An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


See Book of Occasional Services, The (BOS).

Bosher, Robert Semple

(May 27, 1911-Dec. 29, 1976). Priest and church historian. He was born in Richmond, Virginia. Bosher received his B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1932, his S.T.B. from General Theological Seminary in 1936, and his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1949. He was ordained deacon on Apr. 14, 1936, and priest on Oct. 28, […]

Boucher, Jonathan

(Mar. 12, 1738-Apr. 27, 1804). Tory clergyman. He was born in Blencogo, parish of Bromfield, Cumberland County, England. He came to Virginia in 1759 to serve as tutor for two boys in Port Royal. Boucher felt called to ordained ministry while he was in Virginia, but he had to go to England for ordination because […]

Bowden, John

(Jan. 7, 1751-July 31, 1817). Priest and educator. He was born in Ireland. Bowden came to the American colonies at an early age. For two years he was a student at the College of New Jersey (Princeton). He graduated from King's College, New York, in 1772. Bowden was ordained deacon on Apr. 25, 1774, and […]

Bowie, Walter Russell

(Oct. 8, 1882-Apr. 23, 1969). Seminary professor and renowned preacher. Born in Richmond, Virginia, Bowie received his B.A. in 1904 and his M.A. in 1905, both from Harvard. He received his B.D. from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1908. He was ordained deacon on June 19, 1908, and priest on June 18, 1909. He was rector […]

Boyle, Sarah Patton

(May 9, 1906-Feb. 21, 1994). Outstanding Episcopal opponent to segregation in the era of the civil rights movement. She was born in Albemarle County, Virginia. In the late 1940s she became aware of the evils of segregation and racism. In the 1950s she worked to increase public awareness of segregation's harm to people of all […]

Bragg, George Freeman, Jr.

(Jan. 25, 1863-Mar. 12, 1940). African American civil rights leader, priest, editor, and author. He was born in Warrenton, North Carolina, and grew up in Petersburg, Virginia, where he studied at St. Stephen's Parish and Normal School. He entered the Theological School for Negroes in Petersburg in 1879, a branch of the Virginia Theological Seminary. […]

Bratton, Theodore DuBose

(Nov. 11, 1862-June 26, 1944). Bishop and educator. Bratton was born near Winnsboro, South Carolina, and his mother was the sister of William Porcher DuBose. He studied at the Sewanee Grammar School. Bratton received his B.A. in 1887 and his B.D. in 1889 from the University of the South. He was ordained deacon on Sept. […]

Bray, Thomas

(1656-Feb. 15, 1730). Commissary to Maryland and Founder of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. He was born in Marton, Shropshire, England. Bray graduated from All Souls College, Oxford, in 1678, and then was ordained deacon and priest. He served as a country curate, chaplain, and […]

Bray’s Associates

Thomas Bray (1656-1730) was deeply interested in the English colonies. While visiting Holland, he met Monsieur Abel Tassin, who was commonly known as Sieur d'Allone. D'Allone provided in his will that the income from a fund that represented a significant portion of his estate would be used by Doctor Bray and his associates for erecting […]


A metal bowl containing coals for burning incense. It is sometimes used in worship in place of the thurible, which is an incense bowl swinging from hand-held chains.

Brazil, Missionary District of

The mission to Brazil began on Aug. 31, 1889 when James Watson Morris (1859-1954) and Lucien Lee Kinsolving (1862-1929) sailed for Brazil as missionaries. On Oct. 20, 1898, the House of Bishops elected Kinsolving Bishop for the United States of Brazil. The General Convention of 1907 created the Missionary District of Brazil and elected Kinsolving […]


See Elements, Eucharistic.

Breaking of the Bread, The (The Fraction)

The breaking of the consecrated bread for distribution by the celebrant at the eucharist. The fraction also recalls Christ's body as broken for us and our salvation. The breaking of the bread follows the eucharistic prayer and the Lord's Prayer and is accompanied by a period of silence. A fraction anthem, or confractorium, may also […]

Breastplate of St

Patrick. An ancient Irish hymn, “I bind unto myself today,” which appears as Hymn 370 in The Hymnal 1982. It is a Celtic lorica, or breastplate prayer, which was recited while dressing or arming for physical or spiritual battle. The text invokes the Trinity, angels, apostles, patriarchs, prophets, the powers of heaven and earth, and […]

Breck, James Lloyd

(June 27, 1818-Mar. 30, 1876). Founder of Nashotah House and Seabury Divinity School. He was born in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and educated at Flushing Institute, Flushing, New York. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1838. He studied at the General Theological Seminary, 1838-1841, where he was influenced by the high church principles of […]

Brent, Charles Henry

(Apr. 9, 1862-Mar. 27, 1929). Bishop and ecumenist. He was born in Newcastle, Ontario. Brent graduated from Trinity College, University of Toronto, in 1884, and then spent two years studying for the ordained ministry. He was ordained deacon on Mar. 21, 1886, and priest on Mar. 6, 1887. Since no vacancy existed in the Diocese […]


A liturgical book used for recitation of the Divine Office (Canonical Hours). It includes psalms, lessons, hymns, prayers, antiphons, and readings from patristic sources and other Christian writers. The breviary provides in a single volume all materials needed for recitation of the Canonical Hours. The first breviaries began to appear as early as the eleventh […]

Bridges, Robert Seymour

(Oct. 23, 1844-Apr. 21, 1930). Poet and hymn composer. He was born in Walmer on the Island of Thanet, Kent. He was educated at Eton and Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and studied medicine at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London. He gave up the practice of medicine in 1882 and settled at Yattendon, Berkshire, to devote himself […]

Briggs, Charles Augustus

(Jan. 15, 1841-June 8, 1913). OT scholar and biblical critic. He was born in New York City, and studied at the University of Virginia, 1857-1860; Union Theological Seminary, New York, 1861-1863; and in Berlin, 1866-1869. After serving as pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Roselle, New Jersey, 1870-1874, he became the Professor of Hebrew and […]

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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.