An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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See Pre-Lenten Season.

Name given to the Greek version of the OT. The word "Septuagint," meaning seventy, comes from the early legend that seventy-two (rounded down to seventy) Jewish scholars translated the Pentateuch into Greek during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (282-246 B.C.) in Alexandria, Egypt. This... Read More »

A hymn sung after the second lesson and before the gospel acclamation at the eucharist. Many sequences were composed in the middle ages, but the Council of Trent (1545-1563) sought to streamline the liturgy and reduced the number of sequences to those for Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, and the... Read More »

Supernatural creatures which have six wings and stand in attendance above the throne of the Lord, according to the vision of Isaiah (6:2-7). In this vision, a seraph said "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory." A seraph flew to Isaiah and touched his mouth... Read More »

(d. 701). Pope from 687. He was Syrian and spoke Greek. Sergius brought several liturgical innovations to the Roman Church. He introduced the Agnus Dei ("O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us"; see BCP, p. 337) to the fraction (breaking of the bread) in the Roman... Read More »

(1314-1392). Abbot, mystic, and a patron saint of Russia. Sergius is considered the most popular Russian saint. In 1334 Sergius and his brother went to the forests near Radonezh, north of Moscow, to live in monastic solitude. They were joined by others. A chapel in honor of the Trinity was built in... Read More »

Religious address in a worship service. The sermon is to "break open" the Word of God and proclaim the gospel in the context of the readings from scripture, the liturgical occasion, the congregation gathered, and the pastoral needs of the situation. The Christian story, the congregation's... Read More »

A collection of the teachings of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (Chapters 5-7). It is the first of five special speeches in Matthew and takes place at the beginning of Jesus' ministry. Many of the sayings in the Sermon on the Mount are also found in the Gospel of Luke. Scholars agree that this... Read More »

This is a less widely used term to refer to the portion of Luke's gospel which is parallel to Matthew's Sermon on the Mount. Lk 6:17 states that after Jesus chose the twelve, he stood on a "level place." The "sermon" begins at 6:20 and ends at 6:49. It contains some of the material that... Read More »

The Service of Light from An Order of Worship for the Evening may introduce a variety of liturgies. The Service of Light may serve as a festal introduction to Evening Prayer, with the selection from the Psalter at Evening Prayer following the Phos hilaron. The Service of Light may also begin an... Read More »

See Proposed Book of Common Prayer.

These are traditionally pride, covetousness, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, and sloth. Since sin is faithlessness-the opposite of faith-it may be said that all sin is deadly rebellion against God. But it is difficult to conceive any sinful act that is not defined by one of these terms. In some sense... Read More »

The gifts are 1 ) wisdom, 2) understanding, 3) counsel, 4) fortitude, 5) knowledge, 6) piety, and 7) fear of the Lord. This list is based on Is 11:2. The imparting of the gifts of the Spirit is associated with baptism, as well as Confirmation and Ordination. The "sevenfold" gift of the Holy Spirit... Read More »

This periodical began publication on St. Luke's Day, Oct. 18, 1957, as the St. Luke's Journal of Theology. It was founded by the Very Rev. George M. Alexander, dean of the School of Theology at the University of the South, for the continuing education of clergy. It was edited by students... Read More »

A field of study focusing on the nature, practices, and purposes of human sexuality. Since Augustine human sexuality has been understood primarily in light of marriage and family by Christian ethics. The ends of human sexuality were understood thus in terms of procreation, mutual society, and the... Read More »

William Jones Boone was consecrated the first Missionary Bishop of China on Oct. 26, 1844. The 1874 General Convention changed the title from China to the "Missionary Bishop of Shanghai, having Episcopal jurisdiction in China." The 1901 General Convention divided China into the Missionary Districts... Read More »

Mary's School, Faribault, Minnesota. Shattuck-St. Mary's School is a coeducational Episcopal boarding school for grades six through twelve. It was founded in 1858 by the Rev. James Lloyd Breck, who organized the school in conjunction with the formation of the Diocese of Minnesota. He... Read More »

The term comes from a Hebrew word which means "to dwell." It refers to the visible dwelling of God among the people of God on earth. It does not appear in the Bible as such but comes from Jewish tradition during the period of the Second Temple, i.e., after 515 B.C. The same phenomenon appears in... Read More »

No longer in existence, Shelby College operated at Shelbyville, Kentucky, with interruptions, from 1840 to around 1868. Bishop Benjamin B. Smith of Kentucky wanted a "Literary institution of an elevated character under the auspices of the Church in this Diocese." In 1840 the Diocese of Kentucky... Read More »

