What is the exact definition of Adoration?


I’m not sure where exactly to put this, but I’ve decided to post it here, even though it’s more of theological question than a philosophical one.

What is adoration, and how does one identify it? I know that sacrifice is a key aspect of adoration, but most, if not all forms Protestant Adoration consist almost exclusively in praise and prayer, they believe that Faith in Christ’s historical sacrifice on Calvary is all that’s needed and that’s it. (I know that it’s more complex than that, and that there are varying views on how one “believes” in Christ Sacrifice, but I’m simplifying it for the sake of time and space here) However despite that, no one ever accuses Protestants of not adoring Christ and/or the Trinity as a whole, or at least I’ve never heard anyone accusing Protestants of not adoring God. So what is it about Protestant practices that make them fall under the category of adoration? Can the practices of other monotheist religions that don’t engage in sacrifice be considered adoration?

What is the exact definition of adoration?


While responders are at it, could they please also say what the difference is between ‘adore’ ‘praise’ ‘worship’ ‘glorify’ ‘thank for glory’ ‘bless’ and ‘bless your name’.


The Catholic Encyclopedia article on “Adoration” might be helpful to you.


Modern Catholic Dictionary:

ADORATION. The act of religion by which God is recognized as alone worthy of supreme honor because he is infinitely perfect, has supreme dominion over humans, and the right to human total dependence on the Creator. It is at once an act of mind and will, expressing itself in appropriate prayers, postures of praise, and acts of reverence and sacrifice. (Etym. Latin ad- , to + orare , to pray; or os , oris, mouth, from the pagan custom of expressing preference for a god by wafting a kiss to the statue: adoratio , worship, veneration.)


Summa Theologiae > Second Part of the Second Part > Question 81 Religion > Article 1. Whether religion directs man to God alone?

Reply to Objection 3. Since servant implies relation to a lord, wherever there is a special kind of lordship there must needs be a special kind of service. Now it is evident that lordship belongs to God in a special and singular way, because He made all things, and has supreme dominion over all. Consequently a special kind of service is due to Him, which is known as “latria” in Greek; and therefore it belongs to religion.

Summa Theologiae > Second Part of the Second Part > Question 84 > Adoration Article 2. Whether adoration denotes an action of the body?

I answer that, As Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iv, 12), since we are composed of a twofold nature, intellectual and sensible, we offer God a twofold adoration; namely, a spiritual adoration, consisting in the internal devotion of the mind; and a bodily adoration, which consists in an exterior humbling of the body. And since in all acts of latria that which is without is referred to that which is within as being of greater import, it follows that exterior adoration is offered on account of interior adoration, in other words we exhibit signs of humility in our bodies in order to incite our affections to submit to God, since it is connatural to us to proceed from the sensible to the intelligible.


This seems like a good place to post my question, which is: Why did the church diddle with the Nicene Creed after 1700 or so years? We always said, “Who together with the Father and Son is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.” Now we are saying “adored and glorified.” I Googled why they had changed this, but it seems that not everybody has changed, and Google was not up on what I was asking.

And in the Gloria, We praise you, we bless you, we worship you, we glorify you, etc. This has become, “We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you,” etc.

Is this not a worship service any more? Aren’t we here to worship? So how is it that the only two places in the service where the word worship was, it has been carefully Clorex-ed out and replaced by adore? Just not understanding how this is better. Also, not sure exactly when this happened, since I was away from the church (any church) for a good while.


Protestants have worship services.
Catholics have Mass.


… and venerate.


The English word “worship” originally meant simply giving great honour to someone. In olden times, politicians and magistrates would often be referred to as “your worship,” and in the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible, there are repeated scenes of people worshipping kings and officials and it’s clearly not meant to be taken in the modern religious sense of the word. By contrast, idolatry in the Douay-Rheims Bible is repeatedly referred to as adoring false gods, adoration is the word that is now synonymous with the modern definition of the word “worship.”

In the Catholic sense of the term, worship original referred to a broad tier or hierarchy of honour and reverence given to those in Heaven. Thus, when one reads St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary, or even the Vatican II Documents, one will repeatedly find the word “worship” being used to refer to reverence and honour given to Mary and the Saints, but this clearly is not meant to be taken of the modern sense of the word, they’re saying that the Saints are to be adored.

@Shasta-Rose as for changing the words “worship” to “adore,” in the Nicene Creed and Gloria, this the first time I’ve heard of this, so I don’t the exact history behind it. But I can only guess, it has something to do with clarifying what I’ve just explained above.


Veneration (“dulia” in Greek) originally meant giving great respect and reverence to those in positions of honour and authority. In Ancient Rome, politicians and military officials were venerated or given dulia by those under them, while still alive and on earth.

Since the Saints are the highest of human beings, and enjoy Eternal Life in Heaven, they are the ones that are the most worthy of veneration. Though the Blessed Virgin Mary deserves the highest form of veneration (“hyperdulia” in Greek) being Our Spiritual Mother, and the Immaculately Conceived New Eve and the greatest of all God’s creatures.


English translations vary of Latin phrase, but the word is adoratur:

  • qui cum Patre et Filio adoratur et glorificatur,
  • Who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified


Thanks for that, YehoiakhinEx232. And as we both noted, it hasn’t been changed everywhere. Maybe it’s just our diocese; I don’t know.

I think of worship as what you do when you throw yourself down on your face on the flagstones before the alter and stay there all night. We don’t do that now, but we can sort of visualize it and wish we could do it. Just, we say, “I adore puppies,” but that doesn’t mean we worship them. So, just personally, changing worship to adore makes it seem a little tepid, in comparison. JMO


Merriam Webster

  • Worship tr. verb: 1) to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power
    2) to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion
  • Adore tr. verb: 1) to worship or honor as a deity or as divine
    2) to regard with loving admiration and devotion
  • Venerate tr. verb: 1) to regard with reverential respect or with admiring deference
    2) to honor (an icon, a relic, etc.) with a ritual act of devotion

worship implies homage [respect] usually expressed in words or ceremony.
adore implies love and stresses the notion of an individual and personal attachment
venerate implies a holding as holy or sacrosanct because of character, association, or age


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