From ancient times the gospel pericopes have been collected in a large book with an ornate cover, often illustrated and adorned with icons and jewels. This practice was recovered with the 1979 BCP, which suggests that the lessons and gospel "be read from a book or books of appropriate size and dignity" (BCP, p. 406). Following this advice, several publishers have produced gospel books for use in the Episcopal Church, and other books have been privately compiled. A deacon or server usually carries the gospel book in the entrance procession and places it on the altar until time for the gospel proclamation. Afterward, it may be returned to the altar or placed on a side table or a stand. The Second Council of Nicaea in 787 decreed that icons, crosses, and gospel books may be venerated as sacred images, just as the incarnate Christ is the image of the invisible God.
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.