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Baptism

(22,186 words)

Author(s): Alles, Gregory D. | Avemarie, Friedrich | Wallraff, Martin | Grethlein, Christian | Koch, Günter | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. New Testament – III. Church History – IV. Dogmatics – V. Practical Theology – VI. History of Liturgy – VII. Law – VIII. Missions – IX. Art I. History of Religion From the standpoint of the history of religion, baptism is not a general type of rite (Rite and ritual) but a lustration ritual that is carried out not only in Christianity but also in historically related religions such as …

Christmas

(7,716 words)

Author(s): Roll, Susan K. | Köhle-Hezinger, Christel | Plank, Peter | Bieritz, Karl-Heinrich | Hermelink, Jan | Et al.
[German Version] I. History – II. Christian Liturgy – III. Practical Theology – IV. Art History – V. Music I. History 1. Origins. “Christmas,” the nativity feast or birthday celebration of Christ on Dec 25, comes from Middle English Christmesse, Christ's Mass; cf. Dutch Kerstmis. The German Weihnachten, “holy nights,” refers to the twelve days between Dec 24 and Jan 6. The Lat. natalis, dies nativitatis, or nativitas domini nostri Jesu Christi is reflected in Span. navidad, Ital. natale. Gk ἡ γενέθλιος ἡμέρα τὰ γενέθλια, ἡ κατὰ σάρκα γέννησις τοῦ κυρίου/ hēgenéthlios h…

Relics

(5,513 words)

Author(s): Felber, Anneliese | Köpf, Ulrich | Plank, Peter | Hafner, Johann Ev. | Mohr, Hubert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Relics are the remains (Lat. reliquiae) of individuals endowed with power, such as warriors, chiefs, sorcerers, heroes, prophets, martyrs, and saints – their bodies, their clothing, or objects they have used. Veneration of relics reflects the belief that these forces continue beyond the grave; the intent is to benefit from this power or blessing by erecting structures over the grave, lighting candles or leaving flowers, processions, touching or kissing, or burial near…

Pectoral Cross

(175 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
[German Version] The pectoral cross represents a special development of the encolpion ( pectorale), otherwise usually rectangular or oval, which Christians as well as pagans and Jews used as an ornament in antiquity. Although long worn by other secular and religious notables, by the 12th century the encolpion and pectoral cross were becoming increasingly a mark of episcopal office. Since 1570 the pectoral cross has been part of the mandatory attire of bishops. Since the 18th century, priests in the Orthodox …

Vestments, Liturgical

(306 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
[German Version] Basically, liturgical vestments derive from the festal and official garb of antiquity; as secular fashions changed, they became the distinctive liturgical attire of the clergy and identified their various ranks (Clothing and vestments: II). All clergy wear an alb (sticharion), a full-length garment with sleeves. The stole (stola) serves as a mark of ordination; it is a strip of cloth worn over the left shoulder by deacons (orarion), over both shoulders by priests and bishops (epit…

Nikon of the Black Mountain

(165 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
[German Version] (c. 1025, Constantinople – after 1100, near Antioch), important encyclopedist and canonist of the Chalcedonian patriarchy of Antioch. After a military career in Byzantine service, Nikon was a monk on the “Black Mountain” near Antioch and a monastic teacher appointed by the patriarchate. In this role he gathered and critically evaluated in three works what seemed genuine and normative to him in legal, liturgical, and ascetic traditions (I: Explanations of the Commandments of the Lord [῾Ερμηνεῑαι τῶν ἐντολῶν τοῦ κυρίου], also called the Pandects; II: Little Book [Μικρ…

Ordination of Priests

(830 words)

Author(s): Meßner, Reinhard | Plank, Peter
[German Version] 1. Catholic understanding. In Roman Catholic usage, the expression ordination of priests (or presbyters; Ordination: V, 1) reflects a specific, sacerdotal understanding of ecclesiastical office (VI, 3). The Christian priesthood is associated in the first instance with baptism (IV, 1). Postbaptismal anointing is the ritual sign of inclusion in the priestly people of God through participation in the priestly office of Christ. In the Roman tradition in particular, this anointing has always been associated with…

Priesthood

(7,504 words)

Author(s): Friedli, Richard | Otto, Eckart | Dignas, Beate | Elm, Dorothee | Kraus, Georg | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Etymologically the term priest derives from Greek πρεσβύτερος/ presbýteros, “elder”; it denotes a religious functionary, especially an expert responsible for the cult. The Greek word did not originally have this meaning. A second semantic strand puts a priest (Gk ἱερεύς/ hiereús, Lat. sacerdos) in charge of things that are sacred (Sacred and profane). The characteristics that comparative religion usually associates with priesthood are often transferred globally from Christianity, especially Roman Cathol…

Synodicon

(255 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
[German Version] On the first Sunday in Lent in 843, after years of struggle, the population of Constantinople were solemnly informed that the heresy of iconoclasm had finally been condemned and defeated. In the Orthodox Church, this proclamation became the occasion of a permanent annual festival: the first Sunday in Lent, formerly dedicated to Moses and all the prophets, has been observed as the “Sunday of Orthodoxy” ever since. In all episcopal cathedrals, the Synodicon is recited on this day in a special rite: a lengthy doxology is followed by a renunciation of all…

Liturgy of the Hours

(3,593 words)

Author(s): Häußling, Angelus A. | Hofhansl, Ernst W. | Meßner, Reinhard | Plank, Peter | Kreuels, Matthias
[German Version] I. History – II. Liturgical Practice – III. Catholicism – IV. Orthodox Church – V. Protestantism – VI. Music I. History Praying “at all times” reflects belief in a God who is always present as Lord of every time and all time. The Early Church continued the practice of Israel, but soon enriched the anamnestic remembrance of God's saving work at certain times (deliverance in the morning, preservation of the creation in the evening) with the remembrance of experiences of salvation in the life of th…

