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Organization

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The Carthusian Order

The prior of the Grande Chartreuse, who is elected by the monks of that house, is always the general of the order. He wears no insignia, but is the only one in the order who receives the title of "Reverend Father", all other religious being known as "Venerable Fathers". The general chapter, which consists of the visitors and all the priors, meets annually, and receives the resignations of all the superiors of the order including the general. These it reinstates or removes at will. Its ordinances have the force of law, but do not become permanent unless twice renewed. The visitors, who are appointed by the chapter, make a visitation of each charterhouse every two vears, to enquire into its condition and reform any abuses. The first general chapter of the order was held by St. Anthelm in 1142, and in the year 1258 its powers were confirmed by Pope Alexander IV. To the wise ordinances of this body and to its series of distinguished generals the order owes its claim nunquam reformata quia nunquam deformata.
 
The prior of each house is, in strict law, elected by the professed monks of the community, if there are four present who have been actually professed for that house or who are original founders. Nowadays he is generally the father general and the chapter. The prior is assisted by various officials. These are the vicar, who takes the prior's place in case of necessity, the procurator, who is entrusted with the temporal administration and the care of the lay brothers, the coadjutor, who looks after guests and retreatants, the antiquior, who takes the vicar's place, the sacristan, and the novice-master.

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