• Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Commendam (Eng. Eccl. Law) A vacant living or benefice commended to a cleric (usually a bishop) who enjoyed the revenue until a pastor was provided. A living so held was said to be held in commendam. The practice was abolished by law in 1836. "There was [formerly] some sense for commendams ."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n commendam An ecclesiastical benefice or living commended by the crown or head of the church to the care of a qualified person to hold till a proper pastor is provided: usually applied to a living retained in this way by a bishop after he has ceased to be an incumbent, the benefice being said to be held in commendam, and its holder termed a commendator or commendatory. The practice gave rise to serious abuses; under it livings were held by persons who performed none of the duties of the office. It was condemned, though in guarded terms, by the Council of Constance (1417) and the Council of Trent (1563), and has greatly diminished, if not entirely disappeared, throughout the Roman Catholic Church. It was prohibited by statute in the Church of England in 1836.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Commendam a manner of holding an ecclesiastical benefice till a proper pastor was provided for it—it was provisionally commended to the care of a clerk, and was said to be held in commendam
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
LL. dare in commendam, to give into trust
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. commendārecom, and mandāre, to trust.


In literature:

He held "in commendam" the abbey of St. Albans, and many other church preferments.
"The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part C. From Henry VII. to Mary" by David Hume
Among the latter evils were the non-residence of incumbents, the inadequacy of the stipends of curates, and the commendams of bishops.
"Henry of Monmouth, Volume 2" by J. Endell Tyler
Under the rule of abbots in commendam it declined, and it was dying with only six religious to look after it when the Revolution suppressed it.
"En Route" by J.-K. (Joris-Karl) Huysmans
"Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary (part 4 of 4: S-Z and supplements)" by Various

In poetry:

His Mercury had soon to tell
The Bishop of St. Asaph fell.
The ear of Caroline must know--
An ear he guided long ago,
"Wish'd in a mitre he might sleep,
The Deanry in commendam keep."
"Preferment" by William Hutton