Canons Secular

Canons Secular are those of cathedral and collegiate foundations, who mixed more or less with the world, and ministered the offices of religion to the laity. The title first appears in 1059, when it was used by pope Nicholas in the Council of Rome; but the existence of such canons in England, who had separate houses, may be traced back three centuries earlier. Such are the canons of cathedrals of the old foundation, and collegiate churches. Their oldest title was in Germany: senior, retained in the ancien of some Rhenish cathedrals; or brother, then canon and lord; and lastly capitular, as being members of the chapter. As Christianity spread, the number of the clergy augmented, and the bishop chose from them some of the most learned to live in common with him in the episcopium, or bishop's house, as his assistants and advisers. In time similar colleges were founded in other places, where the clergy lived in a building called the canonica, minster, or cloister, and performed religious worship, receiving food and clothes from the bishop: they were termed canons, and the bishop's vicarius was called prior, provost, or dean. From this ancient arrangement of common habitation and revenues, the custom survives in some parts of the collation to canonries by the joint consent of the bishop and chapter. A single trace remains in England, at Chichester, where the dean and chapter have six stalls in their patronage. Prebends at length were instituted, by a division of the common fund; and although the canons lived apart in their separate. houses, yet, from their aggregation in one close, their daily presence in choir and union in chapter, they were supposed still to dwell together. After the Reformation the vicars were required to occupy their college and halls, and the last trace of the common life has been but recently lost. In the 8th century the councils of Aix and Verne, and in the 9th century those of Tours (813), Meaux (845), and Pont-sur-Yonne (876), required clerks to maintain the canonical life in a cloister near the cathedral, with a common refectory and dormitory, observing the teaching of the Scriptures and the Fathers under the bishop, as if he were their abbot. In Germany the canons were called dom-herren, and in Italy dom(ini), the masters of the cathedral; as, at Lincoln, the dignitaries were known as masters of the fabric; at Liege they were. called trefonciers (terrce fundarii), lords of the soil; at Pisa, ordinarii, by special privilege of Nicholas II, owing to their jurisdiction as ordinaries over the inferior ministers; at Constantinople, decumans; at Cologne and Lyons, counts; and at Besancon, Compostella, and Seville, cardinals; at Evreux, barons. Sometimes, from their right of electing the bishop and their president, they were known as electors; and as being graduates, and in recognition of their rank, domini, or lords. Every canon is a prebendary-a canon as borne on the church list, and a prebendary as holding a prebend or revenue. In cathedrals of the new foundation, residentiaries, by the new act, are no longer called prebendaries, but simply canons. In the old foundations all are canons and prebendaries, residentiary, stagiarii, stationarii, nati; or non-residentiary; the latter, at Lichfield, were called exteriors, or extraneous. In the foreign cathedrals were three classes:

(1) capitulars, perpetuals, simple or ordinary; numeral, or major canons in actual possession of stalls;

(2) the German domicellares or domicelli, the chanoines bas-formiers of Angers, Seas, and Rouen; by-canons, minor canons, or lordlings, in distinction from the majors domini, or dom-herren; expectants of vacancies; honorary, or supernumeraries, elected by the bishop and chapter, who augmented the efficiency of the choir and received small payments, but ranked after the vicars or beneficiaries; and

(3) canons elect, not yet installed. Every canon in England and France gave a cope to the fabric; in Italy, the Peninsula, and Germany they paid a stipulated sum. Canons had the right of wearing mitres at Lisbon, Pisa, Besangon, Puy, Rodez, Brionde, Solsona, Messina, Salerno, Naples, Lyons, and Luccai these were plain white, like those of abbots, as a sign of exemption from the jurisdiction of the ordinary, and probably a corrupt use of the end of the almuce. Some canonries are attached to archdeaconries or livings, like St. Margaret and St. John, Westminster, 1840; and some to university offices, as those of Christ Church to the professors of divinity; 1605, and Hebrew, 1630; of Worcester to the Margaret professor, 1627, now exchanged for a stall at Christ-church, 1860; of Rochester to the provost of Oriel; of Gloucester to the master of Pembroke College, Oxford; and of Norwich to the master of St. Catherine's Hall, Cambridge, by queen Anne. The principal of Jesus College, Oxford, had formerly a stall at St. David's. By a recent act the professors of Greek and Hebrew at Cambridge have stalls at Ely, and the occupants of the chairs of pastoral theology and ecclesiastical history at Christ-church. James I confiscated a stall at-Salisbury to endow a readership at Oxford. The professors of Greek and divinity hold stalls at Durham. At Lisieux the bishop was earl of the city, and the canons exercised the criminal and civil jurisdiction; on the vigil of the feast. of St. Ursinus, two, habited in surplices, crossed with bandoleers of flowers, and holding nosegays, rode to every gate, preceded by mace-bearers, chaplains, and halberdiers in helmet and cuirass, and demanded the city keys; they then posted their own guard, and received all the fees and tolls, giving to each of their brethren a dole of wine and bread.

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