A Greek word for confession, to God or to man, either of God's greatness (Rom 14.11) or of one's sins (Mt3.6; Didache 14.1). Technically this word designated confession of one's sins as a part of early penitential discipline. It meant (1) the normally private confession to the bishop before receiving a public penance (st. cyprian, Enchiridion patristicum 553); (2) the whole of external exercises of that public penance (tertullian, ibid. 315); or (3) the public general confession prior to the reconciliation granted by the bishop (Op. cit. 569).
See Also: confession, auricular; penance, sacrament of.
Bibliography: g. w. h. lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford 1961—) 1:499–500. e. vacandard, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., (Paris 1903–50) 3.1:854–861.