An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


(See Anne and Joachim.)


(Jn 19:26-27). John, his brother James, and Peter formed the inner circle in the apostolic group. With Peter and James, he witnessed the Transfiguration, the healing of Peter's mother-in-law, the raising of the daughter of Jairus, and the agony at Gethsemane. Jesus nicknamed the brothers John and James “sons of thunder.” John is traditionally regarded […]

John Nevin Sayre Award

This peacemaker's award was established by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) in 1979 to honor the Rev. John Nevin Sayre for his lifetime of service in the cause of peace. It is conferred every three years for “courageous witness in the cause of peace and justice” to a recipient chosen by the EPF Executive Committee. […]

John of Damascus

(c. 650-c. 749). Monk and theologian. There is little known of his life, and the available sources are in conflict. He was called John Damascene. John was the son of a Christian tax collector for the Islamic Caliph of Damascus. He succeeded his father as the chief representative of the Christians to the Caliph. In […]

John of the Cross

(1542-1591). Known as the Doctor of Mystical Theology, Juan de Yepes was born in Fontiveros, Spain. He joined the Carmelites in 1563 and took the name John of St. Matthias. John studied at the University of Salamanca, 1564-1568, and was ordained priest in 1567. In that same year he met Teresa of Avila and joined […]

John the Baptist

Prophetic forerunner of Jesus. John preached conversion and proclaimed a baptism of repentance. Jesus and many others were baptized by John. John is called "the Baptist" because he was willing to baptize people if they repented to God for their sins. He urged people to repent and be baptized in preparation for a renewal of […]

Johns, John

(July 10, 1796-Apr. 5, 1876). Bishop, college president, and evangelical leader. He was born in New Castle, Delaware. Johns graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1815, and then studied for two years at Princeton Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon on May 6, 1819, and priest on July 26, 1820. Johns was rector […]

Johnson, Samuel

(Oct. 14, 1696-Jan. 6, 1772). One of the Yale converts. He was born in Guildford, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale College in 1714 and worked as a teacher. He was ordained a Congregational minister in 1720 and undertook a pastorate in West Haven, Connecticut. However, in Sept. 1722 Johnson and a group of other Congregational […]

Johnson, Samuel Roosevelt

(Nov. 18, 1802-Aug. 13, 1873). Priest and seminary professor. He was born in Newton, Long Island, New York. Johnson graduated from Columbia College in 1820, and from the General Theological Seminary in 1823. He was ordained deacon on Jan. 6, 1824, and priest on Aug. 1, 1827. From 1824 until 1834 he was rector of […]

Johnson, Sherman Elbridge

(Mar. 7, 1908-Mar. 23, 1993). NT scholar and seminary dean. He was born in Hutchinson, Kansas. Johnson received his B.A. in 1933 from Northwestern University. He received his B.D. in 1933, and his S.T.M. in 1934, both from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon on Apr. 30, 1933, and priest on Nov. 1, 1933. […]

Johnston, Gideon

(c. 1671-Apr. 23, 1716). First Commissary to South Carolina. He was born in Tuam, Ireland. On Sept. 19, 1707, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel informed Johnston that the Bishop of London had appointed him Commissary to South Carolina. On Mar. 2, 1708, the ship bearing Johnston and his family arrived off the […]

Joint Commission

See Commission of the General Convention.

Jones, Bayard Hale

(July 23, 1887-Apr. 27, 1957). Liturgical scholar. He was born in Golden, Colorado. He studied at the University of California, Harvard, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, General Theological Seminary, and Oxford. Jones was ordained deacon on June 11, 1913, and priest on Mar. 25, 1914. He served parishes in California and Reno, Nevada. With […]

Jones, Paul

(Nov. 24, 1880-Sept. 4, 1941). Socialist and pacifist bishop. He was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. from Yale in 1902 and his B.D. from the Episcopal Theological School in 1906. He was ordained deacon on June 17, 1906, and priest on Dec. 16, 1906. From 1906 to 1914 he served St. John's […]

Joseph of Arimathea

After the death of Jesus, Joseph asked Pilate for the body of Jesus and buried it in a tomb newly hewn out of a rock (Mk 15:43-46). Joseph was a wealthy Jew, and a member of the Sanhedrin. He may have been a secret disciple of Jesus. The Gospel of Mark records that Joseph was […]

Joseph, Saint

(The husband of Mary. A pious Jew, a carpenter from Nazareth, and a descendant of King David, Joseph is also known as the “Guardian of Our Lord.” Joseph was faced with an awkward situation when he learned that his betrothed wife was pregnant, and he knew he was not the father. He made plans to […]


A periodic publication of the Episcopal Church's Rural and Small Community Ministries Office. It began publication in Dec. 1992.

Journal of Women’s Ministries

See Council for Women's Ministries (CWM).

Jubilate Deo

Invitatory psalm based on Ps 100. It begins, “Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands; serve the Lord with gladness and come before his presence with a song” (BCP, p. 82). See Invitatory Psalm.


The OT Year of Jubilee was the fiftieth year, the seventh sabbath year, in which debts were forgiven, Hebrew slaves were set free, and alienated lands were returned to their former owners. The name is from the Hebrew yobhel, “ram’s horn,” which was blown to proclaim the beginning of this special year. The Jubilee is […]

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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.