An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


  Joint celebration of the eucharist by a chief celebrant and one or more concelebrants. Concelebration may or may not include recitation of all or part of the eucharistic prayer by the concelebrants. In the early church, the bishop typically served as chief celebrant and was flanked by priests who joined in the celebration. The […]


Eucharistic doctrine that affirms the simultaneous presence of Christ's body and blood in each of the eucharistic elements. It contradicts a narrow identification of Christ's body with the bread and Christ's blood with the wine. The doctrine of concomitance upholds the truth that the fullness of communion is available by receiving either the consecrated bread […]

Confession of Faith

A declaration of belief in the triune God, after the example of the Christian martyrs and confessors of faith. In Christian liturgy, this confession is expressed through the recitation of the ancient ecumenical creeds-the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed-and through the eucharistic prayer. At every baptism in the Episcopal Church, the congregation welcomes the […]

Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle, The

The confession of Peter is recorded in the Gospel According to Matthew (16:16), “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The liturgical celebration of Peter's confession is celebrated on Jan. 18. It is a major feast in the Prayer Book calendar. This observance was first included in the 1979 BCP. The date […]

Confession of Sin

An acknowledgment of sin, as in Ps 51: “Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” Confessions of sin during the liturgy are general, made by all the people. The church also provides for confessions of sin by individual penitents, and for their absolution, pronounced by a bishop or […]


Adherence of a church or denomination to particular standards, expressions, confessions, doctrines, or symbols of faith. Confessional statements focus and codify the beliefs of a church or denomination, and distinguish the church's beliefs from the beliefs of others outside the church. Many confessional statements were made during the era of reformation and counter-reformation, including the […]


The term has two meanings: 1) One who suffers greatly for confessing the faith, without being martyred, and 2) the bishop or priest who hears a private confession of sin. See Reconciliation of a Penitent.


The sacramental rite in which the candidates "express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop" (BCP, p. 860). Those who were baptized at an early age and those baptized as adults without laying on of hands by a bishop […]


A member of a congregation.

Connecticut, Diocese of

On Mar. 25, 1783, Samuel Seabury and Jeremiah Leaming were elected as candidates for Bishop of Connecticut. Seabury accepted the election, and was consecrated Bishop of Connecticut on Nov. 14, 1784, by nonjuring bishops at Aberdeen, Scotland. The Diocese of Connecticut was organized at Christ Church, Middletown, on Aug. 3, 1785. On June 15, 1919, […]


A person's moral judgment upon himself or herself. It often indicates the sense of judgment of right or wrong regarding what has been done. For Thomas Aquinas, for example, conscience is the mind of the human person making moral judgments. In moral theology, conscience is the basis of moral action. A primary moral obligation is […]

Conscience Clause

” This clause, otherwise known as “A Statement of Conscience,” was a response by the House of Bishops to the 1976 General Convention approval of a canonical change that allowed for the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate. It was initiated by Presiding Bishop John Allin's opening remarks to the Oct. 1977, meeting […]


To set something or someone apart for a sacred purpose. The bread and wine of the Eucharist are consecrated at the Great Thanksgiving, and “the consecration” often means the consecration of the eucharistic gifts. The central prayer accompanying the laying on of hands in the ordination of bishops, priests, and deacons is called the prayer […]

Consecration of Samuel Seabury, First American Bishop, Feast of

On Mar. 25, 1783, ten clergy met at the home of the Rev. John Rutgers Marshall in Woodbury, Connecticut, and elected Samuel Seabury and Jeremiah Leaming as candidates for Bishop of Connecticut. Seabury accepted the election and sailed for England to be consecrated. He arrived in England on July 7, 1783, and spent over a […]

Consents for Ordination

After the election of a bishop, if the date of the election is more than three months before the next meeting of the General Convention, the Standing Committee of the electing diocese shall send a certificate of election to the standing committees of all the dioceses of the Episcopal Church for their consent to the […]

Constance, Nun, and her Companions

(Commonly Called “The Martyrs of Memphis.” In 1873 a group of sisters of the Sisterhood of St. Mary went to Memphis, Tennessee, at the request of Bishop Charles T. Quintard, to establish a school for girls adjacent to the Cathedral of St. Mary. They were confronted by an epidemic of yellow fever and began to […]

Constantine I

(c. 285-337). Roman emperor from 306 to 337. On the night before battle with an imperial rival at the Milvian Bridge near Rome in 312, Constantine had a vision that apparently led to his conversion to Christianity. He saw a fiery cross in the heavens above the statement written in Greek, “In this sign you […]

Constitution of the Episcopal Church

This document of church government was first adopted by the General Convention of the Church in 1789. The Constitution contains regulations for General Convention, election and jurisdiction of bishops, Standing Committees, the formation of new jurisdictions, the establishment of provinces, ordinations, ecclesiastical courts, and the BCP.

Constructive Quarterly, The

This quarterly was published from Mar. 1913, until June 1922. Its sub-title was A Journal of the Faith, Work, and Thought of Christendom. It served as a “forum where the isolated Churches of Christendom may introduce themselves to one another.” The editor was Silas McBee (1853-1924), a close friend and former student of William Porcher […]


The term means “of the same substance.” In Trinitarian theology, one divine substance exists fully and equally, or consubstantially, in three Persons. Bitter controversies arose in early Christianity concerning the divinity of the Son. The councils determined that the fullness of divinity exists not only in the Father but also in the Son and the […]

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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.