An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Senior Warden

See Wardens of a Parish.

Sentences (Opening)

Sentences of scripture that may be used at the beginning of Morning and Evening Prayer. These sentences may relate the office to the season, day, or time of worship. The […]

Sentences of Administration

Words said by the ministers of the eucharist at the distribution of the consecrated bread and wine during the communion of the people.

Septuagesima Sunday

See Pre-Lenten Season.


Name given to the Greek version of the OT. The word “Septuagint,” meaning seventy, comes from the early legend that seventy-two (rounded down to seventy) Jewish scholars translated the Pentateuch […]


A hymn sung after the second lesson and before the gospel acclamation at the eucharist. Many sequences were composed in the middle ages, but the Council of Trent (1545-1563) sought […]

Seraph (s), Seraphim (pl)

Supernatural creatures which have six wings and stand in attendance above the throne of the Lord, according to the vision of Isaiah (6:2-7). In this vision, a seraph said “Holy, […]

Sergius I

(d. 701). Pope from 687. He was Syrian and spoke Greek. Sergius brought several liturgical innovations to the Roman Church. He introduced the Agnus Dei (“O Lamb of God, that […]

Sergius of Radonezh

(1314-1392). Abbot, mystic, and a patron saint of Russia. Sergius is considered the most popular Russian saint. In 1334 Sergius and his brother went to the forests near Radonezh, north […]


Religious address in a worship service. The sermon is to “break open” the Word of God and proclaim the gospel in the context of the readings from scripture, the liturgical […]

Sermon on the Mount

A collection of the teachings of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (Chapters 5-7). It is the first of five special speeches in Matthew and takes place at the beginning […]

Sermon on the Plain

This is a less widely used term to refer to the portion of Luke's gospel which is parallel to Matthew's Sermon on the Mount. Lk 6:17 states that after Jesus […]

Service of Light

The Service of Light from An Order of Worship for the Evening may introduce a variety of liturgies. The Service of Light may serve as a festal introduction to Evening […]

Services for Trial Use (1970)

See Proposed Book of Common Prayer.

Seven Deadly Sins

These are traditionally pride, covetousness, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, and sloth. Since sin is faithlessness-the opposite of faith-it may be said that all sin is deadly rebellion against God. But […]

Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The gifts are 1 ) wisdom, 2) understanding, 3) counsel, 4) fortitude, 5) knowledge, 6) piety, and 7) fear of the Lord. This list is based on Is 11:2. The […]

Sewanee Theological Review

This periodical began publication on St. Luke's Day, Oct. 18, 1957, as the St. Luke's Journal of Theology. It was founded by the Very Rev. George M. Alexander, dean of […]

Sexual Ethics

A field of study focusing on the nature, practices, and purposes of human sexuality. Since Augustine human sexuality has been understood primarily in light of marriage and family by Christian […]

Shanghai, Missionary District of

William Jones Boone was consecrated the first Missionary Bishop of China on Oct. 26, 1844. The 1874 General Convention changed the title from China to the “Missionary Bishop of Shanghai, […]


Mary's School, Faribault, Minnesota. Shattuck-St. Mary's School is a coeducational Episcopal boarding school for grades six through twelve. It was founded in 1858 by the Rev. James Lloyd Breck, who […]

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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.