The vacancy of an ecclesiastical office could be the result of a voluntary resignation, cession under ecclesiastical law, or death in post of the incumbent. In the case of the vacancy of a bishopric ( sede vacante ), the crown assumed its patronage until the vacancy was filled, while other ecclesiastical functions were assumed by the 'guardian of spiritualities', normally the relevant archbishop, but in some cases the dean and chapter, in this case calling on another bishop to perform exclusively episcopal functions.