An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour, Faribault, Minnesota

Pioneer cathedral. The cornerstone of a bishop's church was laid by Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple of Minnesota on July 16, 1862. It was the first structure built solely as a cathedral in the Episcopal Church. Whipple envisioned the cathedral as the center of all diocesan missionary, educational, and charitable work. The cathedral was consecrated in […]

Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York City

The largest gothic cathedral in the world. It was incorporated in 1873. Its foundation was laid on Dec. 27, 1892, the Feast of St. John. The east end and crossing were opened in 1911 and its entire length (601 feet) was opened in 1941. The sanctuary and choir are of Romanesque style. The great nave […]

Catherine of Siena, St.

(1347-Apr. 29, 1380). Mystic and spiritual writer. Caterina Benincasa was born in Siena, Italy. She joined the Third Order of the Dominicans when she was sixteen. She gave her life to serving the poor and converting sinners. In 1376 she went to Avignon, where the papacy was in “Babylonian Captivity,” and begged the Avignon Pope, […]


Derived from the Greek word meaning “general” or “universal,” the phrase “the catholic church” was first used by Ignatius of Antioch in the early second century. The BCP Catechism states (p. 854) that “The Church is catholic, because it proclaims the whole Faith to all people, to the end of time.” The catholicity of the […]

Catholic Champion

A monthly journal published by the Guild of St. Ignatius, New York, and edited by Arthur Ritchie. Its slogan was 1 Sm 17:50, “So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone.” It was “to speak out fearlessly on behalf of every good cause no matter which Bishop, Standing Committee or […]


See Notes of the Church.

Caution, Tollie LeRoy

(Aug. 20, 1902-Aug. 31, 1987). Leading African American priest and national church executive. He was born in Baltimore. Caution received his B.A. in 1926 from Lincoln University, his M.A. in 1929 from the University of Pennsylvania, and his M.Div. in 1929 from the Philadelphia Divinity School. He was ordained deacon on June 8, 1929, and […]

CDO Personal Profile

A form that provides personal and professional information for deployment of Episcopal clergy and lay professionals. The profile is intended to present a concise summary of the skills and experience of each person registered in the deployment system. It is used to match individual skills and talents with opportunities for ministry in the Episcopal Church. […]


The bishop or priest who presides at the eucharist and at baptism, and at other sacramental and liturgical occasions such as the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, Ministration to the Sick, and Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child. The celebrant leads the community's celebration of these liturgies and rites.

Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage

Rite for holy matrimony in the Episcopal Church (BCP, p. 423). Marriage is a solemn public covenant between two persons in the presence of God. At least one of the couple must be a baptized Christian. Prior to the marriage, the couple sign a declaration of intention. It states that they hold marriage to be […]

Celebration for a Home

The BOS provides a form for Celebration for a Home, which is also known as a house blessing. Members of the household and friends assemble in the living room of the home. The service includes a collect and one or more readings from scripture or other appropriate readings. A homily or brief address may follow. […]

Celebration of a New Ministry

Form for the institution or induction of a priest as the rector of a parish. It may be used for the installation of deans and canons of cathedrals, or the induction of other diocesan or parochial ministries, including assistant ministers and vicars of missions (BCP, p. 558). It may also be used for the institution […]


Abstinence from marriage and from marital or sexual relations, especially for religious reasons. A person may vow to refrain from marriage and live as a celibate. Celibacy is not a requirement for ordination in the Episcopal Church. See Religious Order; see Vows.


See Celibacy.


1) The individual room or hut of a nun, monk, friar, or hermit. This room or dwelling is usually furnished in a very simple manner. The term is from the Latin cella, “little room” or “hut.” 2) A religious house that is an offshoot from a large religious community. This cell or colony remains dependent […]


A small memorial chapel built in early Christian cemeteries. It was used to commemorate those buried in the cemetery and for ordinary worship.

Celtic Spirituality

Little is known of the original form of Celtic spirituality (in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, and Brittany), which may have been influenced by druidic religion. It was dominated by a strict ascetic monasticism. Only an ordained monk in a monastery could become a bishop. An eclectic liturgy mixed Roman and Gallic rituals and kept the […]


To perfume with the smoke of aromatic incense. Censing may express honor, respect, blessing, and celebration in a liturgy. It may also express the lifting up of the prayers of the assembly, or the prayers of the saints. The thurifer or member of the clergy may dramatize the censing by swinging the thurible (censer) that […]


See Thurible.

Centering Prayer

A method of quiet meditation in which a single symbolic word is used as a sign of one’s willingness to wait on God and be available to God’s presence. This word is used as a point of focus. The discipline involves setting aside twenty minutes or so for quiet prayer. This apophatic method has been […]

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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.