Saint Sam's Dictionary
Kirk Hollingsworth, compiler

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What it is
A brief guide to some of the terms you'll see in and around St Sam's cyberparish.

How to use it
Click on the letter of the word (or 'numerals') that you might like to look for:
Numerals or A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

If you suggestions for additions to the dictionary, email Kirk.

* From the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church.
(*) Paraphrased therefrom.
# From the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition.

(Excerpts from the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church and definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary used by permission of Oxford University Press.)

The Episcopal Church Center, 815 Second Avenue, New York, New York, site of ECUSA's national offices; shorthand for the national church administration.
The Aramaic word for "Father".
Archbishop of Canterbury
(1) Love, but in the holy, rather than erotic, sense. (2) The community meal originating in early church in association with the Eucharist. (3) Specifically, in modern usage, the meal sometimes offered after the Maunday Thursday Eucharist.
The doctrine that only material things can be known, and hence knowledge of God, or for that matter anything supernatural, is impossible.(*)
A white linen garment, full-length, and held at the waist with a cincture (girdle). Sometimes worn with an amice, which is an oblong piece of cloth worn around the neck. When the server puts it on, it is first put over and around the head and then pushed back down, so the effect is like the unworn hood on a parka.
See Alb.
Anglican Chant
The harmonized singing of prose psalms and canticles.
A deacon (derivation unknown: probably parochial to St. Sam's).
The belief, widespread among primitive peoples, that certain material objects, e.g. trees and stones, are possessed by spirits which are the cause of their movements and characteristic qualities. *
A piece of sacred music set to scriptural words.* In modern Anglican practice, an anthem is generally sung by the choir.
The defense of the Christian faith on intellectual grounds by trained theologians and philosophers.*
Applied to knowledge of God obtained by way of negation.#
Alternative Service Book: versions are used in various Anglican
churches in Canada, Australia and the UK.
One who denies or disbelieves the existence of a God.#
In Christian theology, man's reconciliation with God through the sacrificial death of Christ.*
A small recess in the wall of a church where (in current usage) the Sacrament is kept.
Immersion of a person in water, or application of water by pouring or sprinkling, as a religious rite, symbolical of moral or spiritual purification or regeneration, and, as a Christian ordinance, betokening initiation into the Church.
Book of Common Prayer. Defines permitted rites in the Anglican churches.
Speech, thought, or action manifesting contempt of God.
Cantus firmus
A melody, usually in long notes, played or sung while the other parts are decorating it: e.g. Bach's 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring'.*
The basic long garment, nowadays usually black, worn by clergy (and other ministers, including choirs).
In the early Church, those undergoing training and instruction preparatory to Christian Baptism.*
A word derived from the Greek katolikos, and meaning 'general' or 'universal'.... in present-day usage, it is employed of those Christians who claim to be in possession of a historical and continuous tradition of faith and practice, as opposed to Protestants, who tend to find their ultimate standards in the Bible as interpreted on the principles of the Reformation...*
The outermost garment worn by the celebrant at a Eucharist.
Originally, a hymn tune of the Lutheran Church. In casual modern usage, a classical setting, e.g., by J.S. Bach, of such a tune, in parts.
Chorale Prelude
A setting of a chorale involving, usually, considerable variation of the tune. When several such variations are involved, the form may be called a Partita.
A chalice-shaped vessel, with a lid, used to contain the Sacramental Bread of the Eucharist.*
A structure with recessed cavities for storage of ashes of those cremated.
A cloak-like outer garment worn by some ministers in procession.
A square piece of linen on which the bread and wine are placed and consecrated in the Eucharist.
A short form of surplice (q.v.): in Anglican churches often worn by choirs.
A small table near the altar used to hold the elements and various accessories to the Eucharist.
D*** h***
As in 'beating a...' An obscenity. Since an adjunct member of St. Sam's is of the genus equus, it is not used around here in polite company.
The outer garment worn by the Deacon in the Eucharist.
Belief in the existence of a Supreme Being as the source of finite existence, with rejection of revelation and the supernatural doctrines of Christianity; 'natural religion'. #
One of the three main types of organ pipes (also called Principal), the other two being Flutes and Reeds. The Diapason produces what most people consider the characteristic sound of the organ.
(From Greek='teaching'.) The elements in primitive Christian apologetic of an instructional kind , as contrasted with Kerygma or 'preaching'. *
In the accepted Christian meaning...a religious truth established by Divine Revelation and defined by the Church. *
A system of dogma; a dogmatic theology.
One of a sect of Christians which arose in North Africa in the year 311, out of a dispute [about the election of a bishop]; they maintained that their own party was the only true and pure church, and that the baptisms and ordinations of others were invalid.* In current usage, the heresy that the validity of a Eucharist depends on the moral worthiness of the celebrant.
Idiotic utterance; silly nonsense; twaddle.# At St. Sam's, a useful way of passing time, a productive way of releasing tension and defusing flames, as well as an opportunity to explicate one's vast knowledge of utterly useless matters.
Belonging to or representing the whole Christian church.
The process of reading one's own meaning into a text (as opposed to exegesis). Usually perjorative.
A priest or bishop (derivation unknown: probably parochial to St Sam's).
The theory or science of the method or grounds of knowledge.# The philosophical discipline which examines the nature and validity of human cognition.*
The study of 'last things': the 'four last things' are usually death, judgement, heaven, and hell.
The act of explaining a sacred text. (*)
The atoning or making up for an offence committed against God or one's neighbor.*
General Convention of ECUSA.
A place of future torment, Hell. (A figurative use of the place-name ... denoting a place near Jerusalem where, according to Jer. xix. 5, etc., children were burnt in sacrifice to Baal or Molech.) #
The place or state of departed spirits. The word is used in the Septuagint as a translation for the Hebrew 'Sheol'.*
Theological or religious opinion or doctrine maintained in opposition, or held to be contrary, to the 'catholic' or orthodox doctrine of the Christian Church, or, by extension, to that of any church, creed, or religious system, considered as orthodox.#
The science of the methods of exegesis. (*)
Not in accordance with established doctrines or opinions, or those generally recognized as right or 'orthodox'.#
The art of preaching; sacred rhetoric.#
A geographical/ecclesiastical area, possibly an Archdiocese, possibly in England, inhabited by Ratbags. It is known to have both a North and a South coast; however, whether it has a West or an East coast (if either) is not known. It is ruled by King Ferdinand (who believes he is a 13-year-old girl) and his affianced Consort Debele. In recent times it appears to have faded into the historical past.
Sacred poetry set to music and sung in the course of the services of the church.* In modern Anglican practice, hymns are generally sung by the congregation.
The omnipresence of God in His universe...when held without the parallel doctrine of Divine transcendence, it commonly indistinguishable from pantheism.*
Not an Archie or an Elmer (derivation unknown: probably parochial to St Sam's).
Fullness of time; the propitious moment for the performance of an action or the coming into being of a new state.#
The positive knowledge of God and what God is. Antithesis of Apophatic (q.v.).
(From Greek='preaching') The element of proclamation in Christian apologetic, as contrasted with Didache, or its instructional aspects. *
Fellowship of body of believers), community.
Lectio divina
An ancient form of meditation on scripture where one reads "very slowly through a text until a word or phrase 'lights' up and attracts the reader. The text is then laid aside and the phrase is repeated in the heart...without analysis." (Martin Smith, The Word is Very Near You)
LEVAS (several volumes)
'Lift Every Voice and Sing': supplementary hymnals authorized by ECUSA's General Convention.
In Greek 'word' or 'reason'. In the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ.
Conversion. (Meta=change, noia=mind, heart.)
A (usually) unaccompanied choral composition based on a Latin text.
Divine, spiritual, revealing or suggesting the presence of a god; inspiring awe and reverence.#
The science or study of being; that department of metaphysics which relates to the being or essence of things, or to being in the abstract.
(1) in canon law, an ecclesiastic in the exercise of the jurisdiction permanently and irremovably annexed to his office. * In Anglican churches, the Diocesan. (2) of the Mass: the portions of the Mass which are invariant regardless of the calendar. The Canon of the Mass, and the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Lord's Prayer, etc. In distinction to the Proper(s).
Organo pleno
'Full organ'. Not necessarily with all the stops drawn: the combination of stops which will give the fullest sound for the particular organ.
1. Holding 'right' or 'correct' opinions. 2. Referring to the Eastern Church.
Ostinato or basso ostinato, "obstinate bass"
A short tune which gets repeated in the bass over and over again. the Pachelbel canon contains one. If the piece develops into a formal set of variations over the ostinato, often in a dance-like three rhythm, it's a passacaglia: e.g. The Bach passacaglia in c minor.
The belief that the Being of God includes and penetrates the whole univers, so that every part of it exists in him, but (as against Pantheism...) that His Being is more than, and is not exhausted by, the universe.
The belief that God and the Universe are identical.*
The Holy Spirit (in the Gospel of John).
(In the New Testament): either the intermediate state just before the Resurrection, or a synonym for the heaven of the blessed. (*)
The judgement time, when god is all and all.
