Cardinal archpriests

Each of the four major basilicas in Rome is assigned an archpriest who is typically a Cardinal. In the case of St John’s Lateran, I believe the archpriest is also the Cardinal Vicar himself, so he clearly has responsibility for the entire diocese. Likewise, I believe the archpriest of St Peter’s is also the Cardinal Vicar General for Vatican City. What about the archpriests of St Mary’s and St Paul’s? Are these positions purely ceremonial or do they, despite being bishops and cardinals, carry out the duties of a parish pastor? Do they report to the Cardinal Vicar or are major basilicas exempt from the typical parish - diocese relationship?

I hadn’t heard about “archpriests” until you posted this. Interesting. The position would have to be ceremonial (“just a title”), or for a specific function. The Catholic Church has only (3) ordinations: Deacon, Priest, and Bishop. All other titles are just a form of one of these ordinations with or without additional responsibilities, like Monsignor, Archpriest, Archbishop, Cardinal, Pope (with the pope being the Bishop of Rome)

For the papal basilicas in Rome, the archpriest is always a Cardinal.

You are correct that the Cardinal Vicar for the diocese of Rome is archpriest of the Lateran.

It is only very recently that the archpriest of the Vatican Basilica is Vatican City’s Vicar General. The two offices used to be held by different men, with the Vicar General not being a Cardinal or even an archbishop, for that matter.

Saint Paul outside the Walls receiving an archpriest is a very recent innovation. The role was fulfilled by the Abbot Nullius of the monastery, given the singular role in church history that prelate played in Rome during the Avignon papacy.

The title is not ceremonial. Neither is its function that of a mere parish priest.

Outside of this unique instance involving the College of Cardinals, dioceses have an archpriest in the structure of the curia…although I never encountered the office in my visits to North America.

“Archpriest” is the common eastern usage for diocesan priests comparable to “Monsignor”, as is “Archimandrite” for monastics.

You will also find “chorbishops” in a few eastern churches. In some, they are epsicopally ordained, kind of, sort of like an auxillary bishop in the RC, while in others they are not–yet in many of those, share regalia with bishops and sit in the synod with them.

And over a period of something like 700 years, the arch-Deacon of Rome (a deacon, not a priest) was chosen Pope with only one exception . . .



I am aware of Eastern archpriests, of course, and of the Cardinal archpriests in Rome… but I didn’t realize that archpriests still existed in the Latin Church otherwise.

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