Chapter (religion)

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The chapter house of the Cathedral of Toledo. Chapter house of Cathedral of Toledo 05.jpg
The chapter house of the Cathedral of Toledo.
The chapter room of the Cathedral of Pamplona. Sala capitular pamplona.jpg
The chapter room of the Cathedral of Pamplona.
Dean William Dimmick and other canons of St Mary's Cathedral in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1960. Dean William A. Dimmick 1960.jpg
Dean William Dimmick and other canons of St Mary's Cathedral in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1960.
The group photo at the 2006 general chapter of the Premonstratensians. GeneraalKapittel2006.jpg
The group photo at the 2006 general chapter of the Premonstratensians.

A chapter (Latin : capitulum [1] or capitellum) [2] is one of several bodies of clergy in Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Anglican, and Nordic Lutheran churches or their gatherings.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration is the Holy See.

Old Catholic Church Churches that split from Roman Catholic Church due to rejection of papal infallibility

The term Old Catholic Church was used from the 1850s by groups which had separated from the Roman Catholic Church over certain doctrines, primarily concerned with papal authority; some of these groups, especially in the Netherlands, had already existed long before the term. These churches are not in full communion with the Holy See. Member churches of the Union of Utrecht of the Old Catholic Churches (UU) are in full communion with the Anglican Communion, and some are members of the World Council of Churches.

Anglicanism The practices, liturgy and identity of the Church of England

Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation.

Contents

Name

The name derives from the habit of convening monks or canons for the reading of a chapter of the Bible or a heading of the order's rule. [2] The 6th-century St Benedict directed that his monks begin their daily assemblies with such readings [1] and over time expressions such as "coming together for the chapter" (convenire ad capitulum) found their meaning transferred from the text to the meeting itself and then to the body gathering for it. [2] The place of such meetings similarly became known as the "chapter house" or "room".

Christian monasticism

Christian monasticism is the devotional practice of individuals who live ascetic and typically cloistered lives that are dedicated to Christian worship. It began to develop early in the history of the Christian Church, modeled upon scriptural examples and ideals, including those in the Old Testament, but not mandated as an institution in the scriptures. It has come to be regulated by religious rules and, in modern times, the Canon law of the respective Christian denominations that have forms of monastic living. Those living the monastic life are known by the generic terms monks (men) and nuns (women). The word monk originated from the Greek μοναχός, itself from μόνος meaning 'alone'.

Canon (priest) Ecclesiastical position

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

Chapters and verses of the Bible Divisions of books of the Bible

The Bible is a compilation of many shorter books written at different times by a variety of authors, and later assembled into the biblical canon. Since the early 13th century, most copies and editions of the Bible present all but the shortest of these books with divisions into chapters, generally a page or so in length. Since the mid-16th century editors have further subdivided each chapter into verses – each consisting of a few short lines or sentences. Sometimes a sentence spans more than one verse, as in the case of Ephesians 2:8–9, and sometimes there is more than one sentence in a single verse, as in the case of Genesis 1:2.

The chapter house at Durham Cathedral. Durham Cathedra Chapter-House-2.jpg
The chapter house at Durham Cathedral.

Cathedral chapter

A cathedral chapter is the body ("college") of advisors assisting the bishop of a diocese at his/her cathedral church. These were a development of the presbyteries (presbyteria) made up of the priests and other church officials of cathedral cities in the early church. In the Catholic Church, they are now only established by papal decree. [1]

According to both Anglican and Catholic 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. These chapters are made up of canons and other officers, while in the Church of England chapters now includes a number of lay appointees; in the Roman Catholic Church their creation is the purview of the pope. 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. 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.

A college, in the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, is a collection of persons united together for a common object so as to form one body. The members are consequently said to be incorporated, or to form a corporation.

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

Cathedral chapters are sometimes charged with election of the bishop's replacement and with the government of the diocese during vacancies of his/her office. They are made up of canon priests. [1] "Numbered" chapters are made up of a fixed number of prebendaries, while "unnumbered" chapters vary in number according to the direction of the bishop. The chapters were originally led by the cathedral's archdeacon but, since the 11th century, [1] have been directed by a dean or provost. [2]

A prebendary is a member of the Anglican or Roman Catholic 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.

An archdeacon is a senior clergy position in the Syriac Orthodox Church, Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic 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".

A dean, in a church 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 subdean.

In the Catholic Church, the chapter appoints its own treasurer, secretary, and sacristan and—since the Council of Trent—canon theologian [3] and canon penitentiary. [4] The same council approved of other local offices, [5] which might include precentors, chamberlains (camerarii), almoners (eleemosynarii), hospitalarii, portarii, primicerii, or custodes. Canons are sometimes given the functions of punctator and hebdomadarius as well. [1] In the Church of England, the chapter includes lay members, a chancellor who oversees its educational functions, and a precentor who oversees its musical services. Some Church of England cathedrals have "lesser" and "greater" chapters with separate functions.

Sacristan officer charged with care of the sacristy, the church, and their contents

A sacristan is an officer charged with care of the sacristy, the church, and their contents.

Council of Trent 19th Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church

The Council of Trent, held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent, was the 19th ecumenical council of the Catholic Church. Prompted by the Protestant Reformation, it has been described as the embodiment of the Counter-Reformation.

A canon penitentiary is a member of the chapter at cathedral or collegiate churches, who acts as a general confessor of the diocese. He has ordinary jurisdiction in the internal forum, which power, however, he may not delegate to others, and may absolve residents and strangers in the diocese and subjects of the diocese also outside same. His power extends also to sins and censures reserved to the bishop. The office of general confessor is foreshadowed in the early history of penitential discipline. Distinct legislation concerning the office is found in the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), but especially in the Council of Trent (1545–1563).

Collegiate chapter

A collegiate chapter is a similar body of canons who oversee a collegiate church other than a cathedral.

Collegiate church church where the daily office of worship is maintained by a college of canons

In Christianity, a collegiate church is a church where the daily office of worship is maintained by a college of canons: a non-monastic or "secular" community of clergy, organised as a self-governing corporate body, which may be presided over by a dean or provost. In its governance and religious observance a collegiate church is similar to a cathedral, although a collegiate church is not the seat of a bishop and has no diocesan responsibilities. Collegiate churches were often supported by extensive lands held by the church, or by tithe income from appropriated benefices. They commonly provide distinct spaces for congregational worship and for the choir offices of their clerical community.

General chapter

A general chapter is a general assembly of monks, typically composed of representatives from all the monasteries of an order or congregation. The equivalent meetings of provincial representatives of Franciscan orders is called a Chapter of Mats.

Chapter of faults

A chapter of faults is a gathering for public correction of infractions against community rules and for self-criticism separate from standard confession.

Orders of knighthood

The assembled body of knights of a military or knightly order was also referred as a "chapter”.

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Cath. Enc. (1910).
  2. 1 2 3 4 EB (1911).
  3. Sess. V, Cap. i.
  4. Sess. XXIV, Cap. viii.
  5. Sess. XXV, cap. vi.

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Andrew Peter Nunn is a British Anglican priest. Since 2012, he has been the Dean of Southwark in the Church of England.

References

Further reading