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Encyclopedia > Abbot
Christianity Portal
St. Dominic of Silos enthroned as abbot (Hispano-Flemish Gothic 15th Century)
St. Dominic of Silos enthroned as abbot (Hispano-Flemish Gothic 15th Century)

The word abbot, meaning father, is a title given to the head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity and Buddhism. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not actually the head of a monastery. The female equivalent is Abbess. Abbot may refer to one of the following. ... Image File history File links Gnome-globe. ... Roman Catholic image of Jesus Christ as the Sacred Heart - no copyright This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 313 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (355 × 680 pixels, file size: 69 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 313 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (355 × 680 pixels, file size: 69 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... ... For other uses, see Father (disambiguation). ... Monastery of St. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is... A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa, India. ... An Abbess (Latin abbatissa, fem. ...

Contents

Origins

The title had its origin in the monasteries of Egypt and Syria, spread through the eastern Mediterranean, and soon became accepted generally in all languages as the designation of the head of a monastery. At first it was employed as a respectful title for any monk, but it was soon restricted by canon law to certain priestly superiors. At times it was applied to various priests, e.g. at the court of the Frankish monarchy the Abbas palatinus ('of the palace') and Abbas castrensis ('of the camp') were chaplains to the Merovingian and Carolingian sovereigns’ court viz. to his army. The name "abbot" came in fairly general use in western monastic orders whose members include priests. Monastery of St. ... The Mediterranean Basin refers to the lands around and surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. ... The Order of Friars Minor is a major mendicant movement founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. ... A religious order is an organization of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with religious devotion. ...


Monastic history

Coptic icon of St. Pachomius, the founder of cenobitic monasticism.
Coptic icon of St. Pachomius, the founder of cenobitic monasticism.
Carving of St. Benedict of Nursia, holding an abbot's crozier and his Rule for Monasteries (Münsterschwarzach, Germany).
Carving of St. Benedict of Nursia, holding an abbot's crozier and his Rule for Monasteries (Münsterschwarzach, Germany).

An abbot is a man who has suffered so much as to become a "father", through the Coptic ava, Aramaic and Syriac abba, Latin abbas (genitive form, abbatis), Old English abbad, Italian Abbate, German Abt, French abbé. He is the head and chief governor of a community of monks, called also in the East hegumenos or archimandrite. The English version for a female monastic head is abbess. Image File history File links StPakhom. ... Image File history File links StPakhom. ... Coptic is an adjective referring to the original inhabitants of Egypt, the Copts. ... Look up icon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For the genus of jumping spider, see Pachomius (spider). ... The cenobitic tradition is a monastic tradition that stresses community life. ... Monasticism (from Greek: monachos — a solitary person) is the religious practice in which one renounces worldly pursuits in order to fully devote ones life to spiritual work. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Saint Benedict St. ... A crosier (crozier, pastoral staff) is the stylized staff of office carried by high-ranking Catholic prelates. ... St Benedict of Nursia The Rule of St Benedict by Benedict of Nursia (fl. ... For other uses, see Monk (disambiguation). ... Hegumen, hegumenos, or ihumen (Greek: ἡγούμενος , Russian: игумен) is the title for the head of a monastery of the Eastern Orthodox Church, similar to the one of abbot. ... Archimandrite (Greek: ἀρχιμανδρίτης - archimandrites) is a title in the Greek Orthodox Church for a superior abbot who has the supervision of several abbots and monasteries appointed by a bishop. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... An Abbess (Latin abbatissa, fem. ...


In Egypt, the first home of monasticism, the jurisdiction of the abbot, or archimandrite, was but loosely defined. Sometimes he ruled over only one community, sometimes over several, each of which had its own abbot as well. Saint John Cassian speaks of an abbot of the Thebaid who had 500 monks under him. By the Rule of St Benedict, which, until the reform of Cluny, was the norm in the West, the abbot has jurisdiction over only one community. The rule, as was inevitable, was subject to frequent violations; but it was not until the foundation of the Cluniac Order that the idea of a supreme abbot, exercising jurisdiction over all the houses of an order, was definitely recognized. John Cassian (c. ... The Thebaid is the region of ancient Egypt containing the thirteen southernmost nomes of Upper Egypt, from Abydos to Aswan. ... St. ... The abbey today The Abbey of Cluny (or Cluni, or Clugny) was founded on 2 September 909 by the Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Auvergne, William I, who placed it under the immediate authority of Pope Sergius III. The Abbey and its constellation of dependencies soon came to exemplify... The abbey today The Abbey of Cluny (or Cluni, or Clugny) was founded on 2 September 909 by the Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Auvergne, William I, who placed it under the immediate authority of Pope Sergius III. The Abbey and its constellation of dependencies soon came to exemplify...


Monks, as a rule, were laymen, nor at the outset was the abbot any exception. For the reception of the sacraments, and for other religious offices, the abbot and his monks were commanded to attend the nearest church. This rule proved inconvenient when a monastery was situated in a desert or at a distance from a city, and necessity compelled the ordination of some monks. This innovation was not introduced without a struggle, ecclesiastical dignity being regarded as inconsistent with the higher spiritual life, but, before the close of the 5th century, at least in the East, abbots seem almost universally to have become deacons, if not priests. The change spread more slowly in the West, where the office of abbot was commonly filled by laymen till the end of the 7th century. The ecclesiastical leadership exercised by abbots despite their frequent lay status is proved by their attendance and votes at ecclesiastical councils. Thus at the first Council of Constantinople, AD 448, 23 archimandrites or abbots sign, with 30 bishops. A sacrament is a Christian rite that mediates divine grace. ... Ordination is the process in which clergy become authorized by their religious denomination and/or seminary to perform religious rituals and ceremonies. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      In Christian... Spirituality, in a narrow sense, concerns itself with matters of the spirit. ... Europe in 450 The 5th century is the period from 401 to 500 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ... For other uses, see Deacon (disambiguation). ... The 7th century is the period from 601 - 700 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ... The First Council of Constantinople (second ecumenical council) was called by Theodosius I in 381 to confirm the Nicene Creed and deal with other matters of the Arian controversy . ... Events Eutyches is accused of heresy at a council held in Constantinople. ... Archimandrite (Greek: ἀρχιμανδρίτης - archimandrites) is a title in the Greek Orthodox Church for a superior abbot who has the supervision of several abbots and monasteries appointed by a bishop. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      This article...


The second Council of Nicaea, AD 787, recognized the right of abbots to ordain their monks to the inferior orders below the diaconate, a power usually reserved to bishops. The Second Council of Nicaea was the seventh ecumenical council of Christianity; it met in 787 AD in Nicaea (site of the First Council of Nicaea) to restore the honoring of icons (or, holy images), which had been suppressed by imperial edict inside the Byzantine Empire during the reign of... This article is about the year 787. ... For other uses, see Deacon (disambiguation). ...


Abbots were originally subject to episcopal jurisdiction, and continued generally so, in fact, in the West till the 11th century. The Code of Justinian (lib. i. tit. iii. de Ep. leg. xl.) expressly subordinates the abbot to episcopal oversight. The first case recorded of the partial exemption of an abbot from episcopal control is that of Faustus, abbot of Lerins, at the council of Arles, AD 456; but the exorbitant claims and exactions of bishops, to which this repugnance to episcopal control is to be traced, far more than to the arrogance of abbots, rendered it increasingly frequent, and, in the 6th century, the practice of exempting religious houses partly or altogether from episcopal control, and making them responsible to the pope alone, received an impulse from Pope Gregory the Great. These exceptions, introduced with a good object, had grown into a widespread evil by the 12th century, virtually creating an imperium in imperio, and depriving the bishop of all authority over the chief centres of influence in his diocese. In the 12th century the abbots of Fulda claimed precedence of the archbishop of Cologne. Abbots more and more assumed almost episcopal state, and in defiance of the prohibition of early councils and the protests of St Bernard and others, adopted the episcopal insignia of mitre, ring, gloves and sandals. It has been maintained that the right to wear mitres was sometimes granted by the popes to abbots before the 11th century, but the documents on which this claim is based are not genuine (J. Braun, Liturgische Gewandung, p. 453). The first undoubted instance is the bull by which Alexander II in 1063 granted the use of the mitre to Egelsinus, abbot of the monastery of St Augustine at Canterbury. The mitred abbots in England were those of Abingdon, St Alban's, Bardney, Battle, Bury St Edmund's, St Augustine's Canterbury, Colchester, Croyland, Evesham, Glastonbury, Gloucester, St Benet's Hulme, Hyde, Malmesbury, Peterborough, Ramsey, Reading, Selby, Shrewsbury, Tavistock, Thorney, Westminster, Winchcombe, St Mary's York. Of these the precedence was originally yielded to the abbot of Glastonbury, until in AD 1154 Adrian IV (Nicholas Breakspear) granted it to the abbot of St Alban's, in which monastery he had been brought up. Next after the abbot of St Alban's ranked the abbot of Westminster. To distinguish abbots from bishops, it was ordained that their mitre should be made of less costly materials, and should not be ornamented with gold, a rule which was soon entirely disregarded, and that the crook of their pastoral staff should turn inwards instead of outwards, indicating that their jurisdiction was limited to their own house. Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      This article... The Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law) is a fundamental work in jurisprudence issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Byzantine Emperor. ... Capua is destroyed by the Vandals. ... “Saint Gregory” redirects here. ... Pope Pius XI blesses Bishop Stephen Alencastre as fifth Apostolic Vicar of the Hawaiian Islands in a Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace window. ... The Archbishopric of Cologne was one of the major ecclesiastical principalities of the Holy Roman Empire. ... This article is about the ceremonial head-dress; see also mitre (disambiguation). ... Alexander II (died April 21, 1073), born Anselmo da Baggio , Pope from 1061 to 1073, was a native of Milan. ... Events Anselm of Canterbury becomes prior at Le Bec Sancho I becomes ruler of Aragon Bishopric of Olomouc is founded Births Deaths April 30 - Emperor Renzong (b. ... Abingdon is a market town in Oxfordshire, England and is one of the towns which claim to be Britains oldest continuously occupied town. ... Abbey gateway St Albans Abbey was an abbey at St Albans, Hertfordshire, England, dissolved in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. ... Bury St. ... Trinity Bridge, Crowland Crowland (modern usage) or Croyland (medieval era name) is a town in Lincolnshire, England, positioned between Peterborough and Spalding, with two major sites of historical interest. ... Location within the British Isles The Market Place in Evesham, circa 1904 Evesham (or the Sham as it is known to its inhabitants) is a middle-sized, rural market town in Worcestershire, England. ... Glastonbury is a small town in Somerset, England, situated at a dry spot on the Somerset Levels, 50km (31 miles) south of Bristol. ... This article is about the city of Gloucester in England; for other uses see Gloucester (disambiguation). ... , Malmesbury is a south Cotswold town and civil parish in south west England in the county of Wiltshire. ... This article is about the city in the United Kingdom. ... Ramsey may refer to: Ramsey reset test, a statistical test for model specification Ramsey theory, a branch of mathematics that studies the conditions under which order must appear; named for Frank P. Ramsey Baron de Ramsey, a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, created in 1887 Ramsey is... Reading Abbey Reading Abbey is a large, ruined abbey in Reading, Berkshire, founded by Henry I in 1121 for the salvation of my soul, and the souls of King William, my father, and of King William, my brother, and Queen Maud, my wife, and all my ancestors and successors. // History... , Selby is a town in North Yorkshire, England. ... For other places with the same name, see Shrewsbury (disambiguation). ... Tavistock is a town in Devon, England, lying on the River Tavy on the edge of Dartmoor. ... Thorney Abbey was located near the village of Thorney, Cambridgeshire in the United Kingdom. ... Westminster is a district within the City of Westminster in London. ... Location within the British Isles The busy main street Winchcombe is a Cotswold town in the Local Authority District of Tewkesbury, in Gloucestershire, England. ... York shown within England Coordinates: , Sovereign state Constituent country Region Yorkshire and the Humber Ceremonial county North Yorkshire Admin HQ York City Centre Founded 71 City Status 71 Government  - Type Unitary Authority, City  - Governing body City of York Council  - Leadership: Leader & Executive  - Executive: Liberal Democrat  - MPs: Hugh Bayley (L) John... King Stephen of England dies at Dover, and is succeeded by his adopted son Henry Plantagenet who becomes King Henry II of England, aged 21. ... Pope Adrian IV (c. ... Crosiere of arcbishop Heinrich of Finstingen, 1260-1286 A crosier (crozier, pastoral staff) is the stylized staff of office carried by high-ranking Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and some Lutheran prelates. ...


The adoption of certain episcopal insignia (pontificalia) by abbots was followed by an encroachment on episcopal functions, which had to be specially but ineffectually guarded against by the Lateran council, AD 1123. In the East abbots, if in priests' orders and with the consent of the bishop, were, as we have seen, permitted by the second Nicene council, AD 787, to confer the tonsure and admit to the order of reader; but gradually abbots, in the West also, advanced higher claims, until we find them in AD 1489 permitted by Innocent IV to confer both the subdiaconate and diaconate. Of course, they always and everywhere had the power of admitting their own monks and vesting them with the religious habit. Pontifical, from the Latin pontificalis, is an adjective used to describe anything connected with the office of a prelate, usually a bishop or an abbot. ... This article incorporates text from the public domain Catholic Encyclopedia The Council of 1123 is reckoned in the series of Ecumenical councils. ... Events First Council of the Lateran confirms Concordat of Worms and demands that priests remain celibate End of the reign of Emperor Toba of Japan. ... The Second Council of Nicaea was the seventh ecumenical council of Christianity; it met in 787 AD in Nicaea (site of the First Council of Nicaea) to restore the honoring of icons (or, holy images), which had been suppressed by imperial edict inside the Byzantine Empire during the reign of... This article is about the year 787. ... Tonsure is the practice of some Christian churches of cutting the hair from the scalp of clerics as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem. ... Events March 14 - The Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro, sells her kingdom to Venice. ... Pope Innocent IV (Manarola, 1180/90 – Naples, December 7, 1254), born Sinibaldo de Fieschi, Pope from 1243 to 1254, belonged to the feudal nobility of Liguria, the Fieschi, counts of Lavagna. ...


When a vacancy occurred, the bishop of the diocese chose the abbot out of the monks of the convent, but the right of election was transferred by jurisdiction to the monks themselves, reserving to the bishop the confirmation of the election and the benediction of the new abbot. In abbeys exempt from the (arch)bishop's diocesan jurisdiction, the confirmation and benediction had to be conferred by the pope in person, the house being taxed with the expenses of the new abbot's journey to Rome. It was necessary that an abbot should be at least 25 years of age, of legitimate birth, a monk of the house, unless it furnished no suitable candidate, when a liberty was allowed of electing from another convent, well instructed himself, and able to instruct others, one also who had learned how to command by having practised obedience. In some exceptional cases an abbot was allowed to name his own successor. Cassian speaks of an abbot in Egypt doing this; and in later times we have another example in the case of St Bruno. Popes and sovereigns gradually encroached on the rights of the monks, until in Italy the pope had usurped the nomination of all abbots, and the king in France, with the exception of Cluny, Premontre and other houses, chiefs of their order. The election was for life, unless the abbot was canonically deprived by the chiefs of his order, or when he was directly subject to them, by the pope or the bishop. Bold textTHIS IS THE PAGE THAT A.S. REALLY NEEDS!! THIS IS NOW MARKED!!! ] ps i like A.O. This article is about an abbey as a Christian monastic community. ... Bold textTHIS IS THE PAGE THAT A.S. REALLY NEEDS!! THIS IS NOW MARKED!!! ] ps i like A.O. This article is about an abbey as a Christian monastic community. ... For other uses, see Benediction (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Rome (disambiguation). ...


The ceremony of the formal admission of a Benedictine abbot in medieval times is thus prescribed by the consuetudinary of Abingdon. The newly elected abbot was to put off his shoes at the door of the church, and proceed barefoot to meet the members of the house advancing in a procession. After proceeding up the nave, he was to kneel and pray at the topmost step of the entrance of the choir, into which he was to be introduced by the bishop or his commissary, and placed in his stall. The monks, then kneeling, gave him the kiss of peace on the hand, and rising, on the mouth, the abbot holding his staff of office. He then put on his shoes in the vestry, and a chapter was held, and the bishop or his delegate preached a suitable sermon. For the college, see Benedictine College. ... Consuetudinary (Med. ... Links to full descriptions of the elements of a Gothic floorplan are also found at the entry Cathedral diagram. ... A commissary is someone delegated by a superior to execute a duty or an office. ... A staff of office is a staff and carrying it often denotes social rank or prestige. ... A vestry is a room within or attached to a church which is used to store vestments and other items used in worship. ... This article incorporates text from the Catholic Encyclopedia, which is in the public domain. ...


The power of the abbot was paternal but absolute, limited, however, by the canon law. One of the main goals of monasticism was the purgation of self and selfishness, and obedience was seen as a path to that perfection. It was sacred duty to execute the abbot's orders, and even to act without his orders was sometimes considered a transgression. Examples among the Egyptian monks of this submission to the commands of the superiors, exalted into a virtue by those who regarded the entire crushing of the individual will as a goal, are detailed by Cassian and others, e.g. a monk watering a dry stick, day after day, for months, or endeavouring to remove a huge rock immensely exceeding his powers. Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      Canon law is the term used for...


General information

Before the late modern era, the abbot was treated with the utmost reverence by the brethren of his house. When he appeared either in church or chapter all present rose and bowed. His letters were received kneeling, as were those of the pope and the king. No monk might sit in his presence, or leave it without his permission, reflecting the hierarchical etiquette of families and society. The highest place was assigned to him, both in church and at table. In the East he was commanded to eat with the other monks. In the West the Rule of St Benedict appointed him a separate table, at which he might entertain guests and strangers. This permission opening the door to luxurious living, the council of Aachen, AD 817, decreed that the abbot should dine in the refectory, and be content with the ordinary fare of the monks, unless he had to entertain a guest. These ordinances proved, however, generally ineffectual to secure strictness of diet, and contemporaneous literature abounds with satirical remarks and complaints concerning the inordinate extravagance of the tables of the abbots. When the abbot condescended to dine in the refectory, his chaplains waited upon him with the dishes, a servant, if necessary, assisting them. When abbots dined in their own private hall, the Rule of St Benedict charged them to invite their monks to their table, provided there was room, on which occasions the guests were to abstain from quarrels, slanderous talk and idle gossiping. St. ... Events Louis the Pious divides his empire among his sons. ... A refectory is a dining room, especially in monasteries, boarding schools and academic institutions. ... A chaplain in the 45th Infantry Division leads a religious service in an unknown location during World War II. US Navy Chaplain Kenneth Medve conducts Catholic Mass onboard the Ronald Reagan (2006) A chaplain is typically a priest, ordained deacon or other member of the clergy serving a group of...

Arms of a Roman Catholic abbot are distinguished by a gold crozier and a black galero with twelve tassels (the galero of a territorial abbot would be green)
Arms of a Roman Catholic abbot are distinguished by a gold crozier and a black galero with twelve tassels (the galero of a territorial abbot would be green)

The ordinary attire of the abbot was according to rule to be the same as that of the monks. But by the 10th century the rule was commonly set aside, and we find frequent complaints of abbots dressing in silk, and adopting sumptuous attire. They sometimes even laid aside the monastic habit altogether, and assumed a secular dress. With the increase of wealth and power, abbots had lost much of their special religious character, and become great lords, chiefly distinguished from lay lords by celibacy. Thus we hear of abbots going out to hunt, with their men carrying bows and arrows; keeping horses, dogs and huntsmen; and special mention is made of an abbot of Leicester, c. 1360, who was the most skilled of all the nobility in hare hunting. In magnificence of equipage and retinue the abbots vied with the first nobles of the realm. They rode on mules with gilded bridles, rich saddles and housings, carrying hawks on their wrist, followed by an immense train of attendants. The bells of the churches were rung as they passed. They associated on equal terms with laymen of the highest distinction, and shared all their pleasures and pursuits. This rank and power was, however, often used most beneficially. For instance, we read of Whiting, the last abbot of Glastonbury, judicially murdered by Henry VIII, that his house was a kind of well-ordered court, where as many as 300 sons of noblemen and gentlemen, who had been sent to him for virtuous education, had been brought up, besides others of a lesser rank, whom he fitted for the universities. His table, attendance and officers were an honour to the nation. He would entertain as many as 500 persons of rank at one time, besides relieving the poor of the vicinity twice a week. He had his country houses and fisheries, and when he travelled to attend parliament his retinue amounted to upwards of 100 persons. The abbots of Cluny and Vendôme were, by virtue of their office, cardinals of the Roman church. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1000x975, 187 KB) Piotr Jaworski, PioM; 19 V 2005r. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1000x975, 187 KB) Piotr Jaworski, PioM; 19 V 2005r. ... A crosier (crozier, pastoral staff) is the stylized staff of office carried by high-ranking Catholic prelates. ... Upon the death of a cardinal diocesan bishop, his galero is raised above the sanctuary of his cathedral church. ... Coat of arms of a territorial abbot A territorial abbot or abbot nullius (short for abbot of an abbey nullius diÅ“ceseos, Latin: belonging to no diocese) heads a territorial abbey or territorial abbacey, which is a type of particular church within the Roman Catholic Church. ... Clerical celibacy is the practice of various religious traditions in which clergy, monastics and those in religious orders (female or male) adopt a celibate life, refraining from marriage and sexual relationships, including masturbation and impure thoughts (such as sexual visualisation and fantasies). ... Leicester city centre, looking towards the Clock Tower Leicester (pronounced ) is the largest city and unitary authority in the English East Midlands. ... Events October 24 - The Treaty of Brétigny is ratified at Calais, marking the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years War. ... A retinue (O. Fr. ... View from the former location of the North transept in East direction to the choir. ... “Henry VIII” redirects here. ... The Abbot of Cluny was the head of the powerful monastery of Cluny Abbey in medieval France. ... Trinity Abbey, Vendôme, was a Benedictine monastery founded in 1035 in Vendôme by Geoffrey Martel and his first wife, Agnes of Burgundy. ... For other uses, see Cardinal (disambiguation). ...


In process of time the title abbot was extended to clerics who had no connection with the monastic system, as to the principal of a body of parochial clergy; and under the Carolingians to the chief chaplain of the king, Abbas Curiae, or military chaplain of the emperor, Abbas Castrensis. It even came to be adopted by purely secular officials. Thus the chief magistrate of the republic at Genoa was called Abbas Populi. Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. ... Charlemagne (left) and Pippin the Hunchback. ... For other uses, see Genoa (disambiguation). ...


Lay abbots (M. Lat. defensores, abbacomites, abbates laici, abbates milites, abbates saeculares or irreligiosi, abbatiarii, or sometimes simply abbates) were the outcome of the growth of the feudal system from the 8th century onwards. The practice of commendation, by which--to meet a contemporary emergency--the revenues of the community were handed over to a lay lord, in return for his protection, early suggested to the emperors and kings the expedient of rewarding their warriors with rich abbeys held in commendam. Lay abbot (abbatocomes, abbas laicus, abbas miles) is a name used to designate a layman on whom a king or someone in authority bestowed an abbey as a reward for services rendered; he had charge of the estate belonging to it, and was entitled to part of the income. ... Roland pledges his fealty to Charlemagne; from a manuscript of a chanson de geste. ... (7th century — 8th century — 9th century — other centuries) Events The Iberian peninsula is taken by Arab and Berber Muslims, thus ending the Visigothic rule, and starting almost 8 centuries of Muslim presence there. ... King Charlemagne receiving the Oath of Fidelity and Homage from one of his great Feudatories or High Barons. ... Commendam (or in commendam) was a form of ecclesiastical commendation (a grant of property by the church in return for service) that came in to common use in the 14th and 15th centuries. ...


During the Carolingian epoch the custom grew up of granting these as regular heritable fiefs or benefices, and by the 10th century, before the great Cluniac reform, the system was firmly established. Even the abbey of St Denis was held in commendam by Hugh Capet. The example of the kings was followed by the feudal nobles, sometimes by making a temporary concession permanent, sometimes without any form of commendation whatever. In England the abuse was rife in the 8th century, as may be gathered from the acts of the council of Cloveshoe. These lay abbacies were not merely a question of overlordship, but implied the concentration in lay hands of all the rights, immunities and jurisdiction of the foundations, i.e. the more or less complete secularization of spiritual institutions. The lay abbot took his recognized rank in the feudal hierarchy, and was free to dispose of his fief as in the case of any other. The enfeoffment of abbeys differed in form and degree. Sometimes the monks were directly subject to the lay abbot; sometimes he appointed a substitute to perform the spiritual functions, known usually as dean (decanus), but also as abbot (abbas legitimas, monasticus, regularis). When the great reform of the 11th century had put an end to the direct jurisdiction of the lay abbots, the honorary title of abbot continued to be held by certain of the great feudal famines, as late as the 13th century and later, the actual head of the community retaining that of dean. The connection of the lesser lay abbots with the abbeys, especially in the south of France, lasted longer; and certain feudal families retained the title of abbes chevaliers (abbates milltes) for centuries, together with certain rights over the abbey lands or revenues. The abuse was not confined to the West. John, patriarch of Antioch, at the beginning of the 12th Century, informs us that in his time most monasteries had been handed over to laymen, bencficiarii, for life, or for part of their lives, by the emperors. Fief depiction in a book of hours Under the system of feudalism, a fiefdom, fief, feud, feoff, or fee, often consisted of inheritable lands or revenue-producing property granted by a liege lord in return for a form of allegiance, originally to give him the means to fulfill his military... Originally a benefice was a gift of land for life as a reward (Latin beneficium, means to do well) for services rendered. ... As a means of recording the passage of time, the 10th century was that century which lasted from 901 to 1000. ... Cluny nowadays The town of Cluny or Clugny lies in the modern-day département of Saône-et-Loire in the région of France, near Mâcon. ... West façade of Saint Denis Depiction of the Trinity over the main entrance The Basilica of Saint Denis (French: Basilique de Saint-Denis, or simply Basilique Saint-Denis) is the famous burial site of the French monarchs, comparable to Westminster Abbey in England. ... Hugh Capet[1] (c. ... The Councils of Clovesho were a significant series of synods and other meetings of the English Church in the eighth and ninth centuries. ... A dean, in a church context, is a cleric holding certain positions of authority within a religious hierarchy. ... Patriarch of Antioch is the traditional title carried by the Bishop of Antioch. ...


