Visitation, in ecclesiastical phrase, is the inspection of a province, diocese archdeaconry, or parish church. Formerly these visits were performed by the officer with a large retinue, greatly to the inconvenience of curates and vicars. As early as 1179 action was taken by the pope restricting the retinue of the visiting prelate) and such restrictive measures have been passed frequently since. In the Church of England, the bishop visits once in three years, in order to give his charge and to make iniquity as to the state of the churches. The archdeacon visits in his place in the interim. The term is also applied to the work of the pastor, in Protestant churches, of calling upon the members of the Church to inquire as to the prosperity of their souls. In a divine or spiritual sense, the term is applied to either a communication of divine love, or to any calamity, individual or national.