Cathedral chapter

According to both Anglican and Catholic canon law, a cathedral chapter is a college of clerics formed to advise a bishop and, in the case of a vacancy of the episcopal see in some countries, to govern the diocese during the vacancy. These chapters are made up of canons and other officers, while in the Church of England chapters now includes a number of lay appointees, they can be "numbered", in which case they are provided with a fixed "prebend", or "unnumbered", in which case the bishop indicates the number of canons according to the rents. In some Church of England cathedrals there are two such bodies, the lesser and greater chapters, which have different functions; the smaller body consists of the residentiary members and is included in the larger one. It referred to a section of a monastic rule, read out daily during the assembly of a group of canons or other clergy attached to a cathedral or collegiate church, it came to be applied to the group of clergy itself. Typical roles within England's cathedrals have included: Historically, there was no distinction between the monastic cathedral chapters and those of the secular canons, in their relation to the bishop or diocese.

In both cases the chapter was the bishop's concilium or council, which he was bound to consult on all important matters and without doing so he could not act. Thus, a judicial decision of a bishop needed the confirmation of the chapter before it could be enforced, he could not change the service books, or "use" of the church or diocese, without capitular consent, there are episcopal acts, such as the appointment of a diocesan chancellor, or vicar general, which still need confirmation by the chapter. In its corporate capacity the chapter takes charge sede vacante of a diocese. In England, this custom has never obtained, the two archbishops having, from time immemorial, taken charge of the vacant dioceses in their respective provinces. When, either of the sees of Canterbury or York is vacant the chapters of those churches take charge, not only of the diocese, but of the province as well, incidentally, therefore, of any of the dioceses of the province which may be vacant at the same time; the normal constitution of the chapter of a secular cathedral church comprised four officers, in addition to the canons.

These are the precentor, the chancellor and the treasurer. These four officers, occupying the four corner stalls in the choir, are called in many of the statutes the quatuor majores personae of the church. A dean seems to have derived the designation from the Benedictine "deans" who had ten monks under their charge; the dean came into existence to supply the place of the provost in the internal management of the church and chapter. In England every secular cathedral church was headed by a dean, elected by the chapter and confirmed in office by the bishop; the dean is president of the chapter and within the cathedral has charge of the celebration of the services, taking specified portions of them by statute on the principal festivals. Deans sit in the principal stall in the choir, the first on the right hand on entering the choir at the west. Next to the dean is the precentor, whose special duty is that of regulating the musical portion of the services. Precentors preside in the dean's absence and occupy the corresponding stall on the left side, although there are exceptions to this rule, where, as at St Paul's Cathedral, the archdeacon of the cathedral city ranks second and occupies what is the precentor's stall.

The third officer is the chancellor. The chancellor of the cathedral church is charged with the oversight of its schools, ought to read theology lectures and superintend the lections in the choir and correct slovenly readers. Chancellors are the secretary and librarian of the chapter. In the absence of the dean and precentor the chancellor is president of the chapter; the easternmost stall, on the dean's side of the choir, is assigned to the chancellor. The fourth officer is the treasurer, they are ornaments of the church. It was their duty to provide candles and incense, they regulated such matters as the ringing of the bells. The treasurer's stall is opposite to that of the chancellor. In many cathedral churches there are additional officers, such as the praelector, vice-chancellor, succentor-canonicorum, whose roles came into existence to supply the places of the other absent officers, for non-residence was the fatal blot of the secular churches, in this they contrasted badly with the monastic churches, where all the members were in continuous residence.

There were ordinary canons, each of whom, as a rule, held a separate prebend or endowment, besides receiving their share of the common funds of the church. For the most part the canons speedily became non-resident, this led to the distinction of residentiary and non-residentiary canons, until in most churches the number of resident canons became limited in number and the non-residentiary canons, who no longer shared in the common funds, became known as prebendaries only, although by their non-residence they did not forfeit their position as canons and retained their votes in chapter like the others; this system of non-residence led to the institution of vicars choral, each canon having their own vicar, who sat in their stall in their absence

