An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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The renunciation of the use of violent force that would take the life of another person. The early Christian community was of two minds whether a Christian could be a soldier. On the one hand, Jesus' positive appraisal of the faith of the centurion (Lk 7:9) and the acceptance of civil... Read More »

(Dec. 23, 1812-May 3, 1902). Biblical scholar, seminary professor, and dean. He was born in Wiscasset, Maine. Packard graduated from Bowdoin College in 1831. He taught for several years and was head of Brattleboro Academy in Vermont. In 1833 he entered Andover Theological Seminary, and there... Read More »

(Dec. 3, 1781-Mar. 28, 1838). Anti-slavery advocate. She was born at "Chatham," Stafford County, Virginia, and was the sister of Bishop William Meade of Virginia. On Mar. 23, 1799, she married Matthew Page, a wealthy planter. He built a stately manor and named it "Annfield" in her honor. Matthew... Read More »

Prayers and sacrifices made on behalf of the participants at Cursillo, so that the entire weekend is permeated by prayer. The term is from the Spanish for "lever" or "leverage." Gifts are sent to the participants as visible expressions of the prayers and support that are offered. The hope is that... Read More »

1) A square, stiffened white linen cloth that is used to cover the chalice at the eucharist. There may be a design on the side of the pall that does not touch the chalice. 2) A cloth used to cover the coffin at the Burial of the Dead. The BCP states that the coffin is to be closed before the burial... Read More »

The Sunday before Easter at which Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21:1-11, Mk 11:1-11a, Lk 19:29-40) and Jesus' Passion on the cross (Mt 26:36-27:66, Mk 14:32-15:47, Lk 22:39-23:56) are recalled. It is also known as the Sunday of the Passion. Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week. Red... Read More »

This journal was published from Lent 1950 until 1970. It was published irregularly in fifteen volumes over twenty years. The normal rate of publication was two issues per year. The subtitle was "A Review of the World-Wide Episcopal Church." The editor was the Rt. Rev. Walter H. Gray, Bishop of... Read More »

A Greek term meaning "all holy one." It is a title of the Virgin Mary in the eastern church. The term also refers to a small folding case with an image of the Virgin Mary that is worn by prelates in the eastern church. This case is worn on the breast suspended by a chain. The term also refers to... Read More »

The House of Bishops placed the Canal Zone under the jurisdiction of the Presiding Bishop on Oct. 17, 1904. The 1919 General Convention established the Missionary District of the Panama Canal Zone and elected James Craik Morris (1867-1944) the missionary bishop. This missionary district included... Read More »

Title for two well known Latin chant hymns, Venantius Fortunatus's passiontide hymn, "Sing my tongue the glorious battle" (Hymns 165, 166), and the Corpus Christi (now eucharistic) hymn, "Now, my tongue, the mystery telling" (Hymns 329-331), attributed to Thomas Aquinas. Fortunatus's hymn... Read More »

Belief that God is all creation and that all creation is God. From the Greek pan, "all," and theos, "god." Pantheism is inconsistent with orthodox Christianity because it ignores God's transcendence and God's distinctness from creation. This extreme identification of creator with creation... Read More »

See Infallibility, Papal.

The term is from the Greek for "something placed by the side of something else." NT parables are sayings of Jesus in which he uses metaphors or similes, brief or extended, to challenge people to a decision about his message. The parables of Jesus are "word events" in which the Kingdom of God breaks... Read More »

The study of what happens between death and the ultimate state of a person.

Cloth or tapestry hangings used to adorn the space for worship, especially those hangings at the altar, pulpit, and lectern. The term is derived from the Latin, "to decorate" or "prepare."

( See Anne and Joachim.)

