« Protoevangelium Prothonotary Apostolic Protopope »

Prothonotary Apostolic

PROTHONOTARY APOSTOLIC (PROTONOTARIUS APOSTOLICUS): A member of a Roman Catholic college of twelve (formerly seven) prelates whose duty it is to register papal acts, proceedings of canonization, and similar records of exceptional importance. Clement I. is said to have appointed a notary for each of the seven districts of the city of Rome to record the acts of martyrs. They belonged to the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church and were appointed by the pope himself. In course of time additional notaries were required both inside and outside of Rome, whereupon the earlier "regional notaries" received the title of prothonotaries apostolic in token of their rights of precedence. Besides these acting prothonotaries there were also supernumerary and titular prothonotaries. The latter class, however, who claimed equal rights with the actual prothonotaries, were officially limited by Benedict XIV., Pius VII., and Pius IX. The pope last named, moreover, ruled that for the attestation of documents which are to be regarded as genuine in all Christendom there is no need of a titular prothonotary, but that the regular notaries apostolic suffice, these being appointed for each diocese on nomination by the bishop.

E. Sehling.

Bibliography: P. M. Baumgarten, Der Papst, die Regierung and die Verwaltung der heiligen Kirche in Rom, pp. 287–288, Munich, 1904.

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