Praepositus (i.e. set over) is an ecclesiastical term usually employed to mean a bishop (q.v.), but also used to signify a presbyter. The same titles being applied to both is a proof that they were at one time considered of the same order. The corresponding titles in the scriptural appellations are προϊστάμενοι (1Th 5:12) and προεστῶτες (1Ti 5:17). In Spain, in the time of the Gothic kings, about the end of the 4th century, it was a custom for parents to dedicate their children at a very early age to the service of the Church, in which case they were taken into the bishop's family and educated under him by a presbyter whom the bishop deputed for that purpose and set over them by the name of praepositus or superintendent, his chief business being to inspect their behavior and instruct them in the rules and discipline of the Church. See Riddle, Christian. Antiquities, p. 211 Coleman, Anc. Christianity Exemplified, p. 130, 485. SEE PRELACY. (J.H.W.)

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