See Chorale Prelude. (Also, in mid 18th Century, a dance suite.)
The dish on which the Bread is placed at the Eucharist.
A niche in the wall...for the ablutions of the priests hands and of the chalice and paten at Mass. It...has a drain connected with the earth, to receive the water used for the ceremonies. *
Monophonic unaccompanied singing of the psalms, the Ordinary, or other sacred texts.
The science, doctrine, or theory of spirits or spiritual beings... and comprehending the doctrine of God as known by natural reason, of angels and demons, and of the human soul. #
The process of assigning text syllables to notes in Anglican chant or plainchant.
The portions of the Mass which vary by calendar: the Psalm, the lessons, the Proper Preface.
The appeasing of the wrath of the Deity by prayer or sacrifice when a sin or offence has bbeen committed against him...In Christian thought the death of Christ has usually been regarded as a propitiatory sacrifice to the Father for the sins of the world. *
(Protestant) Episcopal Church of the USA. Until fairly
recently, PECUSA was the church's other (than DFMS) official name. However, a General Convention several decades ago authorized use of ECUSA. Currently the term PECUSA is under siege: a group of conservative Episcopalians have attempted to register it as a trademark for a somewhat other-than-mainstream version of the ECUSA.
The small box used to contain the Blessed Sacrament when taking communion to the sick.
Rank of pipes
The group of pipes which comprise all the notes (from one end of a keyboard to the other) sounding for a particular stop.
An Order of beings: its Superior General is +Matt Tracy. They are often resident in Humberside (q.v.).
Revised Common Lectionary. As opposed (slightly) to the Eucharistic Lectionary in the 1979 ECUSA BCP.
A breach of the unity of the visible Church; the division, either of the whole Church or of some portion of it, into separate and mutually hostile organizations. #
"The LXX". The most influential of the Greek versions of the Old Testament. (Involved 72 translators, hence "LXX".) (*)
In the Old Testament, the underworld, the place of the departed spirits. *
The section of Christian theology which treats of the saving work of Christ for the world. It includes not only the doctrines of Atonement and Grace, but also (a) the doctrine of human nature as affected by the fall and by sin..., and (b) the doctrine of man's final destiny as a result of that work.*
Stop, organ
The collection of pipes which make a particular sound for all of the notes from bottom to top of the keyboard. In the majority of cases, identical with 'rank of pipes'; however some stops are 'mixture' or 'mutation' stops and include two or more ranks.
A liturgical vestment of white linen, with wide sleeves.* It is relatively long, (in distinction to the Cotta), reaching nearly to the feet.
The teaching ...that in the act of conversion the human will can cooperate with the Holy Spirit and God's grace.*
Synoptic Gospels
Matthew, Mark and Luke, having a large amount of common narrative and quotations.
The Anglican Digest. A small-sized magazine, essentially a digest of previously published writings by various Anglicans; general perspective is that of ECUSA. Published six times a year.
The Living Church. Weekly independent periodical covering ECUSA matters read by many laity and clergy.
The vocal range most consistently used in a piece of music. If you have a sore jaw after singing several verses, that song has a high tessitura - for you.
A philosophical system which accepts a transcendent and personal God who not only created but also preserves and governs the world, the contingency of which does not exclude miracles and the exercise of human freedom.*
Vindication of the divine attributes, esp. justice and holiness, in respect to the existence of evil; a writing, doctrine, or theory intended to 'justify the ways of God to men'.
A metal container used to contain, and distribute, incense. The bearer of the Thurible is called the Thurifer.
A broad black scarf worn by Anglican clergy in choir over the surplice.*
Tracker organ
A mechanical organ, where each key is mechanically connected to a valve for a pipe by a series of wooden 'stickers' and 'trackers'. The effect is like an old fashioned mechanical typewriter. This is the way organs were made before the modern era when electopneumatic organs were invented, permitting removing the console from the pipe locations, and permitting greater flexibility of stop use. They are enjoying a renaissance in the past few decades, partly reflecting their greater reliability, and partly reflecting the success of the Early Music movement.
Of the Deity: The attribute of being above and independent of the universe; distinguished from immanence.
Having reference to the Council of Trent (1545-63)*
The outer garment worn by the Subdeacon in the Eucharist.
Strictly the official who carries a mace or 'verge' (Lat. virga) before a dignitary. Today the term is commonly used for one who takes care of the interior fabric of the church.
The matriarch of the Wolfpack (q.v.). R.I.P. 2003
The core membership of this group, as far as St. Sam's is concerned, has been the matriarch, resident in Maine until her recent death, and one cub, resident in Kingston, Ontario. However, the group appears to grow, at times, via voluntary affiliation. Its actual size and geographical extent is is not known.

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