Ecclesiastical immunities, such as reservation of the criminal cases of the clergy, exemption from military service and other privileges, are expressly maintained in a certain number of pacts.
The tsar Michael, in the earlier 17th century, confirmed these immunities in the case of the clergy of the patriarch's own diocese, but provided that in country places belonging to his diocese, monasteries, churches and lands should be judged in secular matters by the Court of the Great Palace, theoretically held before the tsar himself (ib.
The extreme claim of the great medieval popes, that the priest, as "ruler over spiritual things," was as much superior to temporal rulers as the soul is to the body (see INNOCENT III.), led logically to the vast privileges and immunities enjoyed by the clergy during the middle ages.
Clerical immunities, of course, differed largely at different times and in different countries, the extent of them having been gradually curtailed from a period a little earlier than the close of the middle ages.
In other spheres the immunities and exemptions of the Church offered a far more serious problem, and especially in the sphere of finance.
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