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definitions - Parish

parish (n.)

1.a local church community

2.the local subdivision of a diocese committed to one pastor

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Merriam Webster

parishpar"ish (păr"ĭsh), n. [OE. parishe, paresche, parosche, OF. paroisse, parosse, paroiche, F. paroisse, L. parochia, corrupted fr. paroecia, Gr. paroiki`a, fr. pa`roikos dwelling beside or near; para` beside + o'i^kos a house, dwelling; akin to L. vicus village. See Vicinity, and cf. Parochial.]

1. (Eccl. & Eng. Law) (a) That circuit of ground committed to the charge of one parson or vicar, or other minister having cure of souls therein. Cowell. (b) The same district, constituting a civil jurisdiction, with its own officers and regulations, as respects the poor, taxes, etc.

☞ Populous and extensive parishes are now divided, under various parliamentary acts, into smaller ecclesiastical districts for spiritual purposes. Mozley & W.

2. An ecclesiastical society, usually not bounded by territorial limits, but composed of those persons who choose to unite under the charge of a particular priest, clergyman, or minister; also, loosely, the territory in which the members of a congregation live. [U. S.]

3. In Louisiana, a civil division corresponding to a county in other States.

ParishPar"ish, a. Of or pertaining to a parish; parochial; as, a parish church; parish records; a parish priest; maintained by the parish; as, parish poor. Dryden.

Parish clerk. (a) The clerk or recording officer of a parish. (b) A layman who leads in the responses and otherwise assists in the service of the Church of England. -- Parish court, in Louisiana, a court in each parish.

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definition (more)

definition of Wikipedia

synonyms - Parish

see also - Parish

parish (n.)

parishioner, parochial


-Acadia Parish, Louisiana • Allen Parish, Louisiana • Alnwick Parish, New Brunswick • Anija Parish • Ascension Parish, Louisiana • Assumption Parish, Louisiana • Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana • Beauregard Parish, Louisiana • Beresford Parish, New Brunswick • Bienville Parish, Louisiana • Bossier Parish, Louisiana • Caddo Parish, Louisiana • Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana • Caldwell Parish, Louisiana • Cameron Parish, Louisiana • Catahoula Parish, Louisiana • Charlotte Parish, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines • Chester Castle (civil parish) • Christ Church Nichola Town Parish • Christ Church Parish Church • Civil parish (England) • Claiborne Parish, Louisiana • Concordia Parish, Louisiana • De Soto Parish • De Soto Parish, Louisiana • Devonshire Parish, Bermuda • Diane Parish • Dundas Parish, New Brunswick • Dundee Parish Church (St Mary's) • East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana • East Carroll Parish, Louisiana • East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana • Egmont Parish, Prince Edward Island • Emmaste Parish • Evangeline Parish, Louisiana • Felgueiras Parish • Franklin Parish • Franklin Parish, Louisiana • Grant Parish, Louisiana • Grenadines Parish, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines • Halifax Parish, Prince Edward Island • Hamilton Old Parish Church • Hamilton Parish, Bermuda • Hanover Parish • Helme Parish • Huey P. Long Bridge (Jefferson Parish) • Hummuli Parish • Iberia Parish, Louisiana • Iberville Parish, Louisiana • Jackson Parish, Louisiana • Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana • Jefferson Parish, Louisiana • Karula Parish • Kehtna Parish • Keila Parish • Kernu Parish • Kihnu Parish • Kiili Parish • Kilarrow Parish Church • Kingsclear Parish, New Brunswick • Kingston Parish • Kose Parish • Kuusalu Parish • Käina Parish • Kõrgessaare Parish • Kõue Parish • La Salle Parish • La Salle Parish, Louisiana • Lafayette Parish • Lafayette Parish, Louisiana • Lafourche Parish, Louisiana • Lincoln Parish, Louisiana • Livingston Parish, Louisiana • Madison Parish, Louisiana • Manchester Parish • Mitchell Parish • Morehouse Parish, Louisiana • Muhu Parish • Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana • National parish • Nissi Parish • North Parish, Prince Edward Island • Otepää Parish • Ouachita Parish, Louisiana • Paget Parish, Bermuda • Pala Parish • Palupera Parish • Parish (town), New York • Parish (village), New York • Parish Ale • Parish church • Parish council (US Catholic Church) • Parish councils in England • Parish meeting • Parish of Saint George (Antigua) • Parish of Saint John (Antigua) • Parish of Saint Mary (Antigua) • Parish of Saint Paul (Antigua) • Parish of Saint Peter (Antigua) • Parish of Saint Philip (Antigua) • Peggy Parish • Pembroke Parish, Bermuda • Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana • Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana • Portland Parish • Puka Parish • Puurmani Parish • Põdrala Parish • Pühalepa Parish • Raasiku Parish • Rae Parish • Rapides Parish, Louisiana • Reay Parish Church • Red River Parish, Louisiana • Richland Parish, Louisiana • Ruhnu Parish • Sabine Parish, Louisiana • Saint Andrew Parish, Dominica • Saint Andrew Parish, Jamaica • Saint Andrew Parish, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines • Saint David Parish, Dominica • Saint David Parish, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines • Saint George Basseterre Parish • Saint George Gingerland Parish • Saint George Parish, Antigua • Saint George Parish, Dominica • Saint George Parish, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines • Saint James Parish, Jamaica • Saint James Windward Parish • Saint John Capisterre Parish • Saint John Figtree Parish • Saint John Parish, Antigua • Saint John Parish, Dominica • Saint John Parish, Grenada • Saint Joseph Parish, Dominica • Saint Luke Parish, Dominica • Saint Mark Parish, Dominica • Saint Mark Parish, Grenada • Saint Mary Cayon Parish • Saint Mary Parish, Antigua • Saint Patrick Parish, Dominica • Saint Patrick Parish, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines • Saint Paul Capisterre Parish • Saint Paul Charlestown Parish • Saint Paul Parish, Antigua • Saint Paul Parish, Dominica • Saint Peter Basseterre Parish • Saint Peter Parish, Antigua • Saint Peter Parish, Dominica • Saint Philip Parish, Antigua • Saint Thomas Lowland Parish • Saint Thomas Middle Island Parish • Sam E. Parish • Sandys Parish, Bermuda • Sangaste Parish • Sarah Parish • Sertã Parish • Sister Parish • Skene Parish Church • Smith's Parish, Bermuda • Southampton Parish, Bermuda • St Albion Parish News • St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana • St. Charles Parish Public School System • St. Charles Parish, Louisiana • St. George's Parish, Bermuda • St. Helena Parish, Louisiana • St. James Parish, Louisiana • St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana • St. Landry Parish, Louisiana • St. Martin Parish, Louisiana • St. Mary Parish, Louisiana • St. Mary's Parish (Appleton, Wisconsin) • St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana • Taheva Parish • Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana • Tensas Parish, Louisiana • Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana • Trelawny Parish • Trinity Palmetto Point Parish • Tõlliste Parish • Union Parish, Louisiana • United First Parish Church • United First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachusetts • Uptown Catholic Parish (Dubuque, Iowa) • Vasalemma Parish • Vermilion Parish, Louisiana • Vernon Parish, Louisiana • Viimsi Parish • Vormsi Parish • Väätsa Parish • Warwick Parish, Bermuda • Washington Parish, Louisiana • Webster Parish, Louisiana • West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana • West Carroll Parish, Louisiana • West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana • Winn Parish, Louisiana • Õru Parish

