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Definition of Laico

Laico (layperson) refers to someone who is independent of any religious confession. In the Christian context, a layperson is someone who has not received any of the religious orders bestowed by the Church and therefore does not belong to the clergy.

They are Christians who are incorporated into Christ through baptism, who form the People of God, and who participate in the functions of Christ: Priest, Prophet, and King.


  1. Secular
  2. Seglar
  3. Profane
  4. Lay
  5. Civil
  6. Secularized
  7. Worldly
  8. Temporal


The adjective “laico” comes from the Latin “laicus,” based on the Greek “laikos” (laos: people and ico: related to), meaning “of the people.” Laypersons were the voice that opposed the “klerikos” (clergy). It probably comes from the last instance of Proto-Indo-European *h₁leudʰos, from the root *h₁leudʰ-, “to grow.”

In the Middle Ages, it was used as a term that designated opposition to the clergy. It was a group outside the clergy, as a distinction of social class. Today, it still retains this meaning, but it also represents an entity that is independent of any type of religious confession. Laicism is the current of thought that defends the existence of an organized society independent of the clergy.


It is noteworthy that the word “laico” does not appear in the Bible, and therefore, does not appear in the New Testament. Its first record in the Christian context is in the letter of Clement of Alexandria to the Corinthians, at the end of the 1st century. On the other hand, the African theologian Tertullian (220 A.D.), was one of the great writers of the Church in the early centuries; it was he who first recorded it.