Parson in English ecclesiastical law means the incumbent of a benefice in a parish. He is called parson (Lat. persona ecclesiae) because he represents the Church for several purposes. He must be a member of the Established Church of England, and duly admitted to holy orders, presented, instituted, and inducted; and at least twenty-three years of age. When he is inducted, and not before, he is said to be in full and complete possession of the incumbency, and is called in law persona impersonata, or "parson imparsonee." The theory is that the freehold of the parish church is vested in him, i.e. he represents the church, and in the eve of the law sustains the person thereof, as well in suing as in being sued in any action touching the same. As the legal owner, the parson has various rights of control over the chancel. He is also the owner of the churchyard, and as such is entitled to the grass. As owner of the body of the church, he has a right to the control of the church bells, and is entitled to prevent the churchwardens from ringing them against his will The distinction between a parson and a vicar is, that the parson has generally the whole right to the ecclesiastical dues in the parish, whereas the vicar has an appropriator over him, who is the real owner of the dues and tithes, and the vicar has only an inferior portion. The duty of the parson is to perform divine service in the parish church under the control of the bishop, to administer the sacraments to parishioners, to read the burial-service on request of the parishioners, and to marry them in the parish church when they tender themselves. He is bound to reside in the parish, and is subject to penalties and forfeiture if he without cause absent himself from the parish. He is subject to the Clergy Discipline Act, in case of misconduct. One may cease to be a parson, by death, cession in taking another benefice, consecration, promotion to a bishopric, resignation, or, lastly, deprivation, either by sentence of the ecclesiastical court, or in pursuance of divers penal statutes, which declare the benefice void for some neglect or crime. See Walcott, Sac. Archaeol s.v.; Hook, Church Dict. s.v.; Chambers, Cyclop. s.v. SEE PARISH.