An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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A person who plays a musical instrument known as a carillon.

The term carol finds its origin in the French carole, a round dance in which the singers provide their own music by singing a refrain after uniform stanzas sung by a soloist. English medieval carols are poetic works in a similar form. Carols appear in a pattern of uniform stanzas, each with a... Read More »

This unorganized grouping of seventeenth-century churchmen and scholars flourished during the reign of King Charles I (d. 1649) and derived its name from him. They furthered the theological precepts established in the sixteenth century by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556); John Jewel (1522-1571... Read More »

(Jan. 10, 1887-June 19, 1948). The first woman to be appointed to full professional rank in an Anglican seminary. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and raised in New York City. She received her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College in 1908, her M.A. in 1919, and her Ph.D. in 1924 from Columbia University... Read More »

(Nov. 28, 1909-Aug. 27, 1978). Theologian. He was born in London and educated at the London School of Economics and King's College, London. Casserley was ordained deacon on Sept. 24, 1933, and priest on Sept. 30, 1934, both by the Bishop of Southwark in England. He served various churches in... Read More »

A long, close-fitting garment with narrow sleeves worn by clergy and other ministers. Cassocks are typically black but also may be blue, gray, or red. Bishops may wear purple cassocks. It may be worn under a surplice. Historically, the cassock was the street garb of a person in clerical orders. It... Read More »

The study of cases or situations in light of moral goods, principles, duties, and consequences. Casuistry arises from conflicts of conscience where in a particular situation more than one course of action appears good or bad, right or wrong. Called "cases of conscience," casuistry sees moral... Read More »

(May 11, 1810-Dec. 17, 1870). Educator and writer. He was born in Yateley, Hampshire, England. On Aug. 16, 1828, Caswall left England for the United States. In Nov., 1830, he received his B.A. from Kenyon College. He was ordained deacon on June 12, 1831, and began his ministry in Portsmouth, Ohio.... Read More »

Temporary structure used to receive the coffin of a dead person, or to simulate the coffin when the body is not in the church. It was treated with the same respect that would be accorded to the body of the deceased. The term is from the Italian for scaffold. It is placed immediately outside the... Read More »

This term describes those forms of spirituality which advocate meditation "according to or with images." It emphasizes meditation on concrete symbols or biblical events using physical and spiritual senses. The Ignatian and Franciscan schools of spirituality are cataphatic. See Apophatic.

Systematic instruction and formation of adults for baptism, initiating them into the mysteries and life of Christian faith. This instruction is not merely informative but intended to form one's outlook on life, values, and identity as a Christian. The instruction takes place in the context of... Read More »

Outline for instruction in the Christian faith presented in a question and answer format. The Catechism appears in the BCP as "An Outline of the Faith" (pp. 845-862). Although the Catechism serves as a commentary on the creeds, it is not intended to be a complete statement of belief and practice.... Read More »

A teacher, lay or ordained, who provides instruction in the Christian faith. The BCP (pp 845-862) provides "An Outline of the Faith, commonly called the Catechism," as a point of departure for this process of instruction. A confirmed adult lay person may be licensed as a catechist by the bishop or... Read More »

An adult preparing for baptism who has been admitted to participation in the catechumenate.

An organized time of Christian formation and education in preparation for baptism. The catechumenate is a time for training in Christian understandings about God, human relationships, and the meaning of life. According to Hippolytus's Apostolic Tradition, a third-century document, adult... Read More »

Official seat or throne of the bishop in the cathedral of the diocese. The cathedra is considered to be the oldest insignia of the bishop's authority to preside over the church in the diocese. Historically, the bishop preached the sermon and presided at the eucharist from the cathedra, which... Read More »

A church that contains the diocesan bishop's seat, throne, or cathedra. The cathedral is the principal church of the diocese. As the symbol and center of diocesan ministry, the cathedral is an appropriate place for diocesan celebrations and episcopal services. The dean is the clergyperson with... Read More »

