In the broadest sense, a vicar (from the Latin vicarius) is a representative, anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior (compare "vicarious" in the sense of "at second hand"). In this sense, the title is comparable to lieutenant, literally the "place-holder". Usually the title appears in a number of Christian ecclesiastical contexts, but in the Holy Roman Empire a local representative of the emperor, perhaps an archduke, might be styled "vicar".
A priest employed as a substitute for a parish rector or for a member of a religious house, monastic, cathedral or collegiate, which had appropriated the revenue for the position.
It was interpreted somewhat differently by the satirist Samuel Butler -
“...this is why the clergyman is so often called a vicar – he being the person whose vicarious goodness is to stand for that of those entrusted to his charge.” – “The Way of All Flesh”
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