The term is used in the 1979 BCP and earlier editions, and means a self-supporting congregation under a rector, as opposed to a mission or other congregation under a vicar. Some state laws provide for the incorporation of Episcopal parishes, and the election of rectors, wardens, and vestry members... Read More »

A church building or house that may provide space for the parish office, clergy and staff offices, classrooms, choir rehearsal room, and meeting rooms. It may also include a chapel, a nursery, a kitchen, a library, or storage space. The parish house is typically a separate building from the church... Read More »

A meeting of the members of a parish. The by-laws of the parish generally require an annual parish meeting and state the qualifications to be a voting member of the parish. Diocesan canons may state requirements concerning parish meetings. The annual parish meeting typically elects vestry members,... Read More »

A registered nurse (RN) who provides health care in a pastoral setting. The program was founded in 1983 by the Rev. Granger Westberg, a Lutheran pastor and chaplain at Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Illinois. It has now spread to many denominations, including the Episcopal Church. Parish... Read More »

An instrument that provides important information concerning a parish, including information about the parish's services and programs, budget, parish life and goals, and previous clergy. The standardized form that is typically used for parish profiles is provided by the Church Deployment... Read More »

The formal record of the various official acts in a parish church. Canon 15 of the Constitution and Canons of 1789 required every minister of the church to keep a register of baptisms, marriages, and funerals within his cure. The Canon Law of the Church of England also required that the clergy keep... Read More »

(Aug. 6, 1504-May 17, 1575). The first Archbishop of Canterbury under Queen Elizabeth. Parker was responsible for enacting and enforcing the Elizabethan Settlement. He studied at St. Mary's Hostel, Cambridge University. He received his B.A. in 1527, his M.A. in 1528, his B.D. in 1535, and his... Read More »

Concerning a parish. For example, parochial clergy serve in parishes.

A mission that is supported by a parish. The supporting parish may provide the aided congregation with staff and program assistance in addition to financial support.

This report is the official data-gathering instrument of the Episcopal Church. Each parish or congregation files this report annually with the diocesan bishop. A copy of each Parochial Report is sent to the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church. The Parochial Report includes information... Read More »

A Greek word meaning "presence" or "arrival," parousia is often translated as "second coming." It is part of the area of theology called eschatology, the study of the last things or ultimate end of creation. The parousia is understood as the completion of God's gift of salvation, which will... Read More »

The member of the clergy, typically a priest or presbyter, with pastoral responsibility for a parish. In medieval times, the rector of a parish was the parson, or legal "person" who held the legal property rights of the parish. The rector could sue and be sued as the parson of the parish. The term... Read More »

(May 18, 1868-July 19, 1960). Bishop and liturgist. He was born in New York City. Parsons received his B.A. in 1889 from Yale, and graduated from Union Theological Seminary, New York, in 1892. In 1892-1893, he was a fellow at the University of Berlin. He graduated from Episcopal Theological School... Read More »

This term for Easter is from the Latin and Greek Pascha, which transliterated the Hebrew pesach, "Passover." It was used both for the Jewish Passover and the Christian Easter. The Latin Pascha is sometimes used in English to distinguish the full celebration of the passion and resurrection of Christ... Read More »

The term literally means "our passover" in Latin. It has two distinguishable meanings in the BCP. 1) Canticle based on 1 Cor 5:7-8, Rom 6:9-11, and 1 Cor 15:20-22. It is used as an invitatory anthem in Easter Week at Morning Prayer. It may be used daily in the Easter season until Pentecost (BCP, pp... Read More »

A large candle that symbolizes the risen Christ. It is often decorated with a cross, symbols of the resurrection, the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, and the year. The term "Paschal" concerns Easter or Passover. At the Easter Vigil, the Paschal candle is lit from the new fire. It is carried by the... Read More »

In this context, the word "mystery" means a transcendent purpose of God. It exceeds human understanding, but we have some knowledge and experience of it. Paschal means pertaining to Easter (the Pascha) and to its antecedent the Hebrew Passover. The Passover has the promise of redemption and the... Read More »

The redemptive suffering of Jesus Christ in the events surrounding his death. The term is from the Latin passio, "suffering." A gospel narrative of the Passion is called the Passion. It may also be called the Passion gospel or the Passion narrative. It is read liturgically during Holy Week. The... Read More »

See Palm Sunday (The Sunday of the Passion).


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.