Epistle the first lesson in the communion service of the Church of England, deriving its name from the circumstance that it is generally taken from the apostolic epistles; though sometimes from the Acts, and occasionally from the Old-Test. writings. The form was derived from that of the Greek and Latin churches, where it was usually denominated the "Apostle." It has been in use in the English Church since the time of Augustine of Canterbury, a period of twelve hundred years. See Hook, Church Dict. s.v.; Staunton, Eccles. Dict. s.v.