An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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The principal kinds of prayer include adoration, praise, thanksgiving, penitence, oblation, intercession, and petition. (see BCP, pp. 856-857, and individual entries for each of the principal kinds of prayer).

The BCP uses the title "Prayers of the People" for the oratio fidelium or general intercessions in the eucharist. Such prayers have a long and venerable history. Their existence was first mentioned by Justin Martyr about the year 150, and for centuries they formed a vital part of the Daily Office... Read More »

See International Consultation on English Texts (ICET) (1969).

The observance of a period of a few weeks in preparation for Lent. Septuagesima Sunday was the first Sunday of the Pre-Lenten season. It was the third Sunday before Lent and the ninth Sunday before Easter. The name literally indicated seventy days before Easter. This was inaccurate since this... Read More »

Celebration of communion with previously consecrated eucharistic elements, in a eucharistic liturgy without a prayer of consecration. It makes possible eucharistic sharing on days of fasting when the eucharist is not celebrated. In the Byzantine Rite, the liturgy of the pre-sanctified is used on... Read More »

The one who preaches the sermon. In some Protestant churches, the term is used as a title for a member of the clergy. See Preaching.

The event and act of proclaiming the Word of God through a sermon or homily. Preaching interprets the gospel tradition in light of faith and in the context of the liturgical and pastoral occasion of the service. The sermon draws together the life of the parish community, the life of the preacher,... Read More »

See Preaching Tabs.

A long, flowing black garment that may be worn by the preacher with cassock and preaching tabs. It may have full, bell-shaped sleeves, and velvet bands.

See Tippet.

A location where worship services occur. These services may take place on a regular or an irregular basis. The place of meeting may or may not be set apart for church services on a permanent basis. Preaching stations are frequently located in areas of mission development. They may be served by one... Read More »

White starched tabs that may be worn over the neck of the cassock, making an inverted "V" shape. They are also known as preaching bands. They may be worn by a preacher who is not the celebrant at the eucharist.

A cathedral benefice, defined in English canon law as an endowment in land or pension in money, was given to a cathedral for maintenance of a secular priest or regular canon. Since the nineteenth century, incomes of prebends have been transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commission of the Church of... Read More »

Unknown in America, a prebendary in the Church of England is basically an honorary title given to the holder of a prebend. The income of a prebend is now paid to the Ecclesiastical Commission for the benefit of all the clergy. Prior to the nineteenth century the income was paid to the prebendary.

The calendar of the church year provides rules of precedence concerning principal feasts, Sundays, holy days, days of special devotion, and days of optional observance (BCP, pp. 15-18). These rules determine which feast or observance has priority. The seven principal feasts (Easter Day, Ascension... Read More »

1) The music director of a cathedral, monastic, or collegiate church. 2) The cantor or singer who introduces a chant. The term is from the Latin, "to sing before."

Brief responsive prayers which are often based on verses of scripture, especially the Psalter. The BCP includes such versicles and responses after the Lord's Prayer in Morning Prayer (pp. 55, 97-98) and Evening Prayer (pp. 67-68, 121-122), which are also known as suffrages. The BCP offices... Read More »

A raised platform or footpace for the altar.

Introductory section of the eucharistic prayer, including the salutation, the Sursum Corda and ending with the Sanctus. Eastern eucharistic liturgies typically have prefaces with a fixed text that recalls salvation history. This tradition is reflected in Eucharistic Prayer D, based on the liturgy... Read More »

In the Anglican tradition, the term indicates a bishop. The term "prelacy" has been used pejoratively to describe ecclesiastical governance by bishops. In Roman Catholicism, "prelate" has been applied to other ecclesiastical officials such as higher officials of the Roman curia, abbots, cardinals,... Read More »

An event or action that precedes another event or action. For example, An Order of Worship for the Evening may serve "as the introduction to Evening Prayer or some other service, or as the prelude to an evening meal or other activity" (BCP, p. 108). In the Episcopal Church, the term typically... Read More »

It is the function of the deacon to prepare the altar for the celebration of the eucharist, preparing and placing upon it the bread and cup of wine (BCP, p. 407). The deacon may be assisted by other ministers in preparing the table. Although a corporal (small white cloth) is not required by the BCP... Read More »

From the Greek presbyteros, "elder" or "old man." In the NT, "presbyter" indicates a leader of the church. The presbyterate refers to the collegial leadership of the presbyters of the church. A member of the Jewish Sanhedrin was said to belong to the presbyteron, which was the council of the elders... Read More »

(Mar. 24, 1824-Nov. 17, 1903). Ritualist priest and monk. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and raised in Trinity Church, New Haven, where the rector was the Rev. Harry Croswell, a leading Tractarian priest. Prescott attended Washington College, 1840-1842, and then studied for a year at Yale.... Read More »

A feast of our Lord celebrated on Feb. 2, also known as Candlemas and the Feast of the Purification. It commemorates the presentation of Jesus and the purification of Mary in the Jerusalem Temple forty days after Jesus' birth, in accordance with the requirements of Jewish law (Lv 12:2-8). The... Read More »

This is a formal allegation of a canonical offense by an ordained person. The presentment alleges that a triable offense has been committed and that there are reasonable grounds to believe the offense was committed by the person named in the presentment. The presentment is submitted by a standing... Read More »

The BCP uses the word "celebrant" to describe the priest or bishop who presides at the Holy Eucharist. The word "officiant" is used to describe the minister, lay or ordained, who presides at the Daily Offices. Most contemporary liturgical books use "president" or "presider" for both. "President" is... Read More »

Chief Pastor and Primate of the Episcopal Church. The office evolved originally from a rule of the House of Bishops in 1789 making its presiding officer the senior member in terms of date of consecration. As a result of increased duties, the office was incorporated into the Constitution of the... Read More »

The original name of the Leadership Program for Musicians Serving Small Churches. See Leadership Program for Musicians Serving Small Churches.

The aspect of God's grace that is understood to precede the free determination of the will. The term "prevenient" is derived from the Latin meaning "to come before" or "to anticipate." The human response in faith to God is always a response to God's initiative and invitation communicated... Read More »

(Oct. 4, 1920-Oct. 13, 1999). Priest, theologian, and seminary professor. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Price received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1941, his M.Div. from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1949, and his Th.D. from Union Theological Seminary in 1962. He was... Read More »

(Dec. 6, 1696-Dec. 8, 1762). Commissary to New England. He was born in Whitefield, England. Price graduated from Balliol College, Oxford on Feb. 21, 1717. He was ordained deacon and priest around 1720. On Apr. 22, 1725, he was given the living at Leigh in Essex County, England, which he retained... Read More »

Derived from the Greek presbyteros, "elder, or "old man, " the term is used as a synonym for presbyter. Presbyters constituted a collegiate ruling body of institutions in Judaism. The Cathechism notes that "the ministry of a priest or presbyter" is "to represent Christ and his Church, particularly... Read More »

Fundamental doctrine which affirms that all baptized Christians share the eternal priesthood of Jesus. Christ's high priesthood is unique and his atoning sacrifice was offered once for all. The royal priesthood of the people of God consists in the offering of ourselves repeatedly in daily... Read More »

In ecclesiastical terms, primacy is the status of being first, or presiding, among other bishops. In the early church, primacy was often accorded to the bishop of the chief city or metropolis of a geographical region. This primate was often called a metropolitan. The Archbishop of Canterbury held a... Read More »

The chief bishop in an Anglican Province is called a primate. In the United States, the Presiding Bishop serves as "Chief Pastor and Primate." The 1978 Lambeth Conference requested that primates' meetings should be established to enable regular consultation among the primates of the Anglican... 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.