Difference Between Veneration & Worship

Veneration vs Worship

Although the terms veneration and worship are often used interchangeably, there is a distinct difference between them. In various religions, people worship and venerate religious figures, but these acts are not the same. To begin with, let’s define the two words. Veneration can be described as a deep respect, while worship can be described as a deep respect paid to a god or goddess. The primary difference between the two words is that worship is mainly associated with gods, whereas veneration is not associated with gods but rather with saintly individuals who embody the goodness of gods. In this article, we will further explore this difference.

What is Veneration?

Veneration is defined as a deep respect, which is mainly used for figures such as saints or individuals who demonstrate immense goodness and purity. For example, in Christianity, veneration is directed towards figures like the Blessed Virgin Mary. Veneration is also a form of respect or honor towards a figure of extreme significance. However, in comparison to worship, it is secondary.

When venerating a figure of importance, we not only respect and honor that figure for their excellence and goodness, but we are also reminded of the fact that these qualities that we admire and respect are a reflection of God.

What is Worship?

Worship is defined as a deep respect paid to a god or goddess. It can even be stated that it is a combination of respect, reverence, admiration, and love. This can also be understood as paying homage to a god. In most religions, we worship a god or a pantheon of gods. In some cases, this figure is not exactly a god but a superhuman personality. Nevertheless, unlike in the case of veneration, worship consists of a deeper form of respect which stems from the figure itself and is not reflective of anything else. This can be explained further in this manner: when we venerate a saint, we not only celebrate and admire their qualities, but we are also reminded of the source that creates it. This source is usually a god or goddess. In different religions, worshipping is associated with various customs and traditions. For example, in Buddhism, Buddhists offer flowers, light lamps, and incense to Lord Buddha.

In the Catholic Church, worship consists of three degrees: dulia, hyperdulia, and latria. Latria is the respect and honor given to God, which cannot be given to any other figure. Hyperdulia is given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and dulia is for saints. However, dulia and hyperdulia are mostly considered more as veneration than worship.

Aside from the religious definition associated with the word worship, it has several other meanings as well. Especially when addressing a person of extreme importance or a dignitary, the word worship is used. You may have heard such individuals being addressed as ‘your worship.’

Worship can also denote admiration for a person of interest, such as in the case of actors, singers, and other celebrities. When someone says that ‘she worships him,’ it highlights the admiration that the individual feels towards another. As you can observe, although the word reverence is restricted to a particular framework expressing awe and respect, the word worship can be used in a variety of settings.

Key Takeaways

  • Veneration is a deep respect, often directed towards saintly individuals who embody the goodness of gods, while worship is a deep respect paid to a god or goddess.
  • Worship is mainly associated with gods, whereas veneration is not associated with gods but rather with saintly individuals who display the goodness of gods.
  • In comparison to worship, veneration is considered a secondary form of honor.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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