An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


T.B. (The Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree presupposes a first bachelor's degree and was designed to prepare persons for ministry in the church. It is no longer used.


T.D. (The Doctor of Sacred Theology degree presupposes a first theological degree and is to equip persons for teaching and research in theological seminaries, colleges, and universities.


T.M. (The Master of Sacred Theology degree presupposes the M. Div. degree and is an academic program stressing fuller mastery of resources in one of the theological disciplines.


A person who observes Saturday as the Sabbath, as in Judaism, some Puritan groups, and some sect groups in Christianity such as Seventh Day Adventists. It also means a person who believes in a strict observance of the Sabbath, whether observed on Saturday or Sunday, including the OT prohibitions against work on the Sabbath. See […]


The seventh day of the Jewish week, our Saturday. It was marked by a total prohibition of work (Ex 23:12). In Christian liturgical usage, Holy Saturday is called the Great or Holy Sabbath, the day when Christ rested in the tomb. Early Christians rejected the celebration of the Jewish Sabbath and the restrictions on activity […]


This term comes from the word “sabbath,” and means seven or seventh. It means a period of rest and an intermission in labor. A sabbatical year is the seventh year. It is a time when persons are relieved from their duties for study and travel. It is now used for a period of leave that […]


Trinitarian theology of Sabellius, a teacher in Rome before his condemnation by Pope Callistus (217-222). Sabellius believed that the Creator (Father) is not personally distinguished from the Redeemer (Son) or the Sanctifier (Spirit), but rather exists and acts according to three modes of being and action. Already repudiated by the Church Fathers, this theology was […]

Sacerdotal, Sacerdotalism

From the Latin sacerdos, “priest.” It means of or pertaining to the order of priests or the role, identity, or function of priests. A ministry reserved to the ordained priesthood is a sacerdotal ministry. Sacerdotal ministries include celebrating the eucharist and granting absolution in the Reconciliation of a Penitent.

Sacramental Rites

The sacramental rites of the Episcopal Church include Confirmation, Ordination, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation of a Penitent, and Unction (BCP, pp. 860-861). These rites are distinguished from the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, which were given by Christ and are understood to be necessary for the Christian life of all persons. The Roman Catholic Church recognizes […]


This term is commonly applied to priests ordained according to the provisions of the canons which allow “communities which are small, isolated, remote, or distinct in respect of ethnic composition, language, or culture” to identify someone from their own community for ordination. Preparation for ordained ministry under this provision does not assume a seminary education […]


The Prayer Book Catechism notes that the sacramental rites of Confirmation, Ordination, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation of a Penitent, and Unction evolved in the church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (BCP, pp. 860-861). These other sacramental rites, or sacramentals, are distinguished from Baptism and the Eucharist, the two great sacraments of the gospel. Baptism […]


A liturgical book containing prayers used by the celebrant at the eucharist throughout the year, along with other liturgical prayers. The celebrant's prayer at the eucharist was mainly extemporaneous during the first three centuries of the Christian church. By the third and fourth centuries, the celebrant's prayer was in written form. These prayers appeared in […]

Sacramento, Diocese of

The 1898 General Convention voted that the bounds of the Missionary District of Northern California be changed to include the original counties in California plus all that portion of Nevada west of the west lines of the counties of Elko, White, Pine, Eureka, Lincoln, Lander, and Nye. It was called the Missionary District of Sacramento. […]


Outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means for receiving God’s grace. Baptism and Eucharist are the two great sacraments given by Christ to his church. (BCP, pp. 857-858). The Episcopal Church recognizes that five other sacramental rites evolved in the church under the guidance of […]

Sacrifice (Eucharistic)

See Eucharistic Sacrifice.


A person who works in the sacristy, the room for storing and working with the various items needed for the liturgies and worship of the church. Such items may include the vessels, vestments, books, bread and wine, and candles. Individual members of a parish's altar guild might be called sacristans.


The room adjoining a church where vestments, altar hangings and linens, sacred vessels, and liturgical books are kept until needed for use in worship. Clergy typically vest in the sacristy.


A holy person, a faithful Christian, one who shares life in Christ. The term may also indicate one who has been formally canonized or recognized as a saint by church authority. In the NT, the term is applied to all faithful Christians (see Acts 9:32, 26:10). Paul addresses the saints or those called to be […]

Salina, Missionary District of

This jurisdiction existed from Oct. 17, 1901, until Nov. 14, 1960. See Western Kansas, Diocese of.

Salomon, Richard Georg

(Apr. 20, 1884-Feb. 3, 1966). Church historian. He was born in Berlin, Germany. Salomon received his doctoral degree in history from the University of Berlin in 1907, and then served as research assistant for the Monumenta Germaniae Historica. From 1919 until 1934, he was professor of history at the University of Hamburg, but he was […]

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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.