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Enthronization

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(From Greek ’enthronízein , to place on a throne).

This word has been employed in different meanings:

(1) Formerly, it meant the solemn placing of the relics upon the altar of a church which was to be consecrated, hence a newly consecrated church was called naos enthroniasmenos ( naòs ’enthroniasménos ).

(2) In the Middle Ages we find the inthronizatio matrimonii , or enthronization of marriage, which was nothing else than the blessing in the nuptial Mass ( benedictio nuptiarum ).

(3) In the East it was employed, but seldom, to denote the induction into a parochial benefice.

(4) It was used especially to designate the ceremony of enthronization which accompanies the consecration of a bishop. After receiving episcopal consecration, the newly consecrated bishop was solemnly conducted to the episcopal throne, of which he took possession. He received the kiss of peace and listened to the reading of a passage of Holy Scripture , whereupon he pronounced an address or sermo inthronisticus . The letters which it was customary for him to send to the other bishops in token of his being in communion with them in the same faith, were called litteræ inthronisticæ , or syllabai enthronistikai ( sullabaì ’enthronistikaí ), and the gifts which it was customary for him to present to the bishops who had consecrated him, and to those who had taken part in the ceremonies were called the inthronisticon ( ’enthronistikón ). At present, after the consecration has taken place, the new bishop is conducted by the consecrating bishop and one of the assistants to the throne occupied by the consecrator during the ceremony, or to the seat usually taken by the bishop, if the consecration has taken place in the cathedral church. The enthronization can also take place independently of the consecration ; in this case, the bishop, after taking his seat upon the throne, receives there the homage of all ecclesiastics present in the cathedral. These ceremonies have no longer the slightest juridical importance (see BISHOP ). (5) The enthronization of the pope in the Chair of St. Peter , Cathedra Petri , was formerly a very important ceremony, which took place at St. Peter's in Rome, or, exceptionally, in the church of St. Peter ad Vincula , where there was also a Cathedra Petri. This ceremony was performed immediately after the election, if the latter had taken place in the church of St. Peter, or before the coronation. Its object was to proclaim to the Christian world that the newly elected pope was the lawful successor of St. Peter. Before this ceremony had taken place, he was forbidden to take part in the aqdministration of the Church. In 1059 Pope Nicholas II declared that the omission of the enthronization did not prevent the pope from administering the Church. This custom disappeared in the thirteenth century, owing to the fact that in that period the popes seldom resided in Rome. Equivalent to enthronization is the adoratio of the pope by the cardinals, which is performed in St. Peter's after the election of the pontiff. It is a simple ceremony and does not confer the slightest right. (6) The Roman Pontifical mentions enthronement amongst the ceremonies which accompany the solemn consecration of a king. It is still practised in the Anglican Episcopal Church at the coronation of the King of England (see CORONATION ).


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