Definition of consistory in English:



  • 1A church council or court, in particular:

    • ‘New attention was paid to Lutheran doctrine, and a revival of an awareness of Lutheran identity led to the building of new Lutheran congregations and to remarkable renewals, such as the appearance of women in consistories and ministries.’
    • ‘He used the consistory to repay faithful servants, honor distinguished church men and fill vacancies in church territories which normally have a residential cardinal.’
    • ‘The council shall operate under the authority of the Consistory.’
    • ‘According to the instructions of the consistory, he had to educate the children and take care of their well-being as a father.’
    • ‘Also in 1555, the city council gave the consistory the right to excommunicate offenders.’
    • ‘Both movements, also named the Wittenberger and Helmstedter School, fought about filling vacant ministries and the election of members of the consistories.’
    • ‘My ministry is abandoned if I suffer the authority of the Consistory to be trampled upon, and extend the Supper of Christ to open scoffers.’
    • ‘Immorality was severely condemned but to begin with the consistory was not an effective body.’
    • ‘Catechesis was the responsibility of the institutional church and therefore under the direct authority of the consistory and/or council and limited to teaching catechism to the youth.’
    governing body, council, assembly, convocation, convention, synod, consistory
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (in the Roman Catholic Church) the council of cardinals, with or without the Pope.
      • ‘I was in the consistory when he gave the Mass in Central Park, and then later had a private meeting with several of us there in the cardinal's residence.’
      • ‘Pius VI refused to accept these changes; and meanwhile, on 29 March, in an address to a secret consistory in Rome, he condemned the Declaration of the Rights of Man and all the policies so far pursued in France on religious matters.’
      • ‘According to those who follow Vatican politics, one certain impact of the consistory John Paul held this week is that it is no longer inevitable that popes come from Europe.’
      • ‘John Paul called nine consistories to create cardinals.’
      • ‘It is expected that the consistory will influence the agenda for next October's synod of bishops in Rome.’
      • ‘At meetings during the most recent consistory, after all, the cardinals had to wear name tags.’
      • ‘He was made a cardinal in October 2003 that was the last consistory Pope John Paul called.’
      • ‘Later this month the church's 184 cardinals will gather at the Vatican for the sixth consistory of Pope John Paul II's pontificate.’
      • ‘A frail Pope John Paul II yesterday added 30 names to the list of his possible successors, installing a diverse collection of cardinals in a consistory some say may be his last.’
      • ‘One was a special consistory, or gathering of cardinals, in May 2001 in Rome; the second was a synod, or meeting of almost 300 bishops from all over the world, in September 2001.’
      • ‘The next Papal consistory may not take place for some time.’
      • ‘Yet, when he steps forward to receive his red biretta at the consistory - the installation ceremony - in Rome on October 21, he will do so knowing his appointment was not universally endorsed by the 750,000 Catholics he now leads.’
    2. 1.2 (in the Church of England) a court presided over by a bishop, for the administration of ecclesiastical law in a diocese.
      • ‘A consistory court has the power to hear against any Anglican clergyman or woman a charge of ‘conduct unbecoming a clerk in holy orders’.’
      • ‘The media have not always shown such deference to the proceedings before a Consistory Court.’
      • ‘The request was turned down by a consistory court, or church court, in 2002.’
      • ‘The whole point of this consistory court is that people can put their views to the chancellor.’
      • ‘In 1995 the Dean was accused in a consistory court of having had an adulterous affair with a former verger, nearly 30 years his junior.’
      • ‘Twenty-six dioceses each had a consistory court with defamation cases providing about one quarter of their business.’
      • ‘The poor peasant relates his appearance before a consistory court on charges of immorality.’
      • ‘At first glance, one might expect a study of the deposition books of the consistory court of the diocese of Canterbury and the marriage-related provisions of wills from five sample parishes to be essentially a work of consolidation.’
      • ‘Having failed to obtain the special licence required for marriage during Lent, they were summoned to appear before the consistory court in Worcester cathedral.’
      • ‘The bishop then decided that there was enough evidence of impropriety for the case to go before a consistory court.’
    3. 1.3 (in other Churches) a local administrative body.
      • ‘The minority Protestant Church was fully tolerated and given its own organizational structure of elected consistories in 1802.’
      • ‘Collegialism is the name of a form of Church-government which attributes authority and power to a broader gathering over a local consistory.’
      • ‘A local consistory cannot plead independence.’
      • ‘Any complaint shall be brought first to our local Consistory.’


Middle English (originally denoting a non-ecclesiastical council): from Anglo-Norman French consistorie, from late Latin consistorium, from consistere stand firm (see consist).