An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


The renunciation of the use of violent force that would take the life of another person. The early Christian community was of two minds whether a Christian could be a soldier. On the one hand, Jesus' positive appraisal of the faith of the centurion (Lk 7:9) and the acceptance of civil authority, specifically the military, […]

Packard, Joseph

(Dec. 23, 1812-May 3, 1902). Biblical scholar, seminary professor, and dean. He was born in Wiscasset, Maine. Packard graduated from Bowdoin College in 1831. He taught for several years and was head of Brattleboro Academy in Vermont. In 1833 he entered Andover Theological Seminary, and there decided to join the Episcopal Church. In 1834 Packard […]

Page, Ann Randolph Meade

(Dec. 3, 1781-Mar. 28, 1838). Anti-slavery advocate. She was born at “Chatham,” Stafford County, Virginia, and was the sister of Bishop William Meade of Virginia. On Mar. 23, 1799, she married Matthew Page, a wealthy planter. He built a stately manor and named it “Annfield” in her honor. Matthew Page had about 200 slaves on […]


Prayers and sacrifices made on behalf of the participants at Cursillo, so that the entire weekend is permeated by prayer. The term is from the Spanish for “lever” or “leverage.” Gifts are sent to the participants as visible expressions of the prayers and support that are offered. The hope is that the candidates will be […]


1) A square, stiffened white linen cloth that is used to cover the chalice at the eucharist. There may be a design on the side of the pall that does not touch the chalice. 2) A cloth used to cover the coffin at the Burial of the Dead. The BCP states that the coffin is […]

Palm Sunday (The Sunday of the Passion)

The Sunday before Easter at which Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21:1-11, Mk 11:1-11a, Lk 19:29-40) and Jesus’ Passion on the cross (Mt 26:36-27:66, Mk 14:32-15:47, Lk 22:39-23:56) are recalled. It is also known as the Sunday of the Passion. Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week. Red is the liturgical color […]


This journal was published from Lent 1950 until 1970. It was published irregularly in fifteen volumes over twenty years. The normal rate of publication was two issues per year. The subtitle was “A Review of the World-Wide Episcopal Church.” The editor was the Rt. Rev. Walter H. Gray, Bishop of Connecticut, 1951-1969.

Panagia or panaghia or panhagia

A Greek term meaning “all holy one.” It is a title of the Virgin Mary in the eastern church. The term also refers to a small folding case with an image of the Virgin Mary that is worn by prelates in the eastern church. This case is worn on the breast suspended by a chain. […]

Panama, Diocese of

The House of Bishops placed the Canal Zone under the jurisdiction of the Presiding Bishop on Oct. 17, 1904. The 1919 General Convention established the Missionary District of the Panama Canal Zone and elected James Craik Morris (1867-1944) the missionary bishop. This missionary district included the Canal Zone, and the Republics of Panama, Colombia, Costa […]

Pange Lingua

Title for two well known Latin chant hymns, Venantius Fortunatus's passiontide hymn, “Sing my tongue the glorious battle” (Hymns 165, 166), and the Corpus Christi (now eucharistic) hymn, “Now, my tongue, the mystery telling” (Hymns 329-331), attributed to Thomas Aquinas. Fortunatus's hymn was written in the sixth century. It is considered to be the most […]


Belief that God is all creation and that all creation is God. From the Greek pan, “all,” and theos, “god.” Pantheism is inconsistent with orthodox Christianity because it ignores God's transcendence and God's distinctness from creation. This extreme identification of creator with creation emphasizes the universal immanence of God. In some forms of pantheism, God […]

Papal Infallibility

See Infallibility, Papal.


The term is from the Greek for “something placed by the side of something else.” NT parables are sayings of Jesus in which he uses metaphors or similes, brief or extended, to challenge people to a decision about his message. The parables of Jesus are “word events” in which the Kingdom of God breaks through […]


The study of what happens between death and the ultimate state of a person.


Cloth or tapestry hangings used to adorn the space for worship, especially those hangings at the altar, pulpit, and lectern. The term is derived from the Latin, “to decorate” or “prepare.”


The term is used in the 1979 BCP and earlier editions, and means a self-supporting congregation under a rector, as opposed to a mission or other congregation under a vicar. Some state laws provide for the incorporation of Episcopal parishes, and the election of rectors, wardens, and vestry members. Many diocesan canons distinguish between a […]

Parish House

A church building or house that may provide space for the parish office, clergy and staff offices, classrooms, choir rehearsal room, and meeting rooms. It may also include a chapel, a nursery, a kitchen, a library, or storage space. The parish house is typically a separate building from the church that is near the church.

Parish Meeting

A meeting of the members of a parish. The by-laws of the parish generally require an annual parish meeting and state the qualifications to be a voting member of the parish. Diocesan canons may state requirements concerning parish meetings. The annual parish meeting typically elects vestry members, and it may elect vestry officers. Delegates to […]

Parish Nurse

A registered nurse (RN) who provides health care in a pastoral setting. The program was founded in 1983 by the Rev. Granger Westberg, a Lutheran pastor and chaplain at Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Illinois. It has now spread to many denominations, including the Episcopal Church. Parish nurses seek to provide care and promote wellness […]

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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.