A chartophylax is an officer in charge of official documents and records in the household of the Patriarch of Constantinople. Codinus calls the Grand Chartophylax the judge of all causes, and the right arm of the Patriarch. He adds that this officer was the depository or keeper of all the charters relating to the ecclesiastical rights stored in the Cartophylacium, or Archives. In addition, he presided over matrimonial causes, and was judge of all the clergy. He drew up all sentences and decisions of the patriarch, who signed and sealed them; he presided in the grand council of the Patriarch and took cognizance of all ecclesiastical and civil matters and causes, whether among the clergy, the monks, or the people. The chartophylax took precedence over all the bishops, though he was only a deacon. On occasion, he discharged the functions of the priests: he had twelve notaries under him. The chartophylax of Constantinople was the same as the chartulary of Rome. There were, in practice, two officers with this title; one for the court, the other for the Patriarch. The first was also called a registrator, and the latter scrinarius, though the two terms were usually confounded together. Joannes Leunclavius and others confounded chartophylax with chartulary. The word chartophylax is formed from the Greek χάρτα, paper, and φύλαξ, guard.


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