Giraldus Cambrensis reported (Itinerary, ii.iv) the common customs of lay abbots in the late 12th-century Church of Wales: Giraldus Cambrensis (c. ...

"for a bad custom has prevailed amongst the clergy, of appointing the most powerful people of a parish stewards, or, rather, patrons, of their churches; who, in process of time, from a desire of gain, have usurped the whole right, appropriating to their own use the possession of all the lands, leaving only to the clergy the altars, with their tenths and oblations, and assigning even these to their sons and relations in the church. Such defenders, or rather destroyers, of the church, have caused themselves to be called abbots, and presumed to attribute to themselves a title, as well as estates, to which they have no just claim."

In conventual cathedrals, where the bishop occupied the place of the abbot, the functions usually devolving on the superior of the monastery were performed by a prior.


Modern practices

In the Roman Catholic Church, abbots continue to be elected by the monks of an abbey to lead them as their religious superior. A monastery must have been granted the status of an abbey by the Pope, and such monasteries are normally raised to this level after showing a degree of stability -- a certain number of monks in vows, a certain number of years of establishment, a certain firmness to the foundation in economic, vocational and legal aspects. Prior to this, the monastery would be a mere priory, headed by a prior who acts as superior but without the same degree of legal authority that an abbot has.


The abbot is a priest, chosen by the monks from among the fully professed monks. Once chosen, he must request blessing: the blessing of an abbot is celebrated by the bishop in whose diocese the monastery is or, with his permission, another abbot or bishop. The ceremony of such a blessing is similar in some aspects to the ordination of a bishop, with the new abbot being presented with the mitre, the ring, and the crosier as symbols of office and receiving the laying on of hands and blessing from the celebrant. Though the ceremony installs the new abbot into a position of legal authority, it does not confer further sacramental authority.


Once he has received this blessing, the abbot not only becomes father of his monks in a spiritual sense, but their major superior under canon law, and has the additional authority to confer the ministries of acolyte and lector (formerly, he could confer the minor orders, which are not sacraments, that these ministries have replaced). The abbey is a species of "exempt religious" in that it is, for the most part, answerable to the Pope, or to the abbot primate, rather than to the local bishop.


The abbot wears the same habit as his fellow monks, though by tradition he adds to it a pectoral cross.


Territorial abbots follow all of the above, but in addition must receive a mandate of authority from the Pope over the territory around the monastery for which they are responsible. Coat of arms of a territorial abbot A territorial abbot or abbot nullius (short for abbot of an abbey nullius diœceseos, Latin: belonging to no diocese) heads a territorial abbey or territorial abbacey, which is a type of particular church within the Roman Catholic Church. ...


Abbatial hierarchy

In some monastic families there is a hierarchy of precedence or authority among abbots. In some cases, this is the result of an abbey being considered the "mother" of several "daughter" abbeys founded originally as dependent priories of the "mother." In other cases, abbeys have affiliated in networks known as "congregations." Some monastic families recognize one abbey as the motherhouse of the entire order.

  • The abbot of San Anselmo di Aventino, in Rome, is styled the "abbot primate," and is acknowledged the senior abbot for the Order of St. Benedict (O.S.B.)
  • An abbot president is the head of a congregation (federation) of abbeys within the Order of St. Benedict (for instance, the English Congregation, The American Cassinese Congregation, etc.), or of the Cistercians (O. Cist.)
  • An archabbot is the head of some monasteries which are the motherhouses of other monasteries (for instance, St. Vincent's Archabbey, Latrobe, Pennsylvania)

Modern abbots not as superior

The title abbé (French; Ital. abate), as commonly used in the Catholic church on the European continent, is the equivalent of the English "Father" (parallel etymology), being loosely applied to all who have received the tonsure. This use of the title is said to have originated in the right conceded to the king of France, by the concordat between Pope Leo X and Francis I (1516), to appoint abbés commendataires to most of the abbeys in France. The expectation of obtaining these sinecures drew young men towards the church in considerable numbers, and the class of abbés so formed—abbés de cour they were sometimes called, and sometimes (ironically) abbés de sainte espérance, (abbés of holy hope; or the pun, of St. Hope)—came to hold a recognized position. The connection many of them had with the church was of the slenderest kind, consisting mainly in adopting the title of abbé, after a remarkably moderate course of theological study, practising celibacy and wearing a distinctive dress—a short dark-violet coat with narrow collar. Being men of presumed learning and undoubted leisure, many of the class found admission to the houses of the French nobility as tutors or advisers. Nearly every great family had its abbé. The class did not survive the Revolution; but the courtesy title of abbé, having long lost all connection in people's minds with any special ecclesiastical function, remained as a convenient general term applicable to any clergyman. Abbé (from Latin abbas, in turn from Greek αββας = abbas father, from Aramaic abba) is the French word for abbot. ... Tonsure is the practice of some Christian churches of cutting the hair from the scalp of clerics as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem. ... A concordat is an agreement between the pope and a government or sovereign on religious matters. ... Pope Leo X, born Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici (11 December 1475 – 1 December 1521) was Pope from 1513 to his death. ... Francis I of France (French: François Ier) (September 12, 1494 – March 31, 1547), called the Father and Restorer of Letters (le Père et Restaurateur des Lettres), was crowned King of France in 1515 in the cathedral at Reims and reigned until 1547. ... A sinecure (from Latin sine, without, and cura, care) means an office which requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service. ... Celibacy refers either to being unmarried or to sexual abstinence. ... The French Revolution (1789–1815) was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on... A courtesy title is a form of address in the British peerage system used for wives, children, and other close relatives of a peer. ...


