An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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The fourth of the Ecumenical Councils, held in 451 at Chalcedon, a town near Constantinople. The council was held in the wake of the decision delivered by the so-called "Robber Synod" of Ephesus in 449 that upheld the "one-nature" Christology of Eutychianism. That synod adjourned without giving the... Read More »

The Council of Chalcedon was summoned in 451 to consider the christological question in light of the "one-nature" picture of Christ proposed by Eutyches which prevailed at the "Robber Synod" of Ephesus in 449. The Council of Chalcedon promulgated the Definition of the Union of the Divine and Human... Read More »

The cup for the wine that is consecrated and administered at the eucharist. The chalice normally has a footed base. It is appropriate for only one chalice to be on the altar during the Eucharistic Prayer, but additional chalices may be filled with consecrated wine as needed after the breaking of... Read More »

See Lay Eucharistic Minister (LEM).

A square of material that covers the chalice and paten until they are needed for preparation of the altar at the eucharist. It typically matches the eucharistic vestments and the liturgical color of the day. The chalice veil is placed on top of the pall, which rests on top of the chalice and paten... Read More »

Area of the church set apart for the altar, lectern, pulpit, credence table, and seats for officiating and assisting ministers. It may also include the choir. The chancel is typically raised somewhat above the level of the nave, where the congregation gathers. The chancel may be separated from the... Read More »

Low railing or lattice-work that separates the chancel from the nave in a traditionally designed church. The term "chancel," a liturgical space near the altar for clergy and choir, is from the Latin cancellus, "lattice." The chancel was separated from the nave in medieval churches by a rood screen... Read More »

In the Episcopal Church a chancellor is a legal adviser appointed by the Presiding Bishop or a diocesan bishop. A chancellor advises the bishop and diocese on matters of secular and ecclesiastical law. A chancellor is usually an attorney at law.

(Apr. 26, 1726-Apr. 20, 1790). An Anglican parson in New Jersey and a Loyalist at a time when adherence to the Church of England and the British Crown were increasingly attacked in the American Colonies. Chandler was a leading advocate of an American episcopacy. He memorialized the English... Read More »

The ringing of tower bells of different tones in a precise relationship to each other in order to produce a pleasing cascade of sound. The sequence of bells is varied from "row" to "row" of bells, but the rhythm does not vary. Bells "change" places with adjacent bells in the sequence of the row to... Read More »

Singing liturgical prose texts to the rhythm of speech. The term is from the Latin cantus, "song." Since ancient times, psalms and canticles, prayers, dialogue, scripture, and other liturgical texts have been sung to many types of melodic formulas. For Anglicans, the most familiar types of chant... Read More »

An endowment or foundation for the saying of masses and prayers for the founder. It is also the place where the endowed masses are said. This may be a chapel or a separate structure. Chantries were often educational centers. Priests appointed to chantries often conducted schools. Chantries were... Read More »

A building or structure for worship that is not a church. Chapels may be found in public institutions, such as schools and hospitals. Chapels may also be found on private property in residences or estates. A chapel may be a separate building, a room within a larger building, or an area set apart in... Read More »

A chapel located at a distance from its mother church where services are held for the convenience of parishioners who live near it. Clergy leadership is usually provided by the mother church. The chapel is not an independent parochial entity with records or finances of its own. The term is... Read More »

A person who serves a chapel, or exercises a nonparochial ministry. Chaplains serve in a variety of public institutions, including schools, hospitals, and prisons. Chaplains in special settings may or may not be members of the organization which they serve. Chaplains serve as military officers in... Read More »

See Chaplain.

See Rosary.

A regular assembly of members of an ecclesiastical organization with responsibility for the organization's governance. For example, the meeting of those with the responsibilities of a vestry for a cathedral church, or the assembly of members of a religious house in their corporate capacity. Read More »

Building used for official meetings of those with responsibility for the governance of a religious house or cathedral. Separate buildings for this purpose date from the ninth century. The voting members of the religious community or the cathedral canons constituted the chapter, with corporate legal... Read More »

The term transliterates the Greek word which literally means an impress or impression, as on a coin or a seal. It is used metaphorically in Heb 1:3 to refer to Christ as having the "exact imprint" of God's very being (hypostasis). Clement of Alexandria, developing the thought of Eph 1:13,... Read More »

