Definition of dimissory in English:



  • (in the Christian Church) denoting formal permission from a bishop (letters dimissory) for a person from one diocese to be ordained in another, or (formerly) for an ordained person to leave one diocese for another.

    • ‘As you know from the letters dimissory which were delivered to you a year ago this month, I am a priest in the Anglican Province of the Church of Rwanda.’
    • ‘Selected for Ordination in Canada he is to be ordained here, by the Bishop of Southwark with letters dimissory which means that the Bishop of Southwark is ordaining him on behalf of the Bishop of Fredricton, Canada.’
    • ‘He notes that a bishop may also reject a priest beyond calling him ‘unqualified’ by rejecting the letter dimissory and inhibiting him from functioning in the diocese.’
    • ‘It includes letters testimonial, notices of intention to ordain, letters dimissory, certificates of baptism, presentations, resignations, and subscriptions, among others.’
    • ‘However, I am willing to try a bit longer and harder; to refrain from drawing lines; to opt for circles instead; to say to those who are threatening to leave our church, that we still consider ourselves in communion with them, regardless of the letters dimissory that might get written or the legislation that might get passed.’
    • ‘Clergy who move into a diocese are required to stay several years before letters dimissory are accepted, in some cases, non-parochial clergy are told that letters dimissory will not ever be accepted unless they have a pastoral cure.’
    • ‘Bishops shall both confer orders, and give dimissory letters and testimonials gratis: their servants shall receive nothing therefrom, and notaries that which is fixed in this decree.’
    • ‘He is duly accredited by his ordination, he must be at least twenty-four years of age, he is entitled to letters dimissory on removing from one diocese to another, and he is liable to discipline for holding and teaching false doctrine.’
    • ‘It recognizes the validity of all Evangelical orders, confirmed in the laying on of hands of the presbytery; and holds communion with, and exchanges pulpits with, all Evangelical Protestant Churches, and receives from them by letters dimissory, clergy and laity without reordination or reconfirmation, and dismisses to them, as to parishes in her own communion.’
    • ‘Those who issue dimissory letters contrary to the form of this decree, shall be ipso jure suspended from their office and benefices for one year.’
    • ‘He presents the documents of his baptism, confirmation and four minor orders and his dimissory letters from the prelate of his native country.’
    • ‘The man, who also retired as Bishop of Albany Jan. 31, had issued him letters dimissory to transfer.’


Late Middle English (as a plural noun): from late Latin dimissorius, from dimiss- sent away, from the verb dimittere. The adjective dates from the late 16th century, the original sense being ‘valedictory’.