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(lĕg`ət) [Lat. legare=to send], one sent as a representative of a state or of some high authority. In Roman history a legate was sent by the senate to the provinces as an envoy of the emperor. Sometime during the 12th cent. the word came into use to designate a papal ambassador. There are various types of papal legate, including the legatus a latere, a cardinal commissioned for a special confidential assignment as a representative of the pope; the nuncio or internuncio, who represents the Holy See, both temporally and ecclesiastically, in countries that exchange ambassadors with the Vatican (see nuncio, apostolicnuncio, apostolic
, resident legate of the Holy See at the capital of a temporal government. Nuncios are in most of the countries with which the Holy See has diplomatic relations.
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); and the apostolic delegate, a papal representative in a country that does not exchange ambassadors with the Vatican.



(1) In ancient Rome an ambassador appointed by the Senate or a representative authorized to carry out a political assignment. During the period of the late republic assistants to military commanders and vicegerents were referred to as legates. Legates were first given command of legions during the rule of Caesar. In the period of the empire legates of the emperor carried out the functions of vicegerents in imperial provinces.

(2) Papal legate—the title of a higher class of diplomatic representatives of the pope. The term “legate” is frequently used to designate any ambassador or diplomatic agent.

Several types of legates exist in the Catholic Church. The title legatus natus (nati) is conferred upon a Catholic prelate by virtue of the post he occupies (for example, archbishop); he has the primacy of jurisdiction in relation to all other prelates within the limits of a given territory. Representatives of the pope who are sent to Catholic countries with a special mission are referred to as legatus datus or missus (missi). Such representatives have three ranks. The nuncius apostolicus is a permanent diplomatic representative of the pope, accredited with heads of state. Greatest authority is enjoyed by the legatus a latere, who has the power to remove bishops from their positions and has full jurisdiction in relation to all prelates within the limits of a given territory. The legatus delegatus is generally appointed by the pope from the members of the local clergy for the purpose of carrying out a special mission; his authority is limited to specific church affairs.


1. a messenger, envoy, or delegate
2. RC Church an emissary to a foreign state representing the Pope
References in periodicals archive ?
Claude Legate of Jackson, and Jack Dietrich and the late Sara Watkins Dietrich of Schererville, Indiana.
As the papal legate (a regal figure in Josef Sommer's elegant perf) succinctly puts the issue, the church cannot justify Spain's barbaric treatment of the natives of West India until it determines whether these New World creatures are "completely and truly human"--as opposed to "a distinctly other species, or even subjects of the devil himself.
Mr Legate, of Lymington, Hants, was just days into his climb and around 7,000 metres up the Himalayan peak.
Mr Legate has been in the running for Birmingham Designer of the Year in 2000 and 2001 and has worked on high-profile campaigns such as album cover work for Jamiroquai and design and branding work for Birmingham's Mailbox development.
However, Shari LeGate, executive director of the Women's Shooting Sports Foundation (WSSF) in Colorado Springs, contacted the Colorado coordinator of the MMM with a proposal.
Seripando's brief reign as archbishop, which spanned the years 1554 to 1563, has received little attention among scholars compared to the work that has been done on his efforts as prior general and later as a papal legate at the Council of Trent.
But there was a Cardinal Berard of Palestrina, who may have visited England as a legate of Nicholas II (105961) in the winter of 1060-1.
With help from his friend Carol Legate, Nemy tries to spread the astronomical word in British Columbia, and he works with the energy of a mountain thunderstorm.
The facetious portrayal of rustic life, the camel as a papal legate speaking broken French, the animals riding on horses and recounting elaborate dreams all suggest the atmosphere of 13th-century France.
A client and friend of the powerful Farnese family, he was created a Cardinal in 1539 and served in the positions of papal legate to the Council of Trent (1545-1549), administrator of a succession of three dioceses, and for the last three weeks of his life Pope under the name Marcellus II.
Tullius Cicero; educated in Athens and elected aedile (65), praetor (62), then governor of Asia (61-59); served as Pompey's legate on Sicily (57-56); as legate on Caesar's staff, he fought in Caesar's second invasion of Britain (July-September?
Cusa was famous in his day as a brilliant student at Padua, a papal legate at the age of twenty - five, and an influential figure at the Council of Basel (1433).