Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
519
CATHEDRAL

bishop of the south Saxons to remove his see from Selsey to Chichester; the Wilts and Dorset bishop to remove his cathedra from Sherborne to Old Sarum, and the Mercian bishop, whose cathedra was then at Lichfield, to transfer it to Chester. Traces of the tribal and migratory system may still be noted in the designations of the Irish see of Meath (where the result has been that there is now no cathedral church) and Ossory, the cathedral church of which is at Kilkenny. Some of the Scottish sees were also migratory.

By the canon law the bishop is regarded as the pastor of the cathedral church, the parochia of which is his diocese. In view of this, canonists speak of the cathedral church as the one church of the diocese, and all others are deemed chapels in their relation to it.

Occasionally two churches jointly share the distinction of containing the bishop’s cathedra. In such case they are said to be con-cathedral in relation to each other. Instances of this occurred in England before the Reformation in the dioceses of Bath and Wells, and of Coventry and Lichfield. Hence the double titles of those dioceses. In Ireland an example occurs at Dublin, where Christ Church and St Patrick’s are jointly the cathedral churches of that diocese. In France the bishop of Couserans (a see suppressed at the Revolution) had two con-cathedral churches at St Lizier, and the bishop of Sisteron (a see also suppressed) had a second throne in the church of Forcalquier which is still called “La Con-cathédrale.” Other instances might be named. In the case of York the collegiate churches of Beverley, Ripon and Southwell were almost in the same position, but although the archbishop had a stall in each he had no diocesan cathedra in them, and the chapters were not united with that of the metropolitical church in the direct government of the diocese, or the election of the archbishop, nor had they those other rights which were held to denote the cathedral character of a church.

Cathedral churches are reckoned as of different degrees of dignity: (1) the simple cathedral church of a diocesan bishop, (2) the metropolitical church to which the other diocesan cathedral churches of a province are suffragan, (3) the primatial church under which are ranged metropolitical churches and their provinces, (4) patriarchal churches to which primatial, metropolitical, and simple cathedral churches alike owe allegiance. The title of "‘primate’" was occasionally conferred on metropolitans of sees of great dignity or importance, such as Canterbury, York, Rouen, &c., whose cathedral churches remained simply metropolitical. Lyons, where the cathedral church is still known as “La Primatiale,” and Lund in Sweden, may be cited as instances of churches which were really primatial. Lyons had the archbishops of Sens and Paris and their provincial dioceses subject to it till the Revolution, and Lund had the archbishop of Upsala and his province subject to it. As with the title of primate, so also that of “patriarch” has been conferred on sees such as Venice and Lisbon, the cathedral churches of which are patriarchal in name alone. The cathedral church of St John Lateran, the cathedral church of the pope as bishop of Rome and patriarch of the West, alone in western Europe possesses potentially a patriarchal character. Its formal designation is “Patriarchalis Basilica, Sacrosancta Romana Cathedralis Ecclesia Lateranensis.”

The removal of a bishop’s cathedra from a church deprives that church of its cathedral dignity, although often the name clings in common speech, as for example at Antwerp, which was deprived of its bishop at the French Revolution.

The history of the body of clergy attached to the cathedral church is obscure, and as in each case local considerations affected its development, all that can be attempted is to give a general outline of the main features which were more or less common to all. Originally the bishop and cathedral clergy formed a kind of religious community, which, in no true sense a monastery, was nevertheless often called a monasterium. The word had not the restricted meaning which it afterwards acquired. Hence the apparent anomaly that churches like York and Lincoln, which never had any monks attached to them, have inherited the name of minster or monastery. In these early communities the clergy often lived apart in their own dwellings, and were not infrequently married. In the 8th century, however, Chrodegang, bishop of Metz (743–766), compiled a code of rules for the clergy of the cathedral churches, which, though widely accepted in Germany and other parts of the continent, gained little acceptance in England. According to Chrodegang’s rule the cathedral clergy were to live under a common roof, occupy a common dormitory and submit to the authority of a special officer. The rule of Chrodegang was, in fact, a modification of the Benedictine rule. Gisa, a native of Lorraine, who was bishop of Wells from 1061 to 1088, introduced it into England, and imposed its observance on the clergy of his cathedral church, but it was not followed for long there, or elsewhere in England.

During the two centuries, roughly bounded by the years 900 and 1100, the cathedral clergy became more definitely organized, and were also divided into two classes. One was that of a monastic establishment of some recognized order of monks, very often that of the Benedictines, while the other class was that of a college of clergy, living in the world, and bound by no vows, except those of their ordination, but governed by a code of statutes or canons. Hence the name of “canon” given to them. In this way arose the distinction between the monastic and secular cathedral churches. In England the monastic cathedral churches were Bath, Canterbury, Carlisle, Coventry, Durham, Ely, Norwich, Rochester, Winchester and Worcester, all of them Benedictine except Carlisle, which was a church of Augustinians. The secular churches were Chichester, Exeter, Hereford, Lichfield, Lincoln, St Paul’s (London), Salisbury, Wells, York, and the four Welsh cathedral churches. In Ireland all were secular except Christ Church, Dublin (Augustinian), and Down (Benedictine), and none, even in their earliest days, were ever, it is believed, churches of recognized orders of monks, except the two named. In Scotland St Andrew’s was Augustinian, Elgin (or Moray), Glasgow and Aberdeen were always secular, and ordered on the models of Lincoln and Salisbury. Brechin had a community of Culdees till 1372, when a secular chapter was constituted. The cathedral church of Galloway, at Whithorn, of English foundation, was a church of Praemonstratensians. In Germany, as in England, many of the cathedral churches were monastic. In Denmark all seem to have been Benedictine at first, except Borglum, which was Praemonstratensian till the Reformation. The others were changed to churches of secular canons. In Sweden, Upsala was originally Benedictine, but was secularized about 1250, and it was ordered that each of the cathedral churches of Sweden should have a chapter of at least fifteen secular canons. In France monastic chapters were very common, but nearly all the monastic cathedral churches there had been changed to churches of secular canons before the 17th century. One of the latest to be so changed was that of Seez, in Normandy, which was Augustinian till 1547, when Pope Paul III. dispensed the members from their vows, and constituted them a chapter of secular canons. The chapter of Senez was monastic till 1647, and others perhaps even later, but the majority were secularized about the time of the Reformation.

In the case of monastic cathedral churches there were no dignitaries, the internal government was that of the order to which the chapter belonged, and all the members kept perpetual residence. The reverse of this was the case with the secular chapters; the dignities of provost, dean, precentor, chancellor, treasurer, &c., soon came into being, for the regulation and good order of the church and its services, while the non-residence of the canons, rather than their perpetual residence, became the rule, and led to their duties being performed by a body of “vicars,” who officiated for them at the services of the church.

Abroad, the earliest head of a secular church seems to have been the provost (praepositus, Probst, &c.), who was charged, not only with the internal regulation of the church, and oversight of the members of the chapter and control of the services, but was also the steward or seneschal of the lands and possessions of the church. The latter often mainly engaged his attention,