An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | V | W | Y | Z


(Sept. 24, 1755-July 6, 1835). Third Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He was born in Germantown, now Midland, Virginia. Marshall participated in the American Revolution and was part of the Minute Men at the siege of Norfolk. In 1780 he attended a course of lectures on law at... Read More »

(c. 330-Nov. 11, 397). The primary molder of Frankish Christianity and one of the patron saints of France. He was born in Sabaria, the modern Szombathely, in Hungary. After serving in the military, he came under the influence of Hilary of Poitiers. He became a defender of Nicene orthodoxy against... Read More »

(Feb. 18, 1781-Oct. 16, 1812). One of the founders of the Christian church in India and Iran. He was born in Truro, Cornwall, England. Martyn received his B.A. in 1801, his M.A. in 1804, and his B.D. in 1805, all from St. John's College, Cambridge. In 1803 he became the curate of Charles... Read More »

The term comes from the Greek word meaning "witness," which referred originally to the disciples and apostles who "witnessed" the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Later it came to mean those who had witnessed to their faith in Jesus by their suffering and those who died... Read More »

A church built over a martyr's tomb or relics. The term may also indicate a church built in honor of a martyr. See Relics; see Reliquary. Read More »

Francis Xavier, a Jesuit, first brought Christianity to Japan in 1549. Christianity spread rapidly, causing resentment and leading to persecution. On Feb. 5, 1597, twenty-six Christians-six European Franciscans, three Japan (Nippon Sei Ko Kai), which is the Anglican Church in Japan. These martyrs... Read More »

In 177 a persecution of the Christians in Gaul (France) took place. The five persons most savagely persecuted were Attalus, Blandina, Maturus, Sanctus, and Pothinus, the first Bishop of Lyons. Nothing is known about Attalus. Blandina was a virgin slave girl, Maturus a recent convert, and Sanctus a... Read More »

( Eight missionaries and two Papuan martyrs who died at the hands of Japanese invaders in 1942. The first Protestant missionaries to Papua New Guinea were sent by the London Missionary Society in 1870. Anglican missionaries reached New Guinea in 1891. In 1898 the Anglican Diocese of Papua New... Read More »

( The Church Missionary Society began work in Uganda in 1877. At the end of the twentieth century the Anglican Church accounted for about 25% of the population of Uganda. On June 3, 1886, 32 young men, pages in the court of King Mwanga of Buganda, were burned to death on a large single pyre at the... Read More »

( Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany were a family and very close friends of Jesus. Mary and Martha were disciples of Jesus who offered him hospitality. Martha provided him food and other courtesies. Mary, who chose the "better part," sat at Jesus' feet and listened to his teaching. The... Read More »

( A disciple of Jesus, she was from the city of Magdala in Judea, hence the surname Magdalene. She was the woman Jesus delivered from evil spirits. Mary was among the women who accompanied and supported Jesus and the apostles. She was present at the crucifixion. Mary was also the first to witness... Read More »

( Mary the mother of Jesus has been an object of veneration in the church since the apostolic age. She has been a favorite subject in art, music, and literature. Her humility and obedience to the message of God at the time of the Incarnation have made her an example for all ages of Christians. The... Read More »

This diocese was organized on Aug. 13, 1783, at Annapolis. On Oct. 12, 1868, the General Convention voted to divide the diocese and place some of the Maryland counties in the new Diocese of Easton. The 1895 General Convention created the Diocese of Washington and placed four Maryland counties in it... Read More »

(Jan. 8, 1792-Aug. 11, 1872). An American educator, composer, and hymnal editor. He was born in Medfield, Massachusetts. Mason was a very gifted and energetic person, and his work as a compiler of hymn books began while he was organist and choirmaster of the First Presbyterian Church, Savannah,... Read More »

(July 26, 1882-May 6, 1959). Labor activist and suffragette. She was born in Clarens, Virginia, and grew up in Richmond, where her father was an Episcopal priest. In 1914 Mason was appointed industrial secretary of the Richmond YMCA where she worked to get protective labor legislation for women and... Read More »

A term for the Holy Eucharist. It is primarily used by Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and Lutherans. It appeared as a part of the title of the service in the first BCP of 1549. It is included by the Catechism in a list of names by which the eucharist is known (BCP, p. 859). It is derived from the... Read More »

See Pre-Sanctified, Mass of the.

The Diocese of Massachusetts was organized at Boston on Sept. 8, 1784. The 1901 General Convention voted to divide the diocese and established the Diocese of Western Massachusetts. The Diocese of Massachusetts consists of the following counties: Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex,... Read More »

See Novice Guardian or Novice Master or Novice Mistress.

