Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Church (Gk. kuriake, from kurios, lord) means, etymologically, a body of people acknowledging one and the same head. Generally it is used to denote, according to the formulary of the English Church, "all those who profess and call themselves Christians." In a wider sense, the word includes not only those who are Christians, but also all the departed who have died Christians, and in this sense the Church is divided into the Church Triumphant and the Church Militant here on earth. But from an early period the name was applied in a much more restricted sense, since Scripture speaks of the seven churches. And so in modern times the name has come to be applied to an endless number of sects, more particularly to such as hold with episcopal authority, though the term is by no means restricted to such. The articles of the Church of England use the word in this sense, when they say "Churches may err and have erred." The expression "the Jewish Church" shows that Christianity is not essential to a church. Sometimes the word is used to distinguish the clergy from the laity, and a man who receives orders is said to enter the Church, and formerly a "Churchman" was a priest or monk, as, in the ballad of King Canute, "Row near the shore, knights," said the king, "and let us hear these churchmen sing." As popularly applied to a building for public worship, the word is so loosely used that it would be difficult to say what is or is not a church.