An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


1) (Liturgical) Psalm verses that were sung or recited without antiphon or refrain before the gospel. Historically, the Tract took the place of the Alleluia during the penitential seasons of Pre-Lent and Lent and at Masses for the dead. The festal character of Easter was expressed when the Alleluia replaced the relatively plain Tract. The […]

Tractarian Movement

See Oxford Movement; see Tracts for the Times.

Tracts for the Times

Ninety publications issued by the leaders of the Oxford Movement in England. The first tract, Thoughts on the Ministerial Commission, Respectfully Addressed to the Clergy, was written by John Henry Newman and appeared on Sept. 9, 1833. Tract 90, Remarks on Certain Passages in the Thirty-Nine Articles, was issued on Jan. 25, 1841, and was […]


In Christian theology, tradition originally referred simply to that which had been handed down to the church from the prophets and the apostles concerning belief in God and God's redemptive work in Christ. Before the development of an authorized canon of Hebrew and Christian scriptures, the oral teaching of the Apostles and their successors formed […]


In a cruciform or cross-shaped church building, the parts of the building which are the two lateral arms of the cross. The transepts extend from the nave and chancel.

Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The

Feast that celebrates Jesus’ radical change of appearance while in the presence of Peter, James, and John, on a high mountain (Mt 17:1-8; Mk 9:2-8; Lk 9:28-36). The Gospel of Matthew records that “he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.” At this moment […]


The belief that the substance (essence) of Christ's body and blood replaces the substance of the eucharistic bread and wine, although the appearances (known as “accidents” or “species”) of the bread and wine continue outwardly unchanged. This eucharistic theology is based on the philosophical categories of Aristotle, elaborated at length by medieval Latin theologians, and […]

Trial Use

The process of Prayer Book revision has been ongoing since the sixteenth century. The first Episcopal Prayer Book began with a process of trial use. The 1786 Proposed Prayer Book was the basis for the 1789 BCP, which was the first official Prayer Book in the Episcopal Church. During the twentieth century in the Episcopal […]


Concerning the Council of Trent. This general council was called by Paul III to give a Catholic answer to the Reformation. It met intermittently from 1545 to 1563. In twenty-five sessions it dealt concurrently with doctrinal questions and church reform. Its doctrinal decrees explained scripture and tradition (1546), justification (1547), sacraments (1547, 1551, 1562, 1563), […]


A period of three days of preparation for a feast day. The term is most frequently used for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, the three days prior to Easter Sunday that are the concluding days of Holy Week, also known as the Easter Triduum. Other usage for the Easter Triduum reckons the days […]

Triennial, The

A national meeting of Episcopal Church Women which occurs at the time of General Convention, sometimes called the “Women's Triennial,” because it meets every three years. The 1871 General Convention discussed the role of women in the missionary and educational work of the church, and concluded that women needed a national organization. At the meeting […]


The Trinity is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (BCP, p. 852). The term is from the Latin tri, “three,” and unitas, “unity.” The term was devised by Tertullian to express the mystery of the unity-in-diversity of God. Trinity means “threefold unity.” The corresponding word in Greek is ho trias, which means “the Triad.” […]

Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts

The third Episcopal parish in Boston, it was founded on Oct. 17, 1733, by a group of fourteen men who met in a tavern. In 1829 a stone Gothic Revival building was erected on the original site of the church. Phillips Brooks, Trinity’s most famous pastor, became the rector in 1869. A new church was […]

Trinity Church, New Orleans

In Apr. 1835 the Rev. James Angell Fox established an Episcopal congregation in New Orleans with the name Trinity Church. It was the second Episcopal church in New Orleans. It was dissolved when Fox returned to Mississippi. On July 8, 1847, Trinity Church was incorporated, and on May 3, 1848, it was admitted into union […]

Trinity Church, New York

Sometimes called Trinity Church, Wall Street. In 1696 Governor Benjamin Fletcher of New York granted his approval for the Anglicans in Manhattan to purchase land for a new church. On Nov. 2, 1696, the vestry of the new Trinity Church called William Vesey to be the rector. King William III of England granted a charter […]

Trinity College of Quezon City, Philippines

Trinity College was founded in 1963 by the Philippine Episcopal Church and the Philippine Independent Church. It was named after Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, where Remsen Brinckerhoff Ogilby served as president, 1920-1943. His son, Lyman Cunningham Ogilby, was Bishop of the Philippines, 1957-1967.

Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut

Trinity College began as Washington College. The charter was granted on May 16, 1823. On Sept. 23, 1824, Washington College opened with nine students. The founder and first president, 1823-1831, was Bishop Thomas Church Brownell of Connecticut. In 1845 the name was changed to Trinity College. In 1968 the trustees voted to withdraw from the […]

Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry

In the early 1970s a group of Episcopal lay people and clergy sensed the need for a new seminary to emphasize biblical faith and train lay persons and clergy for parish ministry in light of faith. The Fellowship of Witness led the effort. On Apr. 15, 1975, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry was incorporated. The […]

Trinity Sunday

Feast that celebrates “the one and equal glory” of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, “in Trinity of Persons and in Unity of Being” (BCP, p. 380). It is celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost. Trinity Sunday is one of the seven principal feasts of the church year (BCP, p. 15). The proper readings and […]


An ancient hymn of the eastern church. “Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy upon us” (BCP, p. 356). The term is from the Greek, meaning “thrice holy.” It is mentioned in the acts of the Council of Chalcedon (451). This hymn was used at the opening of the eucharistic rite in […]

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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.