An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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T.B. (The Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree presupposes a first bachelor's degree and was designed to prepare persons for ministry in the church. It is no longer used. Read More »

T.D. (The Doctor of Sacred Theology degree presupposes a first theological degree and is to equip persons for teaching and research in theological seminaries, colleges, and universities.

T.M. (The Master of Sacred Theology degree presupposes the M. Div. degree and is an academic program stressing fuller mastery of resources in one of the theological disciplines.

A person who observes Saturday as the Sabbath, as in Judaism, some Puritan groups, and some sect groups in Christianity such as Seventh Day Adventists. It also means a person who believes in a strict observance of the Sabbath, whether observed on Saturday or Sunday, including the OT prohibitions... Read More »

The seventh day of the Jewish week, our Saturday. It was marked by a total prohibition of work (Ex 23:12). In Christian liturgical usage, Holy Saturday is called the Great or Holy Sabbath, the day when Christ rested in the tomb. Early Christians rejected the celebration of the Jewish Sabbath and... Read More »

This term comes from the word "sabbath," and means seven or seventh. It means a period of rest and an intermission in labor. A sabbatical year is the seventh year. It is a time when persons are relieved from their duties for study and travel. It is now used for a period of leave that is not... Read More »

Trinitarian theology of Sabellius, a teacher in Rome before his condemnation by Pope Callistus (217-222). Sabellius believed that the Creator (Father) is not personally distinguished from the Redeemer (Son) or the Sanctifier (Spirit), but rather exists and acts according to three modes of being and... Read More »

From the Latin sacerdos, "priest." It means of or pertaining to the order of priests or the role, identity, or function of priests. A ministry reserved to the ordained priesthood is a sacerdotal ministry. Sacerdotal ministries include celebrating the eucharist and granting absolution in the... Read More »

The sacramental rites of the Episcopal Church include Confirmation, Ordination, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation of a Penitent, and Unction (BCP, pp. 860-861). These rites are distinguished from the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, which were given by Christ and are understood to be necessary for... Read More »

This term is commonly applied to priests ordained according to the provisions of the canons which allow "communities which are small, isolated, remote, or distinct in respect of ethnic composition, language, or culture" to identify someone from their own community for ordination. Preparation for... Read More »

The Prayer Book Catechism notes that the sacramental rites of Confirmation, Ordination, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation of a Penitent, and Unction evolved in the church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (BCP, pp. 860-861). These other sacramental rites, or sacramentals, are distinguished from... Read More »

A liturgical book containing prayers used by the celebrant at the eucharist throughout the year, along with other liturgical prayers. The celebrant's prayer at the eucharist was mainly extemporaneous during the first three centuries of the Christian church. By the third and fourth centuries,... Read More »

The 1898 General Convention voted that the bounds of the Missionary District of Northern California be changed to include the original counties in California plus all that portion of Nevada west of the west lines of the counties of Elko, White, Pine, Eureka, Lincoln, Lander, and Nye. It was called... Read More »

Outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means for receiving God's grace. Baptism and Eucharist are the two great sacraments given by Christ to his church. (BCP, pp. 857-858). The Episcopal Church recognizes that five other sacramental rites... Read More »

See Eucharistic Sacrifice.

A person who works in the sacristy, the room for storing and working with the various items needed for the liturgies and worship of the church. Such items may include the vessels, vestments, books, bread and wine, and candles. Individual members of a parish's altar guild might be called... Read More »

The room adjoining a church where vestments, altar hangings and linens, sacred vessels, and liturgical books are kept until needed for use in worship. Clergy typically vest in the sacristy.

A holy person, a faithful Christian, one who shares life in Christ. The term may also indicate one who has been formally canonized or recognized as a saint by church authority. In the NT, the term is applied to all faithful Christians (see Acts 9:32, 26:10). Paul addresses the saints or those... Read More »

This jurisdiction existed from Oct. 17, 1901, until Nov. 14, 1960. See Western Kansas, Diocese of.

