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This title dates from the 4th century; it was given, usually, to the senior priest attached to a cathedral. He was empowered to take the bishop's place at liturgical functions. Later, rural archpriests also were appointed who were superior to the local clergy as was the cathedral archpriest to the cathedral clergy. The cathedral archpriest became known as the dean; his rural counterparts, as rural deans; vicars forane are the modern equivalent of rural archpriests. Today the title archpriest, as at St.

Peter's, Rome, Notre Dame, Paris, and elsewhere is honorific. In England from 1598 to 1623 the Church was ruled by an archpriest as superior of the English mission; when in 1623 persecution had abated sufficiently to make it probable that the presence there of a bishop would not provoke worse persecution, the third and last archpriest was replaced by a vicar apostolic.

Bibliography: a. amanieu, Dictionnaire de droit canonique 1:100426. p. hughes, Rome and the Counter-Reformation in England (London 1942) 287306. 1917 Codex iuris canonici c. 217.

[b. forshaw]

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