PROCURATOR: In general, one who acts as agent or factor for another in temporal interests. The term was anciently applied to lawyers in the civil courts and to proctors in ecclesiastical judicatories. As a secular calling it was forbidden to the clergy by a series of synods beginning with the First Synod of Carthage (348, chaps. viii.-ix.) and coming down to the Synod of Mainz (813, chap. xiv.). In case one who followed the profession desired to enter the clergy, he was required first to purge himself from participation in the duties which his profession involved. The clergy were repeatedly enjoined to abstain from labors of this sort, the only exception being service in behalf of widows or orphans, that intrusted to them by their bishop, or where the property of the church was concerned. In church life the term seems to have been applied to those who had charge of the temporalities. It was also applied to those who represented a person in absence during the ceremony of marriage or betrothal, as well as in some other ecclesiastical ceremonies.
PRODICIANS: A sect of Antinomian Gnostics, founded in the second century by Prodicus, a heretic of whom no definite information has come dowel. They claimed, as the sons of the most high God (not of the demiurge), and as a royal race, to be bound by no laws. They rejected the Sabbath and all external ceremonies as something fit only for those who stood under the sway of the demiurge. As their authorities, they quoted some apocryphal writings of Zoroaster.
PROFESSIO FIDEI TRIDENTINÆ. See TRIDENTINE PROFESSION OF FAITH.
PROLES, ANDREAS: German Augustinian; b. at Dresden Oct. 1, 1429; d. at Kulmbach (48 m. n.e. of Nuremberg) June 5, 1503. After completing his education at Leipsic, he entered the Observantine Augustinian order at Himmelpforte, near Wernigerode, in 1450, and was ordained priest three years later. He was directed to study at Perugia for a -year and a half, and then taught theology in the monastery at Magdeburg until 1456, when he became prior at Himmelpforte. Here he maintained the union of the five Observantine monasteries of Himmelpforte, Magdeburg, Dresden, Waldheim, and Konigsberg in Franconia, securing a renewal of the papal sanctions and privileges. Proles himself was elected vicar in 1460 or 1461, but the machinations of one of his subordinates resulted in a papal bull that the Observantine monasteries be subject to the provincial of Saxony. At the expiration of his term in 1467, he taught at Magdeburg for six years, and then was reelected vicar, this time holding office for thirty years. With unwearying energy, and appeals to the secular arm, Proles reformed monastery .after monastery despite the resistance of monks and provincials alike. In 1475 he was forbidden by the Augustinian general to discharge the functions of vicar, while the reformed monasteries were returned to their provincials; and in 1476, as he refused compliance, he and his followers were placed under the ban of the general. Proles appealed to the pope, the result being the annulment of all edicts against him and the renewal of the privilege of Observantine reunion. In 1496, after further struggles, the Saxon, or German, congregation of Observantine Augustinians was fully recognized, and its delegates were accorded equal rights at the general chapters with those of the provinces of the order. In course of time he thus reformed and incorporated with his congregation about thirty monasteries, the most important in all Germany. Proles was gladly consulted by princes regarding secular affairs, and likewise furthered the intellectual development of his monks, as well as their talents as preachers. He himself was a distinguished preacher, and in 1530 the Dominican Petrus Sylvius issued some of his sermons, with, at least, partial revision.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Accounts of the life were written by C. Schöttgen, Dresden 1737; G. Schütse, Leipsic, 1744; and H. A. Pröhle, Gotha, 1887. Consult also: T. Kolde, Die deutsche Augustinerkonpregation and Johann von Staupits, pp. 96 sqq., Gotha, 1879; E. Jacobs, in Geschtsequellen der Provinz Sachsen, xv. 478 sqq., Halle, 1882; KL, x. 480-481.
Calvin College. Last modified on 06/03/04. Contact the CCEL.