Con*sis"to*ry (? or ?; 277) n.; pl. Consistories (#). [L. consistorium a place of assembly, the place where the emperor's council met, fr. consistere: cf. F. consistoire, It. consistorio. See Consist.] 1. Primarily, a place of standing or staying together; hence, any solemn assembly or council.

To council summons all his mighty peers,
Within thick clouds and dark tenfold involved,
A gloomy consistory.

2. (Eng. Ch.) The spiritual court of a diocesan bishop held before his chancellor or commissioner in his cathedral church or elsewhere. Hook.

3. (R. C. Ch.) An assembly of prelates; a session of the college of cardinals at Rome.

Pius was then hearing of causes in consistory.

4. A church tribunal or governing body.

☞ In some churches, as the Dutch Reformed in America, a consistory is composed of the minister and elders of an individual church, corresponding to a Presbyterian church session, and in others, as the Reformed church in France, it is composed of ministers and elders, corresponding to a presbytery. In some Lutheran countries it is a body of clerical and lay officers appointed by the sovereign to superintend ecclesiastical affairs.

5. A civil court of justice. [Obs.] Chaucer.

Con*sis"to*ry, a. Of the nature of, or pertaining to, a consistory. "To hold consistory session." Strype.