An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


Military standard of the imperial Roman legions from the time of Constantine I (c. 285-337). It featured the Christian monogram of the Greek letters Chi (X) and Rho (P), which begin the word “Christ.” Constantine was Roman emperor from 306 to 337. Prior to battle with an imperial rival at the Milvian Bridge near Rome […]

Ladd, William Palmer

(May 13, 1870-July 1, 1941). Church historian and seminary dean. Ladd was born in Lancaster, New Hampshire. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth in 1891 and his B.D. from the General Theological Seminary in 1897. He also studied at the University of Paris, Oxford University, and the University of Leipzig. Ladd was ordained deacon on […]

Lady Chapel

A side chapel dedicated to “Our Lady,” the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was often an addition that was constructed directly behind (east of) the high altar of the larger church building.

Laetare Sunday

The fourth Sunday of Lent in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. The term is derived from the opening words of the Latin Mass, “Rejoice (Laetare) Jerusalem” (Is 66:10). The church is called to joyful anticipation of the victory to be won. This joyful theme provides lightening from the penitential emphasis of Lent. Since the thirteenth […]


The people of God. The term is from the Greek laos, “the people.” The laity has been defined negatively to indicate Christians who have not been ordained. However, all baptized Christians are the people of God, the church, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (1 Pt 2:9-10). All baptized persons are members of the Body […]

Lambeth College, Kittanning, Pennsylvania

This school, first known as Kittanning Collegiate School, was granted a charter on Sept. 7, 1868. The nine trustees were Episcopalians and the Bishop of Pittsburgh was ex officio chancellor of the corporation. It was named after the first Lambeth Conference which met Sept. 24-28, 1867. The college never awarded any degrees and closed in […]

Lambeth Conference

The first Lambeth Conference met in 1867, marking the occasion when the various churches of the Anglican Communion began to be conscious of themselves as a single family of churches. The immediate cause of the first gathering was an effort on the part of several bishops to respond to the unsettling effects of the publication […]

Lambeth Palace

The London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury for seven centuries. It is located on the Thames Embankment opposite the Houses of Parliament, and it has been the location of many historic events. The followers of Wycliffe were imprisoned and tortured at the Lollard's Tower (erected 1320). The English archbishops consecrated William White and Samuel […]

Lambeth Quadrilateral

See Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral.

Lamp, The

First published on Feb. 2, 1903, by the Rev. Paul James Francis Wattson of the Society of the Atonement, it was the voice of the pro-Roman high church party of the Episcopal Church. When Wattson and 15 other members of the society joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1909, they took The Lamp with them.


In ecclesiastical usage, these are the pendant bands or flaps on a clerical vestment or headdress, especially a mitre.

Laramie, Missionary District of

The 1889 General Convention voted to divide the Diocese of Nebraska and create the Missionary District of The Platte. From Oct. 20, 1898, until Oct. 10, 1907, it was known as the Missionary District of Laramie. It included not only the western counties of Nebraska but also that portion of Wyoming lying east of the […]

Last Gospel, The

” The reading of a gospel passage, typically the prologue to the Gospel of John (1:1-18), at the end of the Latin Mass. The practice dates from medieval times. It originally was said as a private devotion by the priest on returning to the sacristy at the end of the service. It was later read […]

Last Rites

Sacramental ministry to a dying Christian, which may include confession and absolution, laying on of hands, anointing (extreme unction), and communion. The dying received communion as viaticum, or sustenance for a journey, in accordance with ancient custom. The BCP provides forms for the Reconciliation of a Penitent (pp. 447-452), an order for Ministration to the […]

Last Supper

The term “Last Supper” does not appear in the NT. It is used to refer to the supper which Jesus ate with his disciples on the evening before his crucifixion. It is described somewhat differently in the gospel accounts (see Mt 26:17-29; Mk 14:12-16; Lk 22:7-23), and in Paul's reference to it in 1 Cor […]

Latimer, Hugh

(1490-Oct. 16, 1555). Bishop and Reformation leader. He was born in Thurcaston, Leicestershire, England, and studied at Cambridge University. At first he was a bitter opponent of the Reformation. Consecrated Bishop of Worcester on Sept. 26, 1535, he quickly became one of the Reform leaders. Although he supported Henry VIII in the dissolution of the […]

Latitudinarian, Latitudinarianism

Spiritual descendants of sixteenth-century humanists like Erasmus and the ancestors of the nineteenth-century broad church party. The middle years of the seventeenth century in England were marked by religious civil war, with royalists (Episcopalians) pitted against Puritans who had left the national church. Those outside the national church included Presbyterians, independents, and sectarians. Oliver Cromwell […]


This technical term is for the worship which is rightfully given to God alone, as distinguished from the appropriate veneration of the saints (dulia) or of images such as icons or relics. See Dulia.

Laud, William

(Oct. 6, 1573-Jan. 10, 1645). Archbishop of Canterbury and the chief theological advisor of kings Charles I and Charles II of England. Laud was born in Reading, England. He studied at St. John's College, Oxford University. In his dissertation he stressed the divine right of episcopacy. He was ordained deacon and priest in 1601. In […]


The ancient service at daybreak in the monastic round of daily prayer. This morning service of praise always included Psalms 148-150, in which the Latin word “laudate” (praise) is frequently emphasized. The name of this morning office is derived from the Latin term. The services of matins, lauds, and prime formed the basis of Cranmer's […]

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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.