An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


(d. Jan. 20, 250). Early Pope and martyr. According to the early church historian Eusebius of Caesarea, the Roman-born Fabian was chosen to succeed Pope Anterus when a dove descended […]


1) Authority or license from an ecclesiastical superior to perform an action. 2) A branch of instruction at a college, school, or university. The traditional university faculties were theology, canon […]

Fair Linen

A long white cloth that covers the top of the altar. It typically hangs down some distance over the ends of the altar. The BCP directs that at the eucharist […]

Fairfield Academy

This school was opened in 1803 by the Rev. Caleb Alexander, a Presbyterian minister. In 1813 an Episcopalian, the Rev. Bethel Judd, became the Principal. Trinity Church, New York City, […]

Faith and Order

The Faith and Order Movement was an early attempt to reunite the divided Christian churches by means of dialogue and analysis of divisive issues of doctrine (faith) and polity (order). […]


Backless chair with arms or stool that can be used for sitting or as a prayer desk. The term is from the Latin, “folding stool.” It is portable, and it […]


A brief composition, usually for brass instruments or organ trumpet stops. A fanfare is often in a martial style used to proclaim important events, such as the moment a new […]


Fasting is abstaining wholly or partially from all or certain foods, for physical or spiritual health. The extent and rigor of abstinence depends largely on custom and circumstance. Ancient Jews […]


” Honorific title used by some male priests. Anglican usage of the title dates from the ritual revival of the Anglo-catholic movement of the nineteenth century. It was borrowed from […]

Fauxbourdon, or Faburden

From the French, meaning “false bass,” this fifteenth-century term is used to describe a style of composition in which the melody, usually a plainsong tune, is moved to a lower […]

Feast of the Tabernacles (Booths)

One of three great festivals of Israel requiring attendance of all males. Also called Ingathering (in Hebrew, Sukkoth), Tabernacles was an autumn feast observed at the time of the full […]

Feasts of the Church Year

The calendar of the church year includes two cycles of feasts and holy days. One cycle is based on the movable date of Easter Day, and the other is based […]

Felicitas, or St. Felicity

(193-211). They were put in prison. A number of Carthaginians were martyred in 202, including Felicitas. A contemporary account of the martyrdoms is in The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity. […]

Feria, or Ferial Day

An ordinary weekday in the liturgical calendar, a day that is neither a feast nor a fast. A ferial day is understood as an extension of the preceding Sunday. The […]


Small pieces of the consecrated bread from the episcopal Mass, called fermentum (leaven), were sent to parish churches and placed in the consecrated wine at the eucharist to signify the […]

Ferrar, Nicholas

(Feb. 22, 1592-Dec. 4, 1637). Deacon and founder of Little Gidding. He was born in London. Ferrar received his B.A. in 1610 and his M.A. in 1613, both from Clare […]

Ferris, Theodore Parker

(Dec. 23, 1908-Nov. 26, 1972). Seminary professor and ecumenist. He was born in Port Chester, New York. Ferris received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1929 and his B.D. from […]


Concerning a feast day or festivity. Something that is joyous and festive.

Festivals (Ecclesiastical)

See Feasts of the Church Year.


Latin for “and the Son.” The words were added to the Nicene Creed at the Council of Toledo in 589 and gradually grew in acceptance in the west. The filioque […]

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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.