Deanery

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A deanery (or decanate) 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.

Catholic usage

In the Catholic Church, Can.374 §2 of the Code of Canon Law grants to bishops the possibility to join together several neighbouring parishes into special groups, such as vicariates forane, or deaneries. [1]

Each deanery is headed by a vicar forane, also called a dean or archpriest, who is—according to the definition provided in canon 553 [2] —a priest appointed by the bishop after consultation with the priests exercising ministry in the deanery. Canon 555 defines the duties of a dean as: [2]

Additionally, the dean must follow the particular norms of the diocese. Canon 555 also particularly mentions that a dean must visit the parishes of the district in accord with the regulations made by the diocesan bishop. [2]

Anglican usage

In the Church of England and many other Anglican churches a deanery is a group of parishes forming a district within an archdeaconry. The more formal term, rural deanery, is less often used, though the superintendent of a deanery is the Rural Dean. Rural deaneries are very ancient and originally corresponded with the hundreds. The title "dean" (Latin decanus) may derive from the custom of dividing a hundred into ten tithings. In medieval times rural deans acted as officers of the diocesan bishop, but archdeacons gradually took over most of their duties. However, the office was revived during the 19th century. Modifications to deanery boundaries may be made according to the provisions of the Archdeaconries and Rural Deaneries Act of 1874 (37 & 38 Vict., cap. 63). [3] [4]

The deanery synod has a membership of all clergy who are licensed to a parish within the deanery, plus elected lay members from every parish. They were established in the 1970s.

The term is also often used to refer to the house, or official residence, of the dean of a cathedral. The term is also used to apply to the ecclesiastical districts of Jersey and Guernsey, which are Royal Peculiars and whose deans hold a status more nearly equivalent to an Archdeacon than a rural dean. [5]

In the Episcopal Church, deaneries are synonymous with convocations and are headed by deans.

Eastern Orthodox usage

Deaneries also exist in the Eastern Orthodox Church, where they are subdivisions of a diocese. [6] [7] [8]

Related Research Articles

A parish is a territorial entity in many Christian denominations, constituting a division within a diocese. A parish is under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of a priest, often termed a parish priest, who might be assisted by one or more curates, and who operates from a parish church. Historically, a parish often covered the same geographical area as a manor. Its association with the parish church remains paramount.

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".

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".

Diocese of St Albans

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A vicar general is the principal deputy of the bishop of a diocese for the exercise of administrative authority and possesses the title of local ordinary. As vicar of the bishop, the vicar general exercises the bishop's ordinary executive power over the entire diocese and, thus, is the highest official in a diocese or other particular church after the diocesan bishop or his equivalent in canon law. The title normally occurs only in Western Christian churches, such as the Latin Church of the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Among the Eastern churches, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Kerala uses this title and remains an exception. The title for the equivalent officer in the Eastern churches is syncellus and protosyncellus.

The ecclesiastical title of archpriest or archpresbyter belongs to certain priests with supervisory duties over a number of parishes. The term is most often used in Eastern Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholic Churches and may be somewhat analogous to a monsignor in the Latin Church, but in the Eastern Churches an archpriest wears an additional vestment and, typically, a pectoral cross, and one becomes an archpriest via a liturgical ceremony.

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Rural dean Clerical title in some Christian churches

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.

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In the Roman Catholic Church, a parish is a stable community of the faithful within a particular church, whose pastoral care has been entrusted to a parish priest, under the authority of the diocesan bishop. It is the lowest ecclesiastical subdivision in the Catholic episcopal polity, and the primary constituent unit of a diocese. In the 1983 Code of Canon Law, parishes are constituted under cc. 515–552, entitled "Parishes, Pastors, and Parochial Vicars."

In 1983 the Catholic Church introduced the possibility of entrusting the pastoral care, of one or more parishes to a team of priests in solidum. This provision in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, which resembles ancient models of pastoral care in the Roman titular churches with their colleges of priests, was introduced to help resolve some of the difficulties facing many dioceses. These difficulties include shortages of priests, overpopulated urban parishes, depleted and scattered rural parishes, and decline in attendance at Mass. This model of pastoral care is viewed as a practical way of promoting pastoral co-responsibility, as well as fostering a greater sense of the presbyterium among the priests of a diocese.

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The Archdeacon of Ashford is a senior office-holder in the Diocese of Canterbury. The Archdeacon of Ashford is an Anglican priest oversees the Archdeaconry of Ashford, which is one of three subdivisions of the diocese. The first incumbent was Philip Down, who was collated Archdeacon of Ashford on 13 March 2011 and who retired effective 15 October 2017. The second and current archdeacon is Darren Miller, who was collated on 13 January 2018.

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References

  1. Particular Churches and the Authority Established in Them (Cann. 368–430) Archived 2010-01-15 at the Wayback Machine from the 1983 Code of Canon Law at the website of the Holy See
  2. 1 2 3 Vicars Forane (Cann. 553–555) from the 1983 Code of Canon Law at the website of the Holy See
  3. Cross, F. L., ed. (1957). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. London: Oxford University Press; p. 1188.
  4. Cutts, E. L. (1895). A Dictionary of the Church of England; 3rd ed. London: S. P. C. K.; pp. 532–33.
  5. "The Channel Islands". Diocese of Winchester. Retrieved 4 Dec 2012.
  6. "Parishes". www.oca.org. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  7. "Deanery of Great Britain and Ireland | Archdiocese of Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe". www.exarchate.org.uk. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  8. "American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of North America | Parish Directory". www.acrod.org. Retrieved 2019-10-24.

Further reading