Chaplain

The term derives from the place (“chapel”) wherein the duty is performed. The feudal structure of medieval Christian society had enabled private places of worship for the ranking personages of the society to be established on their land holdings, or in relation to those institutions of military, political, penal, welfare, or educational proportion which they supported. It was the duty of the chaplain to conduct religious services therein, his living being provided thereby; in middle English history he was specifically a chantry-priest, capable of singing those services. From the range of institutional possibilities, already in the eighteenth-century England of Jonathan Swift the specialized chaplain of a regiment was recognized, from which the modern sense of the military chaplaincy is derived.