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A vicar ( // ; Latin: vicarius ) is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior (compare "vicarious" in the sense of "at second hand"). 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".
Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.
Vicarius is a Latin word, meaning substitute or deputy. It is the root of the English word "vicar".
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, whose coming as the messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.
The Pope uses the title Vicarius Christi, meaning the vicar of Christ. The papacy first used this title in the 6th century; earlier they used the title "vicar of Saint Peter" or vicarius principis apostolorum , the "vicar of the chief of the apostles".
The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the bishop of Rome, leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state representing the Holy See. Since 1929, the pope has official residence in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City, the Holy See's city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.
Saint Peter, also known as Simon Peter, Simeon, Simon, Sham'un al-Safa, Cephas, or Peter the Apostle, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, and the first leader of the early Church.
In Catholic canon law, a vicar is the representative of any ecclesiastic entity. The Romans had used the term to describe officials subordinate to the praetorian prefects. In the early Christian churches, bishops likewise had their vicars, such as the archdeacons and archpriests, and also the rural priest, the curate who had the cure or care of all the souls outside the episcopal cities. The position of the Roman Catholic vicar as it evolved is sketched in the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration is the Holy See.
The praetorian prefect was a high office in the Roman Empire. Originating as the commander of the Praetorian Guard, the office gradually acquired extensive legal and administrative functions, with its holders becoming the Emperor's chief aides. Under Constantine I, the office was much reduced in power and transformed into a purely civilian administrative post, while under his successors, territorially-defined praetorian prefectures emerged as the highest-level administrative division of the Empire. The prefects again functioned as the chief ministers of the state, with many laws addressed to them by name. In this role, praetorian prefects continued to be appointed by the Eastern Roman Empire until the reign of Heraclius in the 7th century AD, when wide-ranging reforms reduced their power and converted them to mere overseers of provincial administration. The last traces of the prefecture disappeared in the Byzantine Empire by the 840s.
A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.
Vicars have various titles based on what role they are performing. An apostolic vicar is a bishop or priest who heads a missionary particular Church that is not yet ready to be a full diocese – he stands as the local representative of the Pope, in the Pope's role as bishop of all unorganized territories. A vicar capitular, who exercises authority in the place of the diocesan chapter, is a temporary ordinary of a diocese during a sede vacante period.
The word diocese is derived from the Greek term dioikesis (διοίκησις) meaning "administration". Today, when used in an ecclesiastical sense, it refers to the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. Sometimes it is also called bishopric.
Sede vacante is a term for the state of an episcopal see while without a bishop. In the canon law of the Catholic Church, the term is used to refer to the vacancy of any see of a particular church, but it comes into especially wide journalistic use when the see is that of the papacy.
Vicars exercise authority as the agents of the bishop of the diocese. Most vicars, however, have ordinary power, which means that their agency is not by virtue of a delegation but is established by law. Vicars general, episcopal vicars, and judicial vicars exercise vicarious ordinary power; they each exercise a portion of the power of the diocesan bishop (judicial for the judicial vicar, executive for the others) by virtue of their office and not by virtue of a mandate.
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.
In the Roman Catholic Church, a judicial vicar or episcopal official is an officer of the diocese who has ordinary power to judge cases in the diocesan ecclesiastical court. Although the diocesan bishop can reserve certain cases to himself, the judicial vicar and the diocesan bishop are a single tribunal, which means that decisions of the judicial vicar cannot be appealed to the diocesan bishop but must instead be appealed to the appellate tribunal. The judicial vicar ought to be someone other than the vicar general, unless the smallness of the diocese or the limited number of cases suggest otherwise. Other judges, who may be priests, deacons, religious brothers or sisters or nuns, or laypersons, and who must have knowledge of canon law and be Catholics in good standing, assist the judicial vicar either by deciding cases on a single judge basis or by forming with him a panel over which he or one of them presides. A judicial vicar may also be assisted by adjutant judicial vicars. The judicial vicar is assisted by at least one, if not more, individuals with the title defender of the bond, they are normally priests, but do not have to be. On staff will also be notaries and secretaries, who may be priests, religious brothers or sisters or nuns, or laypersons.