Franz Nopcsa von Felső-Szilvás

Baron Franz Nopcsa von Felső-Szilvás was an Austro-Hungarian-born aristocrat, scholar, geologist and albanologist. He is regarded as one of the founders of paleobiology, first described the theory of insular dwarfism, he was a specialist on Albanian studies and completed the first geological map of northern Albania. Nopcsa was born in 1877 in Săcel, which at that time was part of Austria-Hungary, to the Nopcsa aristocratic family of magyarised Romanian origin, he was the son of a member of the Hungarian Parliament. In 1895 Nopcsa's younger sister Ilona discovered dinosaur bones at the family estate at Szentpéterfalva in Săcel, he shared the bones with Professor Eduard Suess. This led to Nopcsa's enrollment at the University of Vienna, where he started studying geology in 1897, he advanced in his studies. He acquired a PhD in geology in 1903 from the university by geologically mapping the area surrounding the family estate. On 20 November 1906 Nopcsa met the eighteen-year-old Bajazid Elmaz Doda in Bucharest and hired him as his secretary.

Nopcsa recounted this meeting in his memoir: In addition to Mesozoic reptiles, Nopcsa's interests included nationhood for Albania a mere province of the Turkish-Balkan Ottoman Empire, but aspiring to independence. He was one of the few outsiders, he soon learned the Albanian customs. He had good relations with the leaders of the nationalist Albanian resistance against the Turks who occupied the region. Nopcsa smuggled in weapons. In 1907 on one of his expeditions into the Albanian mountains, he was held hostage by the bandit Mustafa Lita, together with Bajazid Doda. Lita demanded ten thousand Turkish pounds for his release. In his memoirs Nopcsa described his elaborate plan to get out of this situation, which involved being taken to Prizren as a spy, he was rescued by Doda's father, who had brought'ten armed retainers'. In 1912 the Balkan states joined forces to drive out the Turks; this was successful, but the newly liberated states were plunged into internal conflicts. During these Balkan Wars, Nopcsa acted as a spy for Austria-Hungary.

Out of these conflicts, Albania arose as an independent state. Nopcsa volunteered, suggesting he would use money he would gain from marrying a rich American girl to fund the war efforts, however, to no avail. During the First World War, Nopcsa again acted as a spy for Austria-Hungary, working undercover as a shepherd in Transylvania, he led a group of Albanian wartime volunteers. It has been alledged that he hijacked an aircraft, the first such known incident, to escape from the nascent and short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919. With the defeat of Austria-Hungary at the end of the war, Nopcsa's native Transylvania was ceded to Romania; as a consequence, the Baron of Felső-Szilvás lost his estates and other possessions in 1920. Compelled to find paid employment, he landed a job as the head of the Hungarian Geological Institute in 1925, but Nopcsa's tenure in the Geological Institute was short-lived, he soon became bored of the sedentary job. He went to Europe on a motorcycle journey together with his long-standing Albanian secretary and lover Bajazid Elmaz Doda to study fossils.

He returned to Vienna where he ran into financial difficulties again and was distracted in his work. To cover his debts, he sold his fossil collection to the Natural History Museum in London. Nopcsa struggled with illness, to the extent that he had to give a lecture in a wheelchair in 1928. Soon Nopcsa became depressed. In 1933, he fatally shot first his partner, Bayazid Elmas Doda, after having laced his tea with sleeping powder, he wrote a suicide note, where he states the reason for his actions a nervous breakdown, shot himself. He was cremated at Feuerhalle Simmering in Vienna, his ashes buried there. In his suicide note, he describes his reasons for killing his lover: Nopcsa left behind a considerable quantity of scientific publications and private diaries; the diaries paint a picture of a complex man with great intuition, but without the ability to understand the motives of others. His devotion to the cause of the Albanians was in contrast to his sociopathic insensitivity. In his diaries he nonchalantly wrote about his bid to become king of Albania: During his lifetime Nopcsa wrote a memoir based on diaries and notes from 1897–1917.

Though he finished the memoir around 1929, it was never published during his lifetime. Only in 2001 was it published in German and it was translated to English in 2014 as Traveler, Political Adventurer: A Transylvanian Baron at the Birth of Albanian Independence, edited by Robert Elsie. Nopcsa's main contribution to paleontology – and hence "paleobiology" – was that he was one of the first researchers who tried to "put flesh onto bones." At a time when paleontologists were interested in assembling bones, he tried to deduce the physiology and living behavior of the dinosaurs he was studying. Nopcsa was the first to suggest that these archosaurs cared for their young and exhibited complex social behavior, an idea that did not take off until the 1980s; because he was one of the first people to study the biology of dinosaurs, he is known as the'father of paleobiology' though he himself coined the term "paleophysiology" for the study of the evolu


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