An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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See Eucharist.

A major feast observed on Sept. 14 in honor of Christ's self-offering on the cross for our salvation. The collect for Holy Cross Day recalls that Christ "was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world unto himself," and prays that "we, who glory in the mystery... Read More »

In a general sense, a holy day is any day set apart for special observance because of its significance for faith. The BCP Calendar of the church year specifically lists as holy days the Feasts of our Lord (such as the Presentation, and the Transfiguration), other major feasts (such as all feasts of... Read More »

See Eucharist.

Devotion in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist for an hour. See Eucharistic Adoration.

Male infants slaughtered by King Herod the Great in Bethlehem in an unsuccessful attempt to kill the "king of the Jews." The Gospel of Matthew, ch. 2, records that the wise men, or Magi, from the east were seeking the child who was born king of the Jews. They had "observed his star at its rising,"... Read More »

See Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage.

An early name for the eucharistic liturgy. The term has several overlapping meanings: the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection, the mystery of faith, the sacraments, and the truth that passes all rational understanding. Read More »

Celebration on Jan. 1, the eighth day after the birth of Jesus, when he was named and circumcised. He was "called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb" (Lk 2:21). Under the Law of Moses, all male infants were to be circumcised on the eighth day after... Read More »

See Chrism; see Oil, Holy.

The ordained ministries of bishops, priests (presbyters), and deacons. Canonical provisions concerning ordination to these three orders are equally applicable to men and women in the Episcopal Church.

The Saturday after Good Friday, which recalls the day when the crucified Christ visited among the dead while his body lay in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. In the Episcopal Church there is no eucharist on Holy Saturday. The BCP provides a simple liturgy of the word with collect and readings for... Read More »

The third person of the Trinity. In the OT, "spirit" was primarily used to express God's power in the world. In the NT, Jesus is called the Christ because he is the one anointed by the Spirit. The gift of the Spirit to Jesus' disciples after the crucifixion is associated with the post-... Read More »

See Gifts of the Spirit.

The altar, also known as the Lord's table. The term "holy table" has been used by those seeking to emphasize the eucharist as a shared meal. All three terms are used with the same meaning in the Prayer Book (see BCP, pp. 354, 361). Read More »

Water that has been blessed for religious and devotional use. It may symbolize purification, blessing, dedication, and renewal of the baptismal covenant. An aspergillum (tube with holes) or a small branch of a tree or shrub may be used to sprinkle holy water during a church service or at other... Read More »

From early times Christians have observed the week before Easter as a time of special devotion. As the pilgrim Egeria recorded in the late fourth century, Jerusalem contained many sacred places that were sites for devotion and liturgy. Numerous pilgrims to the holy city followed the path of Jesus... Read More »

The person who preaches the homily or sermon.

See Sermon.

The term is from the Greek homoi, "similar," and ousia "being," meaning "of similar being." It is associated with the Arian understanding of the relation between the Father and the Son (or Word). Arius understood Father and Son to be of similar-but not identical-being or essence. Although Father... Read More »

This term is from the Greek homo (same or identical), and ousia (being or essence). It is the word translated in the English version of the Nicene Creed as "being of one substance" (BCP, p. 327, Rite 1) or "of one Being" (BCP, p. 358, Rite 2). After lengthy debate at the Council of Nicaea in 325,... Read More »

The General Convention of 1967 divided the Missionary District of Central America into five Missionary Districts: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Honduras became a diocese in 1985.

It was formed by the General Convention on Oct. 15, 1901, and reconstituted by the General Convention as the Diocese of Hawaii on Sept. 4, 1969.

A flowing, stylized hood that drapes over the shoulders and back of the wearer. It is an academic insignia. The wearer's academic degree and institution are indicated by the size, cut, and trim material of the hood. It was worn over the gown in medieval academic dress. Anglican preachers have... Read More »

(c. 1554-Nov. 2, 1600). Theologian and leading advocate of Anglicanism. Hooker was born in Heavitree, Devonshire, near Exeter. In 1568 Hooker entered Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He received his B.A. in 1574 and his M.A. in 1577. In 1577 he was chosen fellow of his college. In 1579 he was named... Read More »

(Jan. 30, 1792-Jan. 9, 1868). Eighth Presiding Bishop. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, and came to the United States in 1800. Educated privately, he began work in 1813 as a superintendent of ironworks near Pittsburgh. Although not yet ordained, he was called in 1823 as rector of Calvary Church,... Read More »

(c. 1734-Nov. 20, 1772). Commissary to Virginia and sixth president of the College of William and Mary. He was probably born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England. Horrocks received his B.A. in 1755 and his M.A. in 1758 from Trinity College, Cambridge University. After his ordination he was licensed to... Read More »

(May 15, 1908-Dec. 23, 1988). Educator and founder of the Order of St. Helena. She was born in Everett, Massachusetts. Hosmer attended Smith College, 1926-1927, and the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, 1927-1928. In Aug. 1928 she entered the Convent of St. Anne, Boston, and took the name Rachel.... Read More »

The consecrated bread of the eucharist. The term is from the Latin hostia, "victim." Use of the term reflects an understanding of the eucharist in sacrificial terms relative to Christ's death on the cross. The term is also extended to mean the bread or wafers to be consecrated at the eucharist... Read More »

" This image for God who loves us persistently is from the poem "The Hound of Heaven" by the English poet Francis Thompson (1859-1907). The poem recalls how one fled God, even "in the mist of tears," but eventually fell into God's loving embrace. This image reminds us that God's love is... Read More »

See Celebration for a Home.

This second house, along with the House of Deputies, of the General Convention is composed of all bishops, active and retired, of the church. It meets concurrently with the House of Deputies during General Convention, and also holds yearly meetings between conventions.

(c. 1140-Nov. 16, 1200). Friend of the oppressed, especially lepers and Jews. He was born at Avalon in Burgundy. With his father, he entered a priory of Austin Canons at Villarbenoit, where he received his education. In 1160 he became a monk in the strict Carthusian Order at Grande Chartreuse. Hugh... Read More »

Hugh's. An independent Episcopal School for Children founded in 1950 in New York City by the Community of the Holy Spirit. It is named in honor of two educators. St. Hilda was a seventh-century saint and a member of the nobility. She founded the Abbey at Whitby in Yorkshire, England, where... Read More »

(Feb. 15, 1867-Nov. 16, 1949). Superior of the Order of the Holy Cross, educator, spiritual director, and Anglo-catholic theologian. He was born in Camden, South Carolina. Hughson was educated at the University of South Carolina, Johns Hopkins University, and received his B.D. from the General... Read More »

See Churchman, The.


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.