A parroquia (Galician: [paˈrɔkjɐ], Asturian: [paˈrokja], Spanish: [paˈrokja]) is a population entity or parish found in the autonomous communities of Galicia and Asturias in northwestern Spain. They are entities with a territorial scope lower than municipality and have their own legal personality.[1][2] They usually, but not always, coincide with the ecclesiastic divisions, as they originated on par with them.[3]

Map with all the Parishes in Asturias.
Parishes of Galicia.

In Galicia there are 3,771 parroquias, each comprising between three and fifteen or more villages. They developed over time as de facto entities up until the Galician Statute of Autonomy of 1981 recognized them as territorial entities below the concello (municipality).[4][5]

In Asturias there are 857 parroquias integrating the 78 concejos or conceyos (municipalities) in the region.[6]

Parroquias have their roots in the entry of the Catholic Church during the Roman and late Roman empire, similar to British parishes. From the late Roman empire on, a dispersed network of parishes and private churches emerged.[3][7] Those founded the base of a religious and social interaction network, with a clear administrative role over a territorial area too, that consolidated during the 10th to 13th centuries.[8][9][10][11] Since then, and in particular from 15th century on, the concept formed a very settled part of the popular consciousness and culture of Asturias and Galicia.[12] Spanish reforms from the 18th century on tried to reduced their number, but unsuccessfully due to the deep roots they have in these territories. The creation of Spanish municipalities that started in 1835 eliminated their function. With the entrance of democracy and creation of the autonomous communities in the 1980s, Asturian and Galician parishes were recognized legally as administrative divisions.

Asturian parishes


"Rural parishes" are the territorial entities that compose Asturian municipalities. They have their own legal status, being this smaller and different from the municipality they belong to. Within each parish the different neighbourhoods are distinguished.[8]

Article 6.2 of the Statute of Autonomy of Asturias recognizes its juridical personality defining this traditional entity as a "traditional form of coexistence and settlement of the Asturian population". Asturian Government passed Law 11/1986 to develop the competencies, organic rules and resources, among other aspects, of rural parishes.[1][13]

Among the assigned competencies, rural parishes have the capacity to organize their community, manage and administrate their goods, in addition to all those competences that are delegated by the Asturian Government.[1]

Parishes have and president and a "xunta" (elected board members). The president fulfils similar functions as a mayor within the parish, and "xunta" is alike a municipal plenary session. Xuntas are composed by more than two and lower than one third the council's elected members. Presidents are elected directly and given a mandate of four years.

Galician parishes


Galician parishes are an administrative division recognized as a collective entity of population lower than municipalities, or "concellos". Statute of Autonomy of Galicia of 1981 defines them as a traditional territorial entity proper of this region, with a particular coexistence and settlement history. It states they have their own legal personality and gives Galician Government the power to organize and legally regulate them. Law 5/1997 advanced in its regulation stating they are in fact autonomous local entities that have the capacity to manage their own goods.[2][14]

See also



  1. ^ a b c "Estatuto de Autonomía de Asturias: Ley Orgánica 7/1981, de 30 de diciembre, modificada por las Leyes Orgánicas 3/1991, 1/1994, 1/1999 y por la Ley 20/2002". Congreso de los Diputados, Gobierno de España.
  2. ^ a b "Lei Orgánica 1/1981, do 6 de abril, de Estatuto de Autonomía para Galicia". Xunta de Galicia. 10 January 2009.
  3. ^ a b Sánchez Pardo, José Carlos (2014). "Organización eclesiástica y social en la Galicia tardoantigua. Una perspectiva geográfico-arqueológica del Parroquial Suevo". Hispania Sacra. 66 (134): 439–480. doi:10.3989/hs.2014.058.
  4. ^ "Nomenclátor". March 2021. Data obtained from Nomenclátor – Xunta de Galicia
  5. ^ "Etnografía: Unidades de convivencia suprafamiliares". Galicia 2003 (in Spanish). Xunta de Galicia. Archived from the original on 31 May 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Nomenclátor de entidades de población de Asturias 2011". Asturian Institute of Statistics (in Spanish). 28 March 2012. Archived from the original on 13 February 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
  7. ^ Díaz Martínez, P. C. (1998). "El Parrochiale suevum: organización eclesiástica, poder político y poblamiento en la Gallaecia tardoantigua". Homenaje a José María Blázquez. Madrid: Mangas, J. e Alvar, J. (Eds.) Ediciones Clásicas.
  8. ^ a b Ruiz de la Peña Solar, Juan Ignacio (1993–1994). "Parroquias, concejos parroquiales y solidaridades vecinales en la Asturias medieval". Asturiensia Medievalia (in Spanish) (7): 105–122. ISSN 0301-889X.
  9. ^ López Sabatel, José Antonio (January–December 2018). "Patón como ejemplo de la organización y el poblamiento en la Galicia Medieval: la parroquia, el coto, la aldea, el casal y la vivienda (Siglos XIII-XV)". Cuadernos de Estudios Gallegos (in Spanish). LXV (131): 133–169. doi:10.3989/ceg.2018.131.05. ISSN 0210-847X.
  10. ^ López Alsina, Fernando (2009). "Da protoparroquia ou parroquia antiga altomediaval á parroquia clásica en Galicia". In Fernando García Pazoos (coord). Xunta de Galicia (ed.). A parroquia en Galicia. Pasado, presente e futuro. pp. 57–76.
  11. ^ Souto González, Xosé María (1982). "Encol do hábitat e do poboamento: o caso de Galicia". Cuadernos de Estudios Gallegos (in Galician) (98): 7.63.
  12. ^ Pegerto Saavedra, Hortensio; Sobrado Correa; Presedo Garazo, Antonio (October 2013). "La red parroquial y el clero rural en la Galicia de los siglos XVI-XIX: resultados de una investigación en curso". Obradoiro de Historia Moderna (22): 93–128. doi:10.15304/ohm.22.1140. ISSN 2340-0013.
  13. ^ Paz Benito del Pozo (1999). "Administración y territorio en Asturias". Polígonos. Revista de Geografía (in Spanish) (9): 31–48. doi:10.18002/pol.v0i9.573. ISSN 2444-0272.
  14. ^ Castro Bermejo, Cristina (June 1998). "Marco jurídico de la parroquia rural en Galicia". Revista de Estudios de la Administración Local y Autonómica. doi:10.24965/reala.vi276.8980.