An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


A church that contains the diocesan bishop's seat, throne, or cathedra. The cathedral is the principal church of the diocese. As the symbol and center of diocesan ministry, the cathedral is an appropriate place for diocesan celebrations and episcopal services. The dean is the clergyperson with pastoral charge of the cathedral. The dean may be assisted by other clergy, known as canons. Some cathedrals also have honorary canons who do not share in the daily pastoral responsibilities of the cathedral parish. The cathedral chapter consists of members who serve as the vestry in all matters concerning the corporate property of the cathedral and the relations of the cathedral parish to its clergy. Not all Episcopal dioceses have cathedrals, and most cathedrals are parish churches used for diocesan purposes. The Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour in Faribault, Minnesota, was one of the earliest cathedrals in the Episcopal Church. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul in Washington, D.C., the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco are among the best known Episcopal cathedrals. See Cathedra.

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.