analogical dictionary



  St Margarete Parish Church, Berndorf, Lower Austria, surrounded by school buildings and the priests' house

A parish is a territorial unit historically under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of one parish priest, who might be assisted in his pastoral duties by a curate or curates - also priests but not the parish priest - from a more or less central parish church with its associated organization. It often covered the same geographic area as the manor, under the lay jurisdiction of the Lord of the Manor, which generally shared the same name and from the creation of which the parish may have derived its existence.

By extension the term parish refers not only to the territorial unit but to the people of its community or congregation as well as to church property within it. In England this church property was technically in the ownership of the parish priest, vested in him on his institution to that parish.


  Etymology and use

From the Greek paroikia, the dwellingplace of the priest, eighth Archbishop of Canterbury Theodore of Tarsus (c.602–690) applied to the Anglo-Saxon township unit, where it existed, the ecclesiastical term parish.

First attested in English late 13th century, the word parish comes from the Old French paroisse, in turn from Latin: paroecia,[1] which is the latinisation of the Ancient Greek: παροικία} paroikia, "sojourning in a foreign land",[2] itself from πάροικος (paroikos), "dwelling beside, stranger, sojourner",[3] which is a compound of παρά (para), " beside, by, near"[4] + (oikos), "house".[5]

Being an ancient concept the term "parish" is used by all the long established Christian denominations: Roman Catholic, Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Lutheran churches, and some Methodist, and Presbyterian churches.

  Church territorial structure

  • A chapelry is a subdivision of a parish to cope with difficult access
  • A parish is a subdivision of a diocese or see. The diocese is headed by a bishop
  • An archdeaconry is another subdivision of a diocese, it is a group of parishes
  • A diocese is a subdivision of a province. The province is led by a metropolitan bishop
  • A province may cover all or part of a country or a group of countries and be presided over by an archbishop who is Primate

  Roman Catholic Church

  The parish church of St Michael the Archangel, Mapello, Bergamo, Italy

In the Roman Catholic Church, each parish has at least one parish priest, who has responsibility and canonical authority over the parish (the Latin for this post is parochus).

