An official whom a bishop deputes to represent him in the exercise of his jurisdiction. In early times his functions were mostly performed by the archdeacons, but by the late 13th cent. the office was established and its duties defined.
In the C of E the office is ordinarily committed to the Chancellor of the diocese. Each archbishop also has a Vicar General who holds a court for the confirmation of bishops, where the validity of the election and the qualifications of the candidate may be challenged.