Altar

(6,849 words)

Author(s): Sfameni Gasparro, Giulia | Fritz, Volkmar | Häußling, Angelus A. | Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph | Plank, Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Israel – III. Christianity I. Religious Studies The term comes from the Lat. “altare,” which is derived from “adolere,” “burn” (thus already Sextus Pompeius Festus, De verborum significatione, v. 14: “altaria sunt in quibus igne adoletur”). In addition to “altare/altaria”, the common term “ara” (from “areo,” “burn”) has the same meaning. Accordingly, the Roman altar could be defined as “place of fire” or “sacrificial hearth.” In Greek, there are a number of alternating terms. Of these θυμέλη/ thymélē and θυσιαστήριον/ thysiastḗrion (fr…

Russia, Theology in

(1,054 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
[German Version] The pervasive social reform set in motion by Alexander II’s emancipation of the serfs in 1862 also created the conditions in Russia necessary for an Orthodox theology (Orthodox churches: IV) consistently using historical-critical methods. This new form of theology bore fruit consonant with the cultural level and the capacities of the country and its church, until the October Revolution in 1917 violently interrupted the entire life of the church, including its theological reflectio…

Chernivtsi

(383 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
[German Version] (Rumanian Cernăuţi, Russian Černovcy). After the incorporation of Bukovina into the Habsburg Empire in 1775, Czernowitz became the seat of the Orthodox bishop of Radautz (Radauti); while its ancient title was retained, it was joined to the Serbian Habsburg metropolitan see of Karlowitz (Sremski Karlovci). In the spirit of Josephinism, the existing monasteries were suppressed and their assets transferred to a so-called religious endowment to the benefit …

Marriage Ceremonies

(4,074 words)

Author(s): Idelberger, Petra | Grethlein, Christian | Hofhansl, Ernst W. | Steck, Wolfgang | Winter, Jörg | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Church History – III. Practical Theology – IV. Liturgics – V. Law – VI. Orthodox Church – VII. Judaism – VIII. Islam I. History of Religion In Christendom marriage was considered a secular act until well into the Middle Ages, before it was declared a sacrament in 1184. Many religions view marriage as a religious duty, and nuptial rites (Rites of passage; see III below) often have sacral character, but civil marriages are also obligatory in certain countries. Regulations gover…

Catholicos

(202 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
Of Antiochian origin, “catholicos” is the title of some Orthodox or ancient Eastern archbishops (Bishop, Episcopate) who have supervision over scattered and relatively independent areas. Among the Jacobites in Persia, the term “maphrian” is also found. Where full autonomy is achieved or claimed, the title is associated with that of patriarch in the Orthodox Church of Georgia and the Assyrian Church of the East. It is used alone for the leaders of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Among the …

Synaxarion

(335 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
From the word synagō, “collect,” the synaxarion is a collection for the church year of short lives and notices of the saints (§5.1) that, in the Eastern churches, can be used either in public worship or privately (Orthodox Christianity; Orthodox Church). From the 9th century onward, the literary genus of the synaxarion has merged into that of church calendars and martyrologies (Martyrs; Martyrs, Acts of the). There are examples in Byzantium and Italy and Greece, and also in the Near East, though usually in translation from the Greek. Modern Greek usage has added the texts to the li…

Patriarch, Patriarchate

(1,573 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
1. Biblical Usage The LXX coined the Gk. word patriarchēs, which derives from patria (family, tribe). In the OT it may be used for any group leaders, but in the NT it refers specifically to Abraham (Heb. 7:4), the 12 sons of Jacob (Acts 7:8–9), and David (2:29). 2. Jewish History From the third century to the fifth, the nasi (prince), the head of the Tiberias Sanhedrin, was called patriarchēs in Greek documents. The office, which was a hereditary one in the family of the editor of the Mishnah, Judah ha-Nasi (d. ca. 220), lasted until after 415 and was recognized and supported by t…

Acathistus

(161 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
The Acathistus (from Greek, meaning “not [sung] sitting”), a Byzantine hymn to the Virgin Mary sung while standing, takes the form of an alphabetic acrostic and is thought to have been first composed by Romanus Melodus (6th cent.). The original served as a model for many similar hymns, especially in Russia. At times having considerable influence in the West, the Acathistus has been illustrated in picture-cycles since the 14th century. See Mariology; Mary, Devotion to Peter PlankBibliography A. Chadzinikolau, “Akathistos Hymnos,” RBK  1.94–96 G. Dévai, “Akathistos–Prooemia in …

Pentarchy

(304 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
“Pentarchy” (lit. “the rule of five”) denotes the widespread theory in the Greek East that the five patriarchs of Rome, Constantinople (Byzantium), Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem are jointly responsible for oversight of the church (Church Government). These patriarchs occupy the seats that were given a special preeminence by the ecumenical councils of the fourth and fifth centuries. The theory is first found in the laws of Emperor Justinian (527–65). It was given fuller theological development by the theologians of the eighth and ninth centuries …

Archimandrite

(149 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
“Archimandrite” (from Greek roots meaning “head of a sheepfold [ mandra]”) refers to a dignitary ranking below a bishop. It was used from the 4th century for certain heads of monasteries (Orthodox or united with Rome). After the 6th century it was reserved for leaders of groups of monasteries and at first restricted to certain abbots. Since the 18th century the title has been conferred on other monks or unmarried priests only loosely connected to the monastic state (as a rhasophore, or novice), either in an honorary way or as a promotion on the way to the episcopal office. See Orthodox Church Pe…
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