Eastern Christian

Further information: Hegumen, Archimandrite

In the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, the Abbot is referred to as the Hegumen. The Superior of a Convent of Nuns is called the Hegumenia. The nearest equivalent of an Archabbot is an Archimandrite. Hegumen, hegumenos, or ihumen (Greek: ἡγούμενος , Russian: игумен) is the title for the head of a monastery of the Eastern Orthodox Church, similar to the one of abbot. ... Archimandrite (Greek: ἀρχιμανδρίτης - archimandrites) is a title in the Greek Orthodox Church for a superior abbot who has the supervision of several abbots and monasteries appointed by a bishop. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Coptic Orthodox Pope · Roman Catholic Pope Archbishop of Canterbury · Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      Faith... The Eastern Catholic Churches are autonomous particular Churches in full communion with the Pope of Rome. ... Hegumen, hegumenos, or ihumen (Greek: ἡγούμενος , Russian: игумен) is the title for the head of a monastery of the Eastern Orthodox Church, similar to the one of abbot. ... Archimandrite (Greek: ἀρχιμανδρίτης - archimandrites) is a title in the Greek Orthodox Church for a superior abbot who has the supervision of several abbots and monasteries appointed by a bishop. ...


In the East, the principle set forth in the Code of Justinian still applies, whereby most abbots are immediately subject to a bishop. Those monasteries which enjoy the status of being stavropegial will be subject only to a primate or his Synod of Bishops. Primate (from the Latin Primus, first) is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. ... A synod (also known as a council) is a council of a church, usually a Christian church, convened to decide an issue of doctrine or administration. ...


Though the title "abbot" is not given in the Western Church to any but actual abbots of monasteries today, the title archimandrite is given to "monastics" (i.e., celibate) priests in the East, even when not attached to a monastery, as an honor for service, similar to the title of monsignor in the Western/Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. In the Russian Orthodox Church, only actual monastics are permitted to be elevated to the rank of Abbot or Archimandrite. Married priests are elevated to the parallel rank of Archpriest or Protopresbyter. There are no "celibate" priests who are not monastics in the Russian Church, with the exception of married priests who have been widowered. Since the time of Catherine II the ranks of Abbot and Archimandrite have been given as honorary titles in the Russian Church, and may be given to any monastic, even if he does not in fact serve as the superior of a monastery. Monsignor, monsignori, is the form of address for those members of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church holding certain ecclesiastical honorific titles. ... The Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (Russian: ), also known as the Orthodox Christian Church of Russia, is a body of Christians who are united under the Patriarch of Moscow, who in turn is in communion with the other patriarchs and primates of the Eastern Orthodox Church. ... Archpriest is the title of a priest who has supervisory duties over a number of parishes. ... Archpriest is the title of a priest who has supervisory duties over a number of parishes. ... Alternate uses: see widow (typesetting). ... Catherine II of Russia, called the Great (Russian: Екатерина II Великая, Yekaterina II Velikaya; 2 May [O.S. 21 April] 1729 – 17 November [O.S. 6 November] 1796) reigned as Empress of Russia for 34 years, from June 28, 1762 until her death. ...


Protestant abbots

In the German Evangelical Church the German title of Abt (abbot) is sometimes bestowed, like the French abbé, as an honorary distinction, and survives to designate the heads of some monasteries converted at the Reformation into collegiate foundations. Of these the most noteworthy is Loccum Abbey in Hanover, founded as a Cistercian house in 1163 by Count Wilbrand of Hallermund, and reformed in 1593. The abbot of Loccum, who still carries a pastoral staff, takes precedence over all the clergy of Hanover, and was ex officio a member of the consistory of the kingdom. The governing body of the abbey consists of the abbot, prior and the "convent" of Stiftsherren (canons). Evangelical Church in Germany (German Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland, abbreviated as EKD) is a federation of 23 regional Lutheran, Reformed and United Protestant churches[1]. In fact only one member church (the Protestant Reformed Church) is not restricted to a certain territory. ... Loccum Abbey (Kloster Loccum) is a former Cistercian monastery in the town of Rehburg-Loccum, Lower Saxony, near Steinhude Lake. ... , Hanover(i) (German: , IPA: ), on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany. ... The Order of Cistercians (OCist) (Latin Cistercenses), otherwise Gimey or White Monks (from the colour of the habit, over which is worn a black scapular or apron) are a Catholic order of monks. ... // Antiquity Originally, the Latin word consistorium meant simply sitting together, just as the Greek syn(h)edrion (from which the Biblical sanhedrin was a corruption). ... Canons, Bruges A Canon of the Seminary, Sint Niklaas, Flanders. ...


In the Church of England, the Bishop of Norwich, by royal decree given by Henry VIII, also holds the honorary title of "Abbot of St. Benet." This title hails back to England's separation from the See of Rome, when King Henry, as supreme head of the newly independent church, took over all of the monasteries, mainly for their possessions, except for St. Benet, which he spared because the abbot and his monks possessed no wealth, and lived like simple beggars, disposing the incumbent Bishop of Norwich and seating the abbot in his place, thus the dual title still held to this day. The Church of England logo since 1998 The Church of England is the officially established Christian church[1] in England, and acts as the mother and senior branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, as well as a founding member of the Porvoo Communion. ... Arms of the Bishop of Norwich The Bishop of Norwich is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Norwich in the Province of Canterbury. ... “Henry VIII” redirects here. ...


