In accordance with canon law, a cathedral chapter is a college of clerics (chapter) formed to advise a bishop and, in the case of a vacancy of the episcopal see in some countries, to govern the diocese in his stead. In the Church of England the Chapter now includes a number of lay appointees. These councils are made up of canons and dignitaries; in the Roman Catholic church their creation is the purview of the pope. They can be "numbered", in which case they are provided with a fixed prebend, or "unnumbered", in which case the bishop indicates the number of canons according to the rents. In some Church of England cathedrals there are two such bodies, the Lesser and Greater Chapters, which have different functions. The smaller body usually consists of the residentiary members and is included in the larger one.
Originally, it referred to a section of a monastic rule that was read out daily during the assembly of a group of canons or other clergy attached to a cathedral or collegiate church. Later it came to be applied to the group of clergy itself.
- Cross, F. L. (ed.) (1957) The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. London: Oxford University Press; p. 264
- Coredon Dictionary of Medieval Terms p. 68
- This article incorporates information from the revision as of May 28, 2007 of the equivalent article on the Spanish Wikipedia.
- Coredon, Christopher (2007). A Dictionary of Medieval Terms & Phrases (Reprint ed.). Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer. ISBN 978-1-84384-138-8.
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