ABLUTION. The wine poured into the chalice, and also the wine and water poured into the same and over the Priest’s fingers, after the consumption of the Blessed Sacrament. The water should exceed the wine in quantity. It is drunk by the celebrant, and called the Ablution. There are always two Ablutions. See Purification.

ACOLYTES. Assistants at Solemn Service to the Sacred Ministers; their special office is to bear the cruets containing the wine and water for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. In the Latin Church they are the fourth or highest of the minor Orders.

ACOLYTES’ CANDLESTICKS should have a round, or more correctly, a triangular base; they should be smaller than those on the altar.

ALB. The vestment worn instead of the surplice by the Priest and Sacred Ministers at the Holy Eucharist.

ALLELUIA in the Roman Missal is sung after the gradual at Easter, on those Sundays when the Church especially commemorates the Resurrection, and on other Festivals.

ALMUCE. See Amyss.

AMICE. The vestment which is worn on the shoulders over the cassock and covers the neck—turning over the Alb.

AMPULLA. See Stock.

AMYSS. A cape lined with fur.

ANAPHORA. The part of the Liturgy of the East, beginning at the “Sursum corda” including the solemn prayer of Consecration, to the end.


ANTHEM. The variable Antiphon after the Third Collect at Matins and Evensong.

APPAREL. A square or oblong ornament richly embroidered, stitched on the collar of the amice, and at the bottom of the alb before and behind, and on the wrists, and also on the Deacon’s dalmatic.

ASPERGILLUM. The sprinkler for Holy Water, originally made of the herb hyssop. Cf. Numbers xix. 18, and Exod. xii. 22.

AUMBRYE. A recess for the preservation of the Sacred Vessels, and for the Holy Oil Stock.

BIRRETTA. The square cap worn by clerics over the zucchetto.

BOAT. The vessel that holds the Incense before it is put with a spoon into the censer or thurible.

BUGIA. A hand candle. It is only used in Pontifical Offices, when it is placed on the altar by the Service-book, and at other times held for the Bishop by an assistant Priest.

BURSE. The case for the corporal.

CAEREMONARIUS. The officer whose duty it is to attend to the ecclesiastical order and arrangement in all functions. A director of the ceremonies is as frequently a cleric as a lay person.

CANISTER. The metal case in which altar breads are kept—so called in the old inventories.

CANON. The Prayer of Consecration. In the West that part of the Mass beginning with “Te igitur” and finishing with the “Pater Noster”So called because it is the rule to be rigidly followed.

CANTICLES. The Benedicite, Benedictus, Jubilate, Magnificat, Cantate Domino, Nunc dimittis, and Deus misereatur.

CANTORIS STALL. The first return stall on the left on entering the choir. The Precentor’s stall.

CAPPA. A rich dress worn in the Latin Communion by Bishops, &c.

CAPPA MAGNA. A cope with richer orphreys than the ferial one. It is authorized by the old English Canons and Provincial Constitutions.

CAUTEL. A caution or direction, as to rightly and duly administering the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of the Altar. To which alone it is applied in the mediaeval Service Books.

CELEBRATION. The administration of the Sacrament of the Altar. In the Latin Communion the term is also applied to the singing of Solemn Vespers.

CELEBRANT. The Priest who celebrates the Holy Eucharist.

CHALICE COVER. “The fair linen cloth” with which the Blessed Sacrament is covered after the communion of the faithful.

CHALICE VEIL. The silk cover of the chalice when it is first put on the altar.

CHASUBLE or CHESIBLE. The sacrificial vestment worn by the Priest at the Holy Eucharist. Hence called emphatically “the Vestment.”

CHIMERE. The Bishop’s ordinary dress, worn over the rochet. It is made of black satin—its colour was formerly red.

CHOIR. The chancel.

CHRISM. A mixture of balsam and oil, used in the Latin Church in baptisms, confirmation, orders, consecration of churches, &c. We do not use it unless it be ordered by the Bishop in the last-named Rite.

CHRISOM. Sometimes incorrectly spelled Chrism as in the First Book of Edw. VI., the white vesture formerly put upon a child at baptism.

CIBORIUM. The vessel in which the LORD’S BODY is placed instead of on a paten when many are to be communicated. Where a Pyx has been preserved, it is proper to use it for this purpose.

COMMUNION. The receptionary part of the Sacrament of the LORD’S Supper.

COMMUNION or HOUSELLING CLOTH is a white linen cloth spread over the rails at the time of the Communion, or is held before the communicants by acolytes or other ministers.

COMPLINE FUNCTION. See Prime Function.

COPE. The vestment used at Missae Siccae, Solemn Vespers, processions, litany, &c. &c.

CORNER. The technical term for the extremities of the west side of the altar.

CORONA. A crown or circlet suspended from the roof or vaulting of a church to hold tapers or gas jets—corona lucis.

CORPORAL. The white linen cloth on which the Blessed Sacrament is laid. It is spread at the oblation of the elements over the “fair white linen cloth” which covers the super-frontal at a celebration.

COTTA. A short surplice.

CREATURES. The “matter” of the Sacrament (see Elements). So called from being compacted of created things.

DALMATIC. The vestment of the Deacon at the Holy Eucharist.

DECANI STALL. The first return stall on the right on entering the choir. The Dean’s stall.

DIPTYCH. In the ancient Liturgies tablets containing the names of the dead for whose souls the Priest was to pray. The modern altar-piece is derived from these folding tablets. See Triptych.

DIVINE SERVICE. The ordinary and specially the Eucharistic Service of the Church.

DOSSEL. A piece of embroidered needle-work, or cloth of gold, hung at the back of a throne or altar, but more particularly the latter.

DUPLICATION. A second celebration by the same Priest.

ELEMENTS. The materials (materies) used in the Sacraments, appointed for that purpose by our LORD Himself—technically called the “matter.”

ELEVATION. The lifting up of the paten and also of the chalice after consecration.

EPISTOLER. The cleric who reads the Epistle and fulfils the function formerly performed by the Subdeacon of the celebration. In some cathedral statutes the Epistoler and Gospeller are called Subdeacon and Deacon.

EVE. The day before a Festival when not fasted. It is also used for its Evensong, viz., its first vespers.

FALDSTOOL. A moveable stool. It is used particularly as the Bishop’s “chair” of the rubric.

FANON. See Maniple.

FERIA. A week-day on which no holyday falls. Monday is of course Feria ii. Sunday has its proper Dominical Service.

FOOT-PACE. See Platform.

FORM. The Sacramental words. Form is also used for “matter” or the outward part of the Sacrament in the doctrinal statement at the end of the first Book of Homilies. “Of the due receiving of His (CHRIST’S) Blessed BODY and BLOOD under the form of Bread and Wine.” “Form” is usually the matter together with the words.

FRACTION. The breaking of the Priest’s own Bread.

FRONTAL. The vestment hung in front of the altar, called also the antependium.

GIRDLE. The cord that girds the alb, usually made of white cotton, about three yards long.

GOSPELLER. The cleric who reads the Gospel and performs the function of the Deacon of the celebration; the name is given to the Deacon, because in the Ordering of Deacons, authority is given to them “to read the Gospel in the Church of GOD.”

GRADUAL. In the Roman Missal the psalm or part of a psalm that is sung after the Epistle.

GREMIAL. A silken apron placed on the lap of a Bishop, when sitting, during certain parts of the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

HOLY WATER VESSEL, The—should be an earthen vessel with a cover, from which the vessels and stoups of the church are supplied. It should be emptied and wiped out immediately after use.

HOUSEL. The Blessed Eucharist. A Saxon word. “He (the Priest) halloweth GOD’s Housel, as our saviour commanded.” Elfric’s Canons, a.s. 957. Johnson derives it from the Gothic Hunsel, a sacrifice, or hostia, dim. hostiola, Latin.

INTROIT. The psalm sung before the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, when the Priest stands at the altar.

INVITATORY. A passage of Scripture, proper for the day, used in ancient times before the “Venite” Our V. “Praise ye the LORD,” with the our present unvarying Invitatory. In the Communion Service the second Exhortation is the Invitatory.

LAVABO. The secreta oratio of the Priest when water is poured on his fingers before the Prayer of Oblation.

LAVATORY. A water-drain in the sacristy, where the Priest washes his hands before veiling.

LECTERN. A moveable desk from which the Lessons are read. The Epistle and Gospel are also sometimes read from a lectern. In reading from a lectern the hands should touch the sides thereof.

LESSER LITANY. “The LORD have mercy,” &c. ushering the LORD’s Prayer in the Prime and Compline functions.

LITANY DESK. A low moveable desk at which the Litany is sung.

LITURGY. The celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

LORD’S SUPPER. The last meal of our LORD, when He instituted the Holy Eucharist.

Low SERVICE. The plain celebration of the Holy Eucharist, which is simply said; there is no choir, and the Priest is attended by a single assistant called a server, veiled in cassock and cotta.

MANIPLE. The vestment worn on the left arm of the Priest, Deacon, and Subdeacon at the Holy Eucharist. This word is also used for any kind of napkin, as that used to wipe the Priest’s fingers at Holy Baptism.

MANTELLETUM. A habit used in the Latin Communion by Bishops on ordinary occasions; the chimere is worn in its place with us.

MATERIES. See Elements.

MEMORIAL COLLECT. When two holydays fall together, the service of the superior one is used, and the collect of the inferior day is said after that of the Office of the Feast, as its memorial.

MENSA. The top or table of the altar.


MINISTER. One who ministers before GOD in a great action as the Priest in the Holy Eucharist, who is thence called “the principal Minister;” those who minister or serve the Priest as the Gospeller and Epistoler (Deacon and Subdeacon)—Sacred Ministers; acolytes as ministering to the Sacred Ministers. The officiant at Matins and Evensong is also so called, as ministering in Divine offices; a layman acting as server, or as Epistoler, or as a reader of the Lessons is also a “Minister.”

MINISTERIUM. The Epistle corner of the altar. So called from the Sacred Ministers preparing the chalice, &c. there when the elements are removed from the credence.

MISSA SICCA. The Dry Service—neither Communion nor Consecration, but a sham rite, unfortunately peculiar to the modern Church of England. It includes the Prayer of Oblation, with the oblations omitted, and concludes with one or more of the post-Communion Collects, and the Blessing. The Priest is vested in alb, stole (crossed), maniple, and cope of the colour of the day.

MOZZETTA. A cape with a small hood worn by canons in the Latin Communion.

MUNDATORY. See Purificator.


NORTH-SIDE. The part of the altar to the left of the Midst as the Priest stands in front facing the east.

OBLATION, Prayer of. The prayer for the whole state of christ’s Church, after the elements are placed upon the altar, and during which the Oblation of them is made.

OCTAVE. The eighth day after any principal Feast of the Church. The intervening days are technically called “of,” or “within the octave.”

OFFICE. Matins and Evensong.

OFFICIANT. The Priest who sings the Divine Office, &c.

OILS. There are three sorts, viz., the Chrism, the Holy oil of the sick, and Holy oil.

OIL (Holy). Used now in the Coronation Service instead of Chrism. It was formerly used in baptisms, and thence called holy oil of catechumens.

OIL (Holy) of the sick. Oil consecrated by the Bishop or Priest for the anointing of sick persons.

ORATIONES. The collects.

ORPHREYS. A band or bands of gold or embroidery affixed to vestments.

OSTENSION. The showing of the chalice after consecration by lifting it up above the head of the celebrant, so that it may be visible.

PALL. A small square, of linen on both sides, cardboard in the midst, with which the chalice is covered. It is about eight inches square and should have no fringe.

PALLIUM or PALL. The ensign of jurisdiction worn by Archbishops.

PARTICLES. The wafers or breads used for the communion of the faithful. Particle is also applied to the crumb of bread with which the Priest cleanses his thumb after the anointing of the sick, &c.

PASCHAL CANDLESTICK, The—was placed on the Gospel side of the choir, and lighted during mass and vespers from Holy Saturday till Ascension. The staff had formerly a lectern attached, from which was sung the Exultet.

PAX. A small plate of precious metal, &c., carried round in the Latin Church, having been kissed by the Priest, after the Agnus Dei in the Mass, to communicate the Kiss of Peace. The first clause of our Blessing at the end of the celebration, “The Peace of GOD,” &c. represents the Pax in our rite.

PLAIN SERVICE. See Low Service.

PLAIN SONG. The ecclesiastical tone,

PLANETA. The folded chasuble, worn instead of the dalmatic and tunic by the Sacred Ministers during Advent and Lent, except on the Sundays Gaudete and Laetare, when either purple “tunicles” (dalmatic and tunic) richly embroidered with gold, or else rose-coloured, should be used.

PLATFORM. The raised dais on which the altar stands; and also that on which the font stands.

POME. A round ball of silver or other metal; which is filled with hot water, and is placed on the altar in winter months to prevent danger or accident with the chalice, from the hands of the Priest becoming numb with cold.

PONTIFICAL. Functions peculiar to Bishops are so called. When the Bishop offers the Holy Sacrifice it is a Pontifical celebration.

PONTIFICALLY ASSISTING. When a Bishop assists pontifically he says the Pater Noster, Collect for Purity, Ten Commandments,and The Blessing. The only two Rubrics in our Service-book on the matter direct the Bishop to say the Absolution as well as the Blessing.It is, however, usual for the Bishop not to say the Absolution, (at most only a remission for venial sin). The Rubric does not, of course, prohibit the Bishop from directing the celebrant to say it. When a Bishop is simply present on his throne the celebrant may give the Blessing; the Rubrics suppose the Bishop to be present pontifically assisting.

POST COMMUNION, The, begins as its name imports after the Communion of the Faithful, and includes the LORD’s Prayer, the Prayer, O LORD and Heavenly father, or, Almighty and ever-living GOD, Gloria in Excelsis, and the Collects, printed at the end of the Service (when said). The Post-Communion should be said junctis manibus.In the Roman Rite the “Poft-Communion consists of collects, one or more, according to the number of collects for the day, and immediately follows the “Communion,” an anthem, or short sentence so called, because it is recited just after the Communion.

PRAISE OF THE OFFICE. That portion of Matins and Evensong from “Gloria”inclusive, to the Credo exclusive.

PRECES. The petitions which follow the lesser Litany and Pater Noster; they are a selection from the Preces used at Lauds and Prime, and again at Vespers and Compline.

PREDELLA. See Platform.

PRIE DIEU. A kneeling desk to be suitably covered with green baize, and to be placed in a retired part of the inner Sacristy. The tables of prayers before and after the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist should hang immediately in front of it.

PRIME FUNCTION. From the Credo inclusive to the end of the Office.

PROANAPHORAL SERVICE. A name applied to the Missa Sicca when there has been a Celebration; in which case this Service does not supersede the Celebration, but is a selection from the Liturgy; a sort of higher Ordinary Office.

PURIFICATION. The wine poured into the chalice after the consumption of the Blessed Sacrament, and drunk by the celebrant. It is sometimes called the First Ablution. See Ablution.

PURIFICATOR. The napkin used for wiping the chalice. It is placed on the chalice under the pall before the beginning of the celebration. It is made of linen, neither coarse nor fine, and should be simply hemmed, and not less than 13½ inches square, with a very small cross worked in the centre. Although it is not required to be blessed, yet, when once employed at the Holy Sacrifice, it should not be used for other purposes, nor be handled by laics (not having the requisite permission), until after having been washed by a Clerk in Holy Orders. The same rules for washing purificators are to be observed as for corporals. Before the chalice is oblated the Priest wipes the inside with the purificator down to the surface of the wine.It used to be customary in the Latin Church, after the communion of the faithful, for a minister to give to each communicant a purification of wine or wine and water from a chalice, and to wipe his lips with a purificator. Each Priest should have his own purificator.

PYX. See Ciborium.

RATIONAL. An ornament borrowed from the Aaronic by the Christian Priesthood, and formerly worn by Bishops on the breast.

REGAL. A small organ.

REREDOS. A screen or back placed between the altar and the east wall.

RETABLE. A shelf, temporary or otherwise, between the altar and the east wall. A series of receding shelves, or retables, behind and separate from the altar, is very convenient for vases of flowers and lights. A manner of decoration which is very desirable and most effective.

ROCHET. A short surplice with closed sleeves, as worn by Bishops. Without sleeves as used by clerics in baptism, &c. In reality the modern English Bishop’s rochet is without sleeves, as the sleeves are sewn on to the chimere.

ROOD. The cross with the figure of our LORD upon it.

ROOD LOFT. A gallery running along the top of the rood-screen, which in parish churches should cross the chancel arch on the nave side. The Gospel and Epistle were, in old times, read from it.

ROOD-SCREEN or CHANCEL-SCREEN. A screen separating the chancel from the nave; sometimes surmounted by a figure of our Blessed LORD on the Cross, and on either side the Blessed Virgin and S. John.

SACRAMENT, BLESSED, Consumption of what remains of the. The rubric rules that “the Priest and such of the communicants as he shall then call unto him, shall immediately after the Blessing, reverently eat and drink the same.” It is to be noted that the faithful are here supposed to be present during the Consumption and Ablutions,—directed to take place “immediately after the Blessing” to ensure such presence. To “reverently eat” means, of course, kneeling. It is usual for the Priest himself to stand at the Consumption, as he does when he communicates himself. The Sacred Ministers continue kneeling till the purification of the chalice.

SACRARIUM. The most holy place enclosed by the altar rails.

SACRED (OR CANONICAL) COLOURS—are five in number:—1. White; 2. Red; 3. Violet; 4, Black; 5. Green. Gold is reckoned as white. On the Sundays Gaudete and Laetare a dalmatic and tunicle of rose-colour is used in Rome and elsewhere.

SACRED MINISTERS. Gospeller and Epistoler (the Deacon and Subdeacon of the celebration.)

SACRED VESSELS. The chalice, paten, ciborium (or pyx), and the large paten used instead, none of which may be handled by those not in Holy Orders without especial permission.

SACRISTY. A vestry.

SANCTUARY. See Sacrarium.

