(Latinized Gr.), a church which contains the cathedra or seat of the bishop. In the earliest cathedrals, the basilicas or large churches in Rome, the bishop's seat was a marble chair attached to the end wall behind the altar, which was at the west end of the church, and he officiated over the altar, which was low; so that he always looked towards the east, or the rising sun, the great emblem of the resurrection from the earliest times. Among the ordinances of pope Clement, A.D. 93, was one that in every church one chair should be placed in a more lofty and prominent position, so that the bishop sitting' in it could overlook all persons present, and be seen by them. This marble chair is often called the cardinal's chair, because when the church was served by a cardinal it was his seat, but the name of cardinal is not primitive. This arrangement of a marble arm-chair fixed against the wall on the level of the upper bench round the apse is found in some of the early crypts in Rome as early as the 7th or 8th century, but none have been observed earlier.
In the medieval cathedrals the Lady-chapel takes the place of the apse, and the bishop's seat or throne is usually on the south side of the nave, eastward of the stalls for the canons. The choir is enclosed-in its own solid screen, with a space between the east end of the screen and the Lady- chapel. In England, Wells exhibits the most perfect example of a cathedral with all its parts and appurtenances. Both nave and choir, as well as presbytery, have aisles. There is a second transept eastward of the altar between that and the Lady chapel. The chapter-house is on the north side of the choir, and joins the eastern corner of the north transept, its vestibule being parallel to that transept on the east side of it. This is the same at York, and it is the most usual plan, although there is no rule for the place of the chapter-house. The two transepts have each two chapels on the east side, and an aisle on the west; the aisle communicates at the south end with the cloister, which is on the south side of the nave, and has the library over it on the east side, and the singing school on the west. The nave has aisles on both sides, and another transept at the west end, with towers at the extremities; there is also a central tower and a north porch.
Wells was a cathedral proper, not monastic, but with a separate house for each of its officers, either in the Close or in the Liberty adjoining to it. The bishop's palace, of the 13th century, is enclosed by a separate moat, and fortified it is on the south side of the cloister, from which it is separated by the moat; the deaconry and the archdeaconry, of the 15th, are on the north side of the Close, with some of the canons houses; the organist's house is at the west end, adjoining to the singing-school and the cloister; the precentor's house is at the east end, near the Lady chapel. The vicars choral have a Close of their own joining the north-east corner of the canons Close, with a bridge across through the gatehouse into the north transept; they were a semi-monastic body, with their own chapel, library, and hall, but still were chiefly laymen.
The cathedral church was also called parochia, the principal or mother church, and in some places still the High Church. In' it coronations, ordinations, councils were held, manumissions of serfs made, and academical honors conferred. The word is confined to the Western Church, and is not older than the 10th century. The casthedraticum, or payment to the bishop for the honor of his see, called in Italy La chierica, was paid in the time .of Honorius III by all the diocesan clergy; and in later days St. Richard's pence at Chichester, St. Chad's pennies at Lichfield, Pentecostals and smoke-farthings elsewhere, were the tribute of the diocese to the cathedral church, and a compensation for an omission to visit it at Whitsuntide.
A cathedral is composed of a corporation of canons presided aver by a bishop. In some rare cases, as Pistoia and Prato, Lichfield and Coventry, and Bath and Wells, a bishop had two cathedrals; and occasionally a collegiate church was united to a cathedral, as at Dublin. The system was established in large towns for mutual aid, and as a central station for missionary operations. Cathedrals were of two kinds such as were served by a composite body of monks and clerks under rule, and immediately governed by the abbot-bishop as his family and household; and collegiate churches, with chapters of clerks under an archpriest, but having the bishop as the head of the capitular body. Gradually the itinerant clergy, who were, sent out on Sundays and festivals to the surrounding district, settled down as permanent parish priests, while those who remained about the bishop became his standing-chapter. There were cathedrals of regular canons in many places, of Premonstrants at Littomissel, Havelburg, and Brandenburg, and of Austin canons, in a few cities. The cathedral of Alcala is called magistral, because all the canons have the degree of D.D. Ramsbury, exceptionally, although a see, had no chapter. At Canterbury and Worcester, two ministers, occupied by the clerks and monks respectively, adjoined each other, till the bishop definitely assumed one as his cathedral. At Winchester, and in London at Westminster, the monks built a separate minster; at Worcester and Winchester they absorbed the canons; at Exeter they gave way to them; at Canterbury, Durham, Rochester, and Norwich they only gradually gained the ascendant when the Norman policy removed sees from villages into towns, as in the instance of the translation from Thetford to Norwich, and Selsea into Chichester, as, about forty years earlier, had been the case of Exeter, removed from Bodmin, and Salisbury from Wilton; and half a century yet earlier, in the foundation of Durham. With the exception of Monreale and Monte Cassino, and some early foundations in Germany, colonized from Britain, in England only there were monastic cathedrals. These were Canterbury, Winchester, Durhaim, Bath, Carlisle, Ely, Norwich, Rochester, Worcester; and being refounded at the Reformation as secular cathedrals, along with the newly created sees of Chester, Bristol, Peterborough, Oxford, Gloucester, and Westminster, they are known as cathedrals of the new foundation. Those of the old foundation, which always had secular canons, are York, St. Paul's, Wells, Chichester, Exeter, Hereford, Lichfield, Lincoln, Salisbury, and the four Welsh cathedrals. The bishops of Meath, Ossory, Sodor and Man, Argyll and the Isles, Caithness, Moray, Orkneys, and Galloway did not take their titles from their sees. Some German cathedrals, as Bamberg, Cammin, Breslau, Laybach, leissen, Olmutz, like those of Trent and Trieste, are exempt, that is, free from visitation by the archbishop of-the province, and immediately subject to the see of Rome. SEE CHURCH EDIFICE.