An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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These rubrics are found among "Additional Directions" at the end of the eucharistic services in the 1979 BCP. The rubrics derive from the 1549 Prayer Book and involve the prohibition of communion to those known to be living in major contradiction to the Christian life. The rubrics require... Read More »

1) In a general sense, the right ordering of Christian life and community. The Constitution, Canons, Prayer Book rubrics, and rules of the church are meant to govern the proper conduct, responsibilities, services, and actions of church life. At the time of ordination, all persons being ordained... Read More »

A deacon, or the presider if no deacon is present, ends the eucharistic liturgy by dismissing the people. The term comes from the Latin Ite, missa est, "Go, it is the sending." The Episcopal Church allows the dismissal in Rite 1 and requires it in Rite 2. There are four alternate texts: 1) "Let us... Read More »

(1) The exceptional relaxation of a church law or penalty by the canonical authority owing to the needs of a special case or occasion. The dispensation must be for good cause. The church law remains valid despite the dispensation, but it is not applied to the case or situation specified by the... Read More »

A Prayer Book containing the monastic Daily Office, except for the night hour of matins. Anglican versions include The Monastic Diurnal (1932, rev. 1963), with relevant material adapted from the English and American Prayer Books, and The Monastic Diurnal Noted (1952), a plainchant version edited by... Read More »

A title for the eucharistic liturgy, used primarily by Eastern Orthodox. It is one of six names for the Eucharist given in the Catechism (BCP, p. 859).

See Daily Office.

See Apotheosis; see Theosis.

(Nov. 1, 1827-Apr. 29, 1908). Long-time rector of Trinity Church, New York City, and General Convention leader. He was born in New York City. Dix graduated from Columbia College in 1848 and from General Theological Seminary in 1852. He was ordained deacon on Sept. 19, 1852, and priest on May 22,... Read More »

This school in Crete, Nebraska, had extremely tenuous Episcopal connections. It was founded in 1872. It was not endorsed by the Diocese of Nebraska until 1931, when Bishop Ernest Vincent Shayler (1868-1947) was elected to its board of trustees. It was related in this superficial way to the diocese... Read More »

(May 27, 1799-Apr. 27, 1859). High church bishop. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and graduated from Union College, Schenectady, New York, in 1818. In 1820 he entered the General Theological Seminary, New York, where he came under the influence of Bishop John Henry Hobart, the leader of the... Read More »

(Mar. 2, 1832-May 17, 1913). Leader of the high church party. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Doane graduated from Burlington College in 1850. He studied for the ordained ministry under his father, George Washington Doane, the second Bishop of New Jersey. He was ordained deacon on Mar. 6,... Read More »

  A heretical teaching about the person of Christ which holds that Christ, the divine Word, only seemed to assume the flesh of Jesus. The term is from the Greek dokein, "to seem." Jesus' life, suffering, death, and bodily resurrection were considered unreal. It thus... Read More »

See Patristics.

The term is from the Latin docere, "to teach." It means teaching or instruction in the most general sense. In a theological context the word carries the implication of belonging to a school of thought or a body of believers. Christian doctrine is the rational exposition and illumination of the... Read More »

(Jan. 13, 1855-Aug. 27, 1924). One of three founders of the Order of the Holy Cross. He studied at General Theological Seminary. Dod was ordained deacon on June 9, 1878, and priest on Aug. 24, 1880. He and James Otis Sargent Huntington attended a retreat in Philadelphia on Nov. 8-13, 1880, led by... Read More »

(June 26, 1702-Oct. 26, 1751). English independent theologian, writer, and poet. He was born in London and educated at Kingston Grammar School at the Rev. John Jenning's Dissenting Academy, Kibworth, Leicestershire. Doddridge served as minister at the Dissenting Academy after Jenning's... Read More »

Definitive teaching of the church which is to be believed by the members of the church. The term is from the Greek dokein, "to seem." It designates doctrine which has been considered by an authoritative body and promulgated as officially established teaching. It "appears to be good" to that body,... Read More »


An abbreviated form of Dominus, which means "master." This title is given to some professed Benedictine monks and to some monks in other monastic orders.

