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In the Communion Service, also, the minister has to rehearse the Ten Commandments, but the priest must read the Epistle and Gospel. In the rubrics at the commencement of the Communion Service the word "minister" evidently means "priest," and the two words are used as synonymous in the rubric preceding the Ten Commandments. The absolution itself also contains the words "and hath given power and commandment to his ministers."
It would therefore seem that the changes which frequently took place in the successive editions of the Prayer Book from "priest" to "minister," or "minister" to "priest," were really meaningless, and that the utmost importance which can be attached to these changes is, that a priest is, if possible, to read those portions of the Service to which the word "priest" is prefixed. Any other construction would seriously impair the usefulness of a deacon, as a glance at the rubrics throughout the Prayer Book will show.
But perhaps the strongest argument is that, if it had been intended to exclude a deacon, the Act of Uniformity would have made it penal for him to read the absolution as well as to administer the Lord's Supper. It therefore seems that if no priest is present it is the statutory duty of a deacon conducting the service to read the absolution.
As the Rev. Dr. Bennet says: "It seems to be a vulgar mistake which makes the deacons deviate from their rule, and omit either the whole or else part of this form, or perhaps exchange it for a collect taken out of some other part of the Liturgy" (h).
It is, however, at the present day a by no means unusual practice for a deacon reading service alone to omit the absolution, and if this could be shown to be a sufficiently universal and ancient post-Reformation custom, it would probably, as in the case of vestments (q. v.), be taken to form the true interpretation of the statute.
(h) On the Prayer Book, 2nd ed. (1709), p. 27.
ACOLYTE, one of the minor orders (q. v.). His duty was to light the church lamps and attend the officiating priest with wine for the Eucharist. The office is obsolete in the Greek and English Churches. In the Roman Church the duties are now often performed by menials and boys.
It has been held illegal for a clergyman ceremonially to admit an acolyte or choir-boy in the presence of the congregation, as such action constitutes an additional and unauthorized rite or ceremony (1).
ADVOWSON is a right of presentation to an ecclesiastical benefice from time to time, whenever a vacancy occurs (k). The person entitled to present is the successor, by purchase or otherwise, of the original founder of the benefice, and is called the advocate, advowee, or patron, i.e., the protector of the benefice. He cannot grant the glebe or tithes as a distinct property; these remain inseparably annexed to the advowson, and belong to the incumbent for the time being (1). The right of presentation and that of nomination to a church are distinct things. Presentation is the offering of a clerk to the bishop; nomination, the offering of a clerk to the patron, where the latter is a trustee or mortgagee. Nomination is therefore an equitable right of presentation. A trustee may, however, be directed to present any fit person (m).
After presentation (q. v.) the bishop examines the presentee, and, if approved of, he is said to be admitted (n). The bishop then institutes him, i.e., invests him with the spiritualities of the benefice, and causes him to be inducted into its temporalities. When the bishop is himself patron, presentation and institution (q. v.) are performed by one act, and called collation.
Advowsons are divided into presentative, collative, and donative presentative where the right of presentation exists;
(i) Elphinstone v. Purchas (1870),
L. R. 3 A. & E. 98.
(k) Co. Litt. 17 b, 119 b.
(7) 1 Pres. Shep. T. 96.
(m) Gott v. Nairne (1876), 3 Ch. D. 278. (n) 1 Inst. 244 a; Doctor and Student, Dia. 2, c. 26.
collative where the bishop is patron; donative where the Queen, or any subject by her licence, founds a church or chapel, and ordains that it shall be merely in the gift or disposal of the patron, subject to his visitation only, not to that of the ordinary, and vested absolutely in the clerk by the patron's deed of donation, without presentation, institution, or induction (o). It ceases to be donative if presentation or institution or augmentation from Queen Anne's Bounty (p) is allowed by the patron. All benefices were originally donative, though there are but few now (q). Advowsons are also either appendant or in gross, i. e., annexed to one or more manors, or separate. In the Middle Ages, most advowsons were appendant to and passed with a conveyance of a manor (»). An advowson may be appendant for one presentation and in gross for the next (s).
An advowson is an incorporeal hereditament, and descends to the heir on an intestacy, and may be held in fee simple, fee tail, for life or years, in possession, reversion, or remainder, in joint tenancy, coparcenary, and in common in a similar way to a piece of land (t). The right of presentation to a church may also be held in "medieties," i.e., there may be two separate advowsons and two incumbents of the same church, one of one moiety and the other of the other moiety (u). These medieties may be consolidated.
The entire advowson or the next presentation or any number of presentations may be devised by will or sold and granted away or exchanged, subject to the rules against simony (q. v.). When appendant the advowson is conveyed by any kind of assurance which passes the manor, e. g., deed of grant, exchange, &c., and a devise of the manor will include it. An advowson in gross must be conveyed by deed.