SCARF. Worn by chaplains; it is made of silk of the colour of the nobleman’s livery to whom the cleric is chaplain; the ends are “pinked,” and not fringed like a stole. The black scarf is worn over the gown by Doctors in Divinity, cathedral Dignitaries, and Bishop’s chaplains. The scarf ought not properly to be worn with the surplice, as it has little to recommend it either in an ecclesiastical or aesthetic point of view.

SEAT COVERS. For the seat of the Sacred Ministers at Solemn Service; some to be of green, others of purple, about 4½ yards long; others square for the stools, which are used on various occasions.

SECRETAE (orationes.) Prayers said secreto. Formerly certain prayers were ordered to be so said. These secrets varied with the day. The term now denotes the short private supplementary devotions of the Priest.

SEQUENCES. Certain rhythms chanted in mediaeval times on particular Festivals after the gradual.

SERVER. The assistant of the Priest at Low Service.

SERVICE. Stated parts of the Ordinary and Eucharistic Service set to music, as distinguished from those anthems, the words of which are not a matter of settled regulation, and supplemental to the Plain Song of the Church. The term includes the Versicles before the Psalms, the Venite” one or more chants for the Psalms, the Te Deum and Canticles, the Dominus vobiscum, Oremus, lesser Litany, Preces,Amens, Litany, and Order of Holy Communion. The term is, however, sometimes restricted to the Te Deum, the Canticles, and in the Communion Service the Responses to the Commandments, Nicene Creed, and Gloria in Excelsis.

SOLEMN SERVICE. A choral celebration of the Holy Eucharist; the Priest is assisted by the Sacred Ministers, &c.

SPECIES. The outward and visible part of the Blessed Sacrament. Cf. Rubric before Communion of Priest, “Then shall the Minister first receive the Communion in both kinds himself,” &c.

STOCK. The vessel in which the Holy Oil is kept, also called an ampulla. It should have a case of purple silk, and should be preserved in the aumbry.

STOLE. The vestment worn over the shoulders by Priests. The very badge of the Priestly office. It is a narrow strip of silk of the colour of the season, and has three crosses, one in the centre and one at each end. The ends are slightly widened, and terminate in a fringe. It is crossed upon the breast of the Priest, who offers the Holy Sacrifice. At other times it is worn pendent. A Bishop wears the stole pendent when celebrating the Holy Eucharist, because he wears the pectoral cross. The stole when crossed is fastened either by a stud, or by a ribbon attached inside.

SUBDEACON. The name formerly used for the Epistoler.

SUPER-ALTAR. The ledge at the back of the altar on which stand the altar-cross, altar-lights, and flower vases.

SUPER-FRONTAL. The vestment which covers the mensa of the altar; it is put next over the cerecloth.

TABLE PRAYERS. A popular name for the Dry Service. See Missa Sicca.


TIPPET. The stuff cape worn over the surplice in lieu of the hood by literates, and the silk cape permitted to be worn by dignitaries and beneficed Clergy over their gowns at such times as they do not wear the hood.

TORCHES. Very suitable ones may be made of wood grooved to resemble four candles, i.e., the section of which should be a quatrefoil. These may be painted white, and hollowed out to receive a large-sized Palmer’s candle-spring. They should have a hollow at the top, to retain any wax that may gutter. In these torches, the ends of the larger candles from the altar-candlesticks might be used up; let, however, the socket of the spring have a small aperture near the top, so that without taking out the candle, it may be seen whether there is sufficient for the occasion required. The ends of larger candles are best for this purpose, as the flame of a torch is naturally thought to be larger than that of an ordinary candle. The torches should be kept in a rack, which is either in a cupboard or capable of being covered over.

TRICANALE. A round ball with a screw cover, whereout issue three pipes. It was used by Bp. Andrewes instead of a cruet, for the water of mixture.

TRIPTYCH. A picture over the altar with folding doors, which usually have pictures painted on them inside, or at least are richly diapered.

TUNIC. The vestment of the Epistoler at the Holy Eucharist.

TUNICLES. The technical phrase for dalmatics and tunics, so used in the First Book of Edw. VI.

VESTMENT, The—the chasuble. This term includes its appendages, as amice, alb, girdle, maniple, and stole; and even the frontal of the altar. See Lyndwood in loco.

VIGIL. The day before a festival when fasted.

VOLUNTARY. A piece of music played on the organ after the Psalms.

WHITE ALB plain. An alb of linen, and not of silk with fringes and embroidery, but only with apparels.

YSOPUS or HYSOPUS. See Aspergillum.

ZUCCHETTO. The cleric’s round or skull cap worn under the birretta.