An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | V | W | Y | Z


Official seat or throne of the bishop in the cathedral of the diocese. The cathedra is considered to be the oldest insignia of the bishop's authority to preside over the church in the diocese. Historically, the bishop preached the sermon and presided at the eucharist from the cathedra, which... Read More »

A church that contains the diocesan bishop's seat, throne, or cathedra. The cathedral is the principal church of the diocese. As the symbol and center of diocesan ministry, the cathedral is an appropriate place for diocesan celebrations and episcopal services. The dean is the clergyperson with... Read More »

Bishop William D. Walker of North Dakota faced many difficulties in his missionary work. He conceived the idea of a traveling chapel which would carry the church to those outlying places where there were no facilities for services. In 1889 he approached friends in the east for money to build a... Read More »

George Washington was the first person to suggest a "great church for national purposes in the capital city." In 1893 Congress granted a charter to the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation of the District of Columbia that empowered it to establish a cathedral. In 1898 Bishop Henry Yates... Read More »

Pioneer cathedral. The cornerstone of a bishop's church was laid by Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple of Minnesota on July 16, 1862. It was the first structure built solely as a cathedral in the Episcopal Church. Whipple envisioned the cathedral as the center of all diocesan missionary,... Read More »

The largest gothic cathedral in the world. It was incorporated in 1873. Its foundation was laid on Dec. 27, 1892, the Feast of St. John. The east end and crossing were opened in 1911 and its entire length (601 feet) was opened in 1941. The sanctuary and choir are of Romanesque style. The great nave... Read More »

(1347-Apr. 29, 1380). Mystic and spiritual writer. Caterina Benincasa was born in Siena, Italy. She joined the Third Order of the Dominicans when she was sixteen. She gave her life to serving the poor and converting sinners. In 1376 she went to Avignon, where the papacy was in "Babylonian Captivity... Read More »

Derived from the Greek word meaning "general" or "universal," the phrase "the catholic church" was first used by Ignatius of Antioch in the early second century. The BCP Catechism states (p. 854) that "The Church is catholic, because it proclaims the whole Faith to all people, to the end of time."... Read More »

A monthly journal published by the Guild of St. Ignatius, New York, and edited by Arthur Ritchie. Its slogan was 1 Sm 17:50, "So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone." It was "to speak out fearlessly on behalf of every good cause no matter which Bishop, Standing... Read More »

See Notes of the Church.

(Aug. 20, 1902-Aug. 31, 1987). Leading African American priest and national church executive. He was born in Baltimore. Caution received his B.A. in 1926 from Lincoln University, his M.A. in 1929 from the University of Pennsylvania, and his M.Div. in 1929 from the Philadelphia Divinity School. He... Read More »

A form that provides personal and professional information for deployment of Episcopal clergy and lay professionals. The profile is intended to present a concise summary of the skills and experience of each person registered in the deployment system. It is used to match individual skills and... Read More »

The bishop or priest who presides at the eucharist and at baptism, and at other sacramental and liturgical occasions such as the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, Ministration to the Sick, and Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child. The celebrant leads the community's... Read More »

Rite for holy matrimony in the Episcopal Church (BCP, p. 423). Marriage is a solemn public covenant between two persons in the presence of God. At least one of the couple must be a baptized Christian. Prior to the marriage, the couple sign a declaration of intention. It states that they hold... Read More »

The BOS provides a form for Celebration for a Home, which is also known as a house blessing. Members of the household and friends assemble in the living room of the home. The service includes a collect and one or more readings from scripture or other appropriate readings. A homily or brief address... Read More »

Form for the institution or induction of a priest as the rector of a parish. It may be used for the installation of deans and canons of cathedrals, or the induction of other diocesan or parochial ministries, including assistant ministers and vicars of missions (BCP, p. 558). It may also be used for... Read More »

Abstinence from marriage and from marital or sexual relations, especially for religious reasons. A person may vow to refrain from marriage and live as a celibate. Celibacy is not a requirement for ordination in the Episcopal Church. See Religious Order; see Vows.

See Celibacy.

