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Parish

Derived from the Greek paroikia, or “district,” the term seems till about the fourth century to have corresponded to a whole diocese and only later to small subdivisions of the same. By the later [[Middle Ages]] the parish had emerged as a definite geographical district, its inhabitants restricted to a particular church to which they paid tithes and which had a single incumbent appointed either by the bishop, patron, or less usually, by the parishioners themselves. At the Reformation both Lutherans and Calvinists retained the parish system, the latter for administrative convenience only. In England the establishment of the parochial system has usually been attributed to Archbishop Theodore (seventh century) but its origins are now placed much earlier, even as far back as pre- Christian times.