An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


Definitive teaching of the church which is to be believed by the members of the church. The term is from the Greek dokein, “to seem.” It designates doctrine which has been considered by an authoritative body and promulgated as officially established teaching. It “appears to be good” to that body, and there “seems” to be […]


An abbreviated form of Dominus, which means “master.” This title is given to some professed Benedictine monks and to some monks in other monastic orders.

Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society

The missionary organization and corporate body of the Episcopal Church. The constitution of the missionary society was first adopted by the special General Convention of 1821 and incorporated by the New York State legislature. In 1835 the General Convention adopted a new constitution which made membership in the society no longer voluntary but inclusive of […]


(c. 1170-Aug. 6, 1221). Dominic de Guzman was born in Calaruega, Castile, Spain. He studied at the University of Palencia, in the Kingdom of Leon. In 1216 Pope Honorius III granted Dominic the right to establish a new religious order. This new order was to preach the gospel, convert heretics, defend the faith, and propagate […]

Dominical Letter

See Sunday Letter.

Dominical Sacraments

Sacraments associated with the Lord Jesus Christ. The two great sacraments given by Christ to his church are Baptism and Eucharist (BCP, p. 858). The term “dominical” is from Latin words meaning “of a lord,” and “lord.”

Dominican Republic, Diocese of the

Anglicanism was brought to the Dominican Republic in 1897 when Benjamin Isaac Wilson migrated from the Virgin Islands. Wilson was a teacher of the Christian faith, and was ordained priest in 1898 by the Bishop of the Independent Haitian Episcopal Church. His primary mission was to serve the English-speaking community in the Dominican Republic. The […]


This term comes from “Dominus.” In Spain it was a title given to a nobleman. It is now used for the head of a college and for fellows in English universities, such as an “Oxford Don.”


Rigorist schism. Donatists were the followers of Donatus Magnus, a schismatic bishop of Carthage in the mid-fourth century, who believed that the validity of a sacrament depended on the personal virtue of the celebrant. Many other North African Christians shared this view. In particular this group of rigorists rejected the ordination of Caecilian as Bishop […]

Donne, John

(1572-Mar. 31, 1631). Noted preacher and poet. He was born in London, sometime between Jan. 24 and June 19, 1572. Donne studied at Hart Hall, Oxford. In 1592 he was admitted to Lincoln's Inn to study law. At about the same time, he had a gradual conversion from Roman Catholicism to the Church of England. […]

Door Keeper

See Minor Orders.

Dort, Synod of

Assembly of the Dutch Reformed Church convened at Dordrecht, near Rotterdam, from Nov. 1618 to May 1619, to deal with the Arminian Controversy. The Arminians (Remonstrants) opposed the Calvinist doctrine of absolute predestination. The synod was strongly biased in favor of the strict Calvinist position from the beginning. The Arminians were treated as defendants on […]


A large cloth or piece of fabric that is hung on the wall behind the altar. Its color may match the liturgical color of the day, and it may be decorated with religious symbols.

Double Procession

See Processions (Trinitarian).

Douglas, Charles Winfred

(Feb. 15, 1867-Jan. 18, 1944). Church musician and editor. He was born in Oswego, New York, and received his Bachelor in Music degree from Syracuse University in 1891. He also studied at St. Andrew's Divinity School, Syracuse; Matthew's Hall, Denver; and in England, France, and Germany, particularly with the Benedictines of Solesmes. He was ordained […]


Words of glory (from the Greek doxa logos) or praise to God, usually in a trinitarian form. Christian tradition contains three main forms of doxology: 1) the Greater Doxology, the hymn “Glory to God in the highest,” originally sung at Morning Prayer in the eastern church and now, in the west, used in the entrance […]

Dozier, Verna J.

(1917-2006). Leading African American female lay theologian. She was born in Washington, D.C. Dozier received her B.A. and M.A. from Howard University. She taught English in the Washington public schools for more than thirty years, and from 1968 until 1972, was the curriculum specialist for the Urban Teachers Corps. From 1972 until 1975, when she […]

Drake, Sir Francis

(c. 1540-Jan. 28, 1596). Celebrated navigator. He was born near Tavistock, Devonshire, England. He probably anchored at San Francisco Bay on June 17, 1579. On June 21, 1579, Francis Fletcher, Drake's chaplain, celebrated the eucharist at Drake's Bay, near San Francisco, for the crew of the Pelican. This may have been the first BCP service […]

Dublin Agreed Statement

A statement issued in Aug. 1984 by the Anglican-Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Commission after the Episcopal Church began to ordain women to the priesthood. The Orthodox opposed the ordination of women, and there was considerable concern about the future of the consultation before the meeting. General agreement was noted in eucharistic doctrine, but differences in the […]

duBois, Albert Julius

(June 9, 1906-June 6, 1980). Influential opponent of the ordination of women and a leader of splinter groups. He was born in Neenah, Wisconsin. DuBois received his B.A. from Lawrence College in 1928 and his S.T.B. from the General Theological Seminary in 1931. He was ordained deacon on Apr. 12, 1931, and priest on Nov. […]

2647 records

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.