An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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The feast of Easter is a season of fifty days, from Easter Eve through the Day of Pentecost. From early times the Greek word pentecost (fiftieth day) was used also for the whole Paschal season. During this season there is no fasting. The Council of Nicaea (325) directed that Christians are to pray... Read More »

An intercessory prayer including various petitions that are said or sung by the leader, with fixed responses by the congregation. It was used as early as the fifth century in Rome. It was led by a deacon, with the collects led by a bishop or priest. The Litany was the first English language rite... Read More »

Antiphons sung before and after the Magnificat at vespers on the seven days before Christmas. The texts are of unknown origin and date at least from the ninth century. Each antiphon begins with the letter "O" and a name or attribute of God from the Hebrew Scriptures: O Sapientia, "O Wisdom"; O... Read More »

In religious communities, the time between the last common prayer at night (compline or evensong) and the first common prayer in the morning (laud, prime, or morning prayer). Typically a period of solemn silence and quiet before and after sleep, it may be used for private reading and meditation.... Read More »

Title used by the BCP for the eucharistic prayer, the central prayer of the Eucharist. It is also known as the prayer of consecration. It begins with the dialogue called Sursum corda and continues through the Great Amen at the end of its doxology. It gives thanks for creation, redemption, and... Read More »

See Easter Vigil.

This was the name of the Episcopal mission to Constantinople. It was also called the Constantinople Mission. After Greece's war of independence from Turkey in 1829, the Episcopal Church sent five missionaries to Greece in 1830. They were to help rebuild the Christian church in Greece after... Read More »

" See Proposed Book of Common Prayer.

" See Ordinary Time.

(b. Sept. 2, 1903). British Methodist minister and hymn writer. He was born near Liverpool, England, and educated at Huyton High School, Wallasey Grammar School, Rydal School, and Didsbury College, Manchester. From the time of his ordination in 1925 until his retirement, Green wrote plays, hymns,... Read More »

(May 2, 1798-Feb. 13, 1887). Bishop and educator. He was born in Wilmington, North Carolina. Green received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina in 1818. After reading theology he was ordained deacon on Apr. 29, 1821, and priest on Apr. 23, 1823. He was the rector of St. John's... Read More »

(Feb. 11, 1925-Apr. 23, 1999). Priest, monk, and Prayer Book reviser. Greenfield was born in Portland, Oregon. He received the B.A. from Reed College in 1949, the M.Litt. from Oxford University in 1951, and the D.Phil. from Oxford in 1956. Greenfield was ordained deacon on Oct. 18, 1951, and priest... Read More »

(Mar. 20, 1844-May 19, 1919). Bishop and opponent of war. He was born in Wheeling, West Virginia. Greer graduated from Washington College, Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1862. From 1863 until 1866, he studied at the Bexley Hall Divinity School. He was ordained deacon on June 27, 1866, and began his... Read More »

(Oct. 8, 1819-July 11, 1893). Bishop and leading supporter of the University of the South. He was born in Society Hill, Darlington District, South Carolina. Gregg received his B.A. from South Carolina College in 1838 and then studied law. He practiced law in Cheraw, South Carolina. He was attracted... Read More »

See Plainsong.

(c. 329-389 or 390). Leading trinitarian theologian. He was born at Arianzus in Cappadocia. Gregory succeeded his father as Bishop of Nazianzus and in 379 was elected Bishop of Constantinople. He was a great defender of the Nicene Faith and played a leading role at the Second Ecumenical Council in... Read More »

(c. 335-c. 395). Theologian and leading defender of the Nicene faith. He was consecrated Bishop of Nyssa in 372. Gregory attended the Second Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 381, where he asserted the unity of the three Persons in the one Godhead. With regard to the Trinity, Gregory taught a... Read More »

(c. 540-Mar. 12, 604). Sixth-century Pope and Doctor of the Church. He was born in Rome. After serving as prefect of Rome, c. 572-574, Gregory entered the monastery of St. Andrew on the Caelian Hill around 575. He was consecrated Bishop of Rome on Sept. 3, 590, and served until his death. He was... Read More »

(c. 257-c. 332). Bishop and missionary to Armenia. He was born in Valarshapat or possibly Caesarea in Cappadocia. After studying at Caesarea in Cappadocia, he returned to Armenia and converted King Tiridates. With the help of the king he converted the nation to Christianity. He was consecrated... Read More »

See Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, The.

(1742-Aug. 3, 1789). Missionary and early leader of the Diocese of Virginia. He was born in New York City. Griffith went to England to study medicine and returned to New York to begin his practice in 1763. He went to England to be ordained. Griffith was ordained deacon on Aug. 19, 1770, and priest... Read More »

Around 1858 the Rt. Rev. Henry Washington Lee, first Bishop of Iowa, bought the property of Iowa College, Davenport. In 1859 he secured a charter for Griswold College, named for Bishop Alexander Viets Griswold of the Eastern Diocese. This venture was to be "the college of the Trans Mississippi... Read More »

(Apr. 22, 1766-Feb. 15, 1843). Bishop and evangelist. He was born in Simsbury, Connecticut. He was educated privately by his uncle, a priest. Although he cultivated a small farm as a young man, he decided in 1794 to study for ordination. He was ordained deacon on June 7, 1795, and priest on Oct. 1... Read More »

(b. Sept. 18, 1937). Twenty-fifth Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. He was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Griswold received the A.B. at Harvard in 1959, and he attended the General Theological Seminary, 1959-1960. He received the B.A. in 1962 and the M.A. in 1966 from Oxford University.... Read More »

(c. 1175-Oct. 1253). Reforming bishop. Very little is known about his early life, except that he had a great interest in science. Later in life he studied theology. On June 17, 1235, he was consecrated Bishop of Lincoln. He held this position until his death. He was conscientious and regular in... Read More »

A five-year, coeducational boarding school located forty miles northwest of Boston at Groton, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1884 by Endicott Peabody, an Episcopal priest who wished to imbue Christian values in young men and prepare them both for college and leadership in American society.... Read More »

A natural or artificial cave. The term is from the Italian for "cavern." Grottos from natural caves were once seen as dwelling places for gods. A tradition from the second century holds that Jesus was born in a cave at Bethlehem, known as the Grotto of the Nativity. A basilica was built over this... Read More »

See Angel.

The House of Bishops created the Missionary District of Guatemala on Sept. 18, 1967. On Nov. 26, 1967, William Carl Frey was consecrated the first Missionary Bishop. On Jan. 20, 1973, Anselmo Carral-Solar was consecrated the first native Bishop of Guatemala. It became the Diocese of Guatemala on... Read More »

(July 7, 1861-June 9, 1928). Bishop assassinated by a priest. He was born in Clarendon County, South Carolina. Guerry received his B.A. in 1884, his M.A. in 1884, and his B.D. in 1891, all from the University of the South. He was ordained deacon on Sept. 23, 1888, and priest on Dec. 22, 1889. After... 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.