Definition of episcopacy in English:



  • 1Government of a Church by bishops.

    • ‘Again, we tend to think nowadays of the Scots all being Presbyterian, but a significant number of them entered into the Church of Ireland, recognised episcopacy, and indeed became bishops themselves.’
    • ‘Nonetheless, though Hooker is a strong proponent of episcopacy, he is equally insistent that church order is not immutable.’
    • ‘Purely spiritual episcopacy, synodical government, and the sending of missionary bishops lead North American contributions to Anglican life.’
    • ‘By maintaining the practice of episcopacy, the post-Reformation Church of England drew its legitimacy from Medieval custom, not Biblical authority.’
    • ‘Amongst the distinctives of this Church are its commitment to episcopacy, the 1662 Prayer Book, and the Authorised Version.’
    • ‘Second, there is the theological import of the American church's commitment to episcopacy.’
    • ‘In the American church, these two schools of thought on episcopacy can best be illustrated by William White and by his nemesis, Samuel Seabury.’
    • ‘My guess is that the Shona Anglican, if asked what makes Anglicans different from other Christians, would cite, at least, prayer book, Eucharist and episcopacy.’
    • ‘During the decade from 1642 to 1652 armies mobilized by the Long Parliament swept away the apparatus of monarchical government and episcopacy, and subdued all opposition in England, Ireland, and Scotland.’
    1. 1.1the episcopacy The bishops of a region or church collectively.
      • ‘The brave bishop has too few cohorts in the American episcopacy who are willing to challenge the ‘official’ state religion in the U.S.A.’
      • ‘Do you think that, on the whole, the American episcopacy is doing a poor job of communicating the gospel to its flock?’
      • ‘The molesters and their protectors in the episcopacy come from across the ideological landscape, from liberal to conservative churchmen, from priests trained before Vatican II to those ordained afterward.’
    2. 1.2
      another term for episcopate
      • ‘Clergy especially are familiar with gently complaining stories like that of the Anglican and the Presbyterian arguing over whether the episcopacy is established in the Bible.’
      • ‘Orthodox people certainly can deeply appreciate the Rhodes conclusions regarding the impossibility of ordaining women to the priesthood and episcopacy.’


Mid 17th century: from ecclesiastical Latin episcopatus ‘episcopate’, on the pattern of prelacy.