An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


The term literally means “purity” and usually refers to sexual purity. In the development of Christian sexual ethics this has meant virginity for the unmarried, fidelity for the married, and continence for the widowed. Under the influence of Augustine, chastity was a matter of true love rather than being understood narrowly as a matter of […]


The sleeveless outer vestment worn by the celebrant at the eucharist. The chasuble and cope are both derived from the outdoor cloak worn by all classes and both sexes in the Greco-Roman world. The chasuble may be oval or oblong, with an opening for the head. It typically reflects the liturgical color of the day. […]

Checkley, John

(1680-Feb. 15, 1754). An avid defender of the Church of England in New England. He was born in Boston and educated at Oxford. In 1723 in Boston, he published a pamphlet entitled A Modest Proof of the Order and Government Settled by Christ and His Apostles, in the Church, which was a defense of episcopacy. […]

Cheney, Charles Edward

(Feb. 12, 1836-Nov. 15, 1916). A founder of the Reformed Episcopal Church. He was born in Canandaigua, New York. Cheney graduated from Hobart College in 1837, and studied at the Virginia Theological Seminary, 1857-1859. He was ordained deacon on Nov. 21, 1858, and priest on Mar. 4, 1860. Cheney was assistant rector of St. Luke's […]


The plural form of the Hebrew word cherub, which refers to mythological creatures in the Bible. They appear in various passages, such as Gn 3:24, guarding the tree of life; Ex 25:18-22, in connection with the ark of the covenant; and Ez 1:10, in the visions of Ezekiel. The cherubim are depicted with wings, bodies […]

Cheshire, Joseph Blount, Jr.

(Mar. 27, 1850-Dec. 27, 1932). Bishop and church historian. He was born in Tarborough, North Carolina. After graduating from Trinity College, Hartford, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in North Carolina in 1872. In 1876 he began to read theology. On Apr. 21, 1878, he was ordained deacon, and on May 30, […]


See Labarum.

Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral

Statement of the four Anglican essentials for a reunited Christian Church. It concerns the scriptures, creeds, sacraments, and the historic episcopate. It was approved by the House of Bishops at the 1886 General Convention in Chicago, and subsequently approved with modifications by the bishops of the Anglican Communion at the Lambeth Conference of 1888. A […]

Chicago, Diocese of

The primary convention of the Diocese of Illinois met at the “Episcopal Hall of Worship” in Peoria, Mar. 9, 1835. The General Convention of 1877 voted to divide the Diocese of Illinois into three dioceses-Illinois, Quincy, and Springfield. The name was changed to the Diocese of Chicago on May 28, 1884. On Mar. 4, 1861, […]


This robe without sleeves is worn over an alb or rochet as part of the vestments of a bishop. At first it was simply the outer garment in general use. It was of one piece with openings for head and arms. Not until the introduction of wigs did it open down center front. The chimere […]

China, Missionary District of

The General Convention of 1844 elected William Jones Boone the Missionary Bishop of China. He was consecrated on Oct. 26, 1844. The 1874 General Convention changed the name to “Missionary Bishop of Shanghai, with jurisdiction in China.” The General Convention of 1901 voted to divide China into the Missionary District of Shanghai and the Missionary […]


A body of singers who provide musical leadership for congregational singing in the worship of the church. Choirs may also sing anthems or make other special musical offerings to beautify and enhance the experience of worship. The primary role of the choir is to lead and support the congregation's worship through singing, not to provide […]

Choir Loft

A gallery set aside for the seating of the choir and placement of an organ and other instruments. It is usually in the west end of the nave.

Choir Office

A service, typically one of the Daily Offices, which is sung or said in the choir space of the chancel.

Choir Stall

Seating for a choir, usually a row of benches with backs, kneelers, and a rack for music.


A musician who provides training and leadership of a choir.

Choral Service

In a choral service, certain texts of the liturgy are sung rather than spoken by the officiant, choir, and people. A choral celebration of the Holy Eucharist is one in which portions of the ordinary and the propers are sung by the officiant, choir, and congregation. Choral Matins is a service of Morning Prayer in […]


Persons who sing in a choir.

Chorley, Edward Clowes

(May 6, 1865-Nov. 2, 1949). Historiographer of the Episcopal Church, founder and editor of the Historical Magazine. He was born in Manchester, England. Chorley graduated from Richmond College in England in 1888, and served for a number of years in the Methodist ministry. He then came to the United States. Chorley was ordained deacon on […]


Consecrated oil used for anointing the newly baptized person with the sign of the cross at baptism. At this consignation, the bishop or priest says to each newly baptized person that “you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ's own for ever” (BCP, p. 308). Chrism must be consecrated by […]

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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.