An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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The term refers to a wide variety of churches and movements that claim to re-experience the spiritual gifts associated with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, most notably the gift of tongues (see Acts 2:1-11). The experience is usually referred to as "Baptism in the Holy Spirit."... Read More »

See Direct Ordination.

This term means interpenetration and mutual indwelling of the three Persons of the Trinity. This understanding maintains the distinction and unity of the divine Persons. It avoids the trinitarian heresies of modalism and tritheism. See Trinity.

This Greek word used by scripture scholars refers to a certain portion of a text. The word literally means "cut around." A pericope is a section of text that, if removed from the writing, could be recognized as a tradition that could stand on its own. It may have circulated orally before it was... Read More »

(Apr. 10, 1880-May 14, 1965). First woman cabinet member in the United States. She was born Fannie Coralie Perkins in Boston, Massachusetts. She received her B.A. at Mount Holyoke College in 1902. While a student at Mount Holyoke College, Perkins heard a speaker vividly describe the nation's... Read More »

(d. c. 202). Catechumen and martyr. Perpetua and her companions Felicitas, Revocatus, Saturninus, Secundulus, and Saturus were Christians imprisoned in Carthage under Emperor Septimius Severus. All of them may have been catechumens. Some accounts indicate that Saturus was their catechist or a... Read More »

Payment or benefits in addition to a regular salary. They are known informally as "perks." The term may be applied to benefits in the compensation package for a member of the clergy or other paid members of the church staff, including provided housing or a housing allowance, life and health... Read More »

(Oct. 3, 1871-Mar. 20, 1947). Eighteenth Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. He was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Perry received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1891 and then received another B.A. from Harvard University in 1892. He received his B.D. from the Episcopal... Read More »

(Jan. 22, 1832-May 13, 1898). Bishop and church historian. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island. Perry graduated from Harvard College in 1854 and then studied for a while at the Virginia Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon on Mar. 29, 1857, and priest on Apr. 7, 1858. From 1858 until... Read More »

See CDO Personal Profile.

(d. c. 64). Apostle and leader of the early church. He was first named Simon, but Jesus named him Cephas, or Peter, which means "rock." He was also known as Simon Peter. Peter and his brother Andrew were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus invited them to follow him and fish for people (Mt 4:18-... Read More »

(Dec. 16, 1852-Nov. 10, 1921). Leading biblical and archeological scholar. He was born in New York City. He received his B.A. from Yale in 1873 and his Ph.D. from Yale in 1876. He was ordained deacon on Nov. 24, 1876, and priest on Dec. 23, 1878. From 1876 to 1879 he was a tutor at Yale College,... Read More »

The form of prayer in which one asks God for divine grace or assistance. Petition addresses God as divine Providence who lovingly watches over the needs of human creatures. It is an elementary form of prayer, but it should not be discouraged as long as it is not prompted by selfish motives. It... Read More »

(Mar. 20, 1744-Apr. 8, 1807). First priest elected to serve as Bishop of North Carolina and a leading eighteenth-century evangelical. He was born near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Pettigrew moved to Virginia and then in 1760 to North Carolina. Around 1773 he joined the Church of England. He became a... Read More »


A long bench, typically with a back, for congregational seating in church. Seats were not provided for the congregation in the early church, and this practice continues today in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The use of pews in the naves of churches has been dated from the thirteenth century. Some... Read More »

The renting of pews was the primary way that churches in many denominations collected funds prior to the twentieth century. Most of the time families were seated in separate pews. The closer a family sat to the altar or pulpit, the higher its social or economic position. See Free Pew.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree. A Ph.D. in theology does not necessarily presuppose a first theological degree and is to equip persons for teaching and research in theological seminaries, colleges, and universities.

This school was founded in 1857 by Bishop Alonzo Potter of Pennsylvania. On June 6, 1974, it merged with the Episcopal Theological School at Cambridge, Massachusetts, to create the Episcopal Divinity School.

