An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Golden Number

An indication of the date of the full moon which follows the spring equinox (Mar. 21) in a nineteen-year cycle, used in finding the date of Easter Day. The Golden Number is printed before the Sunday Letter in the calendar of the BCP, pp. 21-22, for the dates from Mar. 22 through Apr. 18. The […]

Golden Rule

” Maxim based on Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, Mt 7:12 (NRSV), “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” (see also Lk 6:31.) It is frequently expressed, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Golden Sequence, The

” The sequence hymn for the Day of Pentecost, Veni Sancte Spiritus (Hymns 226-227), is sometimes called the Golden Sequence. The BCP rubrics direct that the Veni Sancte Spiritus or the Veni Creator Spiritus (Hymns 503-504) is to be sung before the prayer of consecration at the ordination of bishops, priests, and deacons (BCP, pp. […]

Good Friday

The Friday before Easter Day, on which the church commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. It is a day of fasting and special acts of discipline and self-denial. In the early church candidates for baptism, joined by others, fasted for a day or two before the Paschal feast. In the west the first of those days […]

Good News Bible (The Bible in Today’s English Version)

An English translation of the Bible, published by the American Bible Society. The NT translation was published in 1966, and the OT translation was published in 1976. This Bible translation is presented in contemporary style and language. The Good News Bible does not always seek to have an exact, word-by-word translation. A modern term may […]

Goodwin, William Archer Rutherfoord

(June 18, 1869-Sept. 7, 1939). Historian and priest. He was born in Richmond, Virginia. Goodwin received his B.A. and M.A. from Roanoke College in 1889. In 1890 he studied at Richmond College. He received his B.D. from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1893. Goodwin was ordained deacon on June 23, 1893, and priest on July 1, […]

Gordon, Patrick

(d. July 1702). One of the first missionaries to colonial America. Gordon was the first missionary sent by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) to the province of New York. He died in New York shortly after his arrival.

Gordon, Quinland Reeves

(June 6, 1925-Jan. 3, 1990). African American theological educator. He was born in Greenwich, Connecticut. He graduated from Wilberforce University in 1945 and from the Episcopal Theological School in 1947. He was ordained deacon on Mar. 31, 1949, and priest on Oct. 31, 1949. He was rector of the Church of the Atonement, Washington, D.C., […]

Gordon, William Jones, Jr.

(May 6, 1918-Jan. 4, 1994). Bishop of Alaska. He was born in Spray, North Carolina. Gordon received his B.A. in 1940 from the University of North Carolina and his B.D. from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1943. He was ordained deacon on Jan. 24, 1943, and priest on July 25, 1943. Gordon was deacon-in-charge of […]

Gore, Charles

(Jan. 22, 1853-Jan. 17, 1932). Theologian and bishop. He was a prolific writer, producing during his lifetime major studies in theology which had an influence far beyond the Church of England. He was also Bishop of Worcester, Birmingham, and Oxford. Gore first came to public attention when he edited Lux Mundi: A Series of Studies […]


The English word “gospel” (from Anglo-Saxon godspel) or “good news” translates the Greek euangelion. Originally in Christian usage it meant the good news of God's saving act in Jesus Christ, focused on the cross and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-11). The term was used in the opening verse of the Gospel of Mark. It signified that […]

Gospel Acclamation

Before and after a gospel reading, the people acclaim Christ present in the sacred word. The acclamations of the Episcopal Church are translations of the Latin Gloria tibi, Domine and Laus tibi, Christe. They are, in Rite 1, “Glory be to thee, O Lord” and “Praise be to thee, O Christ”; and in Rite 2, […]

Gospel Advocate, The

A monthly periodical published at Newburyport, Massachusetts, beginning with the issue of Jan. 1821. It was a continuation of the Churchman's Repository for the Eastern Diocese. In Jan. 1822, it moved to Boston. It was published until Dec. 1826, when its subscription list was turned over to the Episcopal Watchman.

Gospel Book

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). […]

Gospel Messenger

This weekly periodical began publication on Jan. 20, 1827, at Auburn, New York. In 1835 it was moved to Utica, New York. The last issue was published in Nov. 1872.

Gospel Messenger and Southern Episcopal Register

This periodical was published at Charleston, South Carolina. The initial issue was dated Jan. 1824, and it continued until 1853. It was for years the most influential publication of the Episcopal Church in the South. It was also called the Charleston Gospel Messenger and Protestant Episcopal Register.

Gospel Procession

In many places it is customary to have a gospel procession to the place of reading. A procession may include several persons-the reader, two candle bearers, a thurifer, and, if needed, someone to hold the gospel book. Incense may be used to honor the gospel book. The presider blesses the deacon or other gospeler. The […]

Gospel Side

” An archaic term referring to the left side of the altar, and that side of the church building, as viewed by the congregation from the nave. The gospel was read from this side of the altar in the low mass of the Roman Rite. The epistle was read from the opposite side of the […]

Gospeler (or Gospeller)

The term names a liturgical function, referring to a member of the clergy who reads the gospel. A deacon normally reads the gospel when present at the eucharist. See Deacon.

Gothic Architecture

The style of architecture prevalent in Europe from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries. The chief distinguishing feature is the pointed arch. A revival of gothic architecture began in England in the last half of the eighteenth century, but it did not achieve popularity until the nineteenth century. An early advocate of the gothic revival […]

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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.