1) The individual room or hut of a nun, monk, friar, or hermit. This room or dwelling is usually furnished in a very simple manner. The term is from the Latin cella, "little room" or "hut." 2) A religious house that is an offshoot from a large religious community. This cell or colony remains... Read More »

A small memorial chapel built in early Christian cemeteries. It was used to commemorate those buried in the cemetery and for ordinary worship.

Little is known of the original form of Celtic spirituality (in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, and Brittany), which may have been influenced by druidic religion. It was dominated by a strict ascetic monasticism. Only an ordained monk in a monastery could become a bishop. An eclectic liturgy... Read More »

To perfume with the smoke of aromatic incense. Censing may express honor, respect, blessing, and celebration in a liturgy. It may also express the lifting up of the prayers of the assembly, or the prayers of the saints. The thurifer or member of the clergy may dramatize the censing by swinging the... Read More »

See Thurible.

A method of quiet meditation in which a single symbolic word is used as a sign of one's willingness to wait on God and be available to God's presence. This word is used as a point of focus. The discipline involves setting aside twenty minutes or so for quiet prayer. This apophatic method has been... Read More »

On Nov. 13, 1956, the House of Bishops voted to divide the Missionary District of the Panama Canal Zone and create the Missionary District of Central America. It included the Republic of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Jurisdiction for Guatemala, El Salvador, and... Read More »

The General Convention of 1904 established the Missionary District of Mexico. The 1972 General Convention divided the Missionary District of Mexico into the Missionary District of Central and South Mexico, the Missionary District of Western Mexico, and the Missionary District of Northern Mexico.... Read More »

On Sept. 30, 1949, the House of Bishops divided the Missionary District of Southern Brazil into three missionary districts-Central Brazil, Southern Brazil, and Southwestern Brazil. On Oct. 20, 1964, the House of Bishops voted for an independent Brazilian church, and in 1965 the Episcopal Church of... Read More »

The General Convention of 1969 voted to divide the Diocese of South Florida into three dioceses, one of which was temporarily called the Diocese of South Florida. The primary convention met at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Orlando, on Dec. 3, 1969, and changed the name to the Diocese of Central... Read More »

The General Convention of 1970 approved the creation of the Diocese of South Alabama and Northwest Florida. It held its primary convention at Christ Church, Pensacola, Dec. 3-5, 1970, and changed the name to the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast. It consists of the following counties: Alabama:... Read More »

The General Convention of 1868 voted to divide the Diocese of Western New York and create the Diocese of Central New York. Its primary convention met at Trinity Church, Utica, and Grace Church, Utica, on Nov. 10-12, 1868. On Nov. 13, 1971, St. Paul's Church, Syracuse, was set apart as St. Paul... Read More »

1) The General Convention of 1904 voted to divide the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. The primary convention of the Diocese of Harrisburg met at St. James Church, Lancaster, on Nov. 29-30, 1904. On Jan. 27, 1932, St. Stephen's Church, Harrisburg, became St. Stephen's Cathedral. The name... Read More »

The 1901 General Convention established the Missionary District of the Philippines. In 1973 the Diocese of the Philippines was divided into three missionary districts. One of these was the Central Missionary District. In 1985 it became the Diocese of Central Philippines. In July 1988, the House of... Read More »

The physical actions, gestures, and postures of public worship. Ceremonial may be distinguished from ritual, which concerns the prescribed words that are used in worship. The BCP rubrics provide directions and options concerning some matters of ceremonial. For example, the people may stand or kneel... Read More »

This journal was published at Norwalk, Connecticut, from Mar. 1972 until Feb. 1981. It was founded and edited by Perry Laukhuff, who wrote that "At Minneapolis [the 1976 General Convention], the Episcopal Church unilaterally altered the sacred Apostolic ministry by purporting to allow the... Read More »

Any member of a congregation in the Episcopal Church is entitled to a certificate of membership to indicate whether the member is a communicant and to indicate whether the member has been confirmed or received by a bishop. The member is enrolled in the new congregation upon presentation of this... Read More »

(d. Mar. 2, 672). He was one of Aidan's students at Lindisfarne. Around 665 he was consecrated Bishop of Mercia, and in Sept. 669 he moved the see to Lichfield. Chad is one of the most popular saints in English history. He is remembered for his simplicity, piety, and devotion to duty. He is... 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.