An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


A collection of chants to be sung antiphonally by the choir in public worship. It is also known as an antiphonal. It originally provided chants for the eucharist and the […]


(c. 251-356). Early Christian desert hermit. He was raised in a Christian home. After his parents died he sold all his possessions and became a hermit or anchorite. He devoted […]


From the Greek word for “hidden.” It normally refers to fifteen books not found in the Hebrew canon of the OT and includes the following: Tobit, Judith, Additions to the […]


Christological heresy of the fourth century, based on the teaching of Apollinarius, Bishop of Laodicea (c. 310-c. 390). Apollinarius held that Christ had no human spirit. The Divine Logos was […]

Apologetics, Apologists, Apology

The theological discipline of defending the Christian faith against attack, often by use of the thought-forms of the attacker. An apologist is one who defends the faith by making an […]


A theological term which derives from a Greek word meaning a denial or negation. Its opposite is cataphatic, which means something that is made known or affirmed. As a theological […]


A Greek word that, literally translated, means “a thing uttered” or “something said.” The term is used by form critics who focus on the editing of the gospels. The English […]


From the Greek apophthegm, meaning a terse or pointed saying, this term now usually refers to sayings and maxims of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, mostly from fourth- and fifth-century […]


From the Greek apo, "away from," and stasis "standing," literally meaning a "standing apart," apostasy is used in Christian theology to speak of total renunciation of faith in Christ and […]


See Apostasy.


A term based on the Greek word which means “someone sent out.” It is used seventy-nine times in the NT. It often refers to the disciples. The primary NT meaning […]

Apostles’ Creed, The

Ancient formula of Christian belief in three sections concerning God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Although its authorship is attributed to the twelve apostles, opinions vary concerning […]

Apostolic Blessing

Among Roman Catholics, a blessing given by the Pope. It may also be given by bishops or priests in the Roman Catholic Church under certain circumstances. It is not to […]

Apostolic Constitutions

A document belonging to the genre of early Christian literature known as Church Orders. Contemporary scholarship generally recognizes that it was written in Antioch shortly before the Council of Constantinople […]

Apostolic Succession

The belief that bishops are the successors to the apostles and that episcopal authority is derived from the apostles by an unbroken succession in the ministry. This authority is specifically […]

Apostolic Tradition

The belief that the church continues the faith and work of the apostles. The apostles received the faith from Jesus Christ through his teaching as well as his death and […]

Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus (215)

See Church Orders; see Hippolytus.

Apostolicae Curae

The Encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII on Sept. 13, 1896, in which Anglican holy orders were condemned as invalid through defect of form and intention in the Ordinal of […]


See Notes of the Church.


The raising of an emperor or other special person to the status of a god in pagan religion. Though initially done after death, from the time of Domitian (81-96 A.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.