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In Christianity, a ceremony used to drive demons out of a person they have possessed. Jesus healed people tormented by evil spirits, casting them out with a word, and his followers later drove out demons in his name. By the 3rd century this task was assigned to a specially trained class of lower clergy. Rituals for exorcism of people and places also exist in many other traditions.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on exorcism, visit Britannica.com.