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Confessor is a title used within Christianity in several ways.
Christianity is a religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament.
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Its oldest use is to indicate a saint who has suffered persecution and torture for the faith but not to the point of death.The term is still used that way in the East. In Latin Christianity it has come to signify any saint, as well as those who have been declared blessed, who cannot be categorized by another title: martyr, apostle, evangelist, or virgin. As Christianity emerged as the dominant religion in Europe, persecutions became rare, and the title was given to saints who lived a holy life and died in peace. A notable example of this usage is the English king St. Edward the Confessor.
A saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God. Depending on the context and denomination, the term also retains its original Christian meaning, as any believer who is "in Christ" and in whom Christ dwells, whether in Heaven or on Earth. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Oriental Orthodox, and Lutheran doctrine, all of their faithful deceased in Heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered worthy of greater honor or emulation; official ecclesiastical recognition, and consequently veneration, is given to some saints through the process of canonization in the Catholic Church or glorification in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
The persecution of Christians can be historically traced from the first century of the Christian era to the present day. Early Christians were persecuted for their faith at the hands of both the Jews from whose religion Christianity arose and the Romans who controlled many of the lands across which early Christianity was spread. Early in the fourth century, a form of the religion was legalized by the Edict of Milan, and it eventually became the State church of the Roman Empire.
Eastern Christianity comprises church families that developed outside the Occident, with major bodies including the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Eastern Catholic Churches, and the denominations descended from the Church of the East. The Ukrainian Lutheran Church is also an Eastern Christian church that uses the Byzantine Rite. The term is used in contrast with Western Christianity, although its scope has been one of continual discussion. Eastern Christianity consists of the Christian traditions and churches that developed distinctively over several centuries in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Malabar coast of South India, and parts of the Far East. The term does not describe a single communion or religious denomination. Some Eastern churches have more in common historically and theologically with Western Christianity than with one another. The various Eastern churches do not normally refer to themselves as "Eastern", with the exception of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East.
During the Diocletianic Persecution, a number of Christians had, under torture or threat of torture, weakened in their profession of the faith. When the persecutions ceased under Constantine the Great, they wanted to be reunited with the Church. It became the practice of the penitents to go to the Confessors, those who had willingly suffered for the faith and survived, to plead their case and effect their restoration to communion. Thus, the word has come to denote any priest who has been granted the authority to hear confessions. This type of confessor may also be referred to as a "spiritual father." In the case of a monarch, the confessor might also fill the role of confidential and disinterested advisor.
The Diocletianic or Great Persecution was the last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. In 303, the Emperors Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius issued a series of edicts rescinding Christians' legal rights and demanding that they comply with traditional religious practices. Later edicts targeted the clergy and demanded universal sacrifice, ordering all inhabitants to sacrifice to the gods. The persecution varied in intensity across the empire—weakest in Gaul and Britain, where only the first edict was applied, and strongest in the Eastern provinces. Persecutory laws were nullified by different emperors at different times, but Constantine and Licinius's Edict of Milan (313) has traditionally marked the end of the persecution.
Constantine the Great, also known as Constantine I, was a Roman Emperor who ruled between 306 and 337 AD. Born in Naissus, in Dacia Ripensis, town now known as Niš, he was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman Army officer. His mother was Empress Helena. His father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west, in 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under Emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Constantine was acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum after his father's death in 306 AD. He emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against Emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD.
A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities. Their office or position is the priesthood, a term which also may apply to such persons collectively.
In this sense of the term, it is standard practice for a religious community of women, either if enclosed or just very large, to have a priest, to serve as confessor to the community, serving their spiritual needs.
Enclosed religious orders of the Christian churches have solemn vows with a strict separation from the affairs of the external world. The term cloistered is synonymous with enclosed. In the Catholic Church enclosure is regulated by the code of canon law, either the Latin code or the Oriental code, and also by subsidiary legislation. It is practised with a variety of customs according to the nature and charism of the community in question.
It can also be used as the title of the head of a religious society.
Confession, in many religions, is the acknowledgment of one's sins (sinfulness) or wrongs.
In Christianity, an elder is a person who is valued for wisdom and holds a position of responsibility and authority in a Christian group. In some Christian traditions an elder is an ordained person who usually serves a local church or churches and who has been ordained to a ministry of word, sacrament and order, filling the preaching and pastoral offices. In other Christian traditions, an elder may be a lay person charged with serving as an administrator in a local, or be ordained to such an office, also serving in the preaching or pastoral roles. There is technically a distinction between the idea of ordained elders and lay elders, often the two concepts are conflated in everyday conversation. Particularly in reference to age and experience, elders exist throughout world cultures, and the Christian sense of elder is partially related to this.
A starets is an elder of a Russian Orthodox monastery who functions as venerated adviser and teacher. Elders or spiritual fathers are charismatic spiritual leaders whose wisdom stems from God as obtained from ascetic experience. It is believed that through ascetic struggle, prayer and Hesychasm, the Holy Spirit bestows special gifts onto the elder including the ability to heal, prophesy, and most importantly, give effective spiritual guidance and direction. Elders are looked upon as being an inspiration to believers and an example of saintly virtue, steadfast faith, and spiritual peace.
