An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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Bachelor of Divinity. The degree presupposes a first bachelor's degree and was designed to prepare persons for ministry in the church and synagogue. It has been supplanted by the M.Div. (Master of Divinity). Read More »

An informal term that refers to a newly ordained bishop. It reflects the assumption that a period of time will be required for the newly ordained bishop to gain experience and grow into the new position.

(Mar. 21, 1685-July 28, 1750). Dominant figure in the history of church music whose output embraces practically every musical genre of his time except opera. His reputation during his lifetime was earned principally as organ virtuoso and expert in organ construction and design. Bach's musical... Read More »

A canopy used to cover an altar. It may be made of wood, stone, metal, or fabric. The term is also applied to the canopy over a bishop's throne, a canopy over statues, and the canopy carried in processions such as processions of the Blessed Sacrament. See Blessed Sacrament. Read More »

(May 20, 1811-June 1877). Missionary to Greece and Syria. She was born at Belle Grove, Frederick County, Virginia. When she was twenty-four, Baldwin went to Athens, Greece, to teach at the girls' school established by the Rev. and Mrs. John Hill. She was part of the Athens Episcopal Mission... Read More »

A manifesto issued on May 26, 1991, the Feast of the Holy Trinity, by six Episcopal priests in the Diocese of Maryland. It was patterned after the 1934 Barmen Declaration of the Confessing Church in Germany. The Baltimore Declaration charged that the leadership of the Episcopal Church was intent on... Read More »

This journal first appeared on Sept. 3, 1831. It was published in Boston, and it represented high church views. Its motto was "In the Name of Our God We will Set Up Our Banner." It was edited by George Washington Doane and William Croswell. The last issue was published on Nov. 24, 1832. Its... Read More »

This weekly publication continued the Protestant Episcopalian and had the Latin motto, Pro Deo, Pro Ecclesia, Pro Hominum Salute, and the English slogan, "Gospel Truth, and Primitive Ecclesiastical Order." It was published in Philadelphia. It began publication on Jan. 5, 1839. Its last issue was... Read More »

Public announcement during a church service of an intended marriage. The Banns are "published" on three occasions to determine if any matrimonial impediments exist. The practice is optional in the Episcopal Church. A form for publishing the Banns of Marriage is provided by the BCP (p. 437).

This is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ's Body, the church. God establishes an indissoluble bond with each person in baptism. God adopts us, making us members of the church and inheritors of the Kingdom of God (BCP, pp. 298, 858). In baptism we are made sharers in the new... Read More »

John the Baptist baptized in water but announced also the coming of a "Strong One" who would baptize with the Holy Spirit (Mk 1:7-8). John focused primarily on the need for repentance and the importance of the future (eschatology). The early Christian community saw the fulfillment of John's... Read More »

This is Faith and Order Paper No. 111, published by the World Council of Churches in 1982. It is sometimes referred to as the "Lima Report," since the 1982 meeting of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches was at Lima, Peru. BEM represents what divided Christians can affirm... Read More »

The rite of Christian initiation contains a series of vows, made by all present, called the "baptismal covenant" (BCP, pp. 304-305). After the candidates have renounced evil and committed themselves to Christ, the presider asks the congregation to join them and "renew our own baptismal covenant."... Read More »

The Apostles' Creed, which is stated by the people in the baptismal covenant (BCP, p. 304). The affirmations of the Apostles' Creed are made by the people in response to the celebrant's first three questions in the baptismal covenant. These questions and responses correspond to the... Read More »

Baptism is especially appropriate at the Easter Vigil, the Day of Pentecost, All Saints' Day or the Sunday after All Saints' Day, and the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (the First Sunday after the Epiphany). These feasts of the church year may be referred to as baptismal feasts. The BCP... Read More »

The doctrine that at baptism the candidates are not only initiated into the Christian community but are also "born again." That is, the Holy Spirit pours upon them the gift of new life. The doctrine is rooted in the NT. The Fourth Gospel states that "no one can enter the kingdom of God without... Read More »

See Renewal of Baptismal Vows.

The liturgical space where the font is located for the celebration of baptism. The baptistry may be a portion of the church set aside for baptisms, a side chapel, or a separate building.

The Rt. Rev. Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, Provisional Bishop of New York, and the Rev. John McVickar, superintendent of the Society for Promoting Religion and Learning, both urged the diocese to establish a church school to prepare young men for entrance to the General Theological Seminary, New York... Read More »

( He was a Levite from Cyprus, and one of the leading members of the early church at Jerusalem. Originally named Joseph, the apostles gave him the Aramaic surname Barnabas, which means "son of consolation" or "son of encouragement." He introduced St. Paul to the apostles after Paul's... Read More »

(Mar. 23, 1891-Mar. 26, 1976). Priest and national church leader. He was born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Barnes received his B.A. from the University of California in 1912, and his B.D. from the General Theological Seminary in 1915. He was ordained deacon on June 27, 1915, and priest on July 16, 1916... Read More »

A florid, highly ornamented style of architectural decoration. It appeared in Italy in the late Renaissance and became prevalent on the continent of Europe in the late eighteenth century. It flourished at the same time that the Georgian style was most popular in England and America.

(Jan. 24, 1858-Feb. 23, 1925). Pioneer in Progressive Era women's ministries. She was born in Falmouth, Virginia. She attended the Arlington Institute for Girls in Alexandria. On July 19, 1876, she married the Rev. Robert South Barrett, rector of the church at nearby Aquia, Virginia. The... Read More »

One of the twelve apostles. His name appears only in the listings of the Twelve in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts. Many believe he is the Nathanael mentioned in John. Tradition, based on the writings of Jerome and Eusebius, says that Bartholomew wrote a gospel, preached to the people of India, and... Read More »

(c. 330-Jan. 1, 379). Principal architect of monasticism in the east. He was born in Caesarea in Cappadocia. After his baptism in 357, Basil founded a monastery on a family estate in Pontus. His ascetical writings helped to promote monasticism in the east. The Rule of St. Basil, in two forms,... Read More »

Church building designed according to the architectural style of a Roman basilica, which served as a law court and commercial exchange. Roman basilicas were used for Christian worship after Constantine gave the church freedom to exist. This architectural style included an outer courtyard or atrium... Read More »

(Nov. 23, 1726-Sept. 10, 1803). First Bishop of Massachusetts. He was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard in 1744. After graduation, Bass remained at Harvard for theological studies, but moved from the Congregational Church to the Episcopal Church. He went to England and... Read More »

(May 28, 1827-Mar. 9, 1903). Priest and prominent nineteenth-century Anglo-catholic. He was born at Marbledale, Litchfield County, Connecticut. Batterson was educated privately. He was ordained deacon on Nov. 17, 1861, and began his ministry at St. Mark's Church, San Antonio, Texas. From 1862... Read More »

(May 11, 1908-Jan. 18, 1974). Bishop and first executive of the Anglican Communion. He was born in New York City. Bayne received his B.A. from Amherst College in 1929 and his S.T.B. from the General Theological Seminary in 1933. He was ordained deacon on May 22, 1932, and priest on June 11, 1933.... Read More »


See Book of Common Prayer, The (BCP)

(Sept. 9, 1740-Sept. 14, 1828). Missionary and Loyalist. Born in Cheshire, Connecticut, Beach graduated from Yale in 1747, became an Episcopalian, and studied for the ministry under Samuel Johnson. He went to England and was ordained deacon on May 17, 1767, and priest on June 14, 1767. He served as... Read More »

(Jan. 8, 1818-Dec. 21, 1891). Leading historian of the Episcopal Church. Born in Stepney, Connecticut, Beardsley graduated from Trinity College, Hartford, in 1832. He was ordained deacon on Aug. 11, 1835, and priest on Oct. 24, 1836. From 1835 until 1848, he was in charge of St. Peter's Church... Read More »

The joy or blessedness given in the vision of God. It is reflected in the beatitude "blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Mt 5:8) and Paul's confession that we shall see God "face to face" (1 Cor 13:12). The vision of God serves as the primary metaphor for the end of the... Read More »

From a Latin root that means "blessed" or "happy." It refers to statements in the OT and NT which begin with a similar form: "Blessed are . . ., for. . . ." Emphasis in the OT is on the present state of the person addressed who has earned this special blessed status in relation to God. In the NT... Read More »

(c. 1118-Dec. 29, 1170). Archbishop of Canterbury and martyr for the church. He was born in London and educated at the University of Paris. After serving for a time as archdeacon of Canterbury, he became chancellor to King Henry II. He and Henry were friends and allies. When Archbishop Theobald... Read More »

(673-May 25, 735). Monk, priest, theologian, chronologist, and historian. He was born in Northumbria and at the age of seven was entrusted into the charge of Benedict Biscop at St. Peter's monastery at Wearmouth. Later he moved to St. Paul's monastery at Jarrow where he spent the rest of... Read More »


Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.