Cathedral chapter

Last updated

According to both Catholic and Anglican canon law, a cathedral chapter is a college of clerics (chapter) formed to advise a bishop and, in the case of a vacancy of the episcopal see in some countries, to govern the diocese during the vacancy. In the Roman Catholic Church their creation is the purview of the pope.[ citation needed ] They can be "numbered", in which case they are provided with a fixed "prebend", or "unnumbered", in which case the bishop indicates the number of canons according to the rents. These chapters are made up of canons and other officers, while in the Church of England chapters now include a number of lay appointees. In some Church of England cathedrals there are two such bodies, the lesser and greater chapters, which have different functions. The smaller body usually consists of the residentiary members and is included in the larger one. [1]

Originally, it referred to a section of a monastic rule that was read out daily during the assembly of a group of canons or other clergy attached to a cathedral or collegiate church. Later it came to be applied to the group of clergy itself. [2]

Roles within a cathedral

Typical roles within England's cathedrals have included:

Relationship of chapter and bishop

Cathedral Chapter of the Holy Saviour in Bruges, Belgium BRUGES Bloedprocessie 2011 Frans Daneels Jean Kockerols.JPG
Cathedral Chapter of the Holy Saviour in Bruges, Belgium
Cathedral chapter of Bruges, the bishop and three canons taking part in a procession Procession of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ-Bruges; Prelatuur Processie.JPG
Cathedral chapter of Bruges, the bishop and three canons taking part in a procession
Canon, 16th century in Italy Bildnis eines Geistlichen I 16 Jh.jpg
Canon, 16th century in Italy
Joseph-Alfred Foulon, Archbishop of Lyon Joseph-Alfred-Foulon.jpg
Joseph-Alfred Foulon, Archbishop of Lyon

Historically, there was no distinction between the monastic cathedral chapters and those of the secular canons, in their relation to the bishop or diocese. In both cases the chapter was the bishop's concilium or council, which he was bound to consult on all important matters and without doing so he could not act. Thus, a judicial decision of a bishop needed the confirmation of the chapter before it could be enforced. He could not change the service books, or "use" of the church or diocese, without capitular consent, and there are episcopal acts, such as the appointment of a diocesan chancellor, or vicar general, which still need confirmation by the chapter.

In its corporate capacity the chapter takes charge sede vacante of a diocese. In England, however (except as regards Salisbury and Durham), this custom has never obtained, the two archbishops having, from time immemorial, taken charge of the vacant dioceses in their respective provinces. When, however, either of the sees of Canterbury or York is vacant the chapters of those churches take charge, not only of the diocese, but of the province as well, and incidentally, therefore, of any of the dioceses of the province which may be vacant at the same time.

Secular chapter

The normal constitution of the chapter of a secular cathedral church comprised four officers (there might be more), in addition to the canons. These are the dean, the precentor, the chancellor and the treasurer. These four officers, occupying the four corner stalls in the choir, are called in many of the statutes the quatuor majores personae of the church.

Dean

A dean (decanus) seems to have derived the designation from the Benedictine "deans" who had ten monks under their charge. The dean came into existence to supply the place of the provost in the internal management of the church and chapter. In England every secular cathedral church was headed by a dean who was originally elected by the chapter and confirmed in office by the bishop. The dean is president of the chapter and within the cathedral has charge of the celebration of the services, taking specified portions of them by statute on the principal festivals. Deans sit in the principal stall in the choir, which is usually the first on the right hand on entering the choir at the west.

Precentor

Next to the dean (as a rule) is the precentor (primicerius, cantor, etc.), whose special duty is that of regulating the musical portion of the services. Precentors preside in the dean's absence and occupy the corresponding stall on the left side, although there are exceptions to this rule, where, as at St Paul's Cathedral, London, the archdeacon of the cathedral city ranks second and occupies what is usually the precentor's stall.

Chancellor

The Chapter House at Lincoln Cathedral. Lincoln cathedral 06 Chapterhouse.jpg
The Chapter House at Lincoln Cathedral.

The third officer is the chancellor (scholasticus, écoldtre, capiscol, magistral, etc.) (not to be confused with the chancellor of the diocese). The chancellor of the cathedral church is charged with the oversight of its schools, ought to read theology lectures and superintend the lections in the choir and correct slovenly readers. Chancellors are often the secretary and librarian of the chapter. In the absence of the dean and precentor the chancellor is president of the chapter. The easternmost stall, on the dean's side of the choir, is usually assigned to the chancellor.

Treasurer

The fourth officer is the treasurer (custos, sacrisla, cheficier). They are guardians of the fabric and all the furniture and ornaments of the church. It was their duty to provide bread and wine for the Eucharist and candles and incense. They also regulated such matters as the ringing of the bells. The treasurer's stall is opposite to that of the chancellor.

