sin after the guilt has been forgiven in the sacrament of penance.


Variant of indulgence (favor), a privilege or special permission granted by the Pope to bishops and others to do something otherwise prohibited by the general law of the Roman Catholic Church.


Too awesome or sacred to be spoken, inexpressible, or too overwhelming to be described in words -- said of God's name, "I AM" (YHWH, the Tetragrammaton), as expressed to Moses in Exodus 3:14.


Latin inerrans, not wandering, fixed -- infallible, making no mistakes, not erring.


Never wrong; incapable of error; always reliable.


Group of Calvinists who believed that God's plan of salvation for some people was a consequence of the fall of man from grace.


Latin iniquitas, unequal -- lack or righteousness or justice.

Inner Light

Quaker belief of a guiding influence resulting from the presence of God in the soul.


Any of thirteen popes, including Innocent I (c. A.D. 417), Innocent II (Gregorio Papareschi, c. 1143), Innocent III (Lotario de' Conti de' Segni, c. 1161-1216, Innocent IV (Sinibaldo de' FFieschi, c. A.D. 1254), and Innocent XI (Benedetto Odescalchi, 1611-89).


Italian, "in the breast" -- secretly, not revealed, said of cardinals appointed by the Pope but not named in consistory.


The general tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church established in the thirteenth century for the discovery and suppression of heresy and the punishment of heretics; the activities of this tribunal; an intensive inquest.


Latin Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.


Latin insufflatus, to blow or breathe into from below -- to breathe on baptismal water or a person being baptized as a rite of exorcism.


Latin intercedere, to go between -- to plead or make a request in behalf of another; intervene or mediate. Intercession is prayer in behalf of others. According to Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25, Christ comes before God to intercede in behalf of those who come to him. According to Romans 8:26-27, the Spirit intercedes to express to God what is in our hearts. According to 1 Timothy 2:1-2, intercession is to be made for everyone, including those in authority.


Mutual communion among religious groups.


Between, among, shared by, or involving different religious denominations.


Between or involving persons adhering to different religions.


Having the same text in different languages printed in alternate lines.


Latin introitus, entrance -- a song or hymn sung or played at the opening of a Christian worship service; the first variable part of Roman Catholic Mass consisting of a few psalm verses followed by the Gloria Patri and then repeated.


The act of calling on God or spiritual forces for blessing, assistance, support, etc.; a formal prayer said at the beginning of a church service.


From the Greek eisagein, to introduce -- the study of the literary history of the Bible, considerd as introductory to the study of Bible interpretation.


A descendant of Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar, the original progenitor of Arab peoples.


The Babylonian and Assyrian goddess of love and fertility.


Arabic, "submission" (to the will of Allah) -- Muslim religion founded by Muhammed.


Hebrew yisra'el, "contender with God" (sarah, to wrestle + el, God) -- the name given to Jacob by the angel of the Lord after wrestling with him throughout the night (Genesis 32:28); ancient land of the Hebrews located at the SE end of the Mediterranean Sea; the Jewish people, as descendants of Jacob; northern kingdom of the Hebrews established in the tenth century B.C. by the ten tribes of Israel that broke from Judah and Benjamin (1 Kings 12:1-24, 2 Chronicles 10); Jewish state established in 1948 by the United Nations.


Ninth son of Jacob (Genesis 30:18) and the tribe of Israel descended from him.


Eighth month of the Jewish year.

        I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel -- which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying tp pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! (Galations 1:6-9)

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  Reference Sources: Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second College Edition, published by Prentice Hall Press, ©1986 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.; Collier's Encyclopedia, ©1968 Crowell-Collier Educational Corporation; Larson's New Book of Cults, ©1982 and 1989 by Bob Larson, printed by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Jewish Virtual Library (