An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Glossary of Terms


Semicircular or polyhedral construction at the end of the chancel, containing the altar and sanctuary, and roofed with a half dome. The apse was a standard feature of the architecture […]

Apthorp, East

(1733-Apr. 16, 1816). An early advocate for the episcopate in the colonies. He was part of a vigorous pamphlet war in the 1760s reflecting the tensions between the Church of […]

Aquinas, Thomas

(1225-Mar. 7, 1274). The leading theologian of the medieval church, Aquinas was given the title doctor angelicus. On July 18, 1323, he was pronounced a saint by Pope John XXII. […]


See Pyx, or Pix.


See Angel.


A bishop with administrative and disciplinary authority over other bishops. In the Anglican Communion, an archbishop is the chief bishop of a province. The term is not used by any […]

Archbishop of Canterbury

In the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury is the "Primate of all England and Metropolitan" of the ecclesiastical province of Canterbury in southern England. In addition to a […]


A clergyperson with a defined administrative authority delegated by the diocesan bishop. Originally the chief of the deacons who assisted the bishop, the archdeacon is now typically a priest who […]

Archivist of the Episcopal Church

The General Convention of 1940 appointed and designated the Church Historical Society “an official agency of General Convention for the collection, preservation, and safekeeping of records and historical documents connected […]


See Pyx, or Pix.

Area Cluster (Ministry)

An effective and widely used mission strategy for ministry among small congregations unable to support a full-time priest. Churches “cluster” together to share ministry and resources. These clusters generally involve […]

Area Mission

The 1973 General Convention changed the Canon “Of Missionary Jurisdictions,” and created a new jurisdiction called an area mission. The House of Bishops may establish a mission in any area […]


The teaching that the Son of God was a creature "of like substance" (homoiousios), though not identical with God. It is named for Arius, a fourth-century presbyter of Alexandria who […]

Arizona, Diocese of

On Oct. 19, 1859, the House of Bishops created the Missionary District of the Southwest, which included Arizona. On Oct. 21, 1865, it created the Missionary Bishopric of Nevada with […]

Arkansas Theological Chautauqua School

In 1904 Bishop William Montgomery Brown of Arkansas called for an institution of higher learning to be known as the “School of Theology of the Diocese of Arkansas.” It was […]

Arkansas, Diocese of

The House of Bishops nominated and the House of Deputies confirmed Leonidas Polk as Missionary Bishop of Arkansas and the Indian Territory. Polk was consecrated on Dec. 9, 1838, and […]

Armed Forces Prayer Book

The title was given to the revision of the World War II Prayer Book for Soldiers and Sailors issued in 1951 at the time of the Korean War for the […]

Armed Forces, Suffragan Bishop for

The Constitution of the Episcopal Church states that it is “lawful for the House of Bishops to elect a Suffragan Bishop who, under the direction of the Presiding Bishop, shall […]

Articles of Religion

See Thirty-Nine Articles, or Articles of Religion.

Ascension of Christ, The, or Ascension Day

The occasion on which the risen Christ is taken into heaven after appearing to his followers for forty days (Acts 1:1-11, Mk 16:19). The Ascension marks the conclusion of Jesus' […]

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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.