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In the Roman Catholic Church, protonotary apostolic (PA; Latin: protonotarius apostolicus) 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.
In late antiquity, there were in Rome seven regional notaries who, on the further development of the papal administration and the accompanying increase of the notaries, remained the supreme palace notaries of the papal chancery (notarii apostolici or protonotarii ). In the Middle Ages, the protonotaries were very high papal officials and were often raised directly from this office to the cardinalate. Originally numbering seven, Pope Sixtus V (1585–90) increased their number to twelve. Their importance gradually diminished, and at the time of the French Revolution, the office had almost entirely disappeared. On 8 February 1838, Pope Gregory XVI re-established the college of real protonotaries with seven members called protonotarii de numero participantium, also known as numerary protonotaries, because they shared in the revenues, as officials of the Roman Chancery.
Since the sixteenth century, the popes had also appointed honorary protonotaries, who enjoyed the same privileges as the seven real members of the college; and titular protonotaries, who held a corresponding position in the administration of the episcopal ordinariate or in the collegiate chapter. By the motu proprio Inter multiplices of 21 February 1905, Pope Pius X defined the position of the protonotaries, ... privileges, dress, and insignia of the members of the four classes:
Since 1969 (following Pope Paul VI's issuing of two motus proprios, Pontificalis Domus of March 28, 1968 and Pontificalia Insignia of June 21, 1968), the four classes are reduced to two:
The name of the prothonotary warbler derives from the supposed similarity between its plumage and the golden robes worn by protonotaries.
An Abbreviator or Breviator was a writer of the Papal Chancery who adumbrated and prepared in correct form Papal bulls, briefs, and consistorial decrees before these were written out in extenso by the scriptores.
A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin praelatus, the past participle of praeferre, which means 'carry before', 'be set above or over' or 'prefer'; hence, a prelate is one set over others.
The cassock or soutane is a Christian clerical clothing coat used by the clergy of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, in addition to certain Protestant denominations such as Anglicans and Lutherans. "Ankle-length garment" is the literal meaning of the corresponding Latin term, vestis talaris. It is related to the habit, which is traditionally worn by nuns, monks, and friars.
Monsignor is an honorific form of address for some members of the clergy, usually of the Roman Catholic Church, including bishops, honorary prelates and canons. "Monsignor" is a form of address, not an appointment: properly speaking, one cannot be "made a monsignor" or be "the monsignor of a parish". The title or form of address is associated with certain papal awards, which Pope Paul VI reduced to three classes: those of Protonotary Apostolic, Honorary Prelate, and Chaplain of His Holiness.
A Prelate of Honour of His Holiness is a Catholic prelate to whom the Pope has granted this title of honour. They are addressed as Monsignor and have certain privileges as regards clerical clothing.
The word prothonotary is recorded in English since 1447, as "principal clerk of a court," from L.L. prothonotarius, from Greek protonotarios "first scribe," originally the chief of the college of recorders of the court of the Byzantine Empire, from Greek πρῶτοςprotos "first" + Latin notarius ("notary"); the -h- appeared in Medieval Latin. The title was awarded to certain high-ranking notaries.
Episcopal sandals, also known as the pontifical sandals, are a Roman Catholic pontifical vestment worn by bishops when celebrating liturgical functions according to the pre–Vatican II rubrics, for example a Tridentine Solemn Pontifical Mass.
The hierarchy of the Catholic Church consists of its bishops, priests, and deacons. In the ecclesiological sense of the term, "hierarchy" strictly means the "holy ordering" of the Church, the Body of Christ, so to respect the diversity of gifts and ministries necessary for genuine unity.
Choir dress is the traditional vesture of the clerics, seminarians and religious of Christian churches worn for public prayer and the administration of the sacraments except when celebrating or concelebrating the Eucharist. It differs from the vestments worn by the celebrants of the Eucharist, being normally made of fabrics such as wool, cotton or silk, as opposed to the fine brocades used in vestments. It may also be worn by lay assistants such as acolytes and choirs. It was abandoned by most of the Protestant churches that developed from the sixteenth-century Reformation.
The mozzetta is a short elbow-length sartorial vestment, a cape that covers the shoulders and is buttoned over the frontal breast area. It is worn over the rochet or cotta as part of choir dress by some of the clergy of the Catholic Church, among them the pope, cardinals, bishops, abbots, canons and religious superiors. There used to be a small hood on the back of the mozzetta of bishops and cardinals, but this was discontinued by Pope Paul VI. The hood, however, was retained in the mozzette of certain canons and abbots, and in that of the popes, often trimmed in satin, silk or ermine material.
The papal household or pontifical household, called until 1968 the Papal Court, consists of dignitaries who assist the pope in carrying out particular ceremonies of either a religious or a civil character.
A mantelletta, Italian diminutive of Latin mantellum 'mantle', is a sleeveless, knee-length, vest-like garment, open in front, with slits instead of sleeves on the sides, fastened at the neck, once even more common than the mozzetta.
The ferraiolo is a type of cape traditionally worn by clergy in the Roman Catholic Church on formal, non-liturgical occasions. It can be worn over the shoulders, or behind them, extends in length to the ankles, is tied in a bow by narrow strips of cloth at the front, and does not have any 'trim' or piping on it.
The fascia is a sash worn by clerics and seminarians with the cassock in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Church. It is not worn as a belt but is placed above the waist between the navel and the breastbone (sternum). The ends that hang down are worn on the left side of the body and placed a little forward but not completely off the left hip.
Niccolò Marini was an Italian Cardinal of the Catholic Church who served as secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches from 1917 to 1922, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1916.
A Chaplain of His Holiness is a priest to whom the Pope has granted this title. They are addressed as Monsignor and have certain privileges with respect to ecclesiastical dress and vestments.
This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church.
Pontificalis Domus was a motu proprio document issued by Pope Paul VI on 28 March 1968, in the fifth year of his pontificate. It reorganized the Papal Household, which had been known until then as the Papal Court.
Giovanni Francesco Guidi di Bagno (1578–1641) was an Italian cardinal, brother of cardinal Nicola Guidi di Bagno and nephew of cardinal Girolamo Colonna.
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.