An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


A person who serves a chapel, or exercises a nonparochial ministry. Chaplains serve in a variety of public institutions, including schools, hospitals, and prisons. Chaplains in special settings may or may not be members of the organization which they serve. Chaplains serve as military officers in the Armed Forces of the United States. Chaplains may serve a variety of other public institutions and organizations, ranging from police departments to legislatures. Chaplains may have special responsibilities, such as examining chaplains who examine candidates for ordained ministry. In some settings, such as military chaplaincies, chaplains must be priests or bishops. In other settings, such as many hospitals, chaplains may be lay or ordained persons. Historically, chaplains were appointed to serve monarchs, bishops, and the nobility. Some modern bishops, especially primates, have chaplains. Some bishops use a “bishop's chaplain” to assist with ceremonial at episcopal services.

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.