Latin: capitulum, diminutive of caput, head

  1. Main division or section of a book; especially used to denote the many divisions of the books of the Bible.
  2. Short lesson or passage from Holy Scripture called the “little chapter,” read at Office.
  3. A body of clerics instituted for observing greater solemnity of Divine worship, and, at cathedral churches, for assisting the bishop according to Church Law as his senate and council and governing the see during vacancy. The name arose from the custom of reading a chapter of the rules at a prescribed daily gathering of the members. In dioceses which have no cathedral chapters the board of diocesan consultors functions as the bishop‘s Senate. Chapters are of various kinds, e.g., cathedral, collegiate, secular, regular, and consist of dignities and canonicates. Some of the principal offices are those of canon theologian and canon penitentiary. The institute known as chapter is derived from the presbytery of the early centuries; it grew in importance during and after the 8th century and was thoroughly established in the 13th.
  4. General meeting or assembly of delegated members of certain religious orders to consider ways and means of improving the formation of the religious, facilitating their labors, and amending the constitutions.