Definition of episcopal in US English:



  • 1Of a bishop or bishops.

    ‘episcopal power’
    • ‘The real problem is the immoral abuse of episcopal power.’
    • ‘Neither book examines in any detail how well or poorly bishops performed their episcopal duties in their dioceses.’
    • ‘Because of their popish associations he also objected to the traditional episcopal vestments.’
    • ‘If a nonordained man is selected, he must immediately be ordained priest and then bishop, with his succession to the papacy turning on the moment of his episcopal ordination.’
    • ‘Attending to political perceptions and consequences, while not unimportant, is nowhere to be found in the rite of episcopal ordination.’
    • ‘Most Anglicans, however, subscribe to the ongoing continuity of episcopal ordination.’
    • ‘The puritans of the Catholic Church, they opposed lax theology, excessive papal and episcopal power, and above all the influence of the Jesuits in Church and State.’
    • ‘Lefebvre - former head of the Holy Ghost fathers - was excommunicated in 1988 when he presided at the episcopal ordination of four priests, in defiance of a directive from Rome.’
    • ‘On the same occasion, the pope gave Archbishop Carey a gold episcopal pectoral cross.’
    • ‘If that happens, a historic opportunity will have been missed for the reform of the Church, and not least for the restoration of gravely damaged confidence in the Church's episcopal leadership.’
    • ‘Most hagiography was intended to lead the forces of the sacred into well-defined channels connected with political power, be it episcopal, royal, or both.’
    • ‘Does that mean Catholics agree with him about episcopal authority, sexual morality, or the ordination of women?’
    • ‘From the middle of the fifteenth century, it was governed by a lay confraternity and was completely independent of episcopal control.’
    • ‘Yet this does not mean that Bell saw no place in the church for the episcopal office, and instead sought to map the historical pedigree of an hierarchical system of ecclesiastical governance.’
    • ‘The Roman Catholic Church still awards episcopal rings to bishops, and papal rings to popes and cardinals.’
    • ‘Soon afterwards, Bishop Phillpotts extended his episcopal approval to this experiment.’
    • ‘During the course of the tenth century, the increasingly effective consolidation of episcopal power in the cities accentuated the essentially rural character of aristocratic power in the territories of the kingdom of Italy.’
    • ‘He cites instances in which priests served as bishops without episcopal ordination, acting only with the potestas bestowed by the jurisdictional authority of Rome.’
    • ‘It is solely Rome's prerogative to appoint a new archbishop of Boston, and Rome has done little to indicate that it sees the need for a new style of episcopal leadership or greater lay involvement in church governance.’
    • ‘The council's careful balancing of papal and episcopal authority did not seem intended to expand the church's infallible teaching to areas like contraception.’
    1. 1.1 (of a Church) governed by or having bishops.
      • ‘I joined the congregation of the local episcopal cathedral in Minneapolis on two consecutive Sundays, and spent lots of money on a new computer that I don't really need.’
      • ‘Ministers, and particularly bishops in episcopal churches, also represent symbolically the church and Christ's way of life.’
      • ‘The bishops made no mention of the US bishops' statement or the opposition to the war by other western episcopal conferences or Catholic church leaders.’
      • ‘Christus Dominus, the council's decree on bishops, would specifically mandate that every country have an episcopal conference.’
      • ‘That the Anglican churches are episcopal churches is on the way to becoming a semi-official designation as well as a fact.’
      • ‘The Episcopal Church naturally says, ‘We are episcopal,’ meaning ‘We have bishops.’’
      • ‘Neuhaus makes a common mistake in separating the episcopal conference from its ‘supporting institution,’ the bishops conference.’
      • ‘Historically, periods of upheaval in the church have always seen a recovery led first by the religious or monastic orders; the diocesan clergy and episcopal hierarchy then follow suit, returning to orthodoxy.’
      • ‘They seem, nonetheless, to be anointed at this precarious juncture in the church's history to offer the leadership and vision so wanting in many episcopal and presbyteral circles.’
      • ‘In Book VII, Hooker defends episcopal organization as being superior to the Presbyterian structure favored by most Puritans.’
      • ‘They are autonomous, episcopal, Protestant Churches in fellowship with the Church of England.’
      • ‘At the Hampton Court Conference of 1604, in which James presided over a meeting of bishops and Puritans, discussion was entirely about how to make the episcopal national Church more effectively evangelical.’
      • ‘If the Welsh church has suffered from a bad historical press, it is as nothing compared to that endured by the episcopal established church in Ireland.’


Late Middle English: from French épiscopal or ecclesiastical Latin episcopalis, from episcopus ‘bishop’, from Greek episkopos ‘overseer’ (see bishop).