The person present in the liturgy to direct the movements of the various ministers and people involved and to coordinate a sustained ceremonial style throughout. A master of ceremonies, when designated, also takes responsibility for any rehearsals of the liturgy. The term "minister of ceremonies" (... Read More »

An early morning worship service, the first of the canonical hours. The name comes from the Latin matutinus "pertaining to the morning." It is one of the canonical hours, which developed as special times or hours for prayer and devotion. Matins, sometimes spelled "mattins," was the longest of the... Read More »

The material or gesture constituting the outward and visible sign of a sacrament. A valid sacrament also requires the appropriate form, minister, and intent. In this sacramental context, form refers to the words of prayer that express the meaning of the sacrament and the matter used in the... Read More »

English Bible issued in 1537. It was based on the work of William Tyndale, Miles Coverdale's Old Testament, and the work of Conrad Pellican. It was edited by John Rogers (c. 1500-1555), who used the alias "Thomas Matthew." This Bible was printed at Antwerp. It was dedicated to Henry VIII, and... Read More »

According to Mark, he was the son of Alphaeus. He was a Jewish tax collector working for the Roman government at Capernaum. Matthew is called Levi in the accounts of his call to discipleship in Mark and Luke, but he is always referred to as Matthew in the lists of the apostles. It is possible that... Read More »

Matthews, Sister Eva Mary (Feb. 9, 1862-July 6, 1928). Founder of the Community of the Transfiguration. She was born in Oakencroft, near Glendale, Ohio, and raised a Presbyterian. Matthews studied at Wellesley College in 1880-1881. She decided to follow her clergyman brother Paul into the Episcopal... Read More »

Nothing is known about the life of Matthias except the one mention of him in the Book of Acts. After the Ascension of Christ and the death of Judas, when some followers of Jesus met in the Upper Room, Peter asked the group to (Acts 1:12-26). Matthias is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the... Read More »

The Thursday in Holy Week. It is part of the Triduum, or three holy days before Easter. It comes from the Latin mandatum novum, "new commandment," from Jn 13:34. The ceremony of washing feet was also referred to as "the Maundy." Maundy Thursday celebrations also commemorate the institution of the... Read More »

(Aug. 29, 1805-Apr. 1, 1872). English theologian and proponent of Christian Socialism. He was born in Normanstone, England, the son of a Unitarian clergyman. In 1823 Maurice entered Trinity College, Cambridge University, to study law. However, he was denied his degree because as a Nonconformist he... Read More »

(Oct. 1, 1805-Dec. 18, 1863). Seminary professor. He was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania. May received his B.A. in 1823 from Jefferson College. He entered Virginia Theological Seminary in 1826, and left in that same year to finish his theological studies with the Rev. George Boyd in... Read More »

(June 7, 1789-May 10, 1881). First Episcopal priest in the Washington Territory. He was born in Rhinebeck, New York. He practiced law for three years and then decided to enter the ordained ministry of the Episcopal Church. McCarty was ordained deacon on Dec. 23, 1825, and priest on Oct. 26, 1827.... Read More »

(c. 1710-1766). Church of England leader in the American Great Awakening. McClenachan (sometimes spelled Mcclenachan or Macclenaghan) was born in Armagh, Ireland. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church. He settled in Georgetown, Maine, in 1734, and officiated there until 1744, when he moved to... Read More »

(Aug. 1, 1845-Jan. 11, 1939). Church historian. He was born in West Moreland County, Pennsylvania. McConnell received his B.A. from Washington and Jefferson College in 1869. He was ordained deacon on June 18, 1871, and priest on June 12, 1872. McConnell was rector of Christ Church, Watertown,... Read More »

(Aug. 14, 1861-Feb. 27, 1824). Episcopal priest and later a Roman Catholic priest. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, McGarvey studied at the General Theological Seminary and then Nashotah House. He was ordained deacon on June 20, 1886, and priest on Aug. 22, 1886. He began his ordained ministry... Read More »

(Mar. 26, 1866-Nov. 10, 1924). Founder of the African Orthodox Church, a body for Negro Episcopalians dissatisfied with the Episcopal Church. He was born in Antigua, British West Indies, and graduated from the Moravian Theological Seminary, St. Thomas Island. He came to the United States in 1894,... Read More »

(Jan. 18, 1799-Mar. 13, 1873). Bishop and foremost leader of the evangelical party in the Episcopal Church during the mid-nineteenth century. He was born in Burlington, New Jersey. McIlvaine graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1816 and studied theology at... Read More »

(Nov. 11, 1789-Mar. 14, 1862). Presiding Bishop of the Confederate Church during the Civil War. Born in Frederick County, Virginia, Meade entered the junior class of the College of New Jersey (Princeton) in 1806, and graduated in 1808 as valedictorian. He studied for the ordained ministry under the... 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.