The existence of a community of clergymen in the church of Saint Mary of Manresa with the dual mission of attending the religious demands and the spiritual needs of the parishioner is very old, but it is not known when it was founded. The first documents referring to Manresa’s canons date to the first half of the 11th century. The canonical of Manresa followed the rules of the Carolingian Reformation, but it was not a regular community until the end of the 11th century. The Canons of Manresa, like those in Vic, were secular clergy and the total community living in a building did not exist. At the end of the 11th century, the reforming action of Bishop Berenguer Sunifred led to a profound change in the organization and lifestyle of the canonical Saint Mary of Manresa that began to govern, on October 30 1099, by the rules of the Rule said of St. Augustine. The old Aachen canonical was thus Augustinian canonical, as were those of Sant Joan of the Abadesses and Sant Tomàs of Riudeperes, reformed a few years earlier by the Prelate himself, or that of Santa Maria of Estany, which was a very active center of the clerical renewal of the country. The canonical community of Manresa was governed by a preposition that had the title of abbot but was known as the “paborde”. The canons were twelve and distributed the duties of prior, sacristy (responsible for worship), waiter (administrator), precentor (computer of singing), nurse and rector of St. Michael. In addition there were two domestic chaplains in charge of soul care.
On August 13 1592, Clement VIII decreed the secularization of Manresa’s canonical, making it a collegiate church dependent on the bishopric of Vic but with a certain character of a diocesan cathedral. A couple of papal documents – a copy of Clement VIII and a brief from Pope Innocent X – were required to declare that none of the qualities, jurisdictions, dignities or benefits of the suppressed canonical disappeared with their transformation into a secular collegiate church, the main dignity that corresponded to the Paborde.
Under Article 21 of the 1851 Concordate between the Holy Seu and Spain, Manresa’s Collegiate was suppressed, like all other Catalan collegiates. While the treaty was being drafted, efforts were made to preserve the Collegiate Church of Manresa in its restructuring. On August 7th 1883, the Holy Seu created four honorary canons. On December 5th 1884, a Brief Pontifical returned the title of Collegiate Church to Santa Maria of the Seu, perpetually granting “each and every one of the rights, privileges, prerogatives and pre-eminences which they enjoy or may enjoy in future churches other distinguished churches with the same title”. On that same date, the number of canons was increased to eight, in addition to the Chapter Presidency (Source: Gasol JM, La Seu de Manresa. 1978).