An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Thanksgiving (Prayer)

The Catechism identifies thanksgiving as one of the seven principal kinds of prayer (BCP, p. 856). We offer thanksgiving to God “for all the blessings of this life, for our […]

Thanksgiving Day

A national holiday and day of thanks. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in Nov. This custom is based on the celebration of three […]

Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child

The BCP (p. 439) states that after the birth or adoption of a child, the parents and other family members should come to the church to be welcomed by the […]

Thanksgiving, Great

Prayer of consecration said over bread and wine at the eucharist. The BCP uses the title “The Great Thanksgiving” as a major subheading in bold typeface for both eucharistic rites […]


A defense of the existence of God despite the presence of evil and suffering in the world. The term was coined by Gottfried W. Leibniz (1646-1716). It is drawn from […]

Theodore of Tarsus

(602-Sept. 19, 690). Scholar and reformer. He was born in Tarsus, Cilicia, in Asia Minor. Theodore was a lay monk when he was chosen by Pope Vitalian to become Archbishop […]


A person who is knowledgeable concerning theology. Theologians may be members of the clergy or lay people. For example, William Stringfellow (1928-1985) was one of the best known Episcopal theologians […]

Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Diocese of South Carolina

The 1858 Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina authorized a diocesan seminary and elected a board of trustees. It was located in Camden where Bishop Thomas Davis resided. It […]

Theological Virtues

A virtue is the perfection of a human power or capacity. As distinct from the cardinal virtues which we can develop, the theological virtues are the perfection of human powers […]


The term is derived from two Greek words meaning, respectively, “God” and “the study of” or “the knowledge of.” It was used prior to the Christian era in Greek philosophy […]


The term is from two Greek words meaning “God” and “appearance.” A theophany is a manifestation of God, usually with both visual and audible elements. For example, God appears to […]


A term used in the tradition of Orthodox theology to refer to the participation of the human person in the life of God. It is also known as deification or […]

Third Order

An association of those who live in the secular world while affiliated with a religious order. Although the members of the third order do not live in a religious community, […]

Third Services

See Mission Services (Third Services).

Thirty-Nine Articles, or Articles of Religion

The Thirty-Nine Articles were the result of a long process in which the Church of England attempted to provide a theological foundation for its existence during the doctrinal conflicts of […]

Thomas à Kempis

(c. 1380-1471). Monastic, priest, and spiritual writer. He was born in Kempen near Koln, Germany. Kempis was educated in the school at Deventer, the Netherlands. It was run by the […]

Thomas the Apostle, Saint

Also called Didymus, the twin, Thomas is identified as an apostle in all the lists of the apostles (Mt 10:3, Mk 3:18, Lk 6:15, Acts 1:13), and he has an […]


The theological system of St. Thomas Aquinas (1224/25-1275), embodied in his Summa Theologica. Adapting Aristotle's philosophy to Christian revelation, Thomas defined God as Primary Being, in whom alone essence and […]

Thompson, Hugh Miller

(June 5, 1830-Nov. 18, 1902). Bishop and theologian. He was born in Londonderry, Ireland. Thompson came to the United States when he was six years old and later studied at […]

Thomson, Elizabeth Mars Johnson

(Nov. 1807-Apr. 26, 1864). One of the first Episcopal foreign missionaries. She was born in Connecticut to former slave parents. She was a member of the Charitable Society in 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.