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Titulus: Wikis

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In Christian archeology, a titulus is one of a set number of Early Christian churches (collectively known as "the tituli") built round the edges of the city of Rome, which were ascribed to patrons, whose names often identified them:

"they received the name tituli, from the name of the founder
or proprietor who held the property in custody for the Church".[1]

The most ancient text which alludes to a titulus of this kind is the fourth century defense of Athanasius against the Arians. By the end of the fifth century the Liber Pontificalis recognized 25 tituli. Three more were added in the twelfth century, and many more churches have been received the status in modern times.

The honorary chief authority of one of these churches is nowadays a Cardinal, known as the church's "titular". Such holders were initially by tradition native-born Romans (of high social standing). The first church in Rome to have a non-Italian titular was Santi Quattro Coronati: Dietrich of Trier was appointed titular in 975 by Pope Benedict VII. That basilica was originally Titulus Aemilianae, drawing its name in characteristic fashion from its foundress, who doubtless owned the extensive suburban Roman villa whose foundations remain under the church and whose audience hall became the ecclesiastical basilica.

Today, each member of the College of Cardinals in the order of cardinal-priest is appointed a titular church. The Cardinalate developed from the senior clergy in and around the Diocese of Rome (the seven bishops of suburban towns, the fourteen deacons of the diocese, and the priests of what in the modern system are now the parishes of the city of Rome). As the college was internationalized, each cardinal was given a titulus, making him an honorary member of the Roman clergy. Today, the cardinal-priests have a loose patronal relationship with their titular churches (their names and coats of arms are inscribed on a plaque in the church, and many raise funds for their church's maintenance and restoration), but they no longer participate in the actual management of the parish. (Likewise, the cardinal-bishops are given honorary title to one of the suburbicarian dioceses, and the cardinal-deacons, today many more than fourteen in number, are given a similar relationship to churches as their deaconries.)

See also

References

  1. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia 1908:

This article incorporates text from the public-domain Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913.

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