Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
is the name of a petty ecclesiastical judicatory in Scotland. Each parish, according to its extent, is divided into several particular districts, every one of which has its own elder and deacons to govern it. A Consistory of the ministers, elders, and deacons of a parish form a kirk-session. These meet once a week, the minister being their moderator, but without a negative voice. It regulates matters relative to public worship, elections, catechizing, visitations, membership, etc. It judges in matters of less scandal; but greater, as adultery, are left to the Presbytery, and in all cases an appeal lies from it to the Presbytery. The functions of the kirk-session were in former times too often inquisitorially exercised; but this is now less frequently attempted, and the danger of it is continually diminishing through the growth of an enlightened public opinion. In former times, also, the kirk- session in Scotland often imposed fines, chiefly for offences against the seventh commandment; but this practice had no recognition in civil nor even in ecclesiastical law, and is now wholly relinquished. The kirk-session of the Established Church in each parish is fully recognised in Scottish law as having certain rights and duties with respect to the poor, but recent legislation has very much deprived it of its former importance in this relation. Buck, s.v.; Chambers, s.v.
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Kirk-Sessions'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/k/kirk-sessions.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.