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At present, the Chapter (Cabildo) is understood to be the college of priests, erected by the Apostolic See, which is responsible for maintaining the worship and celebrating the liturgical functions in that church. It is also responsible for fulfilling those offices that the law or the bishop entrusts to it, being a collegiate corporation with public juridical personality of the Church and with civil juridical personality in accordance with the legislation in force.

The restoration of Christian worship in Seville took place in 1248, the year in which the saintly King Ferdinand III took the city of Seville. By Bull of Innocent IV on June 24, 1251, Don Felipe, son of Ferdinand III, was named as the elect of Seville and indulgences were granted to all those who were present at the dedication of the Cathedral, celebrated on March 11, 1252. The Chapter was endowed economically for the first time by Ferdinand III on March 20, 1252, according to the privilege recorded in the Chapter Archives.

From its origins, the Chapter established in the Cathedral of Seville was directly supervised by Ferdinand III and his successors in the Castilian monarchy. Fernando III and his son Alfonso X are at the origin of the great privileges and rents that are the basis for the preeminence and prominent role of the see of Seville and its metropolitan Chapter in the following centuries.

The first endowment of Ferdinand III for the Cathedral of Seville, whose original document is kept in the Archive, laid the foundations of the patrimony of the chapter clergy, which was endowed with the tithe of the almojarifazgo of the city of Seville and its entire archbishopric, It granted the town of Cantillana and different rents located in Chillón, Solúcar and Tejada as well as the parias that the king of Granada had to pay for its vassalage, granting it the same privileges and exemptions that the Cathedral of Toledo had.

But Fernando III died on May 30, 1252, a few months after having endowed the Cathedral, making it the place chosen for his burial, being his son Alfonso X the one in charge of continuing and expanding the process of endowment of the new archbishopric of Seville.

The role played by the Metropolitan Chapter and the political and economic importance of Seville’s seat are documented in its Chapter Archives, showing the concern of the Chapter institution for the proper conservation and control of the documents kept in its archives. Likewise, the Royal Chaplains’ continuous attention to the Royal Chapel Archive, which until 1998 was located in the Royal Chapel of the Cathedral of Seville itself, with a classification and inventory of documents from the seventeenth century onwards, can be seen.

Along with all the documentation corresponding to royal endowments, both of Ferdinand III and his successors in the Kingdom, numerous papal, episcopal, notarial and administrative documents were incorporated into the Chapter Archives for various reasons:

  • Firstly, because until the Council of Trent, in the second half of the 16th century, in all the dioceses, including Seville, the government of the bishoprics used to fall on the Cathedral Councils, which led them to have a rich medieval documentary heritage.
  • Secondly, there were many private endowments of both rustic and urban properties that were linked to the Cathedral over the centuries, and the Archive preserves numerous notarial documents, which in turn generated important administrative documentation as a result of the management of the Chapter’s assets, not forgetting that the Chapter was in charge of collecting the tithes and their distribution with the archbishop’s office.
  • Thirdly, subject to the above, the Archive holds all the documentation generated as a result of the economic and control needs involved in the construction and conservation of a Gothic Cathedral up to the present day.

There were also numerous donations from private individuals, both clerics and laymen, for the benefit of the Cathedral of Seville, mostly pious mandates – chaplaincies, memorials, anniversaries – that the donor granted for the remedy of his soul and that of his relatives, and purchases and barters with private individuals both by Don Remondo, Archbishop of Seville, and by the clergy of the Cathedral.

If the origin of the Cabildo in the late Middle Ages is interesting, it is no less interesting to know its historical development over more than seven centuries of continuity, its moments of splendor and decline, its most important members, the greater or lesser link and influence with the Sevillian society of each moment, its artistic splendor, and a long etcetera that connects directly with the history of the Church and Spain.

The collection of documents that constitute an Archive is the set of documentation generated and received by an institution, or a person, in the exercise of its activity, duly organized and preserved, with a dual function clearly stated by Pedro Rubio Merino, canon archivist of the Cathedral of Seville, who points out that: “every Archive in addition to its primary purpose of defending rights, has to serve the high interests of the culture of a people, insofar as it is the depository of a part, precious, of the historical and documentary heritage of the country, … a center of the highest cultural interest for the common and inalienable benefit of society”.

In order to understand an archive, it is essential to know first the institution that has generated it, its functions and composition throughout history.

The Archive of the Cathedral of Seville must be understood as an “archive center” in which a backbone archival collection is kept, the Chapter Archive, generated by the Chapter of the Cathedral since its establishment by Fernando III in 1248 to the present day, around which other archival collections have been deposited, whose producing institutions, linked from their origins to the Cathedral of Seville, each have their own historical development.

These documentary collections linked to the Cathedral and deposited or incorporated into the Archive of the Cathedral of Seville in recent years are: the Musical Chapel of the Cathedral, the Archive of the Royal Chapel of Seville, the Archive of the Sisterhood of the Maidens, the Archive of the Sisterhood of the Granada and the Old Archive of the Parish of San Roque.

Thanks to certain types of documents in the Archive, such as the tumbos books -dated at the end of the 13th century-, the indexes and inventories of documents, -the oldest dated in 1453-, the white books or the continuous and interesting series of chapter agreements, it is possible to reconstruct the historical development of this collection over the centuries.

The Classification Table provides information on the documentary series that constitute it, among which we highlight the following:

  • Means of information, indexes and inventories of documentation elaborated by the different archivists from the 15th century to the present day.
  • Secretary, with the Books of Chapter Acts or the Records of Blood Cleansing, very interesting for genealogical studies, as well as the Correspondence.
  • Chapter Table from where all the control over the tithes of the territory corresponding to the Old Kingdom of Seville was kept, constituting a basic means of information for studies on agricultural production, urban development, demographics, etc.
  • Factory with all the documents related to the construction process and the conservation of the Cathedral.
  • General Historical Fund, in which files and documents are classified, most of them from the Middle Ages, which also prove the chapter’s patrimony from its origins.
  • Plans and Drawings, the factitious series of about 550 units.

At present, the archives of the Cathedral of Seville are located in the facilities that have been refurbished for this purpose in the Archbishop’s Palace of Seville.


In cathedral chapters, the term “Dignities” refers to a small group of canons who are given a special place in the choir and have the specific duty of substituting for the Dean in liturgical functions.

  • Their rights and duties are identical to those of the other canons, but they always precede the other chapter members according to the Statutes.
  • The Archbishop is responsible for conferring the various Dignities on the priests he selects and appoints.
  • Today, their titles are purely honorific, but historically, they held special significance and responsibilities. Sometimes, these roles did not align exactly with their titles, as they exercised important powers in the governance or finances of the diocesan Church.

The dignities in our Cathedral are as follows:

Dean: The “Dean” or the one who precedes all others.

It should be noted that the new code includes the figure of the President, who according to our statutes is elected by the Chapter and confirmed by the Archbishop. The President will preside over the Chapter for the duration of his term of office and will assume the dignity of Dean during that time.

Archpriest: Formerly the pastor of the Cathedral.

Archdeacon: Initially held great power as the Bishop’s Vicar, Ecclesiastical Judge, and Visitor of the Diocese. Over time, this role diminished in influence and was even suppressed in many cathedrals.

Chantre: The moderator of the singing in the choir.

Maestrescuela: The preceptor of the cathedral school.

Treasurer: Responsible for guarding the sacred vessels.

Senior Chaplain: Exists only in those cathedrals in Spain where there are royal chapels.

Current composition of the Cathedral Chapter:

Statutes of the Cathedral Chapter:

Choir Rules: