Terms beginning with C


1)     Residential Canons are part of the cathedral chapter. They are based at a cathedral and assist the Dean in its running. Honorary Canons form part of a wider organisation known as the ‘college of canons’. They are usually senior priests in the diocese who are based mostly in parishes. Recently they have been supplemented by ecumenical canons from other denominations and by lay canons who are not ordained but have an interest in cathedral affairs.


1)     The Greek word for ‘seat’ is ‘cathedra’. A cathedral is where the seat or throne of the bishop may be found.

Cathedral Close

1)     The precinct of a cathedral which may date back to monastic times, but since the Reformation has become a location for housing often with a rich architectural heritage. The Close often forms a small community of offices and residences.


1)     This is a cup, usually made of silver, used at the Eucharist or Communion Service. It contains the consecrated wine, which is given to those who have also received the consecrated bread. Those who receive the bread and the wine are known as ‘Communicants’.


1)     A chapel is a small room containing an altar table and enough space for a small gathering of worshippers. They are often contained within a larger church or cathedral but can also be independent buildings or places of worship attached to colleges.


1)     A chapter is a group made up of residential canons and some lay people who assist the dean in the running of a cathedral. The name


1)     Choirs are made up of choristers. They can be mixed in age or gender or they can be entirely male or female. In churches or cathedrals either they sing on their own or they help lead the congregational singing. In Anglican Cathedrals they sing Evensong on a daily basis


1)     A chorister is a young person or adult who sings in a church or cathedral choir.


1)     Believers in the saving work of Jesus Christ have been known as Christians since the first century. They form the largest faith group, but there are numerous denominations or churches both eastern and western, reformed and unreformed.


1)     The second major feast of the Church which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ (Christ Mass). The date is 25th December and was not fixed on until the 4th century. The first Eucharist or Mass is celebrated at Midnight on Christmas Eve. This is one of the Church’s most popular services.


1)     A church is a building where Christians gather together for worship and fellowship. Today these buildings are being increasingly enjoyed as places in which a variety of community activities can take place.

Church (of England)

1)     The Church of England was reformed under Henry VIII in the sixteenth century. It forms part of the one Catholic Church but is no longer in communion with the Bishop of Rome or the Pope. Today the Church of England is the Established Church and the monarch is regarded as its ‘Supreme Governor’. The parish system covers the country so that everyone has access to his or her own parish church. The Church of England is regarded as ‘comprehensive’ in that it encompasses a variety of liturgical practices. The doctrine of the Church is said to be contained in the Book of Common Prayer.

Civil War

1)     The Civil War in the seventeenth century was a major social upheaval. During this time the monarch, Charles I, fell foul of parliament and was executed for treason. England was ruled by Parliament under Cromwell who was known as Lord Protector. Parish churches stopped using Anglican services in favour of a more puritanical worship. Much of the ornamentation in churches and cathedrals was deliberately destroyed.


1)     Those trained and ordained to teach, preach and lead worshipping communities in the belief and practice of the Christian faith.


1)     An enclosed four sided space within a monastic building set aside for study and recreation. The central area is open to the sky and usually grassed over.


1)     Confession or the ‘sacrament of reconciliation’ as it is often referred to is the rite whereby a Christian may confess his or her sins in front of a priest who usually offers counseling and absolution or forgiveness


1)     This is the rite whereby those who have been baptised as infants can reaffirm their baptismal promises in front of a bishop who then lays hands on him or her to confirm that person in their newly professed faith.


1)     To consecrate is to set aside for sacred use. The term is usually associated with objects although bishops and sovereigns are consecrated for a particular role. The bread and wine at the Eucharist is ‘consecrated’ by a priest for sacramental use. A churchyard is consecrated by a bishop for the burial of the dead.


1)     The cross (without a figure) or crucifix (with a figure of Christ) is the main Christian symbol and represents the form of execution that Jesus underwent in order to demonstrate the love of God for the world.


1)     The central space in a church or cathedral at the junction of the nave, chancel and transepts.


1)     This is the brutal and barbaric form of execution devised and practiced by the Romans by which victims were nailed naked or tied to a cross beam which was then fixed to an upright post. The victims were left to die usually by suffocation and dehydration. Jesus Christ was executed in this way.

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If you have any amendments to make or suggestions for other terms or words that you think it would be useful for us to explain, please get in touch with the Glossarist.


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The original core of this glossary was commissioned from Canon Phillip McFadyen of St George's Colegate, in Norwich.