Orthodox Church Terms U-Z


UNCTION Anointing of the sick with blessed oil, for the healing of body and soul. The gift of healing is bestowed by the Holy Spirit through the anointing, together with the prayers of the Unction service. See article "Healing," at James 5; James 5:14, 15; 1 John 2:20.) See also SACRAMENT.

UNLEAVENED BREAD Bread baked without yeast. The Jews used unleavened bread for the Passover to symbolize the fact that they had no time to wait for the yeast to rise in the bread (Ex. 12:1-20). By contrast, the bread of the New Covenant is leavened. See also LEAVEN.

VESPERS The evening prayer service in the Orthodox Church.

VICE A particular immoral, depraved, or degrading habit, as contrasted with virtue. Christians are called to flee from the vices and preserve their purity (Rom. 13:13; Eph. 4:17-24). See also VIRTUE.

VIRTUE A righteous characteristic such as self-control, patience, or humility; the opposite of vice or passion. As a person grows spiritually, he or she grows in virtue while the passions are conquered by the grace of God. See Phil. 4:8; 2 Pet. 1:2-7. See also PASSION.

WISDOM (OF GOD) A name for God's Son and Word; Christ is the Wisdom of God. Also, wisdom is given to the Church as a gift of the Holy Spirit. See John 1:1; 1 Cor. 2:6-8; Col. 3:16.

WITNESS (Gr. martyria) One who testifies by word and deed. In the New Testament, the word is also rendered "martyr," a reference to those who give their lives for the gospel of Christ. Also, the Holy Spirit bears witness to the spirits of those who believe in Christ, that they belong to Him. See Rom. 8:16; Heb. 10:15; 12:1; 1 John 5:6 12; Rev. 11:3 12. See also MARTYR.

WORD OF GOD (Gr. Logos) The Son of God, who from the mystery of His eternal birth is called the Word of the Father. The "Word became flesh" (John 1:14) for the salvation of the world. The Holy Scriptures are also called the Word of God, for they reveal the truth of God (John 1:1-14; 2 Pet. 1:19-21). See also INCARNATION.

WORSHIP Literally, "to bow down." In the Christian sense worship is the adoration of God through participation in the services of the Church, the highest act of a Christian (John 4:19-24). See also LITURGY.

WORTHY (Gr. axios) Describes those who act in a manner befitting one who is a follower of Christ. No one is worthy of salvation in and of himself, but all are made worthy through Christ (see 1 Thess. 2:10-12).

ZEAL Devotion; enthusiastic obedience to God; a quality of divine diligence or fervor. Christians are (1) called to follow Christ with enthusiasm and zeal (Acts 18:25; Rom. 12:10, 11) and (2) warned against misguided enthusiasm, a zeal "not according to knowledge" (Rom. 10:2).