An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


Brief responsive prayers which are often based on verses of scripture, especially the Psalter. The BCP includes such versicles and responses after the Lord's Prayer in Morning Prayer (pp. 55, […]


A raised platform or footpace for the altar.

Preface (Eucharistic)

Introductory section of the eucharistic prayer, including the salutation, the Sursum Corda and ending with the Sanctus. Eastern eucharistic liturgies typically have prefaces with a fixed text that recalls salvation […]


In the Anglican tradition, the term indicates a bishop. The term “prelacy” has been used pejoratively to describe ecclesiastical governance by bishops. In Roman Catholicism, “prelate” has been applied to […]


An event or action that precedes another event or action. For example, An Order of Worship for the Evening may serve “as the introduction to Evening Prayer or some other […]

Preparation of the Table and Presentation of the Offerings

It is the function of the deacon to prepare the altar for the celebration of the eucharist, preparing and placing upon it the bread and cup of wine (BCP, p. […]

Presbyter, Presbyterate

From the Greek presbyteros, “elder” or “old man.” In the NT, “presbyter” indicates a leader of the church. The presbyterate refers to the collegial leadership of the presbyters of the […]

Prescott, Oliver Sherman

(Mar. 24, 1824-Nov. 17, 1903). Ritualist priest and monk. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and raised in Trinity Church, New Haven, where the rector was the Rev. Harry […]

Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple, The

A feast of our Lord celebrated on Feb. 2, also known as Candlemas and the Feast of the Purification. It commemorates the presentation of Jesus and the purification of Mary […]


This is a formal allegation of a canonical offense by an ordained person. The presentment alleges that a triable offense has been committed and that there are reasonable grounds to […]

President, Presider (liturgical)

The BCP uses the word “celebrant” to describe the priest or bishop who presides at the Holy Eucharist. The word “officiant” is used to describe the minister, lay or ordained, […]

Presiding Bishop

Chief Pastor and Primate of the Episcopal Church. The office evolved originally from a rule of the House of Bishops in 1789 making its presiding officer the senior member in […]

Presiding Bishop’s Diploma in Church Music Program

The original name of the Leadership Program for Musicians Serving Small Churches. See Leadership Program for Musicians Serving Small Churches.

Prevenient Grace

The aspect of God's grace that is understood to precede the free determination of the will. The term “prevenient” is derived from the Latin meaning “to come before” or “to […]

Price, Charles Philip

(Oct. 4, 1920-Oct. 13, 1999). Priest, theologian, and seminary professor. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Price received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1941, his M.Div. from the Virginia […]

Price, Roger

(Dec. 6, 1696-Dec. 8, 1762). Commissary to New England. He was born in Whitefield, England. Price graduated from Balliol College, Oxford on Feb. 21, 1717. He was ordained deacon and […]


Derived from the Greek presbyteros, “elder” or “old man”, the term is used as a synonym for presbyter. Presbyters constituted a collegiate ruling body of institutions in Judaism. The Catechism […]

Priesthood of All Believers

Fundamental doctrine which affirms that all baptized Christians share the eternal priesthood of Jesus. Christ's high priesthood is unique and his atoning sacrifice was offered once for all. The royal […]


In ecclesiastical terms, primacy is the status of being first, or presiding, among other bishops. In the early church, primacy was often accorded to the bishop of the chief city […]


The chief bishop in an Anglican Province is called a primate. In the United States, the Presiding Bishop serves as “Chief Pastor and Primate.” The 1978 Lambeth Conference requested that […]

218 records

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.