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p. 164, 165.
This Controversie seems to me to have been first set on foot in the Ninth Century, not long
after the year Eight hundred. Then we find . Du pin. Vol.7. that " * some affirm'd the Chorepiscopi to bé
real Bishops by their Ordination, and that they might Ordain Priests and Deacons, Con
firm, Consecrate Altars, and do all the Of( fices of a Bishop : But others. denied this,
and affirm’d; that their Confirmations were Null and Void. Charles the great consulted Pope Leo III. upon this Question, who anfwer'd, that he was certain the Chorepiscopi had not this power, and that all they had done belonging to Bishops, was ipso facto void, and that they ought to be deprivd of this Power.. The Council of Ratisbon confirm’d the Pope's Decree, and Order'd them to continue in the Rank of Priests. This Decision
did not hinder, but that the Chorepiscopi conE tinu'd yet in many Diocesses, and the Bishops t.did. still allow them Priviledges belonging
only to their own Order." There has been always many Churches, and chiefly in Italy and Spain, where the Chorepiscopi have been esteem'd no more than ordinary Priests,
where they Re-ordain'd such as were made į Priests or Deacons by them, confirmed anew 2 such as they had confirmed, and consecrated
again such Churches as had been consecrated
by them. Rabanus, · Archbishop of Ments, 6 and one of the most Learned Writers of that
Age, having understood this, undertook to defend the Chorepiscopi. He says that their Order had its Original from the Apostles;
and that they had such Amistants ascould Or“ dain, and do the same Offices with them. He believes that St. Linus, and St. Clemens,
were Chorepiscopi to St. Peter and St. Paul, in the Church of Rome. He accuses those Bishops that undervalue the Chorepiscopi, and who look upon them as no more than ordinary Priests, of overthrowing the Order by their Ambition. He asserts, that the Chorepiscopi were establish'd for the sake of the 'Poor in the Country, that they might not
be depriv'd of Confirmation, which they had Power to confer upon them; And that if they had not this Right, they would be of no use to the Bishops as they now are.
And upon what it was Objected against him, that it is said in the Scripture, that the Apostles Ats 8.14 themselves had been fent into Samari.i, to
bestow the Gift of the Holy Ghost, on those ' that were newly Baptized ; He answer'd,
that the Apostles were sent to Samaria, be'cause there was no Chorepiscopus in that Place,
but only the Deacon Philip who had Bapļ tiżd them. Certainly, if the Pope had no better Argument against the Chorepiscopi, (and I suppose if he had, it would have been mentioned) he and his Council too had the least reason imaginable to Condemn them, and the Reply of Rabanus was unanswerable. But we know that the Bishops of Rome and their Councils have often decreed divers Matters, upon as weak Authorities as this. Nevertheless, it is apparent, there was another Reason, but not proper to be urg'd, which made the Pope condemn the Chorepiscopi
, which I shall take notice of hereafter. This difference which happen’d in this Ninth Age, has I suppose caus’d the various Opinions at present concerning them; but for full fatisfaction we must look into earlier times.
For determining this Controversie concerning the Chorepiscopi, I must acknowledge my self beholden to Bishop Beveridge, who in his Learned Annotations on his Pandeéta Canonum, has set this Matter in the clearest Light, And I know not of any other that has so far searched into it, but they have generally given their Opinion on one lide or other, without any Proofs at all; So that for the setling of this point, I shallonly Transate the Sum of his Arguments.
' First, says he, it is certain they had EpisAnnotat: ad Can. copal Orders. This we learn from the Tenth 13.Concil.Ancyro ( Canon
of the Council of Antioch, which be'gins thus, Those who are fix'd in Villages, of
Country Places, and called Chorepiscopi, altho' they have receiv’d the Imposition of Hands as Bishops, to which Dionysius Exiguus, in his TranNation for Explication sake, adds, so as to be consecråted Bishops. And that this is the true Interpretation of those Words, is plain,
from what follows in that Canon: For im'mediately a Caution is put in, that altho'
the Chorepifcopi have receiv'd such Episcopal Orders, yet they ought to know their Station, and be content with the Care and Government of the Chürches committed to them. But it is said, they were forbidden to Ordain Priests or Deacons, both in this Canon of the Council of Antioch, and in the 13th of the Council of Ancyra. Yet this by no means destroys, it rather abundantly confirms our Opinion.
Forasinuch as the forbidding the Chorepifcopi ç to Ordain Priests or Deacons, plainly proves
they had sometimes done it ;, which they would never have offer'd at, unless they had been actually and truly Bishops. Besides, it is observable that they are not absolutely
forbid to Ordain Priests and Deacons, but to do so without the permission of the Bishop
of the City in whose Diocess their Village is Situated, as it is express’d in both these Canons. But had the Chorepifcopi been Presbyters only, they could not have Ordaind thio' permitted by the Bishop to do so. And belides all this, the * Council of Neocasare å• Can. 13, 142
plainly distinguishes between the Churepiscopi or Bishops in the Country, and the Presby'ters in the Country. It is indeed there faid
that they were instituted according to the " Pattern of the Seventy Disciples, yet that
they are Fellow-labourers with the Bishops. "And tho’by the Eighth Canon of the Synod
of Antioch Presbyters are forbidden to grant any Canonical Epistles, yet the Chorepiscopi are allow'd to grant commendatory Epistles, no less than Bishops. To omit the Eighth Canon of the Council of Nice, and the fecond of the Synod of Chalcedon, which plainly distingnish the Chorepiscopi and Presbyters, the Council of Laodicea puts this matter beyond all Controversie; Forbidding Bishops to be made in Villages, but only Visitors, and ordering that those which are already conftituted, frall act nothing without the consent of the Bishop of the City. And St. Bafil in his Ninetieth Canonical Epistle reproves his Chorepiscopi for Ordaining Clerks contrary to the Canons without his Knowledge, and says that he will Depose such as shall so Ordain for the future. For whereas Bishops were Ordain'd only in Cities, and every City had often large Territories annex'd to it, the Bishop of the City could scarce perform the Duties of his Office in all parts of his Diocess:
( Wherefore Bishops of large Sees appointed
one or more Co-adjutors to alist them, who 4 were placed in some part of the Country,
remote from the City. For this purpose Chorepiscopi, or Village-Bishops were appointed, with a Restriction that they should do
nothing of Moment without the Bishop of " the City to whom their Region was Subject. "And we find by the AAs of Councils, That
there were anciently a great number of these Chorepifcopi, who as well as other Bishops were present there, and Subscribed in their
own Names, not as Deputies for others : ¢ Because where any Deputies Subscrib'd, they
always named the Bishops by whom they were Deputed. In the first Council of Nice
we have the Subscription of Palladius, Seleu' cius, Eudamon, Gorgonius, Stephanus, Euphronion, Rhode copić But this is to be Observ'd in the Subfcriptions, that whereas Bishops always
named the City over which they presided, ( these only Subscribed in this manner, Palla", dius Chorepise spus, Seleucius Chorepiscopus, with
out naming any place where they performced their Functions. For tho' they were tru$ ly Bishops, yet had they no City under them,
but were themselves subject to the Bishop of · fome City. And therefore Ferrandus, Diaco
nus, and Crefconius, call them the Vicars or Deputies of the Bishops. And indeed their Deputations were sometimes so large, that they cased the Bishop of all his Care : Here
pon it is observd in the * Capitularies of Charles the Great, that some Unlearned Bishops Constituted Chorepiscipi, that they might give rigemselves up altogether to Ease and Plea
Lib. 6. Co 119.