The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding responsibility for the governance of a state. The executive executes and enforces law.
A vicar forane , also known as an archpriest or dean, is a priest entrusted by the bishop with a certain degree of leadership in a territorial division of a diocese or a pastoral region known as a vicarate forane or a deanery.
A parochial vicar is a priest assigned to a parish in addition to, and in collaboration with, the parish priest or rector. He exercises his ministry as an agent of the parish's pastor, who is termed parochus in Latin. Some papal legates are given the title Vicar of the Apostolic See.
A vicar can be the priest of a "chapel of ease", a building within the parish which is not the parish church. Non-resident canons led also to the institution of vicars choral, each canon having his own vicar, who sat in his stall in his absence (see Cathedral).
In Opus Dei, a regional vicar is a priest designated to fulfil responsibilities for an entire country or region, such as France or the United States.
In the Russian Orthodox Church and some other non-Hellenic Eastern Orthodox Churches that historically follow Russian tradition, vicar (Russian: vikariy / викарий) is a term for what is known as suffragan bishop in the Anglican Communion or as auxiliary bishop in the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. A vicar bishop usually bears in his title the names of both his titular see (usually, a smaller town within the diocese he ministers in) and the see he is subordinate to. For example, Ignaty Punin, the vicar bishop under the Diocese of Smolensk, is titled "The Rt Revd Ignaty, the bishop of Vyazma, the vicar of the Diocese of Smolensk", Vyasma being a smaller town inside the territory of the Diocese of Smolensk. Normally, only large dioceses have vicar bishops, sometimes more than one. Usually, Russian Orthodox vicar bishops have no independent jurisdiction (even in their titular towns) and are subordinate to their diocesan bishops; though some of them de facto may have jurisdiction over some territories, especially when there is a need to avoid an overlapping jurisdiction.
In some other Eastern Orthodox Churches the term "chorbishop" is used instead of "vicar bishop".
In Anglicanism, a vicar is a type of parish priest. Historically, parish priests in the Church of England were divided into vicars, rectors , and perpetual curates . The parish clergy and church were supported by tithes—like a local tax (traditionally, as the etymology of tithe suggests, of ten percent) levied on the personal as well as agricultural output of the parish. Roughly speaking, the distinction was that a rector directly received both the greater and lesser tithes of his parish while a vicar received only the lesser tithes (the greater tithes going to the lay holder, or impropriator , of the living); a perpetual curate with a small cure and often aged or infirm received neither greater nor lesser tithes, and received only a small salary (paid sometimes by the diocese). (See also in Church of England.) Today, the roles of a rector and a vicar are essentially the same. Which of the two titles is held by the parish priest is historical. Some parishes have a rector, others a vicar.
In the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, the positions of "vicar" and "curate" are not recognized in the canons of the entire church. However, some diocesan canons do define "vicar" as the priest in charge of a mission; and "curate" is often used for assistants, being entirely analogous to the English situation.
A vicarage, or vicarage house, is a residence provided by the church for the priest. They were usually located near the church and were sometimes quite elaborate and other times inadequate. Dating from medieval times, they were often rebuilt and modernized. In the second half of the 20th century, most large vicarages were replaced with more modern and simpler houses.
In the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, the Lutheran Church–Canada, and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, a vicar is a candidate for ordained pastoral ministry, serving in a vicariate or internship, usually in the third year of seminary training, though it can be delayed to the fourth year (this is often referred to as "a vicarage", a homonym of the residence of the Vicar). Typically at the end of the year of vicarage, the candidate returns to seminary and completes a final year of studies. After being issued a call or assignment, the candidate is ordained as a pastor in the ministry of Word and Sacrament. The role of a vicar in the Lutheran tradition is most comparable to that of a transitional deacon in the Anglican and Roman churches, except that Lutheran vicars are not ordained. In the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa, a vicar is a person who has completed seminary training and is awaiting ordination while serving at a parish where the Diocesan Council places him or her.
The title "Vikar", used in the Lutheran churches in Germany, is comparable while the Lutheran Church of Sweden calls it "kyrkoherde" ("church shepherd"), although that title is more comparable to a rector.
