Mangalorean Recipes

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Parish

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The first Christian communities were founded in cities and the entire Divine service was carried on by the bishop and his clergy; the few faithful outside the cities went to the city or were visited from time to time by clerics from the presbyteries. In the fourth century we find in the villages groups sufficiently large to be served by a resident clergy. Canon 77 of Elvira (about A.D. 300) speaks of a deacon in charge of the people (diaconus regens plebem). In the East at a very early period the churches of the cities and of the country districts were organized; the Council of Neocæsarea, about 320 (can. 13), speaks of country priests and bishops of villages, the "chorepiscopi", who had a subordinate clergy. Such churches and their clergy were originally under the direct administration of the bishop; but soon they had their own resources and a distinct administration (Council of Chalcedon, 451, can. 4, 6, 17). The same change took place in the West, but more slowly. In proportion as the country districts were evangelized (fourth to sixth centuries), churches were erected, at first in the vici (hamlets or villages), afterwards on church lands or on the property of private individuals, and at least one priest was appointed to each church. The clergy and property depended at first directly on the bishop and the cathedral; the churches did not yet correspond to very definite territorial circumscriptions: the centre was better marked than the boundaries. Such was the church which the councils of the sixth and seventh century call ecclesia rusticana, parochitana, often dioecesis, and finally parochia. By that time most of these churches had become independent: the priest administered the property assigned to him by the bishop, and also the property given directly to the church by the pious faithful; from that moment the priest became a beneficiary and had his title. More plentiful resources required and permitted a more numerous clergy. The devotion of the faithful, especially towards relics, led to the erection of numerous secondary chapels, oratoria, basilicæ, martyria, which also had their clergy. But these tituli minores were not parishes; they depended on the principal church of the vicus, and on the archpriest so often mentioned in the councils of the sixth and seventh centuries, who had authority over his own clergy and those of the oratories.

These secondary churches emphasize the parochial character of the baptismal churches, as the faithful had to receive the sacraments and pay their tithes in the latter. The monasteries in turn ministered to the people grouped around them. From the eighth century parochial centres multiplied on the lands of the churches and the monasteries, and the villæ or great estates of the kings and nobles. Then the vill£ were subdivided and the parish served a certain number of villæ or rural districts, and thus the parish church became the centre of the religious and even the civil life of the villages. This condition, established in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, has scarcely varied since, as far as concerns the parochial service. As benefices, however, parishes have undergone many vicissitudes, owing to their union with monasteries or chapters, and on account of the inextricable complications of the feudal order. Parish churches had ordinarily attached to them schools and charitable works, especially for the poor enrolled on the matricula, or list of those attached to the Church. In the episcopal and other cities the division into parishes took place much more slowly, the cathedral or the archipresbyteral church being for a long time the only parochial church. However, numerous the city churches, all depended on it and, properly speaking, had no flock of their own. At Rome, as early as the fourth century, there was a quasi-parochial service in the "titles" and cemeterial churches (Innocent I to Decentius, c. 5, an. 416). It is only towards the close of the eleventh century that separate urban parishes began; even then there were limitations, e.g. baptism was to be conferred in the cathedral; the territories, moreover, were badly defined. The chapters turned over to the clergy of the churches the parochial ministry, while the corporations (guilds) insisted especially on the granting of parochial rights to the churches which they founded and supported.
 

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