An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Holy Mysteries

An early name for the eucharistic liturgy. The term has several overlapping meanings: the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection, the mystery of faith, the sacraments, and the truth that […]

Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The

Celebration on Jan. 1, the eighth day after the birth of Jesus, when he was named and circumcised. He was "called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he […]

Holy Oil

See Chrism; see Oil, Holy.

Holy Orders

The ordained ministries of bishops, priests (presbyters), and deacons. Canonical provisions concerning ordination to these three orders are equally applicable to men and women in the Episcopal Church.

Holy Saturday

The Saturday after Good Friday, which recalls the day when the crucified Christ visited among the dead while his body lay in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. In the […]

Holy Spirit

The third person of the Trinity. In the OT, “spirit” was primarily used to express God's power in the world. In the NT, Jesus is called the Christ because he […]

Holy Spirit, Gifts of

See Gifts of the Spirit.

Holy Table

The altar, also known as the Lord's table. The term “holy table” has been used by those seeking to emphasize the eucharist as a shared meal. All three terms are […]

Holy Water

Water that has been blessed for religious and devotional use. It may symbolize purification, blessing, dedication, and renewal of the baptismal covenant. An aspergillum (tube with holes) or a small […]

Holy Week

From early times Christians have observed the week before Easter as a time of special devotion. As the pilgrim Egeria recorded in the late fourth century, Jerusalem contained many sacred […]


The person who preaches the homily or sermon.


See Sermon.


The term is from the Greek homoi, “similar,” and ousia “being,” meaning “of similar being.” It is associated with the Arian understanding of the relation between the Father and the […]


This term is from the Greek homo (same or identical), and ousia (being or essence). It is the word translated in the English version of the Nicene Creed as “being […]

Honduras, Diocese of

The General Convention of 1967 divided the Missionary District of Central America into five Missionary Districts: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Honduras became a diocese in 1985.

Honolulu, Missionary District of

It was formed by the General Convention on Oct. 15, 1901, and reconstituted by the General Convention as the Diocese of Hawaii on Sept. 4, 1969.

Hood, Academic

A flowing, stylized hood that drapes over the shoulders and back of the wearer. It is an academic insignia. The wearer's academic degree and institution are indicated by the size, […]

Hooker, Richard

(c. 1554-Nov. 2, 1600). Theologian and leading advocate of Anglicanism. Hooker was born in Heavitree, Devonshire, near Exeter. In 1568 Hooker entered Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He received his B.A. […]

Hopkins, John Henry

(Jan. 30, 1792-Jan. 9, 1868). Eighth Presiding Bishop. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, and came to the United States in 1800. Educated privately, he began work in 1813 as […]

Horrocks, James

(c. 1734-Nov. 20, 1772). Commissary to Virginia and sixth president of the College of William and Mary. He was probably born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England. Horrocks received his B.A. in […]

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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.