Additional clergy

Interior of the Chapter House at Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire, England Southwell Chapter House2.jpg
Interior of the Chapter House at Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire, England
Exterior of the chapter house from the 1750s in Porvoo, Finland Porvoon tuomiokapitulin talo2.jpg
Exterior of the chapter house from the 1750s in Porvoo, Finland

In many cathedral churches there are additional officers, such as the praelector, subdean, vice-chancellor, succentor-canonicorum, whose roles came into existence to supply the places of the other absent officers, for non-residence was the fatal blot of the secular churches, and in this they contrasted very badly with the monastic churches, where all the members were in continuous residence. There were also ordinary canons, each of whom, as a rule, held a separate prebend or endowment, besides receiving their share of the common funds of the church.

For the most part the canons also speedily became non-resident, and this led to the distinction of residentiary and non-residentiary canons, until in most churches the number of resident canons became definitely limited in number and the non-residentiary canons, who no longer shared in the common funds, became generally known as prebendaries only, although by their non-residence they did not forfeit their position as canons and retained their votes in chapter like the others.

This system of non-residence led also to the institution of vicars choral, each canon having their own vicar, who sat in their stall in their absence and, when the canon was present, in the stall immediately below on the second form. The vicars had no place or vote in chapter and, though irremovable except for offences, were the servants of their absent canons whose stalls they occupied and whose duties they performed. Outside of Britain they were often called demi-prebendaries and they formed the bachcrur of the French churches. As time went on the vicars were themselves often incorporated as a kind of lesser chapter, or college, under the supervision of the dean and chapter.

In contemporary cathedral chapters, the most common roles besides dean include precentor, pastor, sub-dean/vice-dean, chancellor, archdeacon, treasurer and missioner, although there is also a wide variety of roles which each occur only once or twice.

Church of England

In Church of England cathedrals, under the Cathedrals Measure 1999, the Church Commissioners fund two Canons Residentiary per cathedral (sometimes called Commissioners' Canons) who must be "engaged exclusively on cathedral duties". Further residentiary canons beyond those two are funded from other sources and often called Diocesan Canons, since they typically also hold a senior diocesan post (such as Diocesan Director of Ordinands or Director of Mission). [3] [4]

See also

Related Research Articles

Cathedral Christian church that is the seat of a bishop

A cathedral is a church that contains the cathedra of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, conference, or episcopate. Churches with the function of "cathedral" are usually specific to those Christian denominations with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and some Lutheran churches. Church buildings embodying the functions of a cathedral first appeared in Italy, Gaul, Spain, and North Africa in the 4th century, but cathedrals did not become universal within the Western Catholic Church until the 12th century, by which time they had developed architectural forms, institutional structures, and legal identities distinct from parish churches, monastic churches, and episcopal residences.

A vicar is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior. Linguistically, vicar is cognate with the English prefix "vice", similarly meaning "deputy". The title appears in a number of Christian ecclesiastical contexts, but also as an administrative title, or title modifier, in the Roman Empire. In addition, in the Holy Roman Empire a local representative of the emperor, perhaps an archduke, might be styled "vicar".

Lichfield Cathedral Cathedral in Staffordshire, England

Lichfield Cathedral in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England, is the only medieval English cathedral with three spires. The Anglican Diocese of Lichfield covers Staffordshire, much of Shropshire, and parts of the Black Country and West Midlands. The current Bishop of Lichfield, Michael Ipgrave, was appointed in 2016. It is a Grade I listed building.

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Diocesan cathedral of Dublin and Glendalough, Church of Ireland

Christ Church Cathedral, more formally The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, is the cathedral of the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough and the cathedral of the ecclesiastical province of the United Provinces of Dublin and Cashel in the (Anglican) Church of Ireland. It is situated in Dublin, Ireland, and is the elder of the capital city's two medieval cathedrals, the other being St Patrick's Cathedral.

Truro Cathedral Church in Cornwall, United Kingdom

The Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Truro is a Church of England cathedral in the city of Truro, Cornwall. It was built between 1880 and 1910 to a Gothic Revival design by John Loughborough Pearson on the site of the parish church of St Mary. It is one of only three cathedrals in the United Kingdom with three spires.

Archdeacon Senior clergy position

An archdeacon is a senior clergy position in the Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic Church, Syriac Orthodox Church, Anglican Communion, St Thomas Christians, Eastern Orthodox churches and some other Christian denominations, above that of most clergy and below a bishop. In the High Middle Ages it was the most senior diocesan position below a bishop in the Catholic Church. An archdeacon is often responsible for administration within an archdeaconry, which is the principal subdivision of the diocese. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church has defined an archdeacon as "A cleric having a defined administrative authority delegated to him by the bishop in the whole or part of the diocese." The office has often been described metaphorically as that of oculus episcopi, the "bishop's eye".

