« Almeida, Manoel Almoner Alms »


ALMONER (Fr. aumônier; Lat. eleemosynarius): An office at the French court from the thirteenth century onward, originally filled by one of the court chaplains who was entrusted with the distribution of the royal alms. Later there were several of these almoners, so that from the fifteenth century a grand almoner was named. The first to bear this title was Jean de Rely, later bishop of Angers and confessor of Charles VII. The grand almoner was one of the highest ecclesiastical dignitaries in France, and was charged with the supervision of charitable works in general, and of the court clergy. Nominations to benefices in the king’s gift, including bishoprics and abbeys, were made through him. The office was abolished with the monarchy, though it was revived under both Napoleons.

Attached to the British court is the Royal Almonry, which dispenses alms for the sovereign, with these officers: hereditary grand almoner (the marquis of Exeter, lord high almoner (the lord bishop of Ely), subalmoner (subdean of chapels royal), the groom of the almonry, and the secretary to the lord high almoner. In the papal court the almoner of the pope is prudent of the elimosineria apostolica, a body composed of two clerics and four laymen. There is a similar office at the Spanish court.

« Almeida, Manoel Almoner Alms »
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