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In some denominations of Christianity, the cure of souls (Latin: cura animarum), an archaic translation which is better rendered today as "care of souls," is the exercise by a priest of his office. This typically embraces instruction, by sermons and admonitions, and administration of sacraments, to the congregation over which they have authority from the church. In countries where the Roman Catholic Church acted as the national church, the "cure" was not only over a congregation or congregations, but over a district. The assignment of a priest to a district subdividing a diocese was a process begun in the 4th century A.D. The term parish as applied to this district comes from the Greek word for district, παρоικία.

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