The term is the plural form for the Greek charisma, "gift of grace." In a Christian context, it refers to divine gifts that enable the believer to fulfill his or her vocation. These gifts may be understood as outward signs of grace received through faith. Those who receive these gifts are to be "... Read More »

Concerning gifts of the Spirit. The term is derived from the Greek charisma, "gift." In 1 Cor 12, St. Paul describes a variety of gifts that are given to Christians as manifestations of the Spirit for the common good and the upbuilding of the faith community. The renewal movement in the Episcopal... Read More »

These terms describe the impact of Pentecostalism in the mainline churches such as the Episcopal Church. Pentecostalism refers to churches and movements that claim to re-experience the spiritual gifts associated with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Acts, especially the gift of... Read More »

Gifts bestowed on believers and their communities by the Holy Spirit, from the Greek charisma, related to charis, "grace." They are subordinate to love (1 Cor 12:4-31) and the edification of the community (1 Pt 4:10). The gift of prophecy was notable for early Christians, along with "many wonders... Read More »

This school was established by a group of Charleston citizens, including the Rev. Robert Smith, later the first Bishop of South Carolina. A charter was granted on Mar. 19, 1785, and classes began on July 3, 1785, in Smith's home. The college was officially opened in 1790, and Smith served as... Read More »

(Feb. 20, 1794-Jan. 18, 1870). First Bishop of New Hampshire. He was born in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, and graduated from Dartmouth in 1817. Chase was ordained deacon on Dec. 9, 1818, and priest on Sept. 27, 1820. His sole parochial charge was the rectorship of Immanuel Church, Bellows Falls,... Read More »

(Dec. 14, 1775-Sept. 20, 1852). Presiding Bishop, missionary, and founder of educational institutions. He was born in Cornish, New Hampshire, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1796. Chase was ordained deacon on June 10, 1798, and priest on Nov. 10, 1799. He began his ministry with missionary... Read More »

(Jan. 13, 1808-May 7, 1873). Episcopal lay anti-slavery leader and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He was born in Cornish, New Hampshire, and raised by his uncle, Bishop Philander Chase of Ohio. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1829. From the beginning of his career he was... Read More »

The term literally means "purity" and usually refers to sexual purity. In the development of Christian sexual ethics this has meant virginity for the unmarried, fidelity for the married, and continence for the widowed. Under the influence of Augustine, chastity was a matter of true love rather than... Read More »

The sleeveless outer vestment worn by the celebrant at the eucharist. The chasuble and cope are both derived from the outdoor cloak worn by all classes and both sexes in the Greco-Roman world. The chasuble may be oval or oblong, with an opening for the head. It typically reflects the liturgical... Read More »

(1680-Feb. 15, 1754). An avid defender of the Church of England in New England. He was born in Boston and educated at Oxford. In 1723 in Boston, he published a pamphlet entitled A Modest Proof of the Order and Government Settled by Christ and His Apostles, in the Church, which was a defense of... Read More »

(Feb. 12, 1836-Nov. 15, 1916). A founder of the Reformed Episcopal Church. He was born in Canandaigua, New York. Cheney graduated from Hobart College in 1837, and studied at the Virginia Theological Seminary, 1857-1859. He was ordained deacon on Nov. 21, 1858, and priest on Mar. 4, 1860. Cheney was... Read More »

The plural form of the Hebrew word cherub, which refers to mythological creatures in the Bible. They appear in various passages, such as Gn 3:24, guarding the tree of life; Ex 25:18-22, in connection with the ark of the covenant; and Ez 1:10, in the visions of Ezekiel. The cherubim are depicted... Read More »

(Mar. 27, 1850-Dec. 27, 1932). Bishop and church historian. He was born in Tarborough, North Carolina. After graduating from Trinity College, Hartford, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in North Carolina in 1872. In 1876 he began to read theology. On Apr. 21, 1878, he was ordained deacon,... Read More »

See Labarum.

The primary convention of the Diocese of Illinois met at the "Episcopal Hall of Worship" in Peoria, Mar. 9, 1835. The General Convention of 1877 voted to divide the Diocese of Illinois into three dioceses-Illinois, Quincy, and Springfield. The name was changed to the Diocese of Chicago on May 28,... 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.