AskDefine | Define deanery

Dictionary Definition



1 the official residence of a dean
2 the position or office of a dean [syn: deanship]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The position held by a dean.


Extensive Definition

Deanery is an ecclesiastical entity in both the Catholic Church and the Church of England.

Catholic usage

In the Catholic Church, canon 374 of the Code of Canon Law grants to bishops the possibility to join together several neighboring parishes into special federations. One possible way to organize these federations is "vicariates forane," or deaneries.
Each deanery is headed by a vicar forane, also called a dean or archpriest, who is—according to the definition provided in canon 553—a priest appointed by the bishop after consultation with the priests exercising ministry in the deanery. Canon 555 defines the duties of a dean as:
  • promotion and coordination of the common pastoral activity within the deanery;
  • seeing that the clerics of the deanery lead a life in harmony with their state in life and perform their duties with diligence;
  • seeing that religious functions follow Church norms;
  • seeing that the good appearance of churches and sacred furnishings are maintained;
  • seeing that parish books are correctly managed;
  • seeing that the parish rectory is well maintained;
  • seeing that clerics, following the norms of the diocese and the norms of canon 272, attend theological lectures, meetings, or conferences;
  • making sure that the priests of the deanery have access to spiritual helps and aid in difficult pastoral circumstances; and
  • making sure that pastors in his deanery are well cared for when they are sick or dying.
Additionally, the dean must follow the particular norms of the diocese. Canon 555 also particularly mentions that a dean must visit the parishes of the district in accord with the regulations made by the diocesan bishop.

Anglican usage

In the Church of England and many other Anglican Churches a deanery is a group of parishes within a smaller region of an archdeaconry. The more formal term, rural deanery, is less often used. A deanery is presided over by the 'Rural Dean', or 'Area Dean'.
The deanery synod has a membership of all clergy who are licensed to a parish within the deanery, plus elected lay members from every parish.
The term deanery is also used to apply to the ecclesiastical districts of Jersey and Guernsey, which are Royal Peculiars and whose deans hold a status more equivalent to an archdeacon than a rural dean.
The term deanery is also often used to refer to the house, or official residence, of the dean of a cathedral.


  • MacMorran K. M. and Briden T. A Handbook for Churchwardens and Parochial Church Councillors, Continuum (2001) ISBN 0-8264-6308-8
deanery in Czech: Děkanát a vikariát
deanery in German: Dekanat
deanery in Esperanto: Dekanujo
deanery in Dutch: Decanaat
deanery in Polish: Dekanat
deanery in Russian: Деканат (католицизм)

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