Dean | Free Online Biblical Library

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The Latin title decanus (from decem, “ten”) probably entered ecclesiastical usage as the title of a monk supervising ten novices. Its principal use is to describe the head of a cathedral or collegiate church, who is responsible with the chapter for the services, fabric, and property. Rural deans assist the bishop's administration by superintending and representing the clergy of a subdivision of a diocese. Other usages include “the Dean of the Province of Canterbury,” who is the bishop of London; “the Dean of the Arches,” who is a lay judge in the archbishop of Canterbury's Court of Arches; “the Dean of the Sacred College,” who is the cardinal bishop of Ostia. University or college deans are usually lay officials.