An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Renewal Movement

The enlivening and spiritual reawakening of the church through prayer and a variety of ministries and programs. These programs seek to revitalize the church by increasing Christian faith, devotion, and […]

Renewal of Baptismal Vows

When there are no candidates for baptism or Confirmation at the Easter Vigil, the celebrant leads the people in the Renewal of Baptismal Vows (BCP, pp. 292-294). The Renewal of […]

Renunciation (of orders)

A member of the clergy not under presentment for a canonical offense may renounce his or her orders and be removed from the active exercise of the ordained ministry. Removal […]

Repose, Altar of

See Altar of Repose.

Reproaches, The

The reproaches are a traditional anthem based on OT prophetic passages (see Mi 6:3-4) and the Trisagion. It is sung at the Good Friday liturgy during the veneration of the […]


A Mass or eucharist offered on behalf of the dead. It contains prayers appropriate to a funeral. If the Mass is immediately followed by burial it concludes with the prayer […]


Decorations behind or above the altar. The reredos is typically a wooden screen, hanging, or panel. It may consist of stone, wood, jeweled metalwork, or drapery. The reredos may contain […]

Reservation of the Sacrament

Following ancient custom, the BCP provides that the consecrated bread and wine may be reserved for the communion of the sick or others who for “weighty cause” could not be […]


A proposed action or decision that is to be considered by a legislative body such as the House of Bishops or the House of Deputies at General Convention, or at […]


A liturgical answer or statement that responds to a prayer, bidding, or reading. The response may be paired with and follow a versicle. For example, Suffrages A and B in […]

Responsive Recitation (Psalmody)

A method of psalmody in which the minister alternates verse by verse with the congregation. This method of recitation has been most frequently used in Episcopal churches (see BCP, p. […]

Responsorial Recitation (Psalmody)

A method of psalmody in which the verses are sung by a solo voice, and a refrain is sung by the choir and congregation after each verse or group of […]


A prayer with responses. For example, Suffrages A and B in Morning Prayer each contain a series of versicles and responses (BCP, pp. 55, 97-98).

Restoration (Ministry)

A member of the clergy who has been suspended, removed, or deposed may be restored to active exercise of the ordained ministry under certain conditions. The technical term used is […]

Restoration, The

The reinstatement in 1660 of the English monarchy under Charles II of the House of Stuart after the interregnum of the Commonwealth and Protectorate. On May 8, 1660, Charles II […]

Restoring of Things Profaned

A form in the BOS for restoring to sacred use a church building, an altar, or other consecrated objects that have been profaned. It may precede the first church service […]

Resurrection of Jesus

The belief that Jesus was raised bodily from the dead by God on the third day after Jesus' crucifixion and burial, exalting him to the near presence of God in […]


The term may refer to a raised shelf or ledge behind the altar. This shelf is also called a gradine. The altar cross, altar lights, and vases of flowers may […]


A period of time, in a “place apart” from daily life and work, which normally includes silence, reflection, and may include some form of still, meditative prayer which may be […]


1) Great respect, honor, or veneration. It may be associated with awe, devotion, and love. For example, the BCP notes the “Hebrew reverence and reticence with regard to the Name […]

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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.