Notarius

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A notarius is a public secretary who is appointed by competent authority to draw up official or authentic documents (compare English "notary"). In the Roman Catholic Church there have been apostolic notaries and even episcopal notaries. [1] Documents drawn up by notarii are issued chiefly from the official administrative offices, the chanceries; secondly, from tribunals; lastly, others are drawn up at the request of individuals to authenticate their contracts or other acts.

Notary person licensed by the state to perform acts in legal affairs, in particular witnessing signatures on documents

A notary is a person commissioned by the government to perform acts in legal affairs, in particular witnessing signatures on documents. The form that the notarial profession takes varies with local legal systems.

The title and office existed in the bureaucracy of the Christianised Roman Empire at the Imperial Court, where the college of imperial notaries were governed by a primicerius . [2] From the usage in the Emperor's representative in the West, the Exarch of Ravenna, the post and title was applied in the increasingly complicated bureaucracy of the Papal curia in Rome. There were notarii attached to all the episcopal see, whence they passed into use in the royal chanceries. All these notarii were in minor orders.

The Latin term primicerius, hellenized as primikērios, was a title applied in the later Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire to the heads of administrative departments, and also used by the Church to denote the heads of various colleges.

Episcopal see the main administrative seat held by a bishop

An episcopal see is, in the usual meaning of the phrase, the area of a bishop's ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

Minor orders are ranks of church ministry lower than major orders.

As the ex officio head of the papal chancery, the primicerius of the notaries was an important personage. During a vacancy of the papal chair, he formed part of the interim government, and a letter in 640 is signed (the pope being elected but not yet consecrated) by one "Johannes, primicerius and serving in the place of the holy apostolic see". [3]

There were formerly apostolic notaries and even apostolic prothonotaries commissioned by papal letters, whose duty it was to receive documents in connection with benefices, foundations, and donations in favor of churches, the wills of clerics and other affairs to which the ecclesiastical hierarchy was an interested party. The title no longer exists; the only ecclesiastical notaries at present are the officials of the Roman and episcopal curiae.

Protonotary apostolic position

In the Roman Catholic Church, protonotary apostolic is the title for a member of the highest non-episcopal college of prelates in the Roman Curia or, outside Rome, an honorary prelate on whom the Pope has conferred this title and its special privileges. An example is Prince Georg of Bavaria (1880–1943), who became in 1926 Protonotary by papal decree.

A benefice or living is a reward received in exchange for services rendered and as a retainer for future services. The Roman Empire used the Latin term beneficium as a benefit to an individual from the Empire for services rendered. Its use was adopted by the Western Church in the Carolingian Era as a benefit bestowed by the crown or church officials. A benefice specifically from a church is called a precaria such as a stipend and one from a monarch or nobleman is usually called a fief. A benefice is distinct from an allod, in that an allod is property owned outright, not bestowed by a higher authority.

Curia in ancient Rome referred to one of the original groupings of the citizenry, eventually numbering 30, and later every Roman citizen was presumed to belong to one. While they originally likely had wider powers, they only came to meet for a few purposes by the end of the Republic: in order to confirm the election of magistrates with imperium, to witness the installation of priests, the making of wills, and certain adoptions.

Prothonotaries

Liber Pontificalis attributes the seven regional notaries of the Church in Rome, one for each ecclesiastical district of the Holy City, to an institution of Pope Clement I (traditionally 88–98), to record the acts of the martyrs; [4] though this is unattested in any early document, the notice of Pope Julius I (337-352) in the Liber Pontificalis relates that this pope ordered an account of the property of the Church, intended as an authentic document, to be drawn up before the primicerius of the notaries. These important officials became the prothonotaries .

<i>Liber Pontificalis</i> Book of biographies of popes

The Liber Pontificalis is a book of biographies of popes from Saint Peter until the 15th century. The original publication of the Liber Pontificalis stopped with Pope Adrian II (867–872) or Pope Stephen V (885–891), but it was later supplemented in a different style until Pope Eugene IV (1431–1447) and then Pope Pius II (1458–1464). Although quoted virtually uncritically from the 8th to 18th centuries, the Liber Pontificalis has undergone intense modern scholarly scrutiny. The work of the French priest Louis Duchesne, and of others has highlighted some of the underlying redactional motivations of different sections, though such interests are so disparate and varied as to render improbable one popularizer's claim that it is an "unofficial instrument of pontifical propaganda."

Pope Clement I 4th Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Clement I, also known as Saint Clement of Rome, is listed by Irenaeus and Tertullian as Bishop of Rome, holding office from 88 to his death in 99. He is considered to be the first Apostolic Father of the Church, one of the three chief ones together with Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch.

Pope Julius I pope

Pope Julius I was Pope of the Catholic Church from 6 February 337 to his death in 352. He was notable for asserting the authority of the pope over the Arian Eastern bishops.

Notes

  1. Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. "Notaries"
  2. In the Theodosian Code, chapter VI, 16 is headed "De primicerio et notariis")
  3. "Joannes primicerius et servans locum s. sedis apostolicae". (Jaffé, Regesta, n. 2040, noted in Catholic Encyclopedia).
  4. Liber Pontificalis, s.v. "Vita Clementis", ed. Duchesne, I, 123, noted in Catholic Encyclopedia.

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A notary in the canon law of the Catholic Church is a person appointed by competent authority to draw up official or authentic documents. These documents are issued chiefly from the official administrative bureaux, the chanceries; secondly, from tribunals; lastly, others are drawn up at the request of individuals to authenticate their contracts or other acts. The public officials appointed to draw up these three classes of papers have been usually called notaries.