An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Religious House

A place of residence for a religious community or a branch house operated by or for a religious order. The term may be used as a synonym for a monastery […]

Religious Life

The life that is lived under the obligation of the traditional vows in a religious community. In a broad sense it may designate the life of any person that is […]

Religious Order

A society of Christians who voluntarily commit themselves for life or a term of years to living a celibate life in community, holding possessions in common with other community members, […]


A container for religious relics. It is used to protect and exhibit the relic. Reliquaries have often been made of precious metals or other costly materials or glass. Some reliquaries […]

Remigius of Reims

(c. 438-c. 533). “Apostle of the Franks.” He was born in Laon, France. At the age of twenty-two he was consecrated the Bishop of Reims. Remigius is remembered for converting […]

Remission of Sins

To remit is to refrain from enforcing a punishment. Remission of sins generally means forgiveness and absolution of sins. However, the suggestion of remitted punishment recalls a juridical understanding of […]

Renewal Movement

The enlivening and spiritual reawakening of the church through prayer and a variety of ministries and programs. These programs seek to revitalize the church by increasing Christian faith, devotion, and […]

Renewal of Baptismal Vows

When there are no candidates for baptism or Confirmation at the Easter Vigil, the celebrant leads the people in the Renewal of Baptismal Vows (BCP, pp. 292-294). The Renewal of […]

Renunciation (of orders)

A member of the clergy not under presentment for a canonical offense may renounce his or her orders and be removed from the active exercise of the ordained ministry. Removal […]

Repose, Altar of

See Altar of Repose.

Reproaches, The

The reproaches are a traditional anthem based on OT prophetic passages (see Mi 6:3-4) and the Trisagion. It is sung at the Good Friday liturgy during the veneration of the […]


A Mass or eucharist offered on behalf of the dead. It contains prayers appropriate to a funeral. If the Mass is immediately followed by burial it concludes with the prayer […]


Decorations behind or above the altar. The reredos is typically a wooden screen, hanging, or panel. It may consist of stone, wood, jeweled metalwork, or drapery. The reredos may contain […]

Reservation of the Sacrament

Following ancient custom, the BCP provides that the consecrated bread and wine may be reserved for the communion of the sick or others who for “weighty cause” could not be […]


A proposed action or decision that is to be considered by a legislative body such as the House of Bishops or the House of Deputies at General Convention, or at […]


A liturgical answer or statement that responds to a prayer, bidding, or reading. The response may be paired with and follow a versicle. For example, Suffrages A and B in […]

Responsive Recitation (Psalmody)

A method of psalmody in which the minister alternates verse by verse with the congregation. This method of recitation has been most frequently used in Episcopal churches (see BCP, p. […]

Responsorial Recitation (Psalmody)

A method of psalmody in which the verses are sung by a solo voice, and a refrain is sung by the choir and congregation after each verse or group of […]


A prayer with responses. For example, Suffrages A and B in Morning Prayer each contain a series of versicles and responses (BCP, pp. 55, 97-98).

Restoration (Ministry)

A member of the clergy who has been suspended, removed, or deposed may be restored to active exercise of the ordained ministry under certain conditions. The technical term used 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.