An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


When burned or heated, usually over charcoal, certain woods and solidified resins give off a fragrant smoke. Both the materials and the smoke are called incense. Incense was widely used […]


The opening phrase or word of a text. The term is from the Latin, “it begins.” It may refer to the opening words of the text of a psalm or […]

Inclusive Language

Spoken and written language that intentionally avoids word use that is needlessly gender-specific or exclusive. Inclusive language also means the use of male and female imagery and metaphors in a […]


The member of the clergy, typically a priest, who holds and has pastoral responsibility for a parochial charge. The incumbent may be a rector, a vicar, or a priest-in-charge.

Independence Day

Commemoration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It is a legal holiday in the United States. The 1785 General Convention directed that a service […]

Independent Bishops

Independent bishops are those persons who hold the title bishop or archbishop in an irregular manner. Although they derive their authority through the traditional lineage of bishops reaching back through […]

Indianapolis, Diocese of

Jackson Kemper was consecrated the Missionary Bishop of Indiana and Missouri on Sept. 25, 1835. On Aug. 24-27, 1838, the Diocese of Indiana was organized at Christ Church, Madison, Indiana. […]


See Celebration of a New Ministry.

Inerrancy, Biblical

The belief that the Bible contains no errors, whether theological, moral, historical, or scientific. Sophisticated holders of this theory, however, stress that the biblical manuscripts as originally written in Hebrew, […]

Infallibility, Papal

The dogma of the Roman Catholic Church that the Pope is preserved from error in the teaching of revealed truth. This dogma was formulated in the decree Pastor Aeternus of […]

Infant Communion

Receiving communion was the climax of the baptismal rite for infants as well as adults until the thirteenth century in the west. Canon law asserted that infants should not die […]

Infusion of Grace

The grace of God may be understood to be “poured into” the human soul. Grace is said to come to us by infusion (from the Latin in and fundere, “to […]

Inglis, Charles

(1734-Feb. 24, 1816). Church of England clergyman and Loyalist. He was born in Ireland, probably at Glencolumbkille, County Donegal. Inglis came to the American colonies around 1755 and taught in […]

Inquirers’ Class

Class for newcomers or visitors who “inquire” about the Episcopal Church. Instruction typically includes information concerning the beliefs, history, worship, and practices of the Episcopal Church. Participants in the class […]


The initial letters of the inscription in Latin, “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum,” which means “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” When Jesus was crucified, Pilate had this inscription […]


See Celebration of a New Ministry.


See Celebration of a New Ministry.

Institution Narrative

Narration in a eucharistic prayer of Jesus' institution of the eucharist at the Last Supper, based on 1 Cor 11:23-26 (see Mt 26:26-29; Mk 14:22-25; Lk 22:14-20). The wording of […]

Institution of a Minister, Letter of

During feudal times in England, a Letter of Institution from the bishop was part of the legal process of induction of a priest to a parish. This letter authorized the […]

Institution, Office of

See Office of Institution.

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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.