An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest (ETSS)

The idea for a seminary in Austin, Texas, was initiated in 1945. The Rt. Rev. Clinton S. Quinn, Bishop of Texas, approached the Board of Trustees of the Austin Presbyterian […]

Episcopal Visitation

A bishop's official pastoral visit to a congregation of the diocese. Canon law requires every diocesan bishop to visit every congregation in his or her diocese at least once every […]

Episcopal Visitors

The 1988 General Convention passed the legislation which created Episcopal Visitors. This legislation was to deal pastorally with those bishops, priests, deacons, and lay persons who were unable to accept […]

Episcopal Watchman

This journal was published at Hartford, Connecticut, from Mar. 26, 1827, until Nov. 2, 1833, when it was absorbed by the Churchman. Its motto was “the Gospel of Christ in […]


A member of the Episcopal Church. The term is used as a noun, not as an adjective. The term can be applied to a member of any church under the […]

Episcopalian Harmony, The

A collection of hymns that was approved by General Convention and published in 1811 by John Cole in Baltimore. It was reprinted in 1817. The layout of text and music […]

Episcopalian, The

Predecessor to Episcopal Life. This monthly journal began publication in Apr. 1960, and continued Forth and The Spirit of Missions. The first issue stated that it was published by the […]

Episcopate, Episcopacy, Episcopos

Church governance under the leadership of bishops. The term is from the Greek for "overseer." The Prayer Book service for the ordination of a bishop states that a bishop "is […]

Episcopi Vaganti

“Wandering bishops” who acquired episcopal orders in an irregular or surreptitious manner. They are unaffiliated with any historic Christian body or jurisdiction. Their episcopal acts have questionable validity. See Jurisdiction […]


Literally, a letter, the name was given to the first of the two NT readings in the eucharist. The majority of these passages were taken from the epistolary literature of […]

Epistle Side

See Gospel Side.


The lector who reads the epistle in the liturgy of the word at the eucharist. The term “epistle” may be applied to any NT reading at the eucharist, including a […]


Concerning the solitary life of a hermit. In Christianity, the earliest hermits were the Desert Fathers of third-century Egypt. Some religious orders, like the Carthusians, retain elements of the eremitic […]

Erie, Diocese of

When the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania was organized in 1910, it was called the Diocese of Erie. It used that name until Nov. 14, 1981, when the name was changed […]


Theology of the last things, the end of time and history, the coming of the Kingdom of God. Use of the term dates from the nineteenth century. It is from […]


The term (from the Greek, eschaton, “last”) denotes the end of history when God will act decisively to establish the divine rule of justice and peace throughout the created order. […]

Essays and Reviews

This volume, published in England in 1860, was a significant collection of essays advocating a free and open interpretation of Holy Scripture. It included essays by Mark Pattison, Benjamin Jowett, […]

Essays Catholic and Critical

This collection of fifteen essays by liberal catholics of the Church of England was edited by Edward Gordon Selwyn. It was published in 1926. It was an effort to take […]

Esse, Bene Esse, Plene Esse

Terms for characterizing the significance of a doctrine or practice for the church. Esse indicates that which is of the essence of the very existence of the life of the […]

Establishment of Religion

An arrangement in which a religion or a particular religious institution enjoys official status and the state may enforce conformity. The establishment of Christianity began with Constantine the Great (d. […]

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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.