An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Altar Cloth

See Fair Linen.

Altar Guild

A volunteer group of the parish whose ministry is to care for the altar, vestments, vessels, and altar linens of the parish. Altar Guild members prepare the sanctuary for services, […]

Altar Lights

“Lights” are candles or lamps used as a sign of festivity and solemnity in Christian worship. Altar lights are typically candles on an altar. See Candles in Worship. See Candles.

Altar of Repose

An altar other than the main altar of the parish upon which the consecrated bread and wine from the Maundy Thursday eucharist are reserved for communion on Good Friday. The […]

Altar Rails

Chest-high rails around the altar were used as early as the fifth century to prevent the people from interfering with the ministers of the eucharist. The people came to the […]

Altar Stone

See Mensa.


A lectern, reading desk, or elevated platform from which the scripture lessons are read. The ambo may also serve as the pulpit for preaching.


(c. 339-Apr. 4, 397). Bishop and theologian. The son of a Roman governor in Gaul, Ambrose was made governor in Upper Italy in 373. Although he was brought up in […]


A sheltered place in which to walk, such as a gallery of a cloister or the outside aisle of a church. It is sometimes called the apse aisle. It may […]


Congregational response of assent to liturgical prayers. Amen derives from a Hebrew word that means “truly” or “so be it.”

American Church Monthly

1) The first American Church Monthly was published in New York from Jan. 1857 until June 1858. It was edited by the Rev. Henry Norman Hudson (1814-1886), a leading Shakespearean […]

American Church Review

See Church Review and Ecclesiastical Register, The.

American Churchman

This weekly periodical began publication at Chicago in 1861, and continued until June 22, 1871. It was absorbed by the Churchman.

American Missal, The

The American Missal: The Complete Liturgy of the American Book of Common Prayer with Additional Devotional Material Appropriate to the Same. It was first published in 1931 by Morehouse Publishing […]

American Quarterly Church Review and Ecclesiastical Register, The

See Church Review and Ecclesiastical Register, The.

American Standard Version of the Bible (1901)

On July 7, 1870, the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, England, voted to invite some “American divines” to join in the work of revising the Bible. An American Revision […]


A rectangular piece of white cloth that may serve as a hood or be rolled down to serve as the collar of an alb. The amice is tied beneath the […]


A vessel or container for consecrated oils. Ampullae of clay or glass were found in the tomb walls of ancient Christian catacombs. They held oil or perfume for anointing the […]


This memorial prayer of remembrance recalls for the worshiping community past events in their tradition of faith that are formative for their identity and self-understanding. The prayers of anamnesis in […]


The central prayer of the Eucharist, also known as the Great Thanksgiving, including the consecration, the Anamnesis, and the communion. Anaphora is derived from the Greek, meaning a “lifting up” […]

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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.