The right of churches to incorporate has been universally conceded in the United States, except in Virginia and West Virginia, under whose constitutions the legislature is forbidden to grant any "charter of incorporation" to "any church or 'religious denomination."' Nor is such concession a recent one. Churches have exercised corporate rights from. the earliest period of the American law. The forms under which this has been done, however, have been quite dissimilar. Five distinct classes of corporations are discernible, the first of which is entirely extinct, the second survives only in an altered form, the third is limited in area, while the fourth and fifth divide the states between them. These five forms in the order mentioned are: (I) The Territorial Parish; (2) The Corporation Sole; (3) The Roman Catholic Church; (4) The Trustee Corporation; (5) The Corporation Aggregate. In addition to these classes some states recognize churches which have done nothing but organize into voluntary societies, as quasi corporations. It is now in order to consider the various forms of church corporations separately.

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