An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Burr, Nelson Rollins

(June 6, 1904-Jan. 10, 1994). Prominent historian of the Episcopal Church. He was born in West Hartford, Connecticut. Burr received his B.A. in 1927 and his Ph.D. in 1937 from Princeton University. His first position was supervisor of the Church Records Survey for the northeastern United States in the Works Progress Administration. In 1942 Burr […]


A case of two squares of stiff material, hinged or bound together at one end, which contains the corporal and purificators for use at the celebration of the eucharist. The burse is covered in the liturgical color of the day, and placed on top of the veil which covers the chalice.

Butler, Joseph

(May 18, 1692-June 16, 1752). Bishop and opponent of deism. He was born in Wantage, England, to Presbyterian parents. In 1714 he left the Presbyterians, joined the Church of England, and entered Oriel College, Oxford. Butler was ordained priest in 1718. From 1719 until 1726, he was the preacher at Rolls Chapel, London. From 1726 […]


” These three letters stand for the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Byzantine Rite

Principal liturgical tradition of the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches. It originated in Constantinople, which was the city of Byzantium in ancient times. The heritage of the liturgy is Syrian and Palestinian, going back to the two great Syrian centers of Antioch and Jerusalem. The Byzantine Rite was adopted by the patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, […]

Cadle, Richard Fish

(Apr. 17, 1796-Nov. 9, 1857). One of the Episcopal Church's earliest and most active missionaries. Bishop Kemper called him “the real pioneer in the West.” Cadle was born in New York City and graduated from Columbia College with a B.A. degree in 1813. He was influenced by Bishop John Henry Hobart. Cadle was ordained deacon […]

Calendar of the Church Year, The

The calendar (BCP, pp. 15-33) orders the liturgical year of the Episcopal Church by identifying two cycles of feasts and holy days-one dependent upon the movable date of Easter Day and the other dependent upon the fixed date of Christmas, Dec. 25. Easter Day is the first Sunday after the full moon that falls on […]

California, Diocese of

The primary convention of the Diocese of California met at Trinity Church, San Francisco, June 24, 1850. The General Convention of 1853 elected William Ingraham Kip Missionary Bishop of California, and the diocese elected him Bishop on Feb. 5, 1857. Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, was established on Feb. 4, 1910, and consecrated on Nov. 20, […]


This national newsletter for lay professions is published by the National Network of Lay Professionals in the Episcopal Church. It began publication in Oct. 1986. Its purpose is to provide news, features, and commentary on issues relating to the work and ministry of lay professionals in the Episcopal Church. Gail C. Jones was the first […]

Calvin, John

(1509-1564). Reformer and theologian. He was the leading figure in the sixteenth-century movement of reform in Switzerland. Calvin was born in Noyon, in Picardy, France. He was sent to Paris at about age fourteen to study in the university. He was apparently headed for an ecclesiastical career and the study of theology. Calvin received a […]


See Calvin, John; see Protestantism.

Cameron, James Gibbon

(d. Nov. 22, 1928). Participant in founding of the Order of the Holy Cross. He was born in Oswego, New York. Cameron studied for the ordained ministry at St. Andrew's Divinity School, Syracuse, New York. He was ordained deacon on June 8, 1879, and priest on May 28, 1880. He served as the first missionary […]

Camm, John

(1718-1779). Commissary and president of the College of William and Mary. He was born in Yorkshire, England. Camm graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge University. He emigrated to Virginia. On Aug. 24, 1749, he became Professor of Divinity at the College of William and Mary. Camm served in this position from 1749 until 1757, and again […]

Campbell, Robert Erskine

(Aug. 13, 1884-Aug. 23, 1977). Bishop and superior of the Order of the Holy Cross. He was born in Florida, New York. Campbell received his B.A. from Columbia University in 1906 and graduated from the General Theological Seminary in 1909. He was ordained deacon on June 6, 1909, and priest on Dec. 7, 1909. Campbell […]


One who is to make a sacramental commitment. Those who are to be baptized and those who are to be confirmed, received, or reaffirmed are referred to as candidates in the BCP (pp. 301, 415). The term also indicates one who is in the final stage of the canonical process leading to ordination as a […]


See Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple, The.


Candles have extensive ceremonial use in the Christian liturgical tradition. Lighted candles may be seen to symbolize the light of Christ, or the light of the gospel, or simply to remind the congregation that the time and space for worship are sacred. Candles provide illumination that enhances the beauty of the church, and may provide […]

Caner, Henry

(1700-Feb. 11, 1793). He was a missionary for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) in Connecticut. He worked with missionary zeal in Fairfield, Connecticut, among Native Americans and Negroes and with women and men alienated from their congregations by the excesses of the Great Awakening. In 1747 he was elected rector of […]

Cannon, Harriett Starr

(May 7, 1823-Apr. 5, 1896). One of the first American nuns in the Anglican tradition. She was born in Charleston, South Carolina. When her parents died, she was raised by an aunt in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The order of the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion had been founded by Anne Ayres and William Augustus Muhlenberg at […]


The word is derived from the Greek kanon, a “measuring rod or rule.” It has several different meanings in the church. 1) [Scripture] The canon of scripture is the list of inspired books recognized by the church to constitute the Holy Scriptures. 2) [Church Law] Canons are the written rules that provide a code of […]

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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.