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The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia


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A Greek word meaning rule, and in the usage of the Church has various applications, as follows:

1. THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE means those books of Scripture which the Church has received or accepted as inspired, and therefore declares them to be canonical, to distinguish them from profane, apocryphal or disputed books.

2. CANON LAW means the body of ecclesiastical laws enacted by the Church for the rule and discipline of its clergy and people. There are ecumenical canons, including the Apostolic canons of unknown date, and the canons of the undisputed General Councils; the canons of the English Church which are regarded as binding in this country where they do not conflict with enactments of the American Church; the General canons of the American Church, and the Diocesan canons enacted by the various Dioceses.

3. THE CANON OF THE LITURGY, by which is meant the rule for the celebration of the Holy Communion by which it is always to be offered. This includes the Prayer of Consecration, which was formerly called the "Canon of the Mass."

4. CANON, the name given to a clergyman connected with a cathedral; an officer of the cathedral staff; a member of the cathedral chapter.

Canonical—Pertaining, or according to the Canons.

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Bibliography Information
Miller, William James. Entry for 'Canon'. The American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. 1901.

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