(0) 2 Bla. Com. 22.
(p) Geo. 1, st. 2, c. 10, s. 14; Reg. v. Foley (1846), 2 C. B. 664.
(7) See judgment of Littledale, J., in Rennall v. Lincoln (1827), 7 B. & C. 157; and Reg. v. Foley, ubi sup.
(r) Dart & Barber, V. & P. 139. (s) 3 Cruise, t. 21.
(t) 3 Cruise, t. 21; and Re Sharp (1876), 13 Ch. D. 59.
(u) Co. Litt. 17b, 18a; Welch v. Peterborough (1885), 15 Q. B. D. 432.
An advowson being a hereditament will pass under the word "hereditaments," if an intention that it should can be gathered from the rest of the deed; but the words "hereditaments situate at " a certain place do not form an appropriate or apt description of an advowson (r). The same remarks would apply to "tenements." It would seem that the word "land" does not (x), but the words " ecclesia" (y) and "living" do, pass an advowson, but the meaning may be restricted by the context so as to include only the next presentation (z). Where a testator directed an advowson to be sold upon the death of the incumbent, it cannot be sold during his lifetime, in spite of the obvious advantages of so doing (a).
When an incumbent is promoted to a bishopric in England or Wales the Crown presents to the vacancy, and the owner of a "next presentation" must wait for another avoidance (b).
The title to an advowson may be registered under the Land Transfer Act, 1875, sect. 82. There are many advantages in this, and it is probable that registration of titles will be compulsory before long (c). Unless registered or limited by condition, the title to an advowson must be carried back for 100 years, except in cases clearly within sect. 30 of 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 27 (d). Where a vacancy occurs pending discussions on the title of an advowson, the purchaser must as a general rule accept the title; and in one case the right to present was denied him on the ground of his objections to title having been frivolous, but the case is said to be of doubtful authority (e). In an action to enforce an agreement for sale, the vendors may be restrained from presenting,
(v) Crompton v. Jarrett (1885), 30 Ch. D. 315.
(x) 3 Atk. 460. In the Wills Act, 1837, "real estate" includes "advowsons."
(y) Com. Dig. 1, 521.
(2) Webb v. Byng (1856), 2 K. & J. 669; affirmed 10 H. L. C. 171.
(a) Johnson v. Baber (1845), 8 Beav.
233; Want v. Stallibrass (1873), L. R. 8 Exch. at p. 180.
(b) Trower v. Cailland (1795), 6 T. R. 439. And see BISHOP.
(c) See Land Transfer Bills. (d) Smith's Real Ppty. 1618 a; Dart & Barber, 334.
(e) Wyvill v. Exeter (1815), 1 Price, 292; see Dart & Barber, p. 287.
and the bishop from instituting, any clerk not nominated by the purchaser. The bishop may also be restrained from taking advantage of a lapse pending the action (ƒ).
The Statutes of Limitation prevent the recovery of an advowson after three successive adverse incumbencies, or sixty years (whichever is longer), reckoning therein incumbencies by lapse, but not incumbencies after promotion to bishoprics (g). This applies to a bishop being patron, unless he presents by lapse (h). Successive adverse incumbencies extending over 100 years form an absolute bar, unless the benefice has been since enjoyed under a rightful presentation, and in calculating this period a presentation adverse to the owner of the particular estate is considered adverse to remaindermen (i).
An advowson is a very ineligible subject for mortgage. It produces no annual profit, and the mortgagee has only the bare right of presentation, the mortgagor being able to compel him to present his nominee, even though the mortgage did contain a covenant to the contrary. The only remedy of the mortgagee is to sell, but this must be subject to the rules. against simony (q. v.) (k).
An advowson, like other property, is assets for payment of the owner's debts, and may be sold for that purpose (7).
Sometimes an advowson is vested in trustees for a parish. In such a case it is now considered to be charity property, though formerly this was doubted, and if in the City of London, it comes within the purview of the City of London Parochial Charities Act, 1883, and of the Charity Commissioners (m). Sometimes the trustees elect the minister, sometimes the general body of the parishioners. Such an advowson, unless it belongs to an endowed charity within the meaning of the Charitable Trusts Acts, may be sold, and the proceeds
(f) Nicholson v. Knapp (1838), 9 Sim. 326; Greenslade v. Dare (1853), 17 Beav. 502.
(g) 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 27, ss. 30, 31. (h) 6 & 7 Vict. c. 54, s. 3.
(i) 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 27, ss. 32, 33.
(k) Coote on Mortgages, 373; and see Welch v. Peterborough, ubi sup. (7) 3 Cruise, t. 21.
(m) Re St. Stephen's (1888), 39 Ch. D. 492, and cases cited in judgment.