An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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Military standard of the imperial Roman legions from the time of Constantine I (c. 285-337). It featured the Christian monogram of the Greek letters Chi (X) and Rho (P), which begin the word "Christ." Constantine was Roman emperor from 306 to 337. Prior to battle with an imperial rival at the... Read More »

(May 13, 1870-July 1, 1941). Church historian and seminary dean. Ladd was born in Lancaster, New Hampshire. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth in 1891 and his B.D. from the General Theological Seminary in 1897. He also studied at the University of Paris, Oxford University, and the University of... Read More »

A side chapel dedicated to "Our Lady," the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was often an addition that was constructed directly behind (east of) the high altar of the larger church building.

The fourth Sunday of Lent in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. The term is derived from the opening words of the Latin Mass, "Rejoice (Laetare) Jerusalem" (Is 66:10). The church is called to joyful anticipation of the victory to be won. This joyful theme provides lightening from the... Read More »

The people of God. The term is from the Greek laos, "the people." The laity has been defined negatively to indicate Christians who have not been ordained. However, all baptized Christians are the people of God, the church, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (1 Pt 2:9-10). All baptized persons are... Read More »

This school, first known as Kittanning Collegiate School, was granted a charter on Sept. 7, 1868. The nine trustees were Episcopalians and the Bishop of Pittsburgh was ex officio chancellor of the corporation. It was named after the first Lambeth Conference which met Sept. 24-28, 1867. The college... Read More »

The first Lambeth Conference met in 1867, marking the occasion when the various churches of the Anglican Communion began to be conscious of themselves as a single family of churches. The immediate cause of the first gathering was an effort on the part of several bishops to respond to the... Read More »

The London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury for seven centuries. It is located on the Thames Embankment opposite the Houses of Parliament, and it has been the location of many historic events. The followers of Wycliffe were imprisoned and tortured at the Lollard's Tower (erected 1320... Read More »

See Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral.

First published on Feb. 2, 1903, by the Rev. Paul James Francis Wattson of the Society of the Atonement, it was the voice of the pro-Roman high church party of the Episcopal Church. When Wattson and 15 other members of the society joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1909, they took The Lamp with... Read More »

In ecclesiastical usage, these are the pendant bands or flaps on a clerical vestment or headdress, especially a mitre.

The 1889 General Convention voted to divide the Diocese of Nebraska and create the Missionary District of The Platte. From Oct. 20, 1898, until Oct. 10, 1907, it was known as the Missionary District of Laramie. It included not only the western counties of Nebraska but also that portion of Wyoming... Read More »

" The reading of a gospel passage, typically the prologue to the Gospel of John (1:1-18), at the end of the Latin Mass. The practice dates from medieval times. It originally was said as a private devotion by the priest on returning to the sacristy at the end of the service. It was later read aloud... Read More »

Sacramental ministry to a dying Christian, which may include confession and absolution, laying on of hands, anointing (extreme unction), and communion. The dying received communion as viaticum, or sustenance for a journey, in accordance with ancient custom. The BCP provides forms for the... Read More »

The term "Last Supper" does not appear in the NT. It is used to refer to the supper which Jesus ate with his disciples on the evening before his crucifixion. It is described somewhat differently in the gospel accounts (see Mt 26:17-29; Mk 14:12-16; Lk 22:7-23), and in Paul's reference to it in... Read More »

(1490-Oct. 16, 1555). Bishop and Reformation leader. He was born in Thurcaston, Leicestershire, England, and studied at Cambridge University. At first he was a bitter opponent of the Reformation. Consecrated Bishop of Worcester on Sept. 26, 1535, he quickly became one of the Reform leaders.... Read More »

Spiritual descendants of sixteenth-century humanists like Erasmus and the ancestors of the nineteenth-century broad church party. The middle years of the seventeenth century in England were marked by religious civil war, with royalists (Episcopalians) pitted against Puritans who had left the... Read More »

This technical term is for the worship which is rightfully given to God alone, as distinguished from the appropriate veneration of the saints (dulia) or of images such as icons or relics. See Dulia.