A parish priest may have one or more fellow priests assisting him. In Catholic usage this priest is technically a "parochial vicar", but is commonly called an "associate pastor" or "assistant pastor" (or just "associate" or "assistant"), a curate, or vicar - common as they are, these terms are inaccurate and many dioceses have recently begun using the canonical term "parochial vicar" even in general parish communications (bulletins and the like).

Each diocese (administrative region) is divided into parishes, each with their own central church called the parish church, where religious services take place. Some larger parishes or parishes that have been combined under one pastor may have two or more such churches, or the parish may be responsible for chapels (sometimes called "chapels of ease") located at some distance from the parish church for the convenience of distant parishioners.

In the Catholic Church there also exists a special type of ecclesiastical parish called a national parish, which is not territorial in nature. These are usually created to serve the needs of all of the members of a particular language group, particularly of an immigrant community, in a large area: its members are not defined by their precise location, but by their country of origin or native language.

Other variations are also possible. In some Catholic jurisdictions created for the armed forces, for instance, the entire diocese or archdiocese is treated as a single parish: all of the Catholics in the military of the United States and all of their Catholic dependents, for instance, form the Archdiocese of the Military Services, USA, a diocese defined not by territory but by another quality (in this case, relationship to the military) - this archdiocese has its own archbishop, and all records and other matters are handled in a central office rather than by individual priests assigned to military post chapels or chaplains of units in the field.

See also:Team of priests in solidum

  Church of England

  Macclesfield Parish Church, England

The Church of England at its heart views the local parish church as the basic unit. The parish system survived the Reformation and the Church's secession from Rome largely untouched, so it shares its roots with the Roman Catholic system described above. One parish may have been situated in different counties or hundreds and in many cases parishes contained in addition to its principal district several outlying portions, usually described as 'detached', intermixed with the lands in other parishes. Church of England parishes are currently each within one of 40 dioceses divided between the provinces of Canterbury, 28 and York, 12.

Each parish should have its own parish priest (who might be termed its vicar or its rector), perhaps supported by one or more curates or deacons - although as a result of ecclesiastical pluralism some parish priests might have held more than one parish living, placing a curate in charge of those where they did not reside. Now, however, it is common for a number of neighbouring parishes to be placed in the charge of a single vicar who takes services at them in rotation, with additional services being provided by lay readers or other non-ordained members of the congregation.

In England Civil parishes and their governing parish councils evolved in the 19th century as ecclesiastical parishes began to be relieved of what became considered to be civil responsibilities. Their separate boundaries began to vary. The word "parish" acquired a secular usage. Since 1895, a parish council elected by the general public or a (civil) parish meeting administers a civil parish and is the level of local government below a district council.

The traditional structure of the Church of England with the parish as the basic unit has been exported to other countries and churches within the Anglican Communion but is not necessarily administered in the same way.

  Church of Scotland

In the Church of Scotland, the parish is basic level of church administration. The spiritual oversight of each parish church is responsibility of the congregation's Kirk Session. Patronage was regulated this way in 1712 (Patronage Act) and abolished in 1874, ministers must be elected by members of the congregation. Many parish churches are now "linked" with neighbouring parish churches (served by a single minister.) With the abolition of parishes as a unit of civil government in Scotland, parishes now have a purely ecclesiastical significance in Scotland (and the boundaries may be adjusted by the local Presbytery).

  Methodist Church

Although they are more often called simply congregations and have no geographic boundaries, in the United States some United Methodist Church congregations are called parishes. The United Methodist Bishop of the Episcopal Area appoints a pastor to each congregation. The same is true in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

In New Zealand, a local grouping of Methodist churches that share one or more ministers (which in the United Kingdom would be called a circuit) is referred to as a parish.


The parallel to the parish system in the International Society of Krishna Consciousness is the division of zonal areas by the Governing Body Commission.

  See also


  1. ^ paroecia, Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, on Perseus
  2. ^ παροικία, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  3. ^ πάροικος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  4. ^ παρά, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  5. ^ οἶκος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  • Sidney Webb, Beatrice Potter. English Local Government from the Revolution to the Municipal corporations. Publisher: Longmans, Green and Co., 1906
  • James Barry Bird. The laws respecting parish matters: containing the several offices and duties of churchwardens, overseers of the poor, constables, watchmen, and other parish officers : the laws concerning rates and assessments, settlements and removals of the poor, and of the poor in general. Publisher W. Clarke, 1799

  External links



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