ecclesiastical authorities. English law. The church’s hierarchy, answerable to the Crown but set apart from the rest of the citizens, responsible for superintending public worship and other religious ceremonies and for administering spiritual counsel and instruction. • In England, the several levels of the clergy are (1) archbishops and bishops, (2) deans and chapters, (3) archdeacons, (4) rural deans, (5) parsons (under whom are included appropriators) and vicars, and (6) curates. Church-wardens, sidesmen, parish clerks, and sextons are also considered types of ecclesiastical authorities because their duties are connected with the church. Cf. ecclesiastical court under COURT.