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dicastery

/dɪˈkæstərɪ/
noun (pl) -ries
1.
(RC Church) another word for congregation (sense 5b)
Word Origin
C19: from dicast
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for dicastery

a judicial body in ancient Athens. Dicasteries were divisions of the Heliaea from the time of the democratic reforms of Cleisthenes (c. 508-507 BC), when the Heliaea was transformed from an appellate court to a court with original jurisdiction. Each year 6,000 volunteers, who were required to be male citizens at least 30 years of age, were assigned by lot to sit on specific dicasteries, or court panels. Each group of about 500 dicasts (about 200 in matters of private law) constituted a court for the entire year. In more important cases, several dicasteries might be combined. The verdict was determined by majority vote; a tie vote acquitted.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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