An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Baptismal Covenant

The rite of Christian initiation contains a series of vows, made by all present, called the “baptismal covenant” (BCP, pp. 304-305). After the candidates have renounced evil and committed themselves to Christ, the presider asks the congregation to join them and “renew our own baptismal covenant.” Responding to a series of questions, the people affirm […]

Baptismal Creed, The

The Apostles' Creed, which is stated by the people in the baptismal covenant (BCP, p. 304). The affirmations of the Apostles' Creed are made by the people in response to the celebrant's first three questions in the baptismal covenant. These questions and responses correspond to the three sections of the Apostles' Creed (see BCP, p. […]

Baptismal Feasts

Baptism is especially appropriate at the Easter Vigil, the Day of Pentecost, All Saints' Day or the Sunday after All Saints' Day, and the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (the First Sunday after the Epiphany). These feasts of the church year may be referred to as baptismal feasts. The BCP recommends that, as […]

Baptismal Regeneration

The doctrine that at baptism the candidates are not only initiated into the Christian community but are also “born again.” That is, the Holy Spirit pours upon them the gift of new life. The doctrine is rooted in the NT. The Fourth Gospel states that “no one can enter the kingdom of God without being […]

Baptismal Vows, The Renewal of

See Renewal of Baptismal Vows.

Baptistry, or Baptistery

The liturgical space where the font is located for the celebration of baptism. The baptistry may be a portion of the church set aside for baptisms, a side chapel, or a separate building.

Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

The Rt. Rev. Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, Provisional Bishop of New York, and the Rev. John McVickar, superintendent of the Society for Promoting Religion and Learning, both urged the diocese to establish a church school to prepare young men for entrance to the General Theological Seminary, New York City. John Bard (1819-1899), president of the New […]

Barnabas the Apostle, Saint

( He was a Levite from Cyprus, and one of the leading members of the early church at Jerusalem. Originally named Joseph, the apostles gave him the Aramaic surname Barnabas, which means “son of consolation” or “son of encouragement.” He introduced St. Paul to the apostles after Paul's conversion, and he worked with Paul as […]

Barnes, Calvin Rankin

(Mar. 23, 1891-Mar. 26, 1976). Priest and national church leader. He was born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Barnes received his B.A. from the University of California in 1912, and his B.D. from the General Theological Seminary in 1915. He was ordained deacon on June 27, 1915, and priest on July 16, 1916. Barnes was vicar of […]

Baroque Architecture

A florid, highly ornamented style of architectural decoration. It appeared in Italy in the late Renaissance and became prevalent on the continent of Europe in the late eighteenth century. It flourished at the same time that the Georgian style was most popular in England and America.

Barrett, Kate Harwood Waller

(Jan. 24, 1858-Feb. 23, 1925). Pioneer in Progressive Era women's ministries. She was born in Falmouth, Virginia. She attended the Arlington Institute for Girls in Alexandria. On July 19, 1876, she married the Rev. Robert South Barrett, rector of the church at nearby Aquia, Virginia. The family moved to Henderson, Kentucky, where she helped her […]

Bartholomew the Apostle, Saint.

One of the twelve apostles. His name appears only in the listings of the Twelve in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts. Many believe he is the Nathanael mentioned in John. Tradition, based on the writings of Jerome and Eusebius, says that Bartholomew wrote a gospel, preached to the people of India, and died a martyr. […]

Basil the Great

(c. 330-Jan. 1, 379). Principal architect of monasticism in the east. He was born in Caesarea in Cappadocia. After his baptism in 357, Basil founded a monastery on a family estate in Pontus. His ascetical writings helped to promote monasticism in the east. The Rule of St. Basil, in two forms, shaped monasticism in Eastern […]


Church building designed according to the architectural style of a Roman basilica, which served as a law court and commercial exchange. Roman basilicas were used for Christian worship after Constantine gave the church freedom to exist. This architectural style included an outer courtyard or atrium, a narrow porch or narthex, and a semi-circular apse at […]

Bass, Edward

(Nov. 23, 1726-Sept. 10, 1803). First Bishop of Massachusetts. He was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard in 1744. After graduation, Bass remained at Harvard for theological studies, but moved from the Congregational Church to the Episcopal Church. He went to England and was ordained deacon on May 17, 1752, and priest on […]

Batterson, Hermon Griswold

(May 28, 1827-Mar. 9, 1903). Priest and prominent nineteenth-century Anglo-catholic. He was born at Marbledale, Litchfield County, Connecticut. Batterson was educated privately. He was ordained deacon on Nov. 17, 1861, and began his ministry at St. Mark's Church, San Antonio, Texas. From 1862 until 1866, he was rector of Grace Church, Wabasha, Minnesota. He was […]

Bayne, Stephen Fielding, Jr.

(May 11, 1908-Jan. 18, 1974). Bishop and first executive of the Anglican Communion. He was born in New York City. Bayne received his B.A. from Amherst College in 1929 and his S.T.B. from the General Theological Seminary in 1933. He was ordained deacon on May 22, 1932, and priest on June 11, 1933. Bayne served […]


See Book of Common Prayer, The (BCP)

Beach, Abraham

(Sept. 9, 1740-Sept. 14, 1828). Missionary and Loyalist. Born in Cheshire, Connecticut, Beach graduated from Yale in 1747, became an Episcopalian, and studied for the ministry under Samuel Johnson. He went to England and was ordained deacon on May 17, 1767, and priest on June 14, 1767. He served as a missionary for the Society […]

Beardsley, Eben Edwards

(Jan. 8, 1818-Dec. 21, 1891). Leading historian of the Episcopal Church. Born in Stepney, Connecticut, Beardsley graduated from Trinity College, Hartford, in 1832. He was ordained deacon on Aug. 11, 1835, and priest on Oct. 24, 1836. From 1835 until 1848, he was in charge of St. Peter's Church, Cheshire, Connecticut, and head of the […]

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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.