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CONSISTORY, ecclesiastical law. An assembly of cardinals convoked by the
pope. The consistory is public or secret. It is public, when the pope
receives princes or gives audience to ambassadors; secret, when he fills
vacant sees, proceeds to the canonization of saints, or judges and settles
certain contestations submitted to him.
2. A court which was formerly held among protestants, in which the bishop presided, assisted by some of his clergy, also bears this name. It is now held in England, by the bishop's chancellor or commissary, and some other ecclesiastical officers, either in the cathedral, church, or other place in his diocese, for the determination of ecclesiastical cases arising in that diocese. Merl. Rep. h.t.; Burns' Dict. h.t.