(Mar. 14, 1913-Feb. 18, 1990). Liturgist and educator. He was born in Wilmington, North Carolina. Shepherd received his B.A. in 1932, and his M.A. in 1933, both from the University of South Carolina. In 1937 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and in 1941 his B.D. from the Berkeley... Read More »

(Nov. 6, 1890-May 11, 1980). Twentieth Presiding Bishop. He was born in Brooklyn, New York. Sherrill received his B.A. from Yale University in 1911 and his M. Div. from the Episcopal Theological School in 1914. He was ordained deacon on June 7, 1914, and priest on May 9, 1915. He began his ministry... Read More »

A school that was once an Episcopal college, located in Waukegan, Illinois. It was established in 1853 by Frances Ann Wood Shimer. Under the influence of William Rainey Harper, first president of the University of Chicago, it became a Baptist institution known as the Frances Shimer Academy of the... Read More »

(Mar. 16, 1903-Jan. 29, 1993). Co-founder of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer. She was born in New York City. Shoemaker was educated privately and then studied art in New York City. She was attracted to the Moral Rearmament Movement (MRA) in the 1920s in New York. She worked and resided with an... Read More »

(Dec. 27, 1893-Jan. 31, 1963). Episcopal priest and one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). He was born in Baltimore, Maryland. In the summers of 1911 and 1912, he attended conferences in Northfield, Massachusetts, where he was exposed to such evangelical leaders as John R. Mott, Robert E... Read More »

(Mar. 22, 1834-Sept. 4, 1896). Priest and seminary professor. He was born in Laurel, Indiana. He attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He later entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he graduated in 1855. In 1860 he resigned from the Army, studied... Read More »

See St. Clement's Church, Philadelphia. Read More »

This newsletter was first published in Philadelphia in 1886 on behalf of the missions to the deaf in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, Central Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. It was edited by Henry Winter Syle. When Syle died in 1890, the Rev. Jacob Michael Koehler (1860-1932) became... Read More »

(Sept. 24, 1759-Nov. 13, 1836). Leading eighteenth-century evangelical. He was born in Reading, England. Simeon was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, where he became a fellow in 1782. He was ordained a deacon in 1782. Even before Simeon was a priest he was named the rector of... Read More »

(Two of the apostles. Very little is known about them. Simon is known as Simon the Canaanaean and Simon the Zealot. He was probably a member of the political sect known as the Zealots, which was violently opposed to the domination of Palestine by Rome. Tradition claims that he carried the Christian... Read More »

Latin phrase meaning "at once justified and a sinner." It is associated with Martin Luther and Protestant thought concerning salvation. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us by God and received by faith. We are thus justified by a righteousness that is extrinsic and alien to us personally.... Read More »


Following our own will instead of following the will of God, thereby being centered on ourselves instead of God and distorting our relationships with God, other people, and creation (see BCP, p. 848). Sin is intentional disobedience and rebellion against God. It alienates us from our true selves.... Read More »

(May 1, 1958-Nov. 23, 1992). Priest and liturgical editor. He was born in Philadelphia. Sisco was a graduate of Temple University and General Theological Seminary. He was ordained priest in 1987. He served as a consultant to the National Council of Churches in New York, 1985-1986, diocesan intern,... Read More »

The term has been applied to female Christians since the earliest NT times. The language of family kinship recalls the closeness of the bond that is shared by those who live in Christ. For example, the Gospel of Mk (3:35) records Jesus' statement that "Whoever does the will of God is my... Read More »

Moral decision-making understood as highly specific to the situation or context. Situation ethics is often contrasted with a focus on moral principles or duties which are seen as leading to formalism and legalism. A variety of reasons may be used to support a situational ethic. Most combine an... Read More »

(Oct. 12, 1807-Dec. 8, 1862). Missionary deacon and pioneer monastic in Southern Appalachia. He was born in Hertford, North Carolina. When Bishop Levi S. Ives of North Carolina decided to establish a mission in the Watauga region of North Carolina in 1844, he invited Skiles to be the manager of the... Read More »

(Apr. 11, 1722-May 20, 1771). English religious poet. He was born in Shipbourne, Kent, England. Smart was educated at Durham Grammar School and Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. He was elected a scholar of Cambridge University in 1742, and a fellow of Pembroke Hall in 1745. Emotional instability soon... 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.