Glossary

Terms beginning with M

Marriage

1)     Holy Matrimony or Marriage is the solemn contract based on a loving relationship between a man and a woman in which they publicly promise to live together ‘for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health until death do them part’. The ceremony can take place in any licensed building but if it takes place in a church then a clergyperson must be present to witness the vows. The man and the women are reckoned to be the ministers of this ‘sacrament’ and the clergy and people are there to act as witness to the exchange of vows.

Martyr

1)     This Greek word means ‘witness ‘ or someone who is willing to testify to their faith even if it means death (martyrdom).

Minister

1)     The word ‘minister’ is from the Latin and means ‘servant’. It usually applies to the person conducting a service be they lay or ordained. Lay people can be ministers of certain sacraments such as in emergency baptism or in the laying on of hands and in marriage when a man and a woman administer the exchange of vows and the giving of the rings.

Ministry

1)     Ministry is what the Christian church offers to the world in obedience to its founder Jesus Christ. It is composed of the proclamation of the good news, the teaching of the faith and the offering of the sacraments and pastoral care. Today it is offered by both lay and ordained Christians

Minster

1)     A Minster is a title given to some great churches or Cathedrals.

Misericord Or "Mercy Seat"

1)     from Latin meaning "pity me" A Misericord is a tip-up pew seat or choir stall with a carved shelf for resting the monks' posteriors during frequent and long services

Monastery

1)     A community of monks or nuns who live together under the direction of an abbot or prioress to share a common prayer life.

Monk

1)     A monk is a male member of a religious order who lives in a monastery. The female equivalent is known as a nun.

Morning Prayer

1)     The office of Morning prayer was constructed by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer from the monastic morning offices of Prime, Lauds and Terse. Morning Prayer is sometimes referred to as ‘Mattins’ but strictly speaking this is the medieval ‘night office.’

Moses

1)     This Old Testament figure was regarded as a great teacher. In the New Testament Jesus is seen as an even greater teacher.

Mother Church

1)     This term usually refers to the Cathedral as the ‘Mother Church’ of a diocese.

Mystery Play(s)

1)     In the late Middle Ages street theatre developed with the aid of verse plays which were often based on the stories from the scriptures. These were very popular and were presented by the medieval guilds often on carts from which the actors would declaim in the vernacular. For many people this was the only way they could familiarise themselves with the stories from the Bible as this was not available to them in their mother tongue but remained untranslated from the Latin. There are many ‘cycles’ or collections of these plays from York, Chester and elsewhere still available.

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Amendments

If you have any amendments to make or suggestions for other terms or words that you think it would be useful for us to explain, please get in touch with the Glossarist.

Licensing

All definitions © copyright EasternCathedrals 2004-2017+.
Please contact the Glossarist if you are interested in using this material as content on your own website.

Credits

The original core of this glossary was commissioned from Canon Phillip McFadyen of St George's Colegate, in Norwich.