(Apr. 20, 1884-Feb. 3, 1966). Church historian. He was born in Berlin, Germany. Salomon received his doctoral degree in history from the University of Berlin in 1907, and then served as research assistant for the Monumenta Germaniae Historica. From 1919 until 1934, he was professor of history at... Read More »

This jurisdiction existed from Oct. 13, 1898, until Oct. 10, 1907. See Utah, Diocese of.

A liturgical dialogue of mutual greeting: "The Lord be with you. And also with you." The salutation calls the people back to attention and adds emphasis to important moments in the liturgy. This dialogue of greeting and response is based on Boaz's greeting to the reapers and their answer in Ru... Read More »

Eternal life in the fullness of God's love. Salvation is deliverance from anything that threatens to prevent fulfillment and enjoyment of our relationship with God. In the OT, God was experienced as the savior who delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt (Ex 14-15; See Canticle 8, The Song of Moses,... Read More »

The study of salvation history identifies the theological elements and influences in historical narratives. God's offer of salvation and humanity's response to that offer are expressed and visible in history. The importance of the biblical narratives of salvation history is reflected in... Read More »

The 1973 General Convention voted to divide the Diocese of Los Angeles. The primary convention of the Diocese of San Diego met at St. Paul's Church, San Diego, Dec. 7-8, 1973. It includes the following counties: Imperial, a portion of Riverside, and San Diego. On Jan. 25, 1985, St. Paul's... Read More »

The 1910 General Convention voted to divide the Diocese of California, and establish the Missionary District of San Joaquin. It includes the following counties: Alpine, Calaveras, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Tuolumne. The primary... Read More »

As early as the fourth century, eastern liturgies contained the Sancta sanctis, "the holy for the holy" or "holy things for holy people," at a showing of the sacrament to the people immediately before the administration of communion. A typical response of the people was "One is holy, one is Lord,... Read More »

A theological term which derives from the Latin sanctus, "holy. In its proper sense "holy" refers to the holiness of God, but in a derived sense it applies to all those who are made holy. By extension it thus refers to all those who, in Christ, participate in the holiness of God through baptism. In... Read More »

The section of a service book such as a missal or breviary that provided the variable portions of services for the fixed dates of the church calendar. The propers for the fixed holy days appeared in the Sanctorale, with the exception of those in the Christmas season which were in the Temporale. The... Read More »

1) Holy place, usually the worship space of a church. Sanctuary may mean the area around the altar, especially in liturgical churches. It may be separated from the rest of the church by an altar rail. It may refer to the entire chancel area, including the choir and/or the space reserved for the... Read More »

A lamp or candle which burns near the reserved sacrament when the reservation is near the altar. See Reservation of the Sacrament.

A bell rung by a server during the eucharist to emphasize and call attention to particular moments in the liturgy. The bell may be a small hand bell or set of bells, or a gong rung with a clapper, or the tower bell of the church. The term is based on the practice of ringing the bell three times... Read More »

From the Latin for "holy," a hymn of adoration and praise which begins, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts." It typically follows the preface in the eucharistic prayer (BCP, pp. 334, 341, 362, 367, 371, 373, 402, 404). It is sung or said by the celebrant and people. The Sanctus is based on the... Read More »

Ancient ornamented coffin in the form of a chest and lid. The term is from Latin words that mean "flesh-eating." This refers to the belief that a sarcophagus lined with caustic limestone would cause the body of the deceased to dissolve within forty days. Sarcophagi were made of stone, terra-cotta,... Read More »

(Jan. 11, 1843-Feb. 22, 1908). Bishop and founder of the Washington Cathedral. He was born in New York City. Satterlee received his B.A. from Columbia College in 1863 and studied for the ordained ministry at the General Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon on Nov. 21, 1865, and priest on... Read More »

(June 7, 1804-Dec. 29, 1880). The first medical missionary sent out by the Episcopal Church. He was born in Middletown (now Cromwell), Connecticut, and graduated from Yale in 1825. He received his M.D. from the Yale Medical School in 1833 and graduated from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1836... 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.