Difference between revisions of "Abbot"

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An '''Abbot''' (from the Aramaic ''abba'', a familiar form of ''father'') is the head and spiritual father of a male [[monastic]] community.  Depending on the community, he may be either appointed by a [[bishop]] or elected by the members of the community.  He may or may not be a [[presbyter]].  He has wide jurisdiction and authority over the community he leads.
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An '''abbot''' (from the [[Aramaic]] ''abba'', a familiar form of ''father'') is the head and spiritual father of a male [[monastic]] community.  Depending on the community, he may be either appointed by a [[bishop]] or elected by the members of the community.  He may or may not be a [[presbyter]].  He has wide jurisdiction and authority over the community he leads.
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== Origins ==
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The title had its origin in the monasteries of Egypt and Syria, and it spread throughout the eastern Mediterranean, soon becoming generally accepted in all languages as the designation of the head of a monastery. The word is derived from the Aramaic ''av'' meaning "father" or abba, meaning "my father". In the Septuagint, it was written as "abbas".<ref>"Abbey Austin". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A–Ak – Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2010. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.</ref>
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== Monastic history ==
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The position of abbot has existed since the beginning of cenobitic monasteries.
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=== Early history ===
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In Egypt, the first home of monasticism, the jurisdiction of the abbot, or [[archimandrite]], was loosely defined. Sometimes he ruled over one community or several, each of which had its own abbot as well. [[John Cassian|St. John Cassian]] speaks of an abbot of the Thebaid who had 500 monks under him. By the [[Rule of St. Benedict]], which, until the Cluniac reforms, 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.
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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. By the close of the 5th Century, nearly all Eastern abbots had 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 [[Second Ecumenical Council]] in AD 448, 23 abbots signed with 30 bishops.<ref>Venables, Edmund (1911). "Abbot". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.</ref>
  
St. [[Seraphim of Sarov]] offered this advice to '''abbots''':
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The [[Seventh Ecumenical Council]] in AD 787 recognized the right of abbots to ordain their monks to the inferior orders below the diaconate, a power usually reserved to bishops.
 
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=== Modern practices ===
::''Let every abbot become and remain always in his relation to those subject to him as a wise mother. A mother who loves her children lives not to satisfy herself, but to satisfy her children. The infirmities of her children she bears with love; those who have fallen into filth she cleans, washes them calmly, clothes them in new white garments, puts their shoes on, warms them, looks after them, comforts them and from all sides strives to pacify their spirits so that she never hears the slightest cry from them; and such children are well disposed to their mother. Thus should every abbot live not to satisfy himself, but to satisfy those subject to him&mdash;he should be condescending to their weaknesses; bear with love the infirmities of the infirm; heal their sinful diseases with the plaster of mercifulness; raise with kindness those who have fallen into transgressions; quietly cleanse those who have become sullied with the filth of some vice and wash them by placing upon them fasting and prayer above the ordinary amount which is set forth for all; clothe them, by instruction and by one's own exemplary life, in garments of virtues; keep constant watch over them, by every means comfort them, and from all sides defend their peace and repose to such an extent that the slightest cry or murmuring will never be heard from them; and then they will zealously strive to procure for the abbot peace and repose.''
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In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the abbot is referred to as the [[igumen]]. The Superior of a convent of nuns is called the igumenia. The title of archimandrite (literally, "chief of a sheepfold") is an honorific title given to monastics, one level lower than a bishop.
== See Also ==
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The principle set forth in the [[Corpus Juris Civilis]] still applies, whereby most abbots are immediately subject to the local bishop. Those monasteries which enjoy the status of being ''stauropegiac'' are subject only to a primate or his Synod of Bishops, and not the local bishop.
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==See also==
 
*[[Abbess]]
 
*[[Abbess]]
 
 
*[[Igumen]]
 
*[[Igumen]]
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*[[Archimandrite]]
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== Notes ==
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{{reflist}}
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== References ==
  
{{stub}}
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* [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Abbot&oldid=649470201 Wikipedia: Abbot]
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<br />
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{{Clergy/wide}}
  
 
[[Category:Monasteries]]
 
[[Category:Monasteries]]
 
[[Category:Monastics]]
 
[[Category:Monastics]]
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[[mk:Авва]]
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[[ro:Stareţ]]

Latest revision as of 15:44, May 20, 2015

An abbot (from the Aramaic abba, a familiar form of father) is the head and spiritual father of a male monastic community. Depending on the community, he may be either appointed by a bishop or elected by the members of the community. He