Here's my second glossary developed during research into the cults of Anglo-Saxons saints that continued to the later medieval era. Much of the data collected comes from a welter of religious documents from Antiphon to Versicles, not forgetting the Vulgate Latin that most were written in. The glossary was prepared so that I could understand a source document and weigh its importance vis-a-vis other sources. I hope you find it useful, and please share any comments or additions so that it can be updated.
Glossary of Church Terms
Antiphon: A short verse sung before or after a psalm, canticle or hymn. (Morgan 1988, 339)
Antiphoner: Book containing the antiphons and antiphonal chants sung by cantor, congregation, and choir at Mass (antiphonarium Missarum) or graduale and at the canonical Hours (antiphonarium officii).
Book of Hours: Functional prayer books made for the nonordained, very popular between the mid-thirteenth century and the late seventeenth century. Although prepared for an individual and their interests, books of hours share one group of devotions: a set of prayers in eight sections meant to be said at regular intervals throughout the twenty-four-hour day, called the Hours of the Virgin. The practice of praying at multiple times of the day and night was based upon the Divine Office (see Office below). In addition to the Hours of the Virgin, books of hours included five to twenty-five further elements. The most common are a calendar, a set of gospel lessons, hours focusing on the Cross, a group of psalms that express penitence or regret, and prayers to saints called Suffrages.
Breviary: A liturgical book used for praying the canonical hours. It consists of psalms, lessons taken from the Scriptures, and the writings of the Fathers, versicles and pious sentences brought together into the shape of the antiphons, responses, or similar forms, hymns and prayers. (Smith and Cheetham 2005, p. 247). The book containing all the offices for the daily offices of the public liturgy of the church. (Morgan 1988, 339)
Calendar: The calendar of saints organizes the liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the day as the feast day or feast of said saint. "Feast" means an annual religious celebration, a day dedicated to a particular saint. The feast day is almost always the date of the saint’s death (and birth into heaven)
Canon Law: The laws of the Church relating to ecclesiastical discipline, faith and morality. (Morgan 1988, 339)
Casuals: Rites of baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial (as in Book of Common Prayer). [Leuenberger, 1990, xxviii].
Canticles: Certain recitations from the Old and New Testaments sung during the daily offices. [Te Deum not included as it is believed to be by St Ambrose]. (Morgan 1988, 339)
Collect: [Modern] A collect is a prayer meant to gather the intentions of the people and the focus of worship into a succinct prayer. Most collects fit a pattern developed by Archbishop Cranmer in the first Book of Common Prayer (1549), which were translated from Latin prayers for each Sunday of the year. The form of collects is straight-forward: There is an address to God and to his character or actions in the world on our behalf; There is a request; There is an invocation and doxology. And there is The Amen.
Confessor: A male saint who is not a martyr. (Morgan 1988, 339)
Convent: An enclosed and regulated monastic institution
Conventual Use: The liturgical practices of communities of regular canons (Augustinians, Premonstratensians) and friars (Dominicans, Franciscans). Their liturgy is much closer to that of the secular church than that of the monastic church, and increasingly in the later Middle Ages comes under its influence. (Morgan 1988, 340)
Daily/Divine Office: Daily cycle of choir services performed by clergy; also referred to as divine office
Diocese: Territorial unit of administration in the church, governed by a bishop; also known as a See
Epitome: A précis of a bible story or hagiography, written for homiletic use in sermons (see Aelfric’s Lives of Saints)
Feast: Annual religious celebration of the day dedicated to a saint, usually the date of their death.
Gloss: A commentary on a text. (Morgan 1988, 340)
Grading (of feast days): “Each feast day in a calendar has a grading at the end of the line, which indicates the importance of the feast in rank: e.g. D indicates ‘double’ for the highest rank, with most being listed as l ix or l iii, which indicate the number of lessons at matins as expressed in the Breviary. The lowest rank is mem, indicating a memoria. Quite often these rankings, some of which changed between the thirteenth and the fifteenth centuries, are not included, even though the calendar text is otherwise accurate in the saints it lists.” (Morgan 2017, 20)
Gradual: The Gradual is one of the responsorial chants of the Mass. It may have gained that name because it was sung on the step (Latin: gradus) of the altar. A book of graduals sets out the responses (chants) for a cycle of days, similar to a lectionary (readings) and a missal (masses).
Gradual Psalms: Psalms 119-133 (Vulgate numerations) mostly concerned with trust in God’s aid. These were read daily before Matins in monastic use but only during Advent and Lent in secular use. (Morgan 1988, 340)
Hours, Books of: From the 11th century an addition to the daily monastic office, and from the 12th century also the secular office, were the Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These came to form a separate book containing additional prayers, the Office of the Dead, the Penitential Psalms, the Gradual Psalms and occasionally certain special Hours (e.g., the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, the Name of Jesus). In the late 13th and 14th century it became popular for the laity to possess Books of Hours for their private devotions although such books were also made for clerics and even monks. (Morgan 1988, 340)
Inventio(n): The discovery of the relics of a saint. The day of this occurrence is occasional celebrated as a liturgical feast.
Lectionary: A lectionary (Latin: Lectionarium) is a book that contains a collection of scripture readings appointed worship on a given day or occasion. Each yearly cycle of readings begins on the first Sunday of Advent (the Sunday between November 27 and December 3 inclusive).
Legendary: A legendary contains the lives of the saints celebrated in the liturgy. The legendary could be a source of the hagiographic texts recited in the second nocturn of Matins (see also Office Lectionary). Legendaries vary widely in their selection of saints and of texts. While contents may vary, their order normally follows that of the liturgical year.
Litany: A form of prayer consisting of a series of petitions sung by a deacon, a priest or cantors, to which the people made fixed responses: “The litany of the saints was one of the most common, and also most characteristic, liturgical forms of the Middle Ages” (Lapidge 1991, i); “A form of invocatory prayer in which are included invocations to various saints. Local saints enable some conclusions to be made concerning the area or place for which the Litany may have been intended.” (Morgan 1988, 340)
Liturgy: Standardised order of events observed during a religious service, be it a sacramental service or a service of public prayer.
Majuscule: Large capital lettering in which all the letters are the same height
Manual: Book of special services for occasional use, such as baptisms, marriages and visiting the sick
Martyrological Calendar: “A Calendar with a saint entered for every single day of the year. These saints are derived from the martyrology and rarely reflect local feast days.” (Morgan 1988, 340)
Matins lections (for saint): A lection, also called the lesson, is a reading from scripture in liturgy.
Minuscule: Lower case letters or upper (capital) and lower-case letters in one word
Missal: Book that contains all the texts required for celebrating Mass, the central service of the liturgy; “The book containing the masses for the feast days and saints’ days of the year and also other votive masses.” (Morgan 1988, 341)
Monastic Use: “The liturgical practices of the enclosed orders (Benedictine, Cluniacs, Cistercians and Carthusians).” (Morgan 1988, 341)
Obit: “The record, usually in a Calendar, of the date of the death of a person, which can sometimes provide a clue to the provenance or date of a manuscript.” (Morgan 1988, 341)
Octave: The eighth day after a feast which always falls on the same day of the week as the feast itself. For example, the octave of Thomas of Canterbury is on 5th January, eight days after the feast day of 29th December. The octave could either be an eighth day feast or an eight-day period of liturgical observance from the feast date to the octave date. Used for BVM and important saints,
Office: The Divine Office was/is a liturgy chanted in religious communities that gathered for prayer at Matins (before daybreak), Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext (around noon), None, Vespers, and Compline (after sunset).
Office Lectionary: An office lectionary contains readings for the office of Matins (also called Nocturns). Medieval Matins services consisted of two or three nocturns. The lessons of the first nocturn were drawn from the Bible; the second nocturn from hagiographic or patristic texts; and the third nocturn from patristic commentaries on scripture, often taken from a homiliary.
Office of the Dead: First Vespers, Matins and Lauds for the dead.
Ordinal: Book of rites for the ordination of deacons, priests, and bishops
Processional: Book containing litanies and hymns for use in religious processions, especially at the beginning of a service.
Province: 1) unit of ecclesiastical administration comprising a group of territorially contiguous dioceses: 2) in relation to later developments of monastic orders, geographic units of administration within the order.
Post-communions: Text said or sung on a reciting tone following the Communion of the Mass.
Psalter: The Book of Psalms. “All the psalms were recited during the week in the breviary offices of both monastic and secular use … The Psalter usually contained in addition to the psalms, a Calendar, Litany and occasionally private prayers, the Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Office of the Dead.” (Morgan 1988, 341)
Psalter of the Virgin: “A devotional text composed of 150 invocations corresponding to the 150 Psalms, with the word Ave taken from the angelic salutation to the Virgin Mary. The tests are appropriate to Marian devotion.” (Morgan 1988, 341)
Purgatory: “The condition in which the souls of the faithful departed are purified before they can enter Heaven.” (Morgan 1988, 341)
Sanctoral: The sanctoral cycle (Proper of Saints) is the annual calendar or cycle of saints’ feasts; in Latin, sanctorale.
Sarum Use: “From the second quarter of the 13th century the various dioceses in the province of Canterbury adopted the Calendar and the liturgical texts and practices of the Cathedral Church of Salisbury (Sarum Use) as they had finally come to be systematized under Bishop Richard Poore (1217-28) … The period of transition to new liturgical practices is at least fifty years and only in the 14th century do relatively pure Sarum texts become the norm. Most dioceses added to Sarum a few local feasts (supplements) sometimes called synodial feasts if officially declared by the synod of the diocese. The increasing appearance of the Sarum Calendar is a marked feature in 13th century Calendars.” (Morgan 1988, 341)
Secular (adj): 1) in relation to clergy, priests living in the world, not under a rule, who are bound by no vows and may possess property, working under the authority of a bishop: 2) more generally, refers to people who are not clergy, the laity.
Secular Use: “The liturgical practices of the non-monastic church: i.e. the secular cathedrals, the collegiate churches and chapels and the parish churches. Sarum Use comes to be the standard liturgy of the secular church, although in the first half of the 13thcentury, and frequently in the second half, it seems that pre-Sarum local diocesan Uses were still widespread. The liturgy of the conventual orders of regular canons and friars occupies a position midway between that of the secular and monastic church although is rather closer to the former.” (Morgan 1988, 341)
Secrets: Latin: Oratio secreta (lit. 'Secret prayer') is a prayer said in a low voice by the priest or bishop during religious services, notably during the offertory. The Secret alludes to the saint or occasion of the day.
Suffrages: “Brief devotions in honour of God or a saint, consisting of an antiphon, versicle and response, and a final prayer. Also called Memoriae.” (Morgan 1988, 341).
Synod: [Modern] An assembly of clergy and non-clergy church members to discuss and debate church matters. They can meet as a deanery, a diocese or a General Synod. [https://www.churchofengland.org/glossary, 2nd October 2019].
Temporale: The Temporale (or Proper of Time) organizes the moveable feasts, those that are centered on Christ. Some are fixed, such Advent and Christmas; others including Lent and Easter vary each year.
Translation: The removal of holy objects from one locality to another (often a higher-status location). The date of a translation of a saint's relics was sometimes celebrated as a feast day in its own right. (St Swithun’s translation feast of 15 July has, over time, become his main feast day).
Use: A variant ("use") of the Roman Rite used for the ordering of public worship, including the Mass and the Divine Office. Viz., Uses of Hereford, Sarum and York.
Versicle: A short sentence, often from the Psalms, sung antiphonally during worship; it is answered by a response from the other part of the choir.
Visitation: The visit of Mary, pregnant with Jesus, to Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist (See Luke 1:39–56) celebrated on 31 May; the periodic inspection by a bishop of the temporal and spiritual affairs of a diocese which are under his control, or by an abbot or monastic official of houses within his jurisdiction.
Vulgate: “The Latin text of the Bible as translated by St Jerome [c.341-420]. This was the text which with some revisions, notably in the 13th century in Paris, was the norm in the Middle Ages”. (Morgan 1988, 341). The numbering of Psalms in the Vulgate differs from the English Authorized Version of the Bible; largely because certain Psalms were divided into two parts in the two versions in the two versions in different ways.
The online sources were accessed in October 2019. The main source was:
http://medievalwriting.50megs.com/churchglossary/glossaryc.htm, unless marked;
Lapidge, Michael, ed., Anglo-Saxon Litanies of the Saints. London: Henry Bradshaw Society, 1991.
Leuenberger, Samuel, Archbishop Cranmer’s Immortal Bequest. Translated by Samuel Leuenberger and Lewis J. Gorin, Jr. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990.
Morgan, Nigel, Early Gothic Manuscripts [II] 1250-1285. London: Harvey-Miller, 1988.
Smith, William and Samuel Cheetham, Encyclopædic Dictionary of Christian Antiquities. Concept Publishing Company, 2005.
December 21, 2020