Prebendary Member of clergy

A prebendary is a member of the Roman Catholic or Anglican clergy, a form of canon with a role in the administration of a cathedral or collegiate church. When attending services, prebendaries sit in particular seats, usually at the back of the choir stalls, known as prebendal stalls.

Canon (priest) Ecclesiastical position

A canon is a member of certain bodies subject to an ecclesiastical rule.

Peel Cathedral Church in Peel, Isle of Man

The Cathedral Church of Saint German or Peel Cathedral, rebranded as Cathedral Isle of Man, is located in Peel, Isle of Man. The cathedral is also one of the parish churches in the parish of the West Coast, which includes the town of Peel, and was built in 1879–84. It was made the cathedral by Act of Tynwald in 1980.

A dean, in an ecclesiastical context, is a cleric holding certain positions of authority within a religious hierarchy. The title is used mainly in the Anglican Communion, the Roman Catholic Church, and many Lutheran denominations. A dean's assistant is called a sub-dean.

A precentor is a person who helps facilitate worship. The details vary depending on the religion, denomination, and era in question. The Latin derivation is præcentor, from cantor, meaning "the one who sings before".

Southwell Minster Church in Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

Southwell Minster is a minster and cathedral, in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, England. It is situated six miles from Newark-on-Trent and thirteen miles from Mansfield. It is the seat of the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham and the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. It is a grade I listed building.

Dean of St Patricks Cathedral, Dublin

The Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral is the senior cleric of the Protestant St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, elected by the chapter of the cathedral. The office was created in 1219 or 1220, by one of several charters granted to the cathedral by Archbishop Henry de Loundres between 1218 and 1220.

Chancellor (ecclesiastical)

Chancellor is an ecclesiastical title used by several quite distinct officials of some Christian churches.

Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford Church in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Christ Church Cathedral is the cathedral of the Anglican diocese of Oxford, which consists of the counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. It is also the chapel of Christ Church at the University of Oxford. This dual role as cathedral and college chapel is unique in the Church of England.

Anglican ministry

The Anglican ministry is both the leadership and agency of Christian service in the Anglican Communion. "Ministry" commonly refers to the office of ordained clergy: the threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons. More accurately, Anglican ministry includes many laypeople who devote themselves to the ministry of the church, either individually or in lower/assisting offices such as lector, acolyte, sub-deacon, Eucharistic minister, cantor, musicians, parish secretary or assistant, warden, vestry member, etc. Ultimately, all baptized members of the church are considered to partake in the ministry of the Body of Christ.

Bishop of Winchester Diocesan bishop in the Church of England

The Bishop of Winchester is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Winchester in the Church of England. The bishop's seat (cathedra) is at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire. The Bishop of Winchester holds ex officio the office of Prelate of the Most Noble Order of the Garter since its foundation in 1348, and Bishops of Winchester often held the positions of Lord Treasurer and Lord Chancellor ex officio. During the Middle Ages, it was one of the wealthiest English sees, and its bishops have included a number of politically prominent Englishmen, notably the 9th century Saint Swithun and medieval magnates including William of Wykeham and Henry of Blois.

Bishop of Ely Diocesan bishop in the Church of England

The Bishop of Ely is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Ely in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese roughly covers the county of Cambridgeshire, together with a section of north-west Norfolk and has its episcopal see in the City of Ely, Isle of Ely in Cambridgeshire, where the seat is located at the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity. The current bishop is Stephen Conway, who signs +Stephen Elien:. The diocesan bishops resided at the Bishop's Palace, Ely until 1941; they now reside in Bishop's House, the former cathedral deanery. Conway became Bishop of Ely in 2010, translated from the Diocese of Salisbury where he was Bishop suffragan of Ramsbury.

Order of precedence in the Catholic Church

Precedence signifies the right to enjoy a prerogative of honor before other persons; for example, to have the most distinguished place in a procession, a ceremony, or an assembly, to have the right to express an opinion, cast a vote, or append a signature before others, to perform the most honorable offices.

The Bishop of Chester is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Chester in the Province of York.

References

  1. Cross, F. L. (ed.) (1957) The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. London: Oxford University Press; p. 264
  2. Coredon Dictionary of Medieval Terms p. 68.
  3. Doe, Norman. The Legal Architecture of English Cathedrals. (London: Routledge, 2017) pp. 198201. (Accessed on Google Books, 18 January 2018)
  4. legislation.gov.uk — Cathedrals Measure 1999 (Accessed 18 January 2018)

Sources