Fabrica Ecclesie

Fabrica Ecclesie the name given in the Latin Church to a special fund for defraying the expenses for building and repairing the Church edifices of a particular congregation. As early as the 5th century it was custonmary that one portion of the property of a particular church should be set aside to this end. According to the rescripts of the Roman bishops Simplicius (475) and Gelasius (494), it was to be the fourth part of the whole property of the church, while in Spain one third was used. The Council of Frankfort in 794 declared that the holder of ecclesiastical benefices had the duty of keeping the church edifices in a proper condition, and this declaration was frequently confirmed by imperial and ecclesiastical laws.. Charles the Bald in 846, besides confirming the same rule, ordered that all the serfs of the Church should work for repairing the churches at least twenty days every year. The parishioners generally were lequired to cooperate for keeping the Church edifices in proper order. There were, however, widely different usages in different localities. The Council of Trent (session 21, cap. 7) established as a general principle that building and repairing expenses should be defrayed from the general revenue of the Church; in case these are not sufficient, all the patrons and others who have any kind of income from the church, and, if necessary, all the parishioners, are bound to cooperate to that end. This has since been the practice both in the Roman Catholic and in the Protestant state churches. The legislation of the first French empire (decree of 1809) charged the civil community with the duty of keeping the church edifices of all the recognized religions in good order. The civil laws of the European countries have many detailed provisions with regard to the subject, and in some points there is a wide difference.- ferzog, Real-Encyklop. 1:737; Wetzer und Welte, 4:876; Helfert, Von d. Erbauung, Erhaltung ua. Herstellung d. kirch. Gebaude (Prague, 1834). (A.J.S.)

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