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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Charism \Cha"rism\, n. [Gr. ? gift.] (Eccl.) A miraculously given power, as of healing, speaking foreign languages without instruction, etc., attributed to some of the early Christians.


n. (context Christianity theology English) A power or authority, generally of a spiritual nature, believed to be a freely given gift by the grace of God.


In Christian theology, a charism (plural: charisms or charismata; in Greek singular: charisma, plural: charismata) in general denotes any good gift that flows from God's love to humans. The word can also mean any of the spiritual graces and qualifications granted to every Christian to perform his or her task in the Church. In the narrowest sense, it is a theological term for the extraordinary graces given to individual Christians for the good of others.

These extraordinary spiritual gifts, often termed "charismatic gifts", are the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, increased faith, the gifts of healing, the gift of miracles, prophecy, the discernment of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:8–10). To these are added the gifts of apostles, prophets, teachers, helps (connected to service of the poor and sick), and governments (or leadership ability) which are connected with certain offices in the Church. These gifts are given by the Holy Spirit to individuals, but their purpose is to build up the entire Church.

The charismata in this narrowest sense are distinguished from the graces given for personal sanctification, such as the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit.

Usage examples of "charism".

But, this time, her charism-the charism that had terrified her, that she had been running from, that Okami had forced her to face and to manipulate-had backfired.

The charism of Venice's Byzantine brocade was broken by the effulgent flood of lights streaming into the cloud-clotted sky.