An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


The term literally means “purity” and usually refers to sexual purity. In the development of Christian sexual ethics this has meant virginity for the unmarried, fidelity for the married, and continence for the widowed. Under the influence of Augustine, chastity was a matter of true love rather than being understood narrowly as a matter of physical purity. Spiritual purity is therefore a matter of the full devotion of the self to the service of God.

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.