An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Coit, Thomas Winthrop

(June 28, 1803-June 21, 1885). Biblical scholar, liturgics scholar, student of church history, and educator. He was born in New London, Connecticut. Coit graduated from Yale College in 1821. He studied at Andover Theological Seminary, 1823-1824, and Princeton Theological Seminary, 1824-1825. His studies led him away from the Congregational Church and into the Episcopal Church. […]

Cole, Azel Dow

(Dec. 1, 1818-Oct. 15, 1885). Second dean of Nashotah House. He was born in Sterling, Connecticut. Cole received his B.A. from Brown University in 1838, and graduated from the General Theological Seminary in 1841. At General he was a classmate of the future founders of Nashotah House. Cole was ordained deacon on July 22, 1841, […]

Coleman, Leighton

(May 3, 1837-Dec. 14, 1907). Bishop and church historian. He was born in Philadelphia. Coleman was ordained deacon on July 1, 1860. He graduated from the General Theological Seminary in 1861. From 1860 until 1862, he was a missionary at Randall's and Blackwell's Islands, New York. On May 15, 1862, Coleman was ordained priest. From […]

College of Philadelphia

In 1740 a charity school was founded in Philadelphia by George Whitefield. Trustees for an academy were named on Nov. 13, 1749. In Dec., 1749, the trustees of the academy bought the Charity School building. Classes began on Sept. 16, 1751. On July 16, 1755, a new charter was granted and the school was named […]

College of Preachers

In the summer of 1925, retired Bishop Philip Mercer Rhinelander (1869-1939) of Pennsylvania convened a “School of the Prophets” at the Washington Cathedral. In 1927 Alexander Smith Cochran made a gift for the construction of a College of Preachers and promised to endow the program. In 1929 Cochran’s bequest of $1,000,000 endowed the College of […]


The principle that bishops are ordained (consecrated) into a college. It is based on the assumption that bishops succeed the apostles collectively, not individually. As a consequence each bishop is responsible not only for a diocese but also for the universal church. The mode of exercise of this responsibility varies with circumstances. While bishops are […]

Colombia, Diocese of

The House of Bishops established the Missionary District of Colombia on Nov. 12, 1963. In 1970 it became the Missionary Diocese of Colombia and later the Diocese of Colombia. The first indigenous bishop was the Rt. Rev. Bernardo Merino-Botero, who was consecrated on June 29, 1979.

Colorado School of Mines

The Rt. Rev. George Maxwell Randall (1810-1873), the first Bishop of Colorado, received a gift of $5,000 in 1868 from a Brooklyn, New York, merchant, George A. Jarvis, to establish a school. With this gift plus ten acres of land in Golden, Colorado, he laid the cornerstone of Jarvis Hall, on Aug. 25, 1869. It […]

Colorado, Diocese of

The state of Colorado was part of the Missionary District of the Northwest from Oct. 19, 1859, until Oct. 21, 1865, when the House of Bishops established the Missionary District of Colorado and Parts Adjacent with jurisdiction in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. On Oct. 4, 1866, the House of Bishops changed the Missionary District […]

Columba, St.

(c. 521-June 9, 597). Founder of many churches and monasteries in Ireland. He was born in Gartan, County Donegal, Ireland. Columba was trained in several Irish monasteries. He was ordained priest around 551. In 563 Columba left Ireland with twelve companions and went to the Isle of Hy or Ioua, now called Iona. He founded […]

Come Celebrate! A Hymnal Supplement

This volume consists of “Service Music,” and “Songs and Hymns.” It represents the results of the life of worship of the Community of Celebration. Its contents are eclectic: international, intergenerational, and sacramental. Come Celebrate! was designed to be a supplement to The Hymnal 1982. It was commended by the 1991 General Convention. It includes “Performance […]


A “threatening of punishment.” A service for Ash Wednesday drawn up for the first English Prayer Book of 1549 to replace the blessing of ashes. It included an exhortation on God's judgment, the solemn cursing of those who have committed various sins, Ps 51, suffrages, and a collect. It has remained in the English Prayer […]


Representatives of the Bishop of London appointed to oversee the work of the Church of England in the American colonies during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. By the time of the Glorious Revolution (1688), the Bishop of London held responsibility for control over Anglican affairs in America. Since commissaries already performed functions for […]

Commission on Ministry

In 1970 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church passed a new canon, Canon III.1, which required each diocese to establish a Commission on Ministry. The number of members, their selection, and their terms of office are to be determined by diocesan canons. The functions of Commissions on Ministry specified in the canon are to […]

Commissions of the General Convention

The General Convention may establish Standing Commissions and Joint Commissions. A Standing Commission is to study and make recommendations to the General Convention on major subjects considered to be of continuing concern to the church. Members of the Standing Commissions have a six-year term, serving until the adjournment of the second General Convention following their […]

Companion Diocese

Companion diocese relationships are formally recognized by the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church at the request of the dioceses involved, on the basis of a resolution by both partners proposing the companion relationship. The companion dioceses usually commit to the relationship for a fixed period of years, but this commitment is renewable. A companion […]

Compasrose, The

This journal had the subtitle, News of the Anglican Communion. It was published four times a year by the Anglican Consultative Council. It is continued by Anglican World. See Anglican Consultative Council.

Compass Rose

The emblem of the Anglican Communion. It was designed by Canon Edward West of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. It has a stylized compass in which the center holds the Cross of St. George, surrounded by the Greek inscription “The truth shall make you free.” It symbolizes the spread […]


The last of the four services in the Daily Office (BCP, p. 127). It is descended from the night prayers said before bed at the end of the monastic round of daily prayer. Compline is a simple office including a confession of sins, one or more psalms, a short reading from scripture, versicles and responses, […]

Compton, Henry

(1632-July 7, 1713). He was consecrated Bishop of Oxford on Dec. 6, 1674, and was the ninety-fourth Bishop of London from Feb. 6, 1676, until his death. As Bishop of London he had responsibility for the Church of England in the American colonies. He was the first Bishop of London to send or name commissaries […]

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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.