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A parish is a type of administrative subdivision. It is used by some Christian churches, and also by the civil government in a number of countries.

Ecclesiastical parishes

A parish is a subdivision of a diocese or bishopric within the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Church of Sweden, and of some other churches. In Roman Catholicism, each parish has the services of a parish priest, who acts as the chaplain to the area. In some countries, a parish priest may have a fellow priest, called a curate, working along with him. Each parish usually has a central church or chapel, called the parish church, where religious services take place. Some larger parishes may have a number of such churches or chapels.

With the decline in the numbers of people seeking ordination, in some countries many parishes are now being merged together or are all sharing the services of one priest in a phenomenon known in the United States as clustering. In some countries, parishes are now merely the equivalent of states in the USA, provinces in Canada, or counties in England.

In the Canadian province of Quebec, there also exists a special type of ecclesiastical parish called a national parish.

Church of England

In the Church of England, part of the Anglican Communion, the legal right to appoint or recommend a parish priest is called an advowson, and its possessor is known as a patron. The patron can be an individual, the Crown, a bishop, a college, a charity, or a religious body. Appointment as a parish priest entails the enjoyment of a benefice. Appointment of patrons is governed by the Patronage (Benefices) Rules 1987.

In mediaeval times and earlier, when the church was politically and economically powerful, such a right could have great importance. An example can be seen in the article on Grendon, Northamptonshire. It now carries little personal advantage.

Parishes in civil administration

Main article: Parish (subnational entity)

In some countries a parish (sometimes called a "civil parish") is an administrative area of civil government. Parishes of this type are found in England, Ireland, the Channel Islands, the U.S. state of Louisiana (where it is equivalent to a county), Estonia and a number of island nations in the region of the Caribbean.

Civil parishes in England form the lowest level of local government. Each parish has an elected parish council (in some cases known as the town council).

In Quebec, a parish is a large rural municipality consisting mainly of farmlands, as opposed to a village. which is also rural, but has a center with a church, a credit union, shops, etc.

In New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, parishes are no longer used as administrative areas within counties, however several are used as census area boundaries.

Subnational entity
Banner | Borough | Canton | Circuit | City | Commune | County | Council | Department | District | Division | Dominion | Duchy | Governorate | Hamlet | Municipality | Neighbourhood | Parish | Prefecture | Province | Region | Republic | State | Territory | Town | Township | Village | Voivodship | Community
Autonomous: banner | city | community | county | prefecture | province | region | republic | ward
Civil: parish | township
Federal: capital | district | capital district | capital territory
Local: council
Metropolitan: borough | county
National: capital district | capital territory
Rural: council | district | municipality
Urban: district
edit See also: List of terms for subnational entities, List of subnational entities, Matrix of subnational entities
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