Oliver Goldsmith's novel The Vicar of Wakefield (1766) and Honoré de Balzac's The Curate of Tours (Le Curé de Tours; 1832) evoke the impoverished world of the 18th- and 19th-century vicar. Anthony Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire are peopled with churchmen of varying situations, from wealthy to impoverished; the income differences prompted a digression in Framley Parsonage (chapter 14) on the incomprehensible logic that made one vicar rich and another poor. The 18th-century satirical ballad "The Vicar of Bray" reveals the changes of conscience a vicar (whether of the Bray in Berkshire or of that in County Wicklow) might undergo in order to retain his meagre post, between the 1680s and 1720s. "The Curate of Ars" (usually in French: Le Curé d'Ars) is a style often used to refer to Saint Jean Vianney, a French parish priest canonized on account of his piety and simplicity of life.
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 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 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 (sýnodos) meaning "assembly" or "meeting", and it is synonymous 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 curate is a person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls of a parish. In this sense, "curate" correctly means a parish priest; but in English-speaking countries the term curate is commonly used to describe clergy who are assistants to the parish priest. The duties or office of a curate are called a curacy.
A titular bishop in various churches is a bishop who is not in charge of a diocese. By definition, a bishop is an "overseer" of a community of the faithful, so when a priest is ordained a bishop, the tradition of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches is that he be ordained for a specific place. There are more bishops than there are functioning dioceses. Therefore, a priest appointed not to head a diocese as its diocesan bishop but to be an auxiliary bishop, a papal diplomat, or an official of the Roman Curia is appointed to a titular see.
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.
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.
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 Roman Catholic Church, and many Lutheran denominations. A dean's assistant is called a subdean.
In the pre-Reformation church, a parson is the priest of an independent parish church, that is, a parish church not under the control of a larger ecclesiastical or monastic organization. The term is similar to rector and is in contrast to a vicar, a cleric whose revenue is usually, at least partially, appropriated by a larger organization. Today the term is normally used for some parish clergy of non-Roman Catholic churches, in particular in the Anglican tradition in which a parson is the incumbent of a parochial benefice: a parish priest or a rector; in this sense a parson can be compared with a vicar. The title parson can be applied to clergy from certain other Protestant denominations. A parson is often housed in a church-owned home known as a parsonage.
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 Very Reverend is a style given to certain religious figures.
In English ecclesiastical law, the term incumbent refers to the holder of a Church of England parochial charge or benefice. The term "benefice" originally denoted a grant of land for life in return for services. In church law, the duties were spiritual ("spiritualities") and some form of assets to generate revenue were permanently linked to the duties to ensure the support of the office holder. Historically, once in possession of the benefice, the holder had lifelong tenure unless he failed to provide the required minimum of spiritual services or committed a moral offence. With the passing of the Pastoral Measure 1968 and subsequent legislation, this no longer applies, and many ancient benefices have been joined together into a single new one.
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."
Perpetual curate was a class of resident parish priest or incumbent curate within the United Church of England and Ireland. The term is found in common use mainly during the first half of the 19th century. The legal status of perpetual curate originated as an administrative anomaly in the 16th century. Unlike ancient rectories and vicarages, perpetual curacies were supported by a cash stipend, usually maintained by an endowment fund, and had no ancient right to income from tithe or glebe.
The Diocese of San Pablo is a Roman Catholic diocese which is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Manila. Its patron saint or titular head is Saint Paul the Hermit.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cabanatuan is a diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in southern Nueva Ecija province in the Philippines. The diocese comprises 16 towns of the province including the cities of Cabanatuan, Palayan and Gapan. The diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan.
Vicar is the title given to certain parish priests in the Church of England. It has played a significant role in Anglican Church organisation in ways that are different from other Christian denominations. The title is very old and arises from the medieval situation where priests were appointed either by a secular lord, by a bishop or by a religious foundation. Wherever there is a vicar he shares the benefice with a rector to whom the great tithes were paid. Vicar derives from the Latin "vicarius" meaning a substitute.
This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church.
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.
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