An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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To perfume with the smoke of aromatic incense. Censing may express honor, respect, blessing, and celebration in a liturgy. It may also express the lifting up of the prayers of the assembly, or the prayers of the saints. The thurifer or member of the clergy may dramatize the censing by swinging the... Read More »

See Thurible.

A method of quiet meditation in which a single symbolic word is used as a sign of one's willingness to wait on God and be available to God's presence. This word is used as a point of focus. The discipline involves setting aside twenty minutes or so for quiet prayer. This apophatic method has been... Read More »

On Nov. 13, 1956, the House of Bishops voted to divide the Missionary District of the Panama Canal Zone and create the Missionary District of Central America. It included the Republic of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Jurisdiction for Guatemala, El Salvador, and... Read More »

The General Convention of 1904 established the Missionary District of Mexico. The 1972 General Convention divided the Missionary District of Mexico into the Missionary District of Central and South Mexico, the Missionary District of Western Mexico, and the Missionary District of Northern Mexico.... Read More »

On Sept. 30, 1949, the House of Bishops divided the Missionary District of Southern Brazil into three missionary districts-Central Brazil, Southern Brazil, and Southwestern Brazil. On Oct. 20, 1964, the House of Bishops voted for an independent Brazilian church, and in 1965 the Episcopal Church of... Read More »

The General Convention of 1969 voted to divide the Diocese of South Florida into three dioceses, one of which was temporarily called the Diocese of South Florida. The primary convention met at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Orlando, on Dec. 3, 1969, and changed the name to the Diocese of Central... Read More »

The General Convention of 1970 approved the creation of the Diocese of South Alabama and Northwest Florida. It held its primary convention at Christ Church, Pensacola, Dec. 3-5, 1970, and changed the name to the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast. It consists of the following counties: Alabama:... Read More »

The General Convention of 1868 voted to divide the Diocese of Western New York and create the Diocese of Central New York. Its primary convention met at Trinity Church, Utica, and Grace Church, Utica, on Nov. 10-12, 1868. On Nov. 13, 1971, St. Paul's Church, Syracuse, was set apart as St. Paul... Read More »

1) The General Convention of 1904 voted to divide the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. The primary convention of the Diocese of Harrisburg met at St. James Church, Lancaster, on Nov. 29-30, 1904. On Jan. 27, 1932, St. Stephen's Church, Harrisburg, became St. Stephen's Cathedral. The name... Read More »

The 1901 General Convention established the Missionary District of the Philippines. In 1973 the Diocese of the Philippines was divided into three missionary districts. One of these was the Central Missionary District. In 1985 it became the Diocese of Central Philippines. In July 1988, the House of... Read More »

The physical actions, gestures, and postures of public worship. Ceremonial may be distinguished from ritual, which concerns the prescribed words that are used in worship. The BCP rubrics provide directions and options concerning some matters of ceremonial. For example, the people may stand or kneel... Read More »

This journal was published at Norwalk, Connecticut, from Mar. 1972 until Feb. 1981. It was founded and edited by Perry Laukhuff, who wrote that "At Minneapolis [the 1976 General Convention], the Episcopal Church unilaterally altered the sacred Apostolic ministry by purporting to allow the... Read More »

Any member of a congregation in the Episcopal Church is entitled to a certificate of membership to indicate whether the member is a communicant and to indicate whether the member has been confirmed or received by a bishop. The member is enrolled in the new congregation upon presentation of this... Read More »

(d. Mar. 2, 672). He was one of Aidan's students at Lindisfarne. Around 665 he was consecrated Bishop of Mercia, and in Sept. 669 he moved the see to Lichfield. Chad is one of the most popular saints in English history. He is remembered for his simplicity, piety, and devotion to duty. He is... Read More »

The fourth of the Ecumenical Councils, held in 451 at Chalcedon, a town near Constantinople. The council was held in the wake of the decision delivered by the so-called "Robber Synod" of Ephesus in 449 that upheld the "one-nature" Christology of Eutychianism. That synod adjourned without giving the... Read More »

The Council of Chalcedon was summoned in 451 to consider the christological question in light of the "one-nature" picture of Christ proposed by Eutyches which prevailed at the "Robber Synod" of Ephesus in 449. The Council of Chalcedon promulgated the Definition of the Union of the Divine and Human... Read More »

The cup for the wine that is consecrated and administered at the eucharist. The chalice normally has a footed base. It is appropriate for only one chalice to be on the altar during the Eucharistic Prayer, but additional chalices may be filled with consecrated wine as needed after the breaking of... Read More »

See Lay Eucharistic Minister (LEM).

A square of material that covers the chalice and paten until they are needed for preparation of the altar at the eucharist. It typically matches the eucharistic vestments and the liturgical color of the day. The chalice veil is placed on top of the pall, which rests on top of the chalice and paten... Read More »

Area of the church set apart for the altar, lectern, pulpit, credence table, and seats for officiating and assisting ministers. It may also include the choir. The chancel is typically raised somewhat above the level of the nave, where the congregation gathers. The chancel may be separated from the... Read More »

Low railing or lattice-work that separates the chancel from the nave in a traditionally designed church. The term "chancel," a liturgical space near the altar for clergy and choir, is from the Latin cancellus, "lattice." The chancel was separated from the nave in medieval churches by a rood screen... Read More »

In the Episcopal Church a chancellor is a legal adviser appointed by the Presiding Bishop or a diocesan bishop. A chancellor advises the bishop and diocese on matters of secular and ecclesiastical law. A chancellor is usually an attorney at law.

(Apr. 26, 1726-Apr. 20, 1790). An Anglican parson in New Jersey and a Loyalist at a time when adherence to the Church of England and the British Crown were increasingly attacked in the American Colonies. Chandler was a leading advocate of an American episcopacy. He memorialized the English... Read More »

The ringing of tower bells of different tones in a precise relationship to each other in order to produce a pleasing cascade of sound. The sequence of bells is varied from "row" to "row" of bells, but the rhythm does not vary. Bells "change" places with adjacent bells in the sequence of the row to... Read More »

Singing liturgical prose texts to the rhythm of speech. The term is from the Latin cantus, "song." Since ancient times, psalms and canticles, prayers, dialogue, scripture, and other liturgical texts have been sung to many types of melodic formulas. For Anglicans, the most familiar types of chant... Read More »

An endowment or foundation for the saying of masses and prayers for the founder. It is also the place where the endowed masses are said. This may be a chapel or a separate structure. Chantries were often educational centers. Priests appointed to chantries often conducted schools. Chantries were... Read More »

A building or structure for worship that is not a church. Chapels may be found in public institutions, such as schools and hospitals. Chapels may also be found on private property in residences or estates. A chapel may be a separate building, a room within a larger building, or an area set apart in... Read More »

A chapel located at a distance from its mother church where services are held for the convenience of parishioners who live near it. Clergy leadership is usually provided by the mother church. The chapel is not an independent parochial entity with records or finances of its own. The term is... Read More »

A person who serves a chapel, or exercises a nonparochial ministry. Chaplains serve in a variety of public institutions, including schools, hospitals, and prisons. Chaplains in special settings may or may not be members of the organization which they serve. Chaplains serve as military officers in... Read More »

See Chaplain.

See Rosary.

A regular assembly of members of an ecclesiastical organization with responsibility for the organization's governance. For example, the meeting of those with the responsibilities of a vestry for a cathedral church, or the assembly of members of a religious house in their corporate capacity. Read More »

Building used for official meetings of those with responsibility for the governance of a religious house or cathedral. Separate buildings for this purpose date from the ninth century. The voting members of the religious community or the cathedral canons constituted the chapter, with corporate legal... Read More »

The term transliterates the Greek word which literally means an impress or impression, as on a coin or a seal. It is used metaphorically in Heb 1:3 to refer to Christ as having the "exact imprint" of God's very being (hypostasis). Clement of Alexandria, developing the thought of Eph 1:13,... Read More »

The term is the plural form for the Greek charisma, "gift of grace." In a Christian context, it refers to divine gifts that enable the believer to fulfill his or her vocation. These gifts may be understood as outward signs of grace received through faith. Those who receive these gifts are to be "... 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.