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American Dictionary of the English Language

Webster's Dictionary 1828

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Diocese


DIOCESE, noun [Gr., administration, a province or jurisdiction; residence; to dwell; a house. diocese is a very erroneous orthography.] The circuit or extent of a bishops jurisdiction; an ecclesiastical division of a kingdom or state, subject to the authority of a bishop. In England there are two provinces or circuits of archbishops jurisdiction, Canterbury and York. The province of Canterbury contains twenty-one dioceses, and that of York three, besides the isle of Man. Every diocese is divided into archdeaconries, of which there are sixty; and each archdeaconry, into rural deaneries; and every deanery, into parishes. A diocese was originally a division of the Roman empire for the purpose of civil government, a prefecture. But the term is now exclusively appropriated to ecclesiastical jurisdiction.