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The word 'holy' and its meaning

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#1 Daniel Jeandet

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 05:25 AM

Someone told me once that the word Holy means "other".

Is this true? If not, what does this word translate as?

#2 Guest_Rebecca

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 07:45 PM

Not sure context of translation as mentioned, but I always thought it interesting that in the Liturgy, when we speak of a saint, the Greek word is similar to "agios" or "agia", which gets translated as "saint"...and "agios" is the same (I think) word used in the hymn "Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us", and "Holy Holy Holy Lord of Sabaoth..", and "agios tis agies" holy things for the holy" (please forgive poor memory for exact quote and poor phonetics)...and I remember seeing an icon of Isaiah's vision where the angels were holding banners that said "agios, agios, agios".

I often wonder whether the RC concept of "Saint" is somewhat different from the Orthodox concept...perhaps my pea brain in action again, but my general impression is that in the Orthodox Church, the holy people are more than just those who have official recognition as saint...perhaps we don't know all those who are rejoicing in the Lord after their passing on, though He does reveal many to us.

#3 Fr Averky

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 10:10 PM

Dear Daniel,

Ah, how I would love one day to this famous and most knowledgable "Someone," who seems to have an infinite knowledge of encyclopedic proportions!.

What Rebecca has to say is correct. IChiurch Slavonic, which is as direct a translation from the Greek as can be, uses the word "Svyatii,"" which is the same as Agios. So, at the Holy God, Holy Mighty, we say, "Syvatii Bozhe, Svyatii Krepkii..." A Male saint is "Svyatoi," or "Svyatii ,"and a female saint is "Svyataya". At the same time, we can refer to any person who is more than pious by saying, "On svyatoui chelovek," or, "He is a holyh person." I myself do not know Greek that well, but perhaps someoje can answer that for you. Good answer, 'Rebecca.

Fr. A.

#4 George Hawkins

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 03:39 AM

I don't know about other languages, but the English word 'holy' shares a common root with words like whole and heal, so thus there would be a general idea of completeness implied in the word.

#5 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 02:56 PM

The problem in English is that there is such a rich heritage of vocabulary in it to due to its history. Regarding 'holy' and 'saint' they both mean the same thing. 'Holy' is derivived from the Greek word 'agios' whereas 'saint' is derivived from the Latin 'sanctus': but their meaning is exactly the same.

Hence if you go to a French speaking parish in France you will hear at the Trisagion "Saint Dieu, Saint Fort, Saint Immortel aie pitiƩ de nous" since there is only one word for 'holy' in French, the one derivived from the Latin.

With love in Christ


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