An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Chapter House

Building used for official meetings of those with responsibility for the governance of a religious house or cathedral. Separate buildings for this purpose date from the ninth century. The voting members of the religious community or the cathedral canons constituted the chapter, with corporate legal and moral responsibility for their ecclesiastical institution. The term “chapter” may be traced to the practice of daily monastic assembly for a reading of a chapter of the community's rule, for exhortation by the superior or abbot of the community, for announcements, and for discussion of community business. This meeting was known as “the chapter.” Members of religious communities also met in the chapter house for public confession of their faults, which was known as the “chapter of faults.”

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.