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 Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and many Lutheran denominations. A dean's assistant is called a subdean.
Latin decanus in the Roman military was the head of a group of ten soldiers within a centuria , and by the 5th century CE, it was the head of a group of ten monks. It came to refer to various civil functionaries in the later Roman Empire.
Based on the monastic use, it came to mean the head of a chapter of canons of a collegiate church or cathedral church.
Based on that use, deans in universities now fill various administrative positions.
Latin decanus should not be confused with Greek diákonos (διάκονος),' from which the word deacon derives, which describes a supportive role.
In the Roman Catholic Church, the Dean of the College of Cardinals and the Cardinal Vice-Dean are the president and vice-president of the college. Both are elected. Except for presiding and delegating administrative tasks, they have no authority over the cardinals, acting as primus inter pares (first among equals).
In the universities that grew out of the cathedral and monastery schools, a university dean came to be an official with various administrative duties.
In the Church of England and elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, the dean is the chief resident cleric of a cathedral or other collegiate church and the head of the chapter of canons. If the cathedral or collegiate church has its own parish, the dean is usually also rector of the parish. However, in the Church of Ireland the roles are often separated, and most cathedrals in the Church of England do not have associated parishes. In the Church in Wales, however, most cathedrals are parish churches, and their deans are now also vicars of their parishes. In some parts of the Communion (particularly in the Scottish Episcopal Church and, formerly in some cathedrals in England), the senior resident cleric in a cathedral is a provost. Each diocese of the Scottish Episcopal Church has a dean of the diocese: this is a cleric who, rather than heading the cathedral staff, assists the bishop in the administration of the diocese. In this way, a Scottish Episcopal dean is similar to an archdeacon in the other member churches of the Communion (a post that does not exist in the Scottish church). In the Anglican Church of Canada, the roles of senior cleric of the cathedral are combined in one person who is referred to as "Rector of Cathedral and Dean of Diocese". Thus, Peter Elliott is Rector of Christ Church Cathedral and Dean of New Westminster.
The style The Very Reverend distinguishes a cleric as a dean (or a cathedral provost). For example, the Very Reverend June Osborne was Dean of Salisbury Cathedral.The legal act by which a cathedral dean in the Church of England takes up his or her role is the institution , which is invariably followed in the same service by the installation (into his/her stall in the cathedral church); an "institution and installation" are very often referred to simply as an installation. In consideration of the high status of a Dean, the Very Reverend title is normally a permanent title preferment.
Some important deans include the deans of St Paul's, Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. Westminster Abbey is a royal peculiar, not the seat of any bishop or a cathedral, but is led by a dean. The deans of Washington National Cathedral and St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin are likewise important clerics in their churches.
In many parts of the Anglican Communion, parishes are grouped together to form deaneries, each being a constituent administrative district of the diocese. Usually, a deanery is led by one of the incumbents of the deanery's parishes, who is called a rural dean, but in more urban areas this has often been replaced by the title area dean or regional dean. Such a dean chairs the meeting of the deanery's clergy (which, like a cathedral, is called a chapter), and may also chair a deanery synod. Rural Deans (and those known by alternative titles) rank as primi inter pares of their chapters, and do not have the seniority of cathedral or diocesan deans.
The head of an Anglican theological college or seminary may also be called a dean (in common with its use in education).
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The title "dean" is conferred upon a pastor of a parish who serves as a senior figure, though usually without specific jurisdictional authority, over a section of a diocese.These are sometimes referred to as "rural deans", and are expected to show a degree of leadership among the pastors of the region, known as a deanery. This function is sometimes titled "vicar forane". An episcopal vicar serves a similar function, but has more formal authority and specific powers under canon law.
In recent years, the Catholic Church in England and Wales has introduced the custom of designating cathedral deans, formerly known as cathedral administrators. However, the term differs slightly from the Anglican usage as Catholic deans do not necessarily preside over the cathedral chapter (this function belonging to the office of Provost), and are not necessarily required even to be a member of the chapter. More commonly, in places throughout the world where a cathedral chapter has not been erected (as for instance, in the United States, where there are no chapters at all), the term rector is used for the priest who serves as chief administrator of a cathedral church.
Another important use of the term within the Catholic Church is in the office of the Dean of the College of Cardinals, who serves as senior member of that body.[ citation needed ] The current dean is Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, approved on 18 January 2020.
Within the Lutheran tradition, particularly in the Nordic and Baltic tradition of evangelical episcopal Lutheranism, senior clergy bear the title 'Dean'. Each diocese usually has a cathedral Dean, in charge of the cathedral church, and a series of area deans to supervise the clergy in a given geographical area. In the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, there are also deans in charge of leading the administrative work and personnel of the Chapters.
United Methodist Christians often speak of a "dean" in terms of the dean of the cabinet. Every annual conference has a bishop's cabinet made up of the district superintendents under the bishop's appointment, as well as occasionally a few other conference officials. One of these superintendents is chosen by his or her colleagues to serve as the dean, usually for one year. This dean then has certain administrative and leadership responsibilities, and is accountable to the bishop.
In various other religious denominations[ by whom? ], the title "dean" may be used informally in its wider sense of a senior or venerated member of a congregation. The title may also used in its academic sense in parochial schools.
A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.
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, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, 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.
The Church of Sweden is an Evangelical Lutheran national church in Sweden. A former state church, headquartered in Uppsala, with 5.9 million members at year end 2018 it is the largest Christian denomination in Sweden.
A synod is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word synod comes from the Greek: σύνοδος [ˈsinoðos] meaning "assembly" or "meeting" and is analogous with the Latin word concilium meaning "council". Originally, synods were meetings of bishops, and the word is still used in that sense in Catholicism, Oriental Orthodoxy and Eastern Orthodoxy. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not. It is also sometimes used to refer to a church that is governed by a synod.
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".
In Christianity, a minister is a person authorized by a church or other religious organization to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs; leading services such as weddings, baptisms or funerals; or otherwise providing spiritual guidance to the community. The term is taken from Latin minister, which itself was derived from minus ("less").
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 canon is a member of certain bodies subject to an ecclesiastical rule.
A provost is a senior official in a number of Christian churches.
The Diocese of Chester is a Church of England diocese in the Province of York covering the pre-1974 county of Cheshire and therefore including the Wirral and parts of Stockport, Trafford and Tameside.
In the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church as well as some Lutheran denominations, a rural dean is a member of clergy who presides over a "rural deanery" ; "ruridecanal" is the corresponding adjective. In some Church of England dioceses rural deans have been formally renamed as area deans.
A deanery is an ecclesiastical entity in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion, the Evangelical Church in Germany, and the Church of Norway. A deanery is either the jurisdiction or residence of a dean.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth is a Latin Church Roman Catholic diocese that covers the Channel Islands as well as parts of England. The episcopal see is the Portsmouth Cathedral and is headed by the Bishop of Portsmouth. The diocese is part of the metropolitan Province of Southwark, which covers all of the far South of England as well as the Channel Islands.
The Very Reverend is a style given to members of the clergy. The definite article "The" should always proceed "Reverend" as "Reverend" is a style or fashion and not a title.
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. "...[I]t might be useful if Anglicans dropped the word minister when referring to the clergy...In our tradition, ordained persons are either bishops, priests, or deacons, and should be referred to as such."
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.
The Episcopal Diocese of the Virgin Islands is a diocese of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA) which includes both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. The diocese is a part of Province II of the Episcopal Church. The current Diocesan Bishop of the Virgin Islands is the Edward Ambrose Gumbs. The cathedral church of the diocese is the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Charlotte Amalie. The diocese currently comprises 14 churches. There is a functioning parish school on St. Thomas All Saints Cathedral School there was an academic campus on St. Croix, St. Dunstan's Episcopal High School. St. Dunstan's closed in the 1990s. There is also the St. Georges School located on the parish property of St. Georges Episcopal Church in Road Town, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, which also opened the St. Georges School in Palestina Estate near to the St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Sea Cow's Bay, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. There is also the St. Mary's School located on the parish property of the St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Valley, Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
Carl Christopher Epting is a bishop in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. He served the Diocese of Iowa as coadjutor bishop and diocesan bishop from 1988–2001, and as the Deputy for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations for the Episcopal Church from 2001-2009. He then served as the Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago from November 2011 through December 2015 before retiring.
The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter is a personal ordinariate of the Roman Catholic Church—a jurisdiction within the Church, the equivalent of a diocese, for priests and laypeople from an Anglican background, that enables them to retain elements of their Anglican patrimony after entering the Catholic Church. Its territory extends over the United States and Canada. Former Methodists and former members of communions of "Anglican heritage" such as the United Church of Canada are also included.
A rector is, in an ecclesiastical sense, a cleric who functions as an administrative leader in some Christian denominations. In contrast, a vicar is also a cleric but functions as an assistant and representative of an administrative leader.