An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


Doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist associated with the theology of Martin Luther. It teaches that after the consecration the substance of the Body and Blood of Christ and the substance of the bread and wine coexist in union with each other. The doctrine was formulated in opposition to the doctrine […]


A form of mental prayer in which meditation and petition give way to quiet adoration of the mysteries of God. Contemplation is the fruit of divine grace. It comes after a period of recollection and self-abandonment. Daily concerns vanish and exclusive attention is given to the mysteries of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and Redemption. Active […]

Contemplative Order

A religious community that is primarily devoted to the contemplative life. The Benedictine Order exists in the Anglican Communion, including St. Gregory's Abbey (“Three Rivers”) in the Episcopal Church. Contemplative orders in the Episcopal Church also include the Order of Julian of Norwich in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and the Order of Poor Clares of Reparation in […]


Full repentance for sin and a firm intention for amendment of life. Contrition is motivated by love of God, causing the penitent to regret sin as evidence of a turning away from God who loves us. Contrition has been distinguished from attrition since the twelfth century. Attrition has been referred to as imperfect contrition. Attrition […]


The term may refer either to a religious community or the building where the community lives. The term is most frequently applied to a community of nuns, although it may refer to a religious community of men or women. The term is from the Latin, con and venire, “to come together.”


An experience or process whereby an individual comes to belief in Christ as Savior and Lord. In Protestant Christianity, conversion usually emphasizes an adult experience of sudden or dramatic change. Nevertheless, many Christians are brought to belief in Christ as Lord through a gradual process of growth in the Christian life. In Benedictine monasticism, conversion […]

Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle, The

The conversion of Paul to Christianity is so important that the story is told three times in Acts, and Paul mentions the experience three times in his letters. An observance of Paul's conversion is mentioned in some calendars from the eighth and ninth centuries. Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) ordered that it be observed with great […]


1) In the Episcopal Church, a meeting of clergy and lay representatives from a section or area of a diocese. The term may also indicate the section or area of the diocese that is represented by the assembly. The name may be used by other church gatherings or assemblies. 2) In the Church of England, […]

Convocation of American Churches in Europe

The convocation is under the jurisdiction of the Presiding Bishop. Its history goes back to 1859, when an American Episcopal congregation in Paris, France, was recognized by the Episcopal Church as a parish. Over the years the number of Episcopal parishes in Europe increased. At various times the American churches in Europe were assigned to […]

Cooper, Susan Augusta Fenimore

(Apr. 17, 1813-Dec. 31, 1894). Author and churchwoman. She was born in Heathcote Hill, Mamaroneck, New York, and privately educated. She was the daughter of the novelist James Fenimore Cooper, who wrote The Last of the Mohicans (1826) and The Deerslayer (1841). In 1850 she published Rural Hours, which was a very successful nature diary, […]

Cornelius the Centurion

He and his household were the first known Gentile converts to the Christian faith. Cornelius was stationed at Caesarea in Palestine. The story of the conversion and baptism of Cornelius and his household is recorded in Acts 10:1-11:18. Their conversion and baptism served as a precedent in resolving the question whether a Gentile must first […]

Corporeal Presence

A term stating that Christ is physically present in the consecrated elements of the eucharist. It is not to be confused with the doctrine of the “real presence,” which holds that Christ is truly present in the consecrated elements but in a spiritual, nonphysical manner.

Corpus Christi, Feast of

  This feast commemorates the institution of the eucharist by Jesus on the night of his betrayal and arrest. It is often associated with a festive procession that follows the celebration of the eucharist. A consecrated host in a monstrance is prominently displayed in this procession. It is treated as the triumphant Christ the King. […]

Corrigan, Daniel

(Oct. 25, 1900-Sept. 21, 1994). One of three bishops who first ordained women. He was born in Rochester, Minnesota, and received his B.D. from Nashotah House in 1925. He was ordained deacon on June 1, 1924, and priest on May 21, 1925. He was rector of St. John the Baptist Church, Portage, Wisconsin, 1925-1931; Zion […]

Costa Rica, Missionary District of

The House of Bishops created the Missionary District of Costa Rica on Sept. 18, 1967. It was a Missionary District of the Episcopal Church until Sept. 1976, when the General Convention voted to make it an Extra-Provincial Diocese related to Province 9.

Course of Ecclesiastical Studies

” As early as 1801, the House of Deputies had tried to standardize the academic preparation of candidates for ordination by requesting the House of Bishops to prepare an official course of theological studies. This was necessary since there were no Episcopal theological seminaries at the time. Presiding Bishop William White drew up such a […]

Court for the Trial of a Bishop

It has original jurisdiction to try all Presentments made against a bishop which have been approved for trial by the Board of Inquiry, which is a body serving to conduct a Preliminary Hearing on charges. The court consists of nine bishops, three of whom shall be elected at each General Convention by the House of […]

Court of Review of the Trial of a Bishop

The court has appellate jurisdiction to hear all appeals from a convicted bishop. In cases involving holding and teaching doctrine contrary to that of the church, it may hear appeals from the church attorney in cases of acquittal. In the latter case, the appeal is only as to questions of law and cannot reverse a […]


A binding agreement that is freely entered into by two or more parties. The parties to this solemn agreement may be individuals or groups of people. They may be of equal or unequal status. A covenant also typically includes terms, oaths, and a ritual enactment (possibly a sacrifice, a meal, an exchange, or even a […]

Coverdale, Miles

(1488-Jan. 20, 1569). Reformation-era Bible translator. He was probably born in what is called Cover-dale in that part of Yorkshire known as Richmondshire. He studied at Cambridge and was ordained priest in 1514. He joined the Augustinian Friars at Cambridge, where Robert Barnes, later a Protestant, was the prior. Coverdale left the monastery in 1526. […]

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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.