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[kuh n-sis-tuh-ree] /kənˈsɪs tə ri/
noun, plural consistories.
any of various ecclesiastical councils or tribunals.
the place where such a council or tribunal meets.
the meeting of any such body.
Roman Catholic Church. a solemn assembly of the whole body of cardinals, summoned and presided over by the pope.
Anglican Church. a diocesan court for dealing with ecclesiastical and spiritual questions, held in the cathedral church and presided over by the bishop, the bishop's chancellor, or the commissary.
(in certain Reformed churches) the governing board of a local church or congregation.
any assembly or council.
Obsolete. a council chamber.
1275-1325; Middle English consistorie < Anglo-French < Late Latin consistōrium meeting place, equivalent to Latin consist(ere) (see consist) + -(t)ōrium -tory2
Related forms
[kon-si-stawr-ee-uh l, -stohr-] /ˌkɒn sɪˈstɔr i əl, -ˈstoʊr-/ (Show IPA),
consistorian, adjective
nonconsistorial, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for consistory
  • The new cardinals of the church were presented with red hats called birettas and gold rings at the consistory.
  • These must be surveyed to determine the research potential of deacon's, consistory, and other records.
British Dictionary definitions for consistory


noun (pl) -ries
(Church of England)
  1. the court of a diocese (other than Canterbury) administering ecclesiastical law
  2. the area in a church where the consistory meets
(RC Church) an assembly of the cardinals and the pope
(in certain Reformed Churches) the governing body of a local congregation or church
(archaic) a council or assembly
Derived Forms
consistorial (ˌkɒnsɪˈstɔːrɪəl), consistorian, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French consistorie, from Medieval Latin consistōrium ecclesiastical tribunal, ultimately from Latin consistere to stand still
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for consistory

c.1300, "secular tribunal," from Old North French consistorie (Old French consistoire, 12c.) and directly from Late Latin consistorium "waiting room, meeting place of the imperial council," from Latin consistere (see consist). Meaning "Church council" is from early 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for consistory

(from Latin consistorium, "assembly place"), a gathering of ecclesiastical persons for the purpose of administering justice or transacting business, particularly meetings of the Sacred College of Cardinals with the pope as president. From the 11th century, when the institution of the cardinalate became more important, the Sacred College of Cardinals, assembled in regular meetings called consistories, became the normal counsellors of the popes. In the course of time more complicated business came to be assigned to various commissions of cardinals, and with the formal organization of the congregations, or offices, of the Roman Curia by Sixtus V (1585-90), the active function of the consistories diminished. In modern times consistories are largely ceremonial. The limited matters they deal with have already been arranged by the pope himself or by the Consistorial Congregation, and the request for the opinion of the cardinals is a formality. Thus, consistories-of which there are three kinds (secret, semipublic, and public)-have become a form of solemn promulgation of certain special papal acts, such as creating cardinals, conferring the hat on newly created cardinals, making appointments to dioceses, accepting resignations, and issuing annual policy summaries on the state of the church

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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