An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


The physical actions, gestures, and postures of public worship. Ceremonial may be distinguished from ritual, which concerns the prescribed words that are used in worship. The BCP rubrics provide directions and options concerning some matters of ceremonial. For example, the people may stand or kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer. The celebrant is directed to hold or lay a hand on the bread and the wine when those elements are mentioned in the institution narrative of the Great Thanksgiving. Similarly, the celebrant at baptism is directed to touch the water during the Thanksgiving over the Water. Ceremonial choices not directed by the rubrics are matters of tradition and custom. See Elements, Eucharistic; see Ritual.

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.