The eleven women who were ordained priests at the Church of the Advocate, Philadelphia, on the feast of St. Mary and St. Martha, July 29, 1974, two years before General Convention authorized the ordination of women. The women ordained were Merrill Bittner, Alla Bozarth-Campbell, Alison Cheek, Emily... Read More »

See Episcopal Recorder, The.

One of the twelve apostles. Philip was from Bethsaida in Galilee. He seems to have belonged to a small group who were under the influence of John the Baptist. In the synoptic gospels there is no mention of Philip except in the list of apostles. In the Gospel According to John he is mentioned... Read More »

At the end of the Spanish-American War in 1901, a number of Roman Catholic clergy in the Philippines wanted to be independent of the Roman Catholic bishops of Spain. On Aug. 3, 1902, they established an independent Catholic Church and elected Gregorio Aglipay their first Supreme Bishop. On Apr. 7,... Read More »

The 1901 General Convention established the Missionary District of the Philippines, sometimes called the Philippine Islands. In 1972 it became the Missionary Diocese of the Philippines. The Cathedral Church of St. Mary and St. John was consecrated in 1902. In July 1988 the House of Bishops voted to... Read More »

The traditional candle-lighting hymn, which begins "O gracious Light, pure brightness of the ever living Father in heaven." It appears in the BCP at Evening Prayer before the selection from the Psalter and in the Order of Worship for the Evening after the candle lighting (BCP, pp. 64, 112, 118). It... Read More »

The principle of autonomy for national churches in Eastern Orthodoxy. It arose after the destruction of Constantinople in 1453 and gave autonomy to the various churches of the Byzantine Rite. Each national church was to be independent of the ecclesiastical control of the Patriarchate of... Read More »

(Jan. 5, 1895-May 17, 1981). First woman ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. She was born in Chicago. Piccard received her B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Bryn Mawr College in 1918, her M.S. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1919, and her Ph.D. in Education from the... Read More »

(Feb. 14, 1913-c. Sept. 3-7, 1969). Controversial theologian and bishop. He was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Pike received his B.A. in 1934 and his LL.B. in 1936, both from the University of California at Los Angeles. In 1938 he received his J.S.D. from Yale University. After a law career in... Read More »

A pilgrim is one who goes on a pilgrimage or journey with a religious or devotional intention. See Pilgrimage.

A journey taken with a religious or devotional intention. Pilgrimages are typically made to shrines, holy places, or locations of religious significance. They may be made as prayers of thanksgiving, penitence, intercession, or petition. Pilgrimages have been practiced in many religious traditions,... Read More »

(Oct. 31, 1739-July 24, 1825). A leading early evangelical preacher. He was born in Tadmouth, England. Pilmore was educated in John Wesley's school at Kingswood and was a Methodist lay missionary in Great Britain, 1767-1769. In 1769 he came to the American colonies. He served as a lay... Read More »

A small sink, basin, or niche that empties into the earth instead of a sewer. It is typically located in the sacristy or in the wall of the sanctuary. It may be used for the reverent disposal of consecrated wine from the eucharist, blessed water from baptism, and water used in washing vessels that... Read More »

(July 23, 1905-June 19, 1997). Leading process theologian. He was born in Bogota, New Jersey. Pittenger received his S.T.B. from the General Theological Seminary in 1936. He was ordained deacon on June 11, 1936, and priest on Feb. 24, 1937. He began teaching at General Seminary while still a... Read More »

The 1865 General Convention voted "that all that portion of the State of Pennsylvania lying west of the eastern lines of the counties of McKean, Cameron, Clearfield, Cambria, and Somerset . . . be separated from the Diocese of Pennsylvania, and formed into a new Diocese." The primary convention of... Read More »


See Pyx.

See Plainsong.

Sacred unison (monophonic) chant. Plainsong dates from the earliest centuries of Christianity. It has one melody (monodic). The plainsong melody is traditionally sung without musical accompaniment, although it is now at times accompanied by organ harmonies. Plainsong was most frequently based on... 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.