An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


Since the late middle ages “evensong” has been the popular name for vespers (from the Latin vesperis, “evening”), the Evening Office of the western church. Cranmer used it in the […]

Every Member Canvass

A parochial stewardship campaign that invites every member of the parish to make a pledge for the upcoming year. The campaign may urge the parishioners to offer their time, talent, […]


A process of development or unfolding. A dynamic "evolutionary" understanding of the development of the cosmos and the forms of life within it appeared in European thought before the nineteenth […]


A pitcher for pouring water. It is typically made of silver or another precious metal, or pottery. A ewer may be used to pour water into the font before the […]

Ewer, Ferdinand Cartwright

(May 22, 1826-Oct. 10, 1883). Priest and leading nineteenth-century Anglo-catholic. He was born on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College in 1849, and joined the California gold rush. […]

Ex Opere Operantis

From the Latin, meaning “by the work of the doer.” In sacramental theology, the phrase concerns the proper disposition of the minister or recipient of a sacrament. It does not […]

Ex Opere Operato

From the Latin, meaning “by the work done.” In sacramental theology, the objective reality and effectiveness of the sacraments when validly celebrated, regardless of the subjective attitudes or qualities of […]

Exaltation of the Cross

See Holy Cross Day.


The disciplinary exclusion of a person from receiving communion by competent religious authority. It represents exclusion from the corporate life of the church. Excommunication was intended to encourage repentance and […]

Executive Council of the Episcopal Church

The national body that administers the program and policies adopted by the General Convention. It was called the National Council from 1919-1964. It is currently composed of twenty members elected […]


Literally a “leading out.” The term is used in biblical studies to signify the drawing out of the meaning of the texts of Holy Scripture. Some biblical scholars, notably Rudolf […]


An earnest admonishment. Two exhortations to prepare the congregation for communion were published in the 1548 Order for Communion, and these were included in the 1549 BCP. A third exhortation […]


The driving out of evil spirits from persons or places with authority derived from Christ. The NT records exorcisms performed by Jesus, e.g., Mk 5:1-13, and by the apostles, e.g., […]


From early times certain Christians with charismatic gifts have been recognized to have the power to exorcise. Exorcist was also one of the old minor orders. Originally it designated a […]

Exposition (Sacramental)

Exhibition of the consecrated eucharistic bread for the purpose of devotion. The practice became common in the fourteenth century. It is an extension of the practice of the elevation of […]

Extempore Prayer

A free-form prayer without text. It may or may not reflect a stream of consciousness of prayer by the one who prays. Considerable preparation may have taken place before the […]

Extreme Unction

Use of oil for the anointing of the sick at the time of death. After the seventh century, western Christianity associated the rites of anointing with penitence and death. This […]


See Episcopal Young Church People (EYC).


(d. Jan. 20, 250). Early Pope and martyr. According to the early church historian Eusebius of Caesarea, the Roman-born Fabian was chosen to succeed Pope Anterus when a dove descended […]


1) Authority or license from an ecclesiastical superior to perform an action. 2) A branch of instruction at a college, school, or university. The traditional university faculties were theology, canon […]

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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.