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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Familiars of the Inquisition

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officers of that tribunal whose function it is to apprehend accused or suspected persons and convey them to prison. They belong to the family of the inquisitor, and are therefore calledfamiliars. The office was formerly held in high honor, and men of noble family often held it, especially in Spain. Innocent III granted large indulgences to familiars. The same plenary indulgence is graanted by the pope to each exercise of this office as was granted by the Lateran Council to those who succored the Holy Land. "'When several persons are to be taken up at the same time, these familiars are commanded to order matters that they may know nothing of one another's being apprehended; and it is related that a father and his three sons and three daughters,,who lived together in the same house, were carried prisoners to the Inquisition without knowing anything of one another's being there till seven years afterwards," when those that were alive were released by an Auto da Fe. (See INQUISITION).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Familiars of the Inquisition'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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