Bishop William D. Walker of North Dakota faced many difficulties in his missionary work. He conceived the idea of a traveling chapel which would carry the church to those outlying places where there were no facilities for services. In 1889 he approached friends in the east for money to build a... Read More »

George Washington was the first person to suggest a "great church for national purposes in the capital city." In 1893 Congress granted a charter to the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation of the District of Columbia that empowered it to establish a cathedral. In 1898 Bishop Henry Yates... Read More »

Pioneer cathedral. The cornerstone of a bishop's church was laid by Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple of Minnesota on July 16, 1862. It was the first structure built solely as a cathedral in the Episcopal Church. Whipple envisioned the cathedral as the center of all diocesan missionary,... Read More »

The largest gothic cathedral in the world. It was incorporated in 1873. Its foundation was laid on Dec. 27, 1892, the Feast of St. John. The east end and crossing were opened in 1911 and its entire length (601 feet) was opened in 1941. The sanctuary and choir are of Romanesque style. The great nave... Read More »

(1347-Apr. 29, 1380). Mystic and spiritual writer. Caterina Benincasa was born in Siena, Italy. She joined the Third Order of the Dominicans when she was sixteen. She gave her life to serving the poor and converting sinners. In 1376 she went to Avignon, where the papacy was in "Babylonian Captivity... Read More »

Derived from the Greek word meaning "general" or "universal," the phrase "the catholic church" was first used by Ignatius of Antioch in the early second century. The BCP Catechism states (p. 854) that "The Church is catholic, because it proclaims the whole Faith to all people, to the end of time."... Read More »

A monthly journal published by the Guild of St. Ignatius, New York, and edited by Arthur Ritchie. Its slogan was 1 Sm 17:50, "So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone." It was "to speak out fearlessly on behalf of every good cause no matter which Bishop, Standing... Read More »

See Notes of the Church.

(Aug. 20, 1902-Aug. 31, 1987). Leading African American priest and national church executive. He was born in Baltimore. Caution received his B.A. in 1926 from Lincoln University, his M.A. in 1929 from the University of Pennsylvania, and his M.Div. in 1929 from the Philadelphia Divinity School. He... Read More »

A form that provides personal and professional information for deployment of Episcopal clergy and lay professionals. The profile is intended to present a concise summary of the skills and experience of each person registered in the deployment system. It is used to match individual skills and... Read More »

The bishop or priest who presides at the eucharist and at baptism, and at other sacramental and liturgical occasions such as the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, Ministration to the Sick, and Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child. The celebrant leads the community's... Read More »

Rite for holy matrimony in the Episcopal Church (BCP, p. 423). Marriage is a solemn public covenant between two persons in the presence of God. At least one of the couple must be a baptized Christian. Prior to the marriage, the couple sign a declaration of intention. It states that they hold... Read More »

The BOS provides a form for Celebration for a Home, which is also known as a house blessing. Members of the household and friends assemble in the living room of the home. The service includes a collect and one or more readings from scripture or other appropriate readings. A homily or brief address... Read More »

Form for the institution or induction of a priest as the rector of a parish. It may be used for the installation of deans and canons of cathedrals, or the induction of other diocesan or parochial ministries, including assistant ministers and vicars of missions (BCP, p. 558). It may also be used for... Read More »

Abstinence from marriage and from marital or sexual relations, especially for religious reasons. A person may vow to refrain from marriage and live as a celibate. Celibacy is not a requirement for ordination in the Episcopal Church. See Religious Order; see Vows.

See Celibacy.

1) The individual room or hut of a nun, monk, friar, or hermit. This room or dwelling is usually furnished in a very simple manner. The term is from the Latin cella, "little room" or "hut." 2) A religious house that is an offshoot from a large religious community. This cell or colony remains... Read More »

A small memorial chapel built in early Christian cemeteries. It was used to commemorate those buried in the cemetery and for ordinary worship.

Little is known of the original form of Celtic spirituality (in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, and Brittany), which may have been influenced by druidic religion. It was dominated by a strict ascetic monasticism. Only an ordained monk in a monastery could become a bishop. An eclectic liturgy... 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.