Additionally, at the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury, there is a threefold enthronement, once in the throne the chancel as the diocesan bishop of Canterbury, once in the Chair of St. Augustine as the Primate of All England, and then once in the chapter-house as Titular Abbot of Canterbury. Pope John Paul I s enthronement as Pope on 3rd September 1978. ... The Archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual leader and senior clergyman of the Church of England, recognized by convention as the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion. ... A bishop in charge of a diocese. ... Canterbury is a cathedral city in east Kent in South East England and is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primate of All England, head of the Church of England and of the worldwide Anglican Communion. ... The Cathedra Augustini . The Chair of St Augustine or Cathedra Augustini (Latin) represents one of the most ancient extant cathedrae in use. ... The Archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual leader and senior clergyman of the Church of England, recognized by convention as the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion. ...


There are several Benedictine Abbeys throughout the Anglican Communion. Most of them have mitred abbots. Main article: Anglicanism The Anglican Communion is a world-wide affiliation of Anglican Churches. ...


Abbots in art and literature

"The Abbot", from the Dance of Death, by Hans Holbein the Younger
"The Abbot", from the Dance of Death, by Hans Holbein the Younger

"The Abbot" is one of the archetypes traditionally illustrated in scenes of Dance Macabre. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... From The Dance of Death by Hans Holbein La Danse Macabre, also called Dance of death, La Danza Macabra, or Totentanz, is a late-medieval allegory on the universality of death: no matter ones station in life, the dance of death united all. ... A 1543 portrait miniature of Hans Holbein the Younger by Lucas Horenbout Holbeins 1533 painting The Ambassadors Hans Holbein the Younger (c. ... This article is about La Dance Macabre, the late-medieval allegory. ...


The lives of numerous abbots make up a significant contribution to Christian hagiography, one of the most well-known being the Life of St. Benedict of Nursia by St. Gregory the Great. Hagiography is the study of saints. ... Saint Benedict St. ... Saint Gregory I, or Gregory the Great (called the Dialogist in Eastern Orthodoxy) (circa 540 - March 12, 604) was pope of the Catholic Church from September 3, 590 until his death. ...


During the years 1106-1107 A.D., a Russian Orthodox Abbot named Daniel made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and recorded his experiences. His diary was much-read throughout Russia, and at least seventy-five manuscript copies survive. This article is about the religious or spiritual journey. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Holy Land (Biblical). ...


Saint Joseph, Abbot of Volokolamsk (1439–1515), wrote a number of influential works against heresy, and about monastic and liturgical discipline, and Christian philanthropy. Russian icon of St Joseph Volotsky Joseph Volotsky, also known as Joseph of Volotsk, or Joseph of Volokolamsk (Russian: Иосиф Волоцкий; secular name - Иван Санин, or Ivan Sanin) (1439 or 1440 - September 9, 1515) was a prominent caesaropapist ideologist of the Russian Orthodox Church who led the party defending monastic landownership. ... Volokolamsk (Волокола́мск in Russian) is an administrative center of the Volokolamsky District of the Moscow Oblast in Russia. ... For other uses, see Heresy (disambiguation). ... Philanthropy is the act of donating money, goods, time, or effort to support a charitable cause, usually over an extended period of time and in regard to a defined objective. ...


In the Tales of Redwall series the creatures of Redwall are led by an Abbot or Abbess. These "abbots" are appointed by the brothers and sisters of Redwall to serve as a superior and provide paternal care. Much like real abbots. Redwall Abbey is the fictional refuge of many of the good forest animals in the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. ...


See also

Hegumen, hegumenos, or ihumen (Greek: ἡγούμενος , Russian: игумен) is the title for the head of a monastery of the Eastern Orthodox Church, similar to the one of abbot. ... Archimandrite (Greek: ἀρχιμανδρίτης - archimandrites) is a title in the Greek Orthodox Church for a superior abbot who has the supervision of several abbots and monasteries appointed by a bishop. ...

Sources and references

Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Abbot.

Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... Encyclopædia Britannica, the eleventh edition The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is perhaps the most famous edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. ... The Catholic Encyclopedia is an English-language encyclopedia published in 1913 by the The Encyclopedia Press, designed to give authoritative information on the entire cycle of Catholic interests, action and doctrine. // History The writing of the encyclopedia began on January 11, 1905 under the supervision of five editors: Charles G... Encyclopædia Britannica, the eleventh edition The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is perhaps the most famous edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...

External links

Valaam in winter The Valaam Monastery, or Valamo Monastery is the Orthodox monastery in Karelia, which used to be a part of territory contended between Soviet Union and Finland. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Abbot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2915 words)
Abbots were originally subject to episcopal jurisdiction, and continued generally so, in fact, in the West till the 11th century.
Abbots more and more assumed almost episcopal state, and in defiance of the prohibition of early councils and the protests of St Bernard and others, adopted the episcopal insignia of mitre, ring, gloves and sandals.
When a vacancy occurred, the bishop of the diocese chose the abbot out of the monks of the convent, but the right of election was transferred by jurisdiction to the monks themselves, reserving to the bishop the confirmation of the election and the benediction of the new abbot.
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