Anointing of the sick, known also by other names, is a form of religious anointing or "unction" for the benefit of a sick person. It is practiced by many Christian churches and denominations.
Anglo-Catholicism, Anglican Catholicism, or Catholic Anglicanism comprises people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism that emphasise the Catholic heritage and identity of the various Anglican churches.
Donatism was a schism in the Church of Carthage from the fourth to the sixth centuries AD. Donatists argued that Christian clergy must be faultless for their ministry to be effective and their prayers and sacraments to be valid. Donatism had its roots in the long-established Christian community of the Roman Africa province in the persecutions of Christians under Diocletian. Named after the Berber Christian bishop Donatus Magnus, Donatism flourished during the fourth and fifth centuries.
Penance is repentance of sins as well as an alternate name for the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession. It also plays a part in confession among Anglicans and Methodists, in which it is a rite, as well as among other Protestants. The word penance derives from Old French and Latin paenitentia, both of which derive from the same root meaning repentance, the desire to be forgiven. Penance and repentance, similar in their derivation and original sense, have come to symbolize conflicting views of the essence of repentance, arising from the controversy as to the respective merits of "faith" and "good works". Word derivations occur in many languages.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's "oldest continuously functioning international institution", it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.
A lapsed Catholic is a baptized Catholic who is non-practicing. Such a person may still identify as a Catholic and remains a Catholic according to canon law.
A Christian martyr is a person who is killed because of their testimony of Jesus. In years of the early church, this often occurred through stoning, crucifixion, burning at the stake or other forms of torture and capital punishment. The word "martyr" comes from the Koine word μάρτυς, mártys, which means "witness" or "testimony."
In the Catholic Church, the Seal of Confession is the absolute duty of priests not to disclose anything that they learn from penitents during the course of the Sacrament of Penance (confession). Even where the seal of confession does not strictly apply – where there is no specific serious sin confessed for the purpose of receiving absolution – priests have a serious obligation not to cause scandal by the way they speak.
Sacred mysteries are the areas of supernatural phenomena associated with a divinity or a religious ideology. Sacred mysteries may be either:
Catholicity or catholicism is a concept that encompasses the beliefs and practices of numerous Christian denominations, most notably those that describe themselves as Catholic in accordance with the Four Marks of the Church, as expressed in the Nicene Creed of the First Council of Constantinople in 381: "[I believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church."
Conversion to Christianity is a process of religious conversion in which a previously non-Christian person converts to Christianity. Converts to Christianity typically make a vow of repentance from past sins, accept Jesus as their Savior and vow to follow his teachings as found in the New Testament.
The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, in which the faithful obtain absolution for the sins committed against God and neighbour and are reconciled with the community of the Church. By this sacrament Catholics believe they are freed from sins committed after baptism. The sacrament of Penance is considered the normal way to be absolved from mortal sin, by which one would otherwise possibly condemn oneself to Hell. Catholic theology regarding the forgiveness of sins debates whether Christ at the judgment of the individual after their death would allow those with unconfessed mortal sins a chance to repent and save themselves – especially those who had not made plans to confess, or were not mentally ill, coerced, or suicidal. While persons with certain unconfessed mortal sins that were under some form of censure still at their death might not be allowed a Catholic Funeral Mass and burial rites, and while Catholics with unconfessed mortal sins may not receive Communion, these matters, though related, are not the same as whether an individual with unconfessed serious sins is condemned to Hell.
Approbation is, in Catholic canon law, an act by which a bishop or other legitimate superior grants to an ecclesiastic the actual exercise of his ministry.
In the Catholic Church, a martyr of charity is someone who dies as a result of a charitable act or of administering Christian charity. While a martyr of the faith, which is what is usually meant by the word "martyr", dies through being persecuted for being a Catholic or for being a Christian, a martyr of charity dies through practicing charity motivated by Christianity. This is an unofficial form of martyrdom; when the Pope Paul VI beatified Maximilian Kolbe he gave him that honorary title. Earlier martyrs of charity who were canonized were recognized as "Confessor of the Faith" rather than martyrs.
Catholictheology is the understanding of Catholic doctrine or teachings, and results from the studies of theologians. It is based on canonical scripture, and sacred tradition, as interpreted authoritatively by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. This article serves as an introduction to various topics in Catholic theology, with links to where fuller coverage is found.
The title Confessor, the short form of Confessor of the Faith, is a title given by the Christian Church to a type of saint.
A sacrament is a Christian rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites. Many Christians consider the sacraments to be a visible symbol of the reality of God, as well as a means by which God enacts his grace. Many denominations, including the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Reformed, hold to the definition of sacrament formulated by Augustine of Hippo: an outward sign of an inward grace that has been instituted by Jesus Christ. Sacraments signify God's grace in a way that is outwardly observable to the participant.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Catholic Church:
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The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States and designed to serve the Roman Catholic Church. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index volume in 1914 and later supplementary volumes. It was designed "to give its readers full and authoritative information on the entire cycle of Catholic interests, action and doctrine".