clergy


clergy
clergylike, adj.
/klerr"jee/, n., pl. clergies.
the group or body of ordained persons in a religion, as distinguished from the laity.
[1175-1225; ME clerge, clergie < OF clergé ( < LL clericatus office of a priest; see CLERIC, -ATE3), clergie, equiv. to clerc CLERIC + -ie -Y3, with -g- after clergé]
Usage. See collective noun.

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      a body of ordained ministers in a Christian church. In the Roman Catholic Church (Roman Catholicism) and in the Church of England (England, Church of), the term includes the orders of bishop, priest, and deacon. Until 1972, in the Roman Catholic Church, clergy also included several lower orders.

      The Greek word kleros, signifying “share,” or “inheritance,” is used in I Pet. 5:3 to designate the priesthood of all the faithful. Most Christian churches, including the Roman Catholic, understand the clergy as persons functioning within the priesthood of all the people but ordained, or set aside, for particular service, especially in connection with eucharistic ministry.

      A distinction between clergy and laity developed in the 2nd century, although the clerical ministry traces its beginnings to the commission of the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy for service. Over the centuries, the distinction between clergy and laity was emphasized by special privileges granted to the clergy, including those granted by the Roman emperor Constantine the Great (Constantine I). These privileges were later extended and codified by the Theodosian Code (438). Later progressive legislation in most countries removed the special privileges enjoyed by the clergy. Such privileges, including exemption from secular courts, were an important issue in the Protestant Reformation.

      Within the Roman Catholic tradition, from the 4th century on, celibacy began to be enforced on priests. By the 12th century anyone taking vows as a deacon or priest also took a vow of celibacy. In the Eastern Church, however, celibacy prevailed only for bishops. In the 20th century the permanent diaconate, open to married men and single, was once more restored within the Roman Catholic Church.

      Until the 20th century, in most Christian churches, the clergy was restricted to males. Gradually, at mid-century, however, most main-line Protestant churches began discussing the issue and changing their laws to allow the ordination of women.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:
, , , (in distinction from the laity)


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Clergy — Cler gy, n. [OE. clergie, clergi, clerge, OF. clergie, F. clergie (fr. clerc clerc, fr. L. clericus priest) confused with OF. clergi[ e], F. clerg[ e], fr. LL. clericatus office of priest, monastic life, fr. L. clericus priest, LL. scholar, clerc …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • clergy — n. Religious professionals; those ordained for the ministry. The Essential Law Dictionary. Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. Amy Hackney Blackwell. 2008 …   Law dictionary

  • clergy — c.1200, clergie office or dignity of a clergyman, from two Old French words: 1. clergié clerics, learned men, from M.L. clericatus, from L.L. clericus (see CLERK (Cf. clerk)); 2. clergie learning, knowledge, erudition, from clerc, also from L.L.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • clergy — [n] ministry of church canonicate, canonry, cardinalate, churchpersons, clerics, conclave, deaconry, diaconate, ecclesiastics, first estate, holy order, pastorate, prelacy, priesthood, rabbinate, the cloth, the desk, the pulpit; concept 369 …   New thesaurus

  • clergy — ► NOUN (pl. clergies) (usu. treated as pl. ) ▪ the body of people ordained for religious duties in the Christian Church. ORIGIN Latin clericus cleric, clergyman …   English terms dictionary

  • clergy — [klʉr′jē] n. pl. clergies [ME clergie, office or dignity of a clergyman < OFr < LL(Ec) clericus: see CLERK] persons ordained for religious service; ministers, priests, rabbis, etc., collectively …   English World dictionary

  • Clergy — (left to right) George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury (1991–2002), Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi (UK), Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Jim Wallis, Sojourners, USA. 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Cleric redirects here. For… …   Wikipedia

  • clergy — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) Religious personnel Nouns 1. (body of clergy) clergy, ministry, priesthood, rabbinate, abbacy, ulema, imamate; the cloth, Roman collar. See religion, worship. 2. (member of the clergy) clergyman or woman …   English dictionary for students

  • Clergy — (Roget s Thesaurus) < N PARAG:Clergy >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 clergy clergy clericals ministry priesthood presbytery the cloth the desk GRP: N 2 Sgm: N 2 clergyman clergyman divine ecclesiastic church …   English dictionary for students

  • clergy */*/ — UK [ˈklɜː(r)dʒɪ] / US [ˈklɜrdʒɪ] noun [plural] Word forms clergy : singular clergy plural clergies the people who lead religious services, especially Christian priests. A man who leads religious services is sometimes called a clergyman and a… …   English dictionary


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