An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Clarkson College, Omaha, Nebraska

The Bishop Clarkson School of Nursing was founded in 1888 in memory of Bishop Robert Harper Clarkson (1826-1884), the first Bishop of Nebraska. In 1981 it became the Bishop Clarkson […]

Clebsch, William Anthony

(July 27, 1923-June 12, 1984). Church historian. He was born in Clarksville, Tennessee. Clebsch received his B.A. from the University of Tennessee in 1946 and his B.D. in the same […]

Clement of Alexandria

(c. 150-215). Early church theologian. Titus Flavius Clemens was probably born in Athens. In 190 he succeeded his teacher, Pantaenus, as the head of the Catechetical School in Alexandria. In […]

Clement of Rome

(d. c. 101). Usually considered the fourth Bishop of Rome, after Peter, Linus, and Anacletus, he is noted for his “The Letter of the Church of Rome to the Church […]

Clerestory, or clearstory

The upper part of a church building with windows for interior lighting. It rises above and “clears” the rest of the building.

Clergy, Members of the

Persons in holy orders, ordained for the ministry of bishop, priest, or deacon. The Episcopal Church canons concerning ordination for these ministries are equally applicable to men and women.


Of or concerning the clergy. For example, a clerical collar is a collar worn by a member of the clergy.


A pejorative term that indicates a condescending attitude by one or more members of the clergy, an exaggerated deference to the clergy, or an inappropriate concentration of power in the […]


Distinctive clothes worn by clergy that make the wearer identifiable as a member of the clergy. For example, a black shirt with a white clerical collar identifies the wearer as […]


A meeting of clergy. It is often a meeting of clergy in a locality or deanery.

Clerk (Vestry)

The clerk or secretary of the parish vestry records minutes of the vestry meetings. These minutes are approved by the vestry and kept in the permanent records of the parish. […]

Clothing Day

” Christians who feel called to the religious life under vows normally pass through a period of testing known as the novitiate. In traditional orders where habits are worn by […]

Cobbs, Nicholas Hamner

(Feb. 5, 1796-Jan. 11, 1861). Bishop and evangelist. He was born in Bedford County, Virginia. He was raised a Presbyterian and educated privately. He was subsequently confirmed an Episcopalian and […]

Coffin, Margaret

(Apr. 16, 1769-Nov. 21, 1855). First person confirmed in Massachusetts. She was born in Boston and confirmed in 1786 at Christ Church, better known as Old North Church by Bishop […]

Coit, Henry Augustus

(Jan. 20, 1830-Feb. 5, 1895). First rector of St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire. He was born in Wilmington, Delaware. At the age of fifteen he entered St. Paul's College, […]

Coit, Thomas Winthrop

(June 28, 1803-June 21, 1885). Biblical scholar, liturgics scholar, student of church history, and educator. He was born in New London, Connecticut. Coit graduated from Yale College in 1821. He […]

Cole, Azel Dow

(Dec. 1, 1818-Oct. 15, 1885). Second dean of Nashotah House. He was born in Sterling, Connecticut. Cole received his B.A. from Brown University in 1838, and graduated from the General […]

Coleman, Leighton

(May 3, 1837-Dec. 14, 1907). Bishop and church historian. He was born in Philadelphia. Coleman was ordained deacon on July 1, 1860. He graduated from the General Theological Seminary in […]

College of Philadelphia

In 1740 a charity school was founded in Philadelphia by George Whitefield. Trustees for an academy were named on Nov. 13, 1749. In Dec., 1749, the trustees of the academy […]

College of Preachers

In the summer of 1925, retired Bishop Philip Mercer Rhinelander (1869-1939) of Pennsylvania convened a “School of the Prophets” at the Washington Cathedral. In 1927 Alexander Smith Cochran made a […]

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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.