An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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(James the Just). In the gospels according to Matthew and Mark, and in the epistle to the Galatians, James of Jerusalem is referred to as the brother of Jesus. According to 1 Cor 15:7, he witnessed an appearance of Christ after the resurrection. Some scholars argue that he is a cousin or half-... Read More »

(the Greater). James and John, sons of Zebedee, are mentioned frequently in the gospels. James is usually mentioned first. He is sometimes called "the elder" or "the greater," to distinguish him from the other apostle James, the son of Alphaeus, who is called James the Less. James was a fisherman... Read More »

( Very little is known about this apostle. He was the son of Alphaeus. He is called "the Less" to distinguish him from James, the son of Zebedee, and from James, the brother of Jesus. It is also possible that he was small physically or younger than the other two. James labored diligently in and... Read More »

(Jan. 11, 1877-Sept. 11, 1959). Seminary dean and OT scholar. He was born in Gambier, Ohio. James received his B.A. in 1895, his M.A. in 1896, and his Ph.D. in 1899, all from the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from the Philadelphia Divinity School, where his father was professor of... Read More »

A royal charter was granted on Apr. 10, 1606, for a settlement in Virginia. On Dec. 20, 1606, three ships, Goodspeed, Discovery, and Susan Constance, sailed from the Thames River. They reached Virginia on Apr. 26, 1607. The ships entered the Chesapeake Bay and disembarked at Jamestown. It was first... Read More »

This award was established by the Episcopal Communicators at their Apr. 18-21, 1988 meeting to honor the memory of Janette Gayley Skerrett Pierce (1931-1988), one of the Episcopal Church's outstanding journalists. Pierce joined the staff of The Episcopalian as news editor. She was managing... Read More »

Channing Moore Williams, a priest of the Episcopal Mission in China, landed at Nagasaki on July 1, 1859, and the Japan Mission began. On Oct. 3, 1866, Williams was consecrated Missionary Bishop of China with jurisdiction over Japan. The 1874 General Convention constituted Japan a missionary... Read More »

(Jan. 17, 1733-Jan. 29, 1801). Leading American Anglican priest during the Great Awakening. He was born in New Kent County, Virginia. Jarratt was first influenced by the Presbyterians and became a rigid Calvinist. He later entered the Church of England and was ordained deacon on Dec. 25, 1762, and... Read More »

(May 5, 1739-May 3, 1813). Bishop and high church Tory. He was born in Norwalk, Connecticut. Jarvis graduated from Yale College in 1761. For a short time he studied theology with the Rev. Thomas Bradbury Chandler, rector of St. John's Church, Elizabeth Town, New Jersey, where he learned strict... Read More »

(Jan. 20, 1786-Mar. 26, 1851). First historiographer of the Episcopal Church. He was the son of Bishop Abraham Jarvis of Connecticut. Born in Middletown, Connecticut, Jarvis graduated from Yale College in 1805. He was ordained deacon on Mar. 18, 1810, and priest on Apr. 5, 1811. From 1811 to 1813,... Read More »

(June 16, 1789-Oct. 14, 1858). Episcopal lay anti-slavery leader. He was born in New York, the son of John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. William Jay graduated from Yale College in 1807 and then studied law. From 1818 until 1843, with one short interruption, he was... Read More »

The first chartered college in Mississippi. The charter was granted on May 13, 1802. It began operation as an academy. It operated as a college, 1816-1821, and then reverted to academy status. Three Episcopal priests served as its president. It is no longer in existence.

A hybrid name for God, resulting from an erroneous combination of other names. In the period after the Exile, the proper name for God, Yahweh, was believed by Jewish people to be too holy to pronounce. The title Adonai, Lord, was spoken instead. In written texts the vowels of Adonai were combined... Read More »

(1687-Jan. 5, 1762). Commissary for Pennsylvania and missionary. He was born in Ireland. Jenney received his B.A. from Trinity College, Dublin, and served as a chaplain in the Royal Navy, 1710-1714. On June 27, 1714, he was licensed by the Bishop of London as lecturer (catechist) and schoolmaster... Read More »

(c. 347-Sept. 30, 420). One of the four great Doctors of the Western Church. He was born in Stridon, Italy. His full name was Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus. He studied Hebrew and Greek and became the leading biblical scholar of the early church. In 382 Pope Damasus I commissioned Jerome to... Read More »

An English version of the Dominican Order's La Bible de Jérusalem. The work was done by the Dominicans of the École Biblique in Jerusalem. It was translated from the original Hebrew and Greek. It is distinguished by the use of the name Yahweh for God rather than "the Lord." Read More »

The depiction of the genealogy of Jesus in the form of a tree, springing from Jesse, the father of King David of Israel (see Is 11:1). It typically shows intermediary descendants on the foliage of the tree, which ends with Jesus or with the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus. Its purpose is to stress... Read More »

The Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, the savior and redeemer of humanity, the Word of God who was made flesh and dwelt among us in the world (see Jn 1:1-18). Jesus was the Messiah, the promised king and ancestor of David who was expected from OT times to deliver the people (see Is 9:6-... Read More »

" Repetitive prayer, often in the form "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner," or variations of that form. It is associated with the spirituality of the eastern church. Early ascetics prayed the name "Jesus" and added to it the prayer of the publican, "God be... Read More »

(May 24, 1522-Sept. 23, 1571). English reformer, apologist, and Bishop of Salisbury. He was born at Buden in the parish of Berimber, Devonshire, England. Jewell received his B.A. in 1540, and his M.A. in 1545, both from Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was a fellow at Corpus Christi College, 1542... Read More »

(See Anne and Joachim.)

(Jn 19:26-27). John, his brother James, and Peter formed the inner circle in the apostolic group. With Peter and James, he witnessed the Transfiguration, the healing of Peter's mother-in-law, the raising of the daughter of Jairus, and the agony at Gethsemane. Jesus nicknamed the brothers John... Read More »

This peacemaker's award was established by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) in 1979 to honor the Rev. John Nevin Sayre for his lifetime of service in the cause of peace. It is conferred every three years for "courageous witness in the cause of peace and justice" to a recipient chosen by... Read More »

(c. 650-c. 749). Monk and theologian. There is little known of his life, and the available sources are in conflict. He was called John Damascene. John was the son of a Christian tax collector for the Islamic Caliph of Damascus. He succeeded his father as the chief representative of the Christians... Read More »

(1542-1591). Known as the Doctor of Mystical Theology, Juan de Yepes was born in Fontiveros, Spain. He joined the Carmelites in 1563 and took the name John of St. Matthias. John studied at the University of Salamanca, 1564-1568, and was ordained priest in 1567. In that same year he met Teresa of... Read More »

Prophetic forerunner of Jesus. John preached conversion and proclaimed a baptism of repentance. Jesus and many others were baptized by John. John is called "the Baptist" because he was willing to baptize people if they repented to God for their sins. He urged people to repent and be... Read More »

(July 10, 1796-Apr. 5, 1876). Bishop, college president, and evangelical leader. He was born in New Castle, Delaware. Johns graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1815, and then studied for two years at Princeton Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon on May 6, 1819, and priest on July... Read More »

(Oct. 14, 1696-Jan. 6, 1772). One of the Yale converts. He was born in Guildford, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale College in 1714 and worked as a teacher. He was ordained a Congregational minister in 1720 and undertook a pastorate in West Haven, Connecticut. However, in Sept. 1722 Johnson and a... Read More »

(Nov. 18, 1802-Aug. 13, 1873). Priest and seminary professor. He was born in Newton, Long Island, New York. Johnson graduated from Columbia College in 1820, and from the General Theological Seminary in 1823. He was ordained deacon on Jan. 6, 1824, and priest on Aug. 1, 1827. From 1824 until 1834 he... Read More »

(Mar. 7, 1908-Mar. 23, 1993). NT scholar and seminary dean. He was born in Hutchinson, Kansas. Johnson received his B.A. in 1933 from Northwestern University. He received his B.D. in 1933, and his S.T.M. in 1934, both from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon on Apr. 30,... Read More »

(c. 1671-Apr. 23, 1716). First Commissary to South Carolina. He was born in Tuam, Ireland. On Sept. 19, 1707, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel informed Johnston that the Bishop of London had appointed him Commissary to South Carolina. On Mar. 2, 1708, the ship bearing Johnston and his... Read More »

See Commission of the General Convention.

(July 23, 1887-Apr. 27, 1957). Liturgical scholar. He was born in Golden, Colorado. He studied at the University of California, Harvard, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, General Theological Seminary, and Oxford. Jones was ordained deacon on June 11, 1913, and priest on Mar. 25, 1914. He... Read More »

(Nov. 24, 1880-Sept. 4, 1941). Socialist and pacifist bishop. He was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. from Yale in 1902 and his B.D. from the Episcopal Theological School in 1906. He was ordained deacon on June 17, 1906, and priest on Dec. 16, 1906. From 1906 to 1914 he... Read More »

After the death of Jesus, Joseph asked Pilate for the body of Jesus and buried it in a tomb newly hewn out of a rock (Mk 15:43-46). Joseph was a wealthy Jew, and a member of the Sanhedrin. He may have been a secret disciple of Jesus. The Gospel of Mark records that Joseph was "looking for the... Read More »

(The husband of Mary. A pious Jew, a carpenter from Nazareth, and a descendant of King David, Joseph is also known as the "Guardian of Our Lord." Joseph was faced with an awkward situation when he learned that his betrothed wife was pregnant, and he knew he was not the father. He made plans to... 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.