< Previous
Next >

7. Of the subordinate servants of the Church and of the Clergy

Antiquities of the Christian Church
CHAPTER IV. Inferior officers of the church

7. Of the subordinate servants of the Church and of the Clergy

  1. The Copiatae, undertakers, grave-diggers, sextons. These were intrusted with the care of funerals, and the burial of the dead. They are called vespillones, bispellones,*; also ordo fossariorum  fossores. grave-diggers*. bearers of the bier, and collegiati, decani, collegiates and deans.

    They are said to have been first instituted at Constantineple by Constantine the Great, and to have been further organized and established by the emperor Anastasius. 

  2. The Parabolani. Their office was to take care of the sick; a service which in the times of the apostles and primitive Christians was of great importance, especially during the prevalence of severe sickness. The common belief is that they took their name from the hazardous office in which they were employed, negotium periculosum*. Others derive it from * in the sense of bestiarii, persons of great courage and desperate character who exposed themselves in combat with wild beasts. 

    They were chiefly limited to Egypt and Asia Minor; where they were the more necessary by reason ot the contagious diseases of these countries. Still they were regarded with jealousy as dangerous disturbers of the peace; and for this reason, efforts were frequently made to diminish their number. Very few traces of them appear in the history of the Western church; in the middle ages, the brothers and sisters of charity supplied their place.

  3. The sacrista, sacristanus, and sacrisiarius, was much the same as treasurer, the keeper of the sacred things, sacrorum custos, qui ecclesiae suretum curat. 
  4. The custos, custor, aedituus, was much the same as the sacristan. Sometimes he is called capellanus, which denotes particularly the keeper of the altar.
  5. The campanarii, campanatores, were the bell-ringers. An office which of necessity has been instituted since the introduction of bells in the ninth century. Their usual business was to light the church, and ring the bell for religious worship.
  6. The matricularii were intrusted with the care of the church, in which they were accustomed to sleep; they also had a specific office to perform in public processions.
  7. The parafrenarii were the coachmen of the higher clergy who had also the care of their stables, horses, and coaches. They were sometimes reckoned among the number of the clergy, but of an inferior order. 

Epipban. exposit. fid. c. 21.
(No tag #1 appears in Rev. Lyman Coleman's translation.)

Hieron. De sept ordin. eccl.

Angustin. c. Crescent, lib. iii. c.21.

Justin Novell. 43, 59.

Cod. Justin lib. i. tit. 2, 1. 4. xi. tit. 17: Cod. Theodos. vi. lit. 33, 1. 1.

Socrat. h. c. lib. vii. c. 22.

Cod. Theodos. lib. xvi. tit. 2. 1, 42, 43: Cod. Justin, lib. i. tit. 3, 1. 18, Coll. constitut. eccl. lib. i. tit. 3, 1. 18, Concil. Chalced. Act. 1.

Du Cange. Medicae Lalinitatis; Durandi ration, div. of. lib. ii. c. 1. n. 14.

Ceremon. Rom. lib. i. Sec. 2: Mabillon. Mus. Ital. torn. ii. p. 534.

(* denotes Greek text in Rev. Lyman Coleman's translation.)


search 🔍



privacy policy