(Oct. 6, 1573-Jan. 10, 1645). Archbishop of Canterbury and the chief theological advisor of kings Charles I and Charles II of England. Laud was born in Reading, England. He studied at St. John's College, Oxford University. In his dissertation he stressed the divine right of episcopacy. He was... Read More »

The ancient service at daybreak in the monastic round of daily prayer. This morning service of praise always included Psalms 148-150, in which the Latin word "laudate" (praise) is frequently emphasized. The name of this morning office is derived from the Latin term. The services of matins, lauds,... Read More »

(or Lawrence), Saint (d. Aug. 10, 258). Deacon and martyr. Laurence was ordained a deacon by Pope Sixtus II. He was made chief of the seven deacons in Rome. When asked by the Roman governor during the persecution under emperor Valerian to surrender the church's riches, Laurence gathered... Read More »

Praise to you, Lord Christ." The term is from the opening words of the statement in Latin. It is the people's response to the gospel at the eucharist (BCP, p. 358). It follows the concluding statement by the gospeler, "The Gospel of the Lord." This response was included in the 1928 BCP on an... Read More »

Ceremonial cleansing of the celebrant's hands at the offertory of the eucharist. The term is from the Latin, "I will wash," taken from the opening of Ps 26:6, "I will wash my hands in innocence, O Lord, that I may go in procession round your altar." This verse was traditionally recited by the... Read More »

(1686-Apr. 9, 1761). Spiritual writer, priest, and Non-Juror. Law is most famous as the author of A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728), which is a call to a life of piety and devotion. A holy life is devotion to God and a regular method of daily prayer. A Serious Call, which was inspired... Read More »

(May 2, 1915-Apr. 3, 1986). The first African American president of the House of Deputies. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Lawrence received his B.A. from Morehouse College in 1936, his M.A. from Atlanta University in 1938, and his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1952. Lawrence taught in... Read More »

(May 30, 1850- Nov. 6, 1941). Bishop, educator, fund-raiser, and primary founder of the Church Pension Fund. He articulated a theology of Christian stewardship known as the "Gospel of Wealth." In an article entitled "The Relation of Wealth to Morals" (1901), he argued that God gives wealth only to... Read More »

Lay person licensed by the bishop to administer the consecrated elements of the eucharist. Lay eucharistic ministers may be licensed to administer the consecrated bread and wine at any celebration of the eucharist in the absence of a sufficient number of priests and deacons to assist the celebrant... Read More »

The term refers to the many ways the laity of the church live out their baptismal covenant. The laity are the people of the church, those who have been baptized. It generally refers to those who have not been ordained. The term "laity" is derived from the Greek word for "people." Lay ministry is... Read More »

The laity are the people of the church, those who have been baptized. The term "laity" generally refers to those who have not been ordained. In a vote "by orders" at a church convention, clergy and laity vote separately. An affirmative decision requires a majority of votes in each order to pass.... Read More »

A lay person licensed by the bishop to preach. This ministry is licensed under the provisions of the canon for licensed lay persons. The lay preacher must be a confirmed adult communicant in good standing, and recommended by the member of the clergy in charge of the congregation. Guidelines for... Read More »

Lay people employed in the mission and ministry of the church who regard their work as a vocation. These lay professionals see their work as their response to God's call in their lives and have acquired appropriate preparation and training for their work. They are committed to continuing... Read More »

A lay reader may lead the Daily Offices of the church. If needed, a lay reader may lead the liturgy for the Holy Eucharist through the prayers of the people, concluding with the Lord's Prayer and the grace, or with the exchange of the peace (BCP, p. 407). A lay reader may also lead the Burial... Read More »

(Dec. 6, 1823-Sept. 17, 1885). Bishop of the Southwest, Arkansas, and Easton. He was born in Richmond, Virginia. Lay graduated from the University of Virginia in 1842, and from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1846. He was ordained deacon on July 10, 1846, and began his ministry at Lynnhaven... Read More »

A significant ritual action in several sacramental rites. It is an external sign of the bestowal of God's grace through the prayer or the ministry of the one laying on hands, whether for spiritual growth or ministry or forgiveness or healing. It is the action which accompanies the prayer of... Read More »

The first weekly publication in the Episcopal Church, this periodical was edited by the Rev. Benjamin Allen (1789-1829) from 1815 through 1816. It carried church news and stories for lay persons. The last issue available is dated Nov. 7, 1816.

This journal was published as one of the weekly issues of The Living Church. It was also published as a separate monthly periodical from Feb. 1940 until Sept. 1941.


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.