Worship usually refers to specific acts of religious praise, honour, or devotion, typically directed to a supernatural being such as a god or goddess. It is the informal term in English for what sociologists of religion call cultus, the body of practices and traditions that correspond to theology.
Religious worship may be performed individually, in informally organized groups, or as part of an organized service with a designated leader (as in a church, synagogue, temple, or mosque). In its older sense in the English language of worthiness or respect, worship may sometimes refer to actions directed at members of higher social classes (such as lords or monarchs) or to particularly esteemed persons (such as a lover).
Typical acts of worship include:
Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy distinguish between worship (Latin adoratio, Greek latreia, [λατρεια]) which is due to God alone (see latria), and veneration (Latin veneratio, Greek dulia [δουλεια]), which may be lawfully offered to the saints. The external acts of veneration resemble those of worship, but differ in their object and intent. Protestant Christians question whether such a distinction is always maintained in actual devotional practice, especially at the level of folk religion. Orthodox Judaism and orthodox Sunni Islam hold that for all practical purposes veneration should be considered the same as prayer; Orthodox Judaism (arguably with the exception of some Chasdic practices), orthodox Sunni Islam, and most kinds of Protestantism forbid veneration of saints or angels, classifying these actions as akin to idolatry.
Objects of worship