An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms

Madison, James

(Aug. 27, 1749-Mar. 6, 1812). The first Bishop of Virginia. He was born in Staunton, Virginia. Madison graduated from William and Mary College in 1771 and studied law for two […]


The Blessed Virgin Mary. The term is from the Italian, “my lady.” It also indicates artistic representations of Mary in portraits or statues. The Madonna Lily is the plant Lilium […]

Magna et mirabilia

Canticle 19 in the 1979 BCP (p. 94), based on Rv 15:3-4. It begins, “O ruler of the universe, Lord God, great deeds are they that you have done, surpassing […]


This song of praise, also known as “The Song of Mary,” is from the account in Lk 1:46-55 of Mary’s visit to her relative Elizabeth when Mary was pregnant with […]

Mahan, Milo

(May 24, 1819-Sept. 3, 1870). Historian, educator, and high churchman. He was born in Suffolk, Virginia. Mahan studied at the Flushing Institute, Long Island, and then taught Greek at the […]

Maine, Diocese of

This diocese was organized on May 3, 1820, at Brunswick. From 1811 until 1820 Maine was in the Diocese of Massachusetts, which was in the Eastern Diocese. On Sept. 5, […]

Major Feasts

Major celebrations of the church year for which the Prayer Book appoints proper collects, psalms, and lessons. They include the seven principal feasts (Easter Day, Ascension Day, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, […]

Major Orders

The term traditionally refers to the holy orders of bishop, priest, and deacon. The major orders were distinguished from minor orders such as porter (doorkeeper), lector, exorcist, and acolyte. The […]

Malania, Leo

(May 21, 1911-Sept. 1, 1983). Prayer Book revision coordinator. He was born in Tiflis, in the Russian province of Georgia. Malania received his B.A. from the University of Toronto in […]

Malines Conversations

A series of conversations between prominent Roman Catholic and Anglican figures. The conversations were held between 1921 and 1925 in Malines, Belgium, under the presidency of its Cardinal Archbishop, D. […]


See Prayer Book Society.

Manicheism, Manichaeism

This dualistic heresy was named after Manes, a third-century Babylonian. He taught that matter is evil and salvation consists in freeing the human soul from its commingling with the physical […]


A eucharistic vestment, typically an oblong band of silk or linen, worn above the left wrist. The maniple is usually of the same color and material as the eucharistic stole. […]

Manning, William Thomas

(May 12, 1866-Nov. 18, 1949). Tenth Bishop of New York. Manning was born in Northampton, England. In 1882 his family came to the United States, and in 1888 Manning entered […]

Manross, William Wilson

(Feb. 21, 1905-July 5, 1987). Episcopal Church historian, author, and seminary professor. He was born in Syracuse, New York. Manross received his B.A. from Hobart College in 1926; his S.T.B. […]


( An American Indian whose baptism on Aug. 13, 1587 is regarded as the first recorded Anglican baptism in the American colonies. Manteo was among a group of Indians captured […]

Manual Acts

Any gestures made by the presider or other ministers during a religious service. The term is used specifically to refer to the manual acts required by the rubrics of the […]

Maranatha, or Marana tha

An Aramaic liturgical exclamation, marana tha, used by Paul at 1 Cor 16:22, translated as an eschatological prayer, “Our Lord, come!” (NRSV). It is part of Paul's closing greeting at […]

Marbeck, John

(d. c. 1585). See Merbecke or Marbeck, John.


Name given to theological doctrines developed and advocated by the second-century Bithynian teacher, Marcion (d. c. 160). He was a Christian by upbringing, but he fell under gnostic influences. 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.