Primicerius i.e. the chief of his order (from Lat. primus, first, and cera, wax), one whose name was first inscribed on the tablet of the church, which was covered with wax. The word does not always signify priority of power or jurisdiction; sometimes only priority of time, or precedency of honor or dignity in respect of place. Augustine calls Stephen primicerius martyirum. Bernard calls many primiceria virginitatis. The word is frequently met with in mediaeval Latin, and designates an officer in monasteries. In the Liber Ronmani Ordinis the duties of the office are thus described: Primicerius sciat se esse sub archidiacono, etc.: "The primicerius must understand that he is subordinate to the archdeacon; and to his office it specially belongs to preside over the deacons during the time that they are communicating instruction; to maintain proper discipline, as one who must render account to God; to furnish the deacons with subjects on which they must discourse," etc. Du Cange gives various meanings of the term, dependent on the word with which it happens to be connected; as prinicesrius subdiaconorumn, notariorum, lectorum, etc. But in a more restricted sense, primicerius designates the holder of a chapter dignity, andis employed with this specific meaning in Chrodegang's rule, and in the statutes of Amalarius, confirmed by the Synod of Aix-la-Chapelle in 817, where the primicerius appears at the head of the capitulary register, immediately after the archdeacon and archpresbyter. The functions of the primicerius were specially to instruct the deacons, subdeacons, and minorists in the choral song (hence his name of Praecentor; De consuet. 1, 4), in the liturgy, and in the functions of the Church; to inform the canons of the order of the office in the choir; to explain to the younger ones the management of the Breviary, etc. There is a very circumstantial enumeration of the duties of the primicerius in the Epistola Isidori Spal. ad Landefredum Cordub., "De omnibus eccl. gradibus" (comp. c. 1, § 13. Dist. 25 and the fragment of the Ordo Ronanus in c. un. 10: De off. primicerii," 1, 25). When the archdeacons, in the progressive extension of their importance, obtained the lower jurisdiction over the priests and archpriests, the primicerius obtained also the full disciplinary power over the minorists. His situation in the chapter was therefore one of importance; it is sometimes called a dignity (De consuet. 1, 4), sometimes a personale (De constit. 1, 2), sometimes it is put simply among the offices (officia nudu). There was, in general, no unliform distribution of ranks in the different chapters. When the institution of the Minorites was suppressed, the office of the primicerius was also extinguished.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.