Formerly, one who had the charge of writing the acts of the martyrs, and the circumstances of their death; now, one of twelve persons, constituting a college in the Roman Curia, whose office is to register pontifical acts and to make and preserve the official record of beatifications.
The Prothonotary is the Chief Clerk of the Civil Court. The word is of Greek origin, and it means "First Clerk." All civil litigation is filed with the Prothonotary. The Prothonotary or one of her/his deputies must be present in court during all civil cases to administer oaths to witnesses and juries and keep track of exhibits. All of the records maintained by the Prothonotary are available to the public unless they are sealed by the Court.