Chancellor (2)


(Cancellarius), a lay officer who is judge in a bishop's court, under his authority. "In ancient times bishops had jurisdiction in particular causes, as in marriages, adultery, last wills, etc., which were determined by them in their consistory courts. But when many controversies arose in these and other causes, it was not consistent with the character of a bishop to interpose in every litigious matter, and it became necessary for the bishop to depute some subordinate officer, experienced both in the civil and canon law, to determine those ecclesiastical causes, and this was the original of diocesan chancellors. Henry II of England, requiring the attendance of bishops in his state councils, and other public affairs, it was thought necessary to substitute chancellors in their room, to dispatch those causes which were proper to the bishop's jurisdiction. In a few years a chancellor became such a necessary officer to the bishop that he was not to be without him; for if he would have none, the archbishop of the province might enjoin him to depute one, and if he refused, the archbishop might appoint one himself. The person thus deputed by the bishop has his authority from the law, and his jurisdiction is not, like that of a commissary, limited to a certain place and certain causes, but extends throughout the whole diocese, and to all ecclesiastical matters; not only for reformation of manners, in punishment of criminals, but in all causes concerning marriages, last wills, administrations, etc." (Hook, Church Dictionary, s.v.). In England the chancellor presides in the bishop's court; and is called his vicar-general, as being clothed with the bishop's authority. In Ireland the chancellor has no ecclesiastical jurisdiction, all matters pertaining to his office being executed by a distinct officer, called the vicar- general. — Bingham, Orig. Ecclesiastes bk. 2, ch. 7, § 5; Marsden, Churches and Sects, 331.

Bible concordance for CHANCELLOR.

Definition of chancellor

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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