Dean of Canterbury

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Inscribed panels in Canterbury Cathedral, listing the Deans of Canterbury Deanscanterburylist.jpg
Inscribed panels in Canterbury Cathedral, listing the Deans of Canterbury

The Dean of Canterbury is the head of the Chapter of the Cathedral of Christ Church, Canterbury, England. The current office of dean originated after the English Reformation, although Deans had also existed before this time; its immediate precursor office was the prior of the cathedral-monastery. [1] The current Dean is Robert Willis, who was appointed in 2001 and is the 39th Dean since the Reformation, though the position of Dean and Prior as the religious head of the community is almost identical so the line is unbroken back to the time of the foundation of the community by Saint Augustine in AD 597.

Chapter (religion) body of clergy in Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Nordic Lutheran churches

A chapter is one of several bodies of clergy in Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Anglican, and Nordic Lutheran churches or their gatherings.

Canterbury Cathedral Church in Kent, England

Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England. It forms part of a World Heritage Site. It is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, currently Justin Welby, leader of the Church of England and symbolic leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Its formal title is the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Christ at Canterbury.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Contents

List of deans

820–1080

Priors of Canterbury

About a century after becoming a monastic foundation late in the 10th century, the Cathedral started to be headed by a prior rather than a dean. It would next have a dean after the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Prior Ecclesiastical title

Prior, derived from the Latin for "earlier, first", is an ecclesiastical title for a superior, usually lower in rank than an abbot or abbess. Its earlier generic usage referred to any monastic superior.

Dissolution of the Monasteries legal event which disbanded religious residences in England, Wales and Ireland

The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland, appropriated their income, disposed of their assets, and provided for their former personnel and functions. Although the policy was originally envisaged as increasing the regular income of the Crown, much former monastic property was sold off to fund Henry's military campaigns in the 1540s. He was given the authority to do this in England and Wales by the Act of Supremacy, passed by Parliament in 1534, which made him Supreme Head of the Church in England, thus separating England from Papal authority, and by the First Suppression Act (1535) and the Second Suppression Act (1539).

Post-Reformation Deans

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Chapter house building or room that is part of a cathedral, monastery or collegiate church in which larger meetings are held

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Wulfred 9th-century Archbishop of Canterbury

Wulfred was an Anglo-Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury in medieval England. Nothing is known of his life prior to 803, when he attended a church council, but he was probably a nobleman from Middlesex. He was elected archbishop in 805 and spent his time in office reforming the clergy of his cathedral. He also quarrelled with two consecutive Mercian kings – Coenwulf and Ceolwulf – over whether laymen or clergy should control monasteries. At one point, Wulfred travelled to Rome to consult with the papacy and was deposed from office for a number of years over the issue. After Coenwulf's death, relations were somewhat better with the new king Ceolwulf, but improved much more after Ceolwulf's subsequent deposition. The dispute about control of the monasteries was not fully settled until 838, after Wulfred's death. Wulfred was the first archbishop to place his portrait on the coinage he struck.

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Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Wikimedia list article

The Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin is the senior official of that church, the cathedral of the United Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough in the Church of Ireland, and head of the Chapter, its governing body. A Dean has presided over Christ Church Cathedral since around 1539, before which the cathedral was a Priory under Augustinian rules, headed by a Prior, back to the time of Archbishop St. Laurence O'Toole. Aspects of the cathedral administration are overseen by the Cathedral Board, which the Dean chairs.

Archbishop of Dublin (Roman Catholic) Roman Catholic cleric who presides over the Archdiocese of Dublin, Ireland

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Prior of Christ Church

The Prior of Christ Church was the prior of Christ Church Cathedral Priory in Canterbury, attached to Canterbury Cathedral.

Geoffrey of Canterbury Anglo-Norman Benedictine monk and abbot. of Dunfermline

Geoffrey was a 12th-century Anglo-Norman Benedictine monk and abbot. Of Anglo-Norman origin, he became monastic head of the Benedictine priory at Canterbury, before moving to Scotland to be the first Abbot of Dunfermline. As abbot he presided over the construction of the new monastery building, the immigration of English monks and settlers, and the accumulation of enough wealth to make Dunfermline Abbey the richest Benedictine monastic house in the Kingdom of Scotland.

William Kingsmill alias William Basyng was Prior of the Benedictine St. Swithun's, Winchester until the Dissolution of the Monastery in 1539. He was appointed as the first Dean of Winchester Cathedral at the foundation of the new chapter in 1541.

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References

  1. A full list of the priors and Deans and Canterbury is given in A History of Canterbury Cathedral, ed. P. Collinson, N. Ramsay, M. Sparks. (OUP 1995, revised edition 2002), page 565.
  2. Houses of Benedictine monks: The cathedral priory of the Holy Trinity or Christ Church, Canterbury, A History of the County of Kent: Volume 2 (1926), pp. 113–121. accessed: 08 September 2009.