The missionary organization and corporate body of the Episcopal Church. The constitution of the missionary society was first adopted by the special General Convention of 1821 and incorporated by the New York State legislature. In 1835 the General Convention adopted a new constitution which made... Read More »

(c. 1170-Aug. 6, 1221). Dominic de Guzman was born in Calaruega, Castile, Spain. He studied at the University of Palencia, in the Kingdom of Leon. In 1216 Pope Honorius III granted Dominic the right to establish a new religious order. This new order was to preach the gospel, convert heretics,... Read More »

See Sunday Letter.

Sacraments associated with the Lord Jesus Christ. The two great sacraments given by Christ to his church are Baptism and Eucharist (BCP, p. 858). The term "dominical" is from Latin words meaning "of a lord," and "lord."

Anglicanism was brought to the Dominican Republic in 1897 when Benjamin Isaac Wilson migrated from the Virgin Islands. Wilson was a teacher of the Christian faith, and was ordained priest in 1898 by the Bishop of the Independent Haitian Episcopal Church. His primary mission was to serve the English... Read More »


This term comes from "Dominus." In Spain it was a title given to a nobleman. It is now used for the head of a college and for fellows in English universities, such as an "Oxford Don."

Rigorist schism. Donatists were the followers of Donatus Magnus, a schismatic bishop of Carthage in the mid-fourth century, who believed that the validity of a sacrament depended on the personal virtue of the celebrant. Many other North African Christians shared this view. In particular this group... Read More »

(1572-Mar. 31, 1631). Noted preacher and poet. He was born in London, sometime between Jan. 24 and June 19, 1572. Donne studied at Hart Hall, Oxford. In 1592 he was admitted to Lincoln's Inn to study law. At about the same time, he had a gradual conversion from Roman Catholicism to the Church... Read More »

See Minor Orders.

Assembly of the Dutch Reformed Church convened at Dordrecht, near Rotterdam, from Nov. 1618 to May 1619, to deal with the Arminian Controversy. The Arminians (Remonstrants) opposed the Calvinist doctrine of absolute predestination. The synod was strongly biased in favor of the strict Calvinist... Read More »

A large cloth or piece of fabric that is hung on the wall behind the altar. Its color may match the liturgical color of the day, and it may be decorated with religious symbols.

See Processions (Trinitarian).

(Feb. 15, 1867-Jan. 18, 1944). Church musician and editor. He was born in Oswego, New York, and received his Bachelor in Music degree from Syracuse University in 1891. He also studied at St. Andrew's Divinity School, Syracuse; Matthew's Hall, Denver; and in England, France, and Germany,... Read More »

Words of glory (from the Greek doxa logos) or praise to God, usually in a trinitarian form. Christian tradition contains three main forms of doxology: 1) the Greater Doxology, the hymn "Glory to God in the highest," originally sung at Morning Prayer in the eastern church and now, in the west, used... Read More »

(1917-2006). Leading African American female lay theologian. She was born in Washington, D.C. Dozier received her B.A. and M.A. from Howard University. She taught English in the Washington public schools for more than thirty years, and from 1968 until 1972, was the curriculum specialist for the... Read More »

(c. 1540-Jan. 28, 1596). Celebrated navigator. He was born near Tavistock, Devonshire, England. He probably anchored at San Francisco Bay on June 17, 1579. On June 21, 1579, Francis Fletcher, Drake's chaplain, celebrated the eucharist at Drake's Bay, near San Francisco, for the crew of... Read More »

A statement issued in Aug. 1984 by the Anglican-Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Commission after the Episcopal Church began to ordain women to the priesthood. The Orthodox opposed the ordination of women, and there was considerable concern about the future of the consultation before the meeting. General... 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.