An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Delaware, Diocese of

It was organized on Sept. 26-27, 1786, at Dover. The first bishop was not consecrated until 1841. On May 14, 1935, St. John's Church, Wilmington, was set apart as St. […]

Demby, Edward Thomas

(Feb. 13, 1869-Oct. 14, 1957). First African American Episcopal bishop in the United States. He was born in Wilmington, Delaware. Demby studied at Howard University, and in 1893 received his […]


A twentieth-century theological term that was used extensively by Rudolph Bultmann. He understood the word “myth” to be a way to communicate one's faith to others in a time- and […]

Denver Theological School and the College of St

John the Evangelist. These related educational institutions in Colorado were for the education of clergy. Theological education began at Matthews Hall, Golden, and then moved to Denver in 1879 as […]

Depose, Sentence of Deposition

Sentence of ecclesiastical discipline pronounced by a bishop that permanently excludes the exercise of ordained ministry by the bishop, priest, or deacon who is deposed. Conditions for deposition are prescribed […]

Deposit of Faith, The

The saving revelation of Christ that has been given to the church, especially as known through biblical witness and tradition. The deposit of faith is to be upheld and proclaimed […]


1) In canon law, a deposition is a sentence that removes or deposes a bishop, priest, or deacon from the ordained ministry. A member of the clergy who is deposed […]


A state of corruption that is believed to affect the unredeemed human nature. The doctrine of original sin affirms that the first human beings sinned against the Creator in such […]


Prayer for deliverance. Deprecations in the Great Litany include petitions for deliverance from all evil and wickedness, all blindness of heart, all inordinate and sinful affections, all false doctrine, lightning […]

Deputies, House of

The House of Deputies is the oldest of the two Houses of General Convention. It has equal numbers of clergy and lay deputies selected by the dioceses of the church. […]


Each diocese, area mission, and the Convocation of the American Churches in Europe is entitled to not more than four ordained representatives in the House of Deputies. They must be […]


Harmony with a fixed theme in music. It is usually a higher soprano part sung to complement one or more verses of a hymn. For example, “While shepherds watched their […]


” These “desks,” sometimes called “ethnic desks,” refer to the staff at the Episcopal Church Center in New York who have networks, or commissions and committees, whom they represent at […]


Once fallen into disuse as an inferior order used mainly as a stepping stone to the priesthood, the diaconate (order of deacons) has been restored in the Anglican, Roman Catholic, […]

Dialogue, Opening (Eucharist)

The practice of opening the eucharistic prayer with a dialogue between presider and people dates from the early church, as recorded in the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus in about the […]

Didache, The

This document, also known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, and sometimes called The Teaching of the Lord to the Heathen by the Twelve Apostles, dates from the early […]

Dignus es

Canticle based on Rv 4:11; 5:9-10, 13, which describes hymns sung before the One seated on the heavenly throne and to the Lamb in the heavenly vision. These may be […]


The territorial jurisdiction of a diocesan bishop. The term also refers to the congregations and church members of the diocese. Before the church adopted the word it had a long […]


A set of two tablets, made of wood or metal, and bound together by rings. The names of saints, bishops, rulers, and the faithful departed were inscribed on the inner […]

Direct Ordination

Sometimes called per saltum (by a leap), it is ordination directly to the order for which one is chosen. In the early church those elected presbyter or bishop were commonly […]

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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.