An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Advent Wreath

A circle of greenery, marked by four candles that represent the four Sundays of the season of Advent. An additional candle is lit as each new Sunday is celebrated in […]


The right to appoint a member of the clergy to a parish or other ecclesiastical benefice. The term also means the patronage of a church living. The right of advowson […]


(1109-Jan. 12, 1167). The son of a Saxon priest in Hexham, Northumberland, England, Aelred was a Cistercian monk at the abbey of Rievaulx who became the abbot there in 1147. […]

Affirmation of St. Louis, the

A statement adopted by the St. Louis Congress, called by the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen, Sept. 14-16, 1977. The Affirmation stated the basis for the structure of continuing Anglicanism in […]


A method of administering baptism by pouring water over the head of the candidate. Baptism may also be administered by immersion of the candidate.

African Mission School

Mission school for training African American Episcopal clergy and laypersons for work in Africa, especially Liberia. It opened on Oct. 6, 1828, in Hartford, Connecticut. It was founded by the […]

Afro-American Churchman

This periodical was established by George F. Bragg in 1886 at Petersburg, Virginia. It was published from 1886 until 1888. Beginning in 1889 it became a monthly and was published […]


Selfless Christian love. Agape reflects the love of God, and it is the kind of love that Christians are called to share with one another. The term is also used […]


(d. 304). A martyr for the faith, Agnes died at the age of twelve in Rome during the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian. She is said to have been tortured […]

Agnus Dei

Latin for “Lamb of God.” The fraction anthem “Lamb of God” is based on Jn 1:29, and may be used in the celebration of the eucharist at the breaking of […]


(d. Aug. 31, 651). A native of Ireland and a monk at Columba's monastery of Iona, Aidan is credited with restoring Christianity throughout northern England. Oswald, nephew of King Edwin, […]


Derived from the French for “wing,” an aisle, historically, was an extension of a side or “wing” of the nave. It was built to enlarge the seating capacity of the […]

Alabama Plan, The

A diocesan stewardship education project, it was born through a conversation between the Rev. William A. Yon, program director for Alabama and the Rt. Rev. Furman C. Stough, then Bishop […]

Alabama, Diocese of

A diocese of the Episcopal Church which consists of all of Alabama except those counties in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast. The primary convention was at Christ Church, […]

Alaska, Diocese of

The General Convention of 1892 formed the Missionary District of Alaska. Alaska was a missionary district until 1972. The primary Convention of the Diocese was held Apr. 21-25, 1972, at […]


A long white garment with narrow sleeves, which is the basic garment worn by ordained and lay ministers at the eucharist and at other church services. The alb (from Latin […]

Alban, St.

(d. c. 304). First Christian martyr of Britain. The little known about him is from the Venerable Bede. Bede's story places Alban's martyrdom during the persecution of Diocletius (c. 304), […]

Albright, Raymond Wolf

(July 16, 1901-July 15, 1965). Church historian and seminary professor. He was a direct descendant of Jacob Albright, founder of the Evangelical Church, now a part of the United Methodist […]


(d. May 19, 804). Religious advisor to the Emperor Charlemagne. He was born about 730 in York of a noble family related to Willibrord, the first missionary to the Netherlands. […]

Alexander, Cecil Frances

(Humphreys) (1818-Oct. 12, 1895). Composer of hymns. She was born at Ballykean House, Redcross, County Wicklow, Ireland, in 1818 (some older sources say 1823). In 1835 the family moved to […]

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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.