An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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The second office of the seven canonical hours. It was usually recited at about 6 a.m., which was known as the first hour. Prime along with terce, sext, and none constituted the Little Hours of the Divine Office. Material from the office of Prime was included in the 1549 Prayer Book service of... Read More »

A man who is head of a religious house known as a priory, or the second person in authority of an abbey. An abbot is a man who is the head of an abbey. In an abbey, the prior may be selected by the abbot, elected by the community, or named by the general chapter of the religious order.

A woman who is head of a religious house known as a priory, or the second person in authority of an abbey. An abbess is a woman who is the head of an abbey. In an abbey, the prioress may be selected by the abbess, elected by the community, or named by the general chapter of the religious order.

A religious house that has a prior or prioress as superior.

A church named by a diocesan bishop to serve as a cathedral but which remains under the governance of the vestry and dean. It is used as a cathedral for diocesan purposes, but without the formation of a legal cathedral organization and without a cathedral chapter. It is not the official cathedral... Read More »

A theological approach that understands ultimate reality in terms of a dynamic process of becoming and ongoing change. This processive understanding may be contrasted with static notions of being that are based in Aristotelian and scholastic categories. Existence is understood in terms of the... Read More »

A movement of participants in a liturgy from one place to another. The use of processions at the eucharist followed the legalization od Christianity by Constantine in the fourth century. Church services became more formalized with increased participation in Christian liturgies and larger buildings... Read More »

A cross or crucifix mounted on a pol that is carried in a procession by an acolyte or server.

The divine processions of the Son and the Spirit in the immanent (internal) life of God are at the heart of the distinctions of the persons of the Trinity. Christian theology affirms that the Son proceeds from the Father (see Jn 8:42). Western theology has affirmed that the Spirit proceeds from the... Read More »

Expressing contempt or blasphemous disrespect for God or the sacred. For example, vandalism or desecration of a church is a profane act. The BOS provides a form for the Restoration of Things Profaned. It may be used for the restoration to sacred use of a church building, altar, font, or other... Read More »

A member of a monastic or religious community who has taken vows. This person has a voice in the chapter (legislative gathering) of the community. Some communities distinguish between the rights of members in temporary vows and those in final vows.

The commitment by which one becomes a full member of a monastic or religious community. This is usually through the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Temporary vows, or "junior profession," typically follows the novitiate and precedes life profession and full membership in the... Read More »

Variable parts of the eucharistic liturgy and the Daily Office which are appointed for a particular day according the the season or occasion. These parts of the liturgy may be contrasted with the fixed portions and options of the liturgy which do not vary with the season or occasion. The proper for... Read More »

A prophet in the OT was called a messenger to proclaim the word of the God of the covenant to the people of the covenant. Prophecy refers to the message or work of a prophet. The prophetic movement in Israel developed over a period of time, from the eleventh century B.C. with ecstatic prophetic... Read More »

The appeasement of divine wrath through sacrifice or its substitute in prayer. The term is not in current usage. It was used in older versions of the BCP. It appears three times in the Authorized Version (King James) of the Bible and four times in the Revised Version. The death of Jesus Christ has... Read More »

The Book of Common Prayer, . . . As Revised and Proposed to the Use of the Protestant Episcopal Church (1786) incorporated recommendations from Connecticut and from the other New England states and revisions of a convention of states south of New England. The book was edited by William White of... Read More »

Proposals for revision of the 1928 BCP were first published by the Standing Liturgical Commission in a series of Prayer Book Studies, the first of which was published in 1950. When trial use of a revision of the eucharistic rite was authorized by the 1967 General Convention, pew copies were printed... Read More »

Lying full length and face down on the floor or ground as a gesture of humility and devotion. This posture may also express adoration or submission. Historically, prostrations have been made in some churches by the celebrant and assisting ministers at the beginning of the Good Friday service and... Read More »

This weekly magazine began publication on Aug. 12, 1843, in New York City. In 1862 its name was changed to Christian Times. In 1866 the title was changed to the Episcopalian. The Episcopalian was published simultaneously in New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore until 1869. It was mainly a news... Read More »

A low church publication critical of Roman Catholicism that was published in New York from Jan. 1854 until Oct. 1861, by the Rev. Herman Dyer.

A journal which claimed to be conservative and yet progressive, liberal and yet reverent, critical and yet constructive, scholarly and popular, catholic and protestant. It was an outgrowth of two previous publications of the Virginia Theological Seminary. The earlier ancestor was The Seminarian,... Read More »

This school, also called the Virginia Theological Seminary, was formed by the Society for the Education of Pious Young Men for the Ministry of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Maryland and Virginia. It opened on Oct. 15, 1823, in a room in St. Paul's Church, Alexandria, with two professors... Read More »

Western Christianity that is not subject to papal authority. The term is from the protestatio at the Diet of Speyer of 1529 by Lutheran princes against the policies of Charles V that would have practically eliminated the Lutheran territorial churches. The term has positive connotations in the sense... Read More »

1) An internal division of an autonomous national (or multi-national) church of the Anglican Communion. The churches of England and Ireland, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Anglican Church of Australia, and the Episcopal Church are all divided into internal provinces. There are two each in... Read More »

The Episcopal Church is divided into nine provinces. Each province has a synod consisting of a House of Bishops and a House of Deputies. These houses sit and deliberate either separately or together. The synod meets on a regular basis as determined by each province. Every bishop having jurisdiction... Read More »

(Feb. 26, 1742-Sept. 6, 1815). First Bishop of New York. He was born in New York City and graduated from King's College (Columbia) in 1758. Later he studied at St. Peter's College, Cambridge. He was ordained deacon on Feb. 3, 1766, and priest on Mar. 25, 1766. Provoost became rector of... Read More »

In the Episcopal Church the title has been used to indicate a priest in charge of a cathedral when the bishop is the dean. Historically, the provost was the official next in dignity to the abbot of a monastery. A provost may also be an administrative officer of a college or university.

The Puerto Rican ministry of the Diocese of Antigua was transferred to the Episcopal Church on Oct. 5, 1891. The General Convention of 1901 established the Missionary District of Puerto Rico. On Jan. 1, 1980, the Diocese of Puerto Rico became an Extra-Provincial Diocese related to Province Nine of... Read More »

(Sept. 14, 1926- Apr. 16, 1993). Charismatic leader. He was born in Alliance, Ohio. Pulkingham received his B.A. from the University of Western Ontario and his M.Div. from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in 1957. He was ordained deacon on June 20, 1957, and priest on June 13,... Read More »

(1659-Nov. 21, 1695). Outstanding English composer. He was born in London. At age eight Purcell was a chorister in the Chapel Royal. He was appointed an unpaid assistant to the Keeper of the King's Instruments in 1673, after his voice changed. From 1674 to 1678 he tuned the organ of... Read More »

A doctrine traceable to patristic times of a temporary, intermediate state between heaven and hell. As developed in the Roman Catholic Church, purgatory is a state or place of hope and anticipation. Venial sins are cleansed, and temporal punishment is completed for forgiven sins. Article XXII of... Read More »

The title given in the 1549 BCP to the rite commonly called the Churching of Women. It is derived from the Sarum rite. Its ultimate source is the Jewish rite of purification, and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Lk 2:22-39). St. Augustine of Canterbury mentions the existence of this... Read More »

See Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple, The.

The term has become an epithet without precise meaning. At one time it described a reform movement in the Church of England during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It sought to carry the English Reformation beyond the stage reached in the reign of Elizabeth I. In this sense the term... Read More »

See Ministry for Tomorrow; see Board for Theological Education (BTE).

(Aug. 22, 1800-Sept. 16, 1882). Tractarian leader. He was born at Pusey, Berkshire, England, and received his B.A. in 1822 and his M.A. in 1825 from Christ Church College, Oxford. In 1824 he became a fellow at Oriel College, Oxford, where he became closely associated with John Henry Newman and John... 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.