An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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Concerning gifts of the Spirit. The term is derived from the Greek charisma, "gift." In 1 Cor 12, St. Paul describes a variety of gifts that are given to Christians as manifestations of the Spirit for the common good and the upbuilding of the faith community. The renewal movement in the Episcopal... Read More »

These terms describe the impact of Pentecostalism in the mainline churches such as the Episcopal Church. Pentecostalism refers to churches and movements that claim to re-experience the spiritual gifts associated with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Acts, especially the gift of... Read More »

Gifts bestowed on believers and their communities by the Holy Spirit, from the Greek charisma, related to charis, "grace." They are subordinate to love (1 Cor 12:4-31) and the edification of the community (1 Pt 4:10). The gift of prophecy was notable for early Christians, along with "many wonders... Read More »

This school was established by a group of Charleston citizens, including the Rev. Robert Smith, later the first Bishop of South Carolina. A charter was granted on Mar. 19, 1785, and classes began on July 3, 1785, in Smith's home. The college was officially opened in 1790, and Smith served as... Read More »

(Feb. 20, 1794-Jan. 18, 1870). First Bishop of New Hampshire. He was born in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, and graduated from Dartmouth in 1817. Chase was ordained deacon on Dec. 9, 1818, and priest on Sept. 27, 1820. His sole parochial charge was the rectorship of Immanuel Church, Bellows Falls,... Read More »

(Dec. 14, 1775-Sept. 20, 1852). Presiding Bishop, missionary, and founder of educational institutions. He was born in Cornish, New Hampshire, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1796. Chase was ordained deacon on June 10, 1798, and priest on Nov. 10, 1799. He began his ministry with missionary... Read More »

(Jan. 13, 1808-May 7, 1873). Episcopal lay anti-slavery leader and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He was born in Cornish, New Hampshire, and raised by his uncle, Bishop Philander Chase of Ohio. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1829. From the beginning of his career he was... Read More »

The term literally means "purity" and usually refers to sexual purity. In the development of Christian sexual ethics this has meant virginity for the unmarried, fidelity for the married, and continence for the widowed. Under the influence of Augustine, chastity was a matter of true love rather than... Read More »

The sleeveless outer vestment worn by the celebrant at the eucharist. The chasuble and cope are both derived from the outdoor cloak worn by all classes and both sexes in the Greco-Roman world. The chasuble may be oval or oblong, with an opening for the head. It typically reflects the liturgical... Read More »

(1680-Feb. 15, 1754). An avid defender of the Church of England in New England. He was born in Boston and educated at Oxford. In 1723 in Boston, he published a pamphlet entitled A Modest Proof of the Order and Government Settled by Christ and His Apostles, in the Church, which was a defense of... Read More »

(Feb. 12, 1836-Nov. 15, 1916). A founder of the Reformed Episcopal Church. He was born in Canandaigua, New York. Cheney graduated from Hobart College in 1837, and studied at the Virginia Theological Seminary, 1857-1859. He was ordained deacon on Nov. 21, 1858, and priest on Mar. 4, 1860. Cheney was... Read More »

The plural form of the Hebrew word cherub, which refers to mythological creatures in the Bible. They appear in various passages, such as Gn 3:24, guarding the tree of life; Ex 25:18-22, in connection with the ark of the covenant; and Ez 1:10, in the visions of Ezekiel. The cherubim are depicted... Read More »

(Mar. 27, 1850-Dec. 27, 1932). Bishop and church historian. He was born in Tarborough, North Carolina. After graduating from Trinity College, Hartford, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in North Carolina in 1872. In 1876 he began to read theology. On Apr. 21, 1878, he was ordained deacon,... Read More »

See Labarum.

The primary convention of the Diocese of Illinois met at the "Episcopal Hall of Worship" in Peoria, Mar. 9, 1835. The General Convention of 1877 voted to divide the Diocese of Illinois into three dioceses-Illinois, Quincy, and Springfield. The name was changed to the Diocese of Chicago on May 28,... Read More »

Statement of the four Anglican essentials for a reunited Christian Church. It concerns the scriptures, creeds, sacraments, and the historic episcopate. It was approved by the House of Bishops at the 1886 General Convention in Chicago, and subsequently approved with modifications by the bishops of... Read More »

This robe without sleeves is worn over an alb or rochet as part of the vestments of a bishop. At first it was simply the outer garment in general use. It was of one piece with openings for head and arms. Not until the introduction of wigs did it open down center front. The chimere was usually of... Read More »

The General Convention of 1844 elected William Jones Boone the Missionary Bishop of China. He was consecrated on Oct. 26, 1844. The 1874 General Convention changed the name to "Missionary Bishop of Shanghai, with jurisdiction in China." The General Convention of 1901 voted to divide China into the... Read More »

A body of singers who provide musical leadership for congregational singing in the worship of the church. Choirs may also sing anthems or make other special musical offerings to beautify and enhance the experience of worship. The primary role of the choir is to lead and support the congregation... Read More »

A gallery set aside for the seating of the choir and placement of an organ and other instruments. It is usually in the west end of the nave.

A service, typically one of the Daily Offices, which is sung or said in the choir space of the chancel.

Seating for a choir, usually a row of benches with backs, kneelers, and a rack for music.

A musician who provides training and leadership of a choir.

In a choral service, certain texts of the liturgy are sung rather than spoken by the officiant, choir, and people. A choral celebration of the Holy Eucharist is one in which portions of the ordinary and the propers are sung by the officiant, choir, and congregation. Choral Matins is a service of... Read More »

Persons who sing in a choir.

(May 6, 1865-Nov. 2, 1949). Historiographer of the Episcopal Church, founder and editor of the Historical Magazine. He was born in Manchester, England. Chorley graduated from Richmond College in England in 1888, and served for a number of years in the Methodist ministry. He then came to the United... Read More »

Consecrated oil used for anointing the newly baptized person with the sign of the cross at baptism. At this consignation, the bishop or priest says to each newly baptized person that "you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ's own for ever" (BCP, p. 308). Chrism must... Read More »

The Nicene Creed affirms that Jesus Christ was eternally begotten and the only Son of God the Father, and is of one being with the Father, "God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God." All things were made through him; he came down from heaven for us and for our salvation; he... Read More »

The City of Alexandria was founded in 1749, and a chapel-of-ease, or branch church for the ease of parishioners distant from the main parish church at Falls Church, Virginia, was located there by 1753. In 1765 the growth of local population led the Virginia legislature to divide the parish, which... Read More »

This church was founded on Nov. 15, 1695, with the assistance of Henry Compton, the Bishop of London, who had responsibility for the Church of England in the American colonies. It was the first Anglican church founded in the Pennsylvania colony. In 1758 St. Peter's Church was founded in the... Read More »

This school was founded in 1900 by the Rev. and Mrs. Thomas C. Wetmore on land deeded to them by Mrs. Wetmore's family, the Robertsons. The school was established as a mission to the underprivileged children of western North Carolina. It began under the jurisdiction of the Missionary District... Read More »

Feast celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church on the last Sunday of the liturgical year. It celebrates Christ's messianic kingship and sovereign rule over all creation. The feast is unofficially celebrated in some Episcopal parishes, but it is not mentioned in the... Read More »

Christianity, or Christians collectively, or the regions where Christianity is the dominant faith ("the Christian world"). The term has been associated, at times pejoratively, with the concept of a "Christian state" or "Christian society" which can be traced to Constantine. The contemporary United... Read More »

The major publication of the traditionalist movement in Anglicanism. This periodical began publication in Jan. 1962, and was subtitled "A Newsletter for Episcopalians." The founding editor was Dorothy Allen Faber (1924-1982). She was nicknamed the "Dragon Lady." At first it was published by the... Read More »

According to the canons of the Episcopal Church, a Christian Community is a society of Christians, in communion with the See of Canterbury, who voluntarily commit themselves for life, or a term of years, in obedience to their rule and constitution. To be officially recognized, a Christian Community... Read More »

The Fellowship of Witness (FOW) published this journal from the time of FOW's beginning in 1965. In 1976 Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry and the Rev. Professor Leslie Parke Fairfield assumed publication responsibilities and changed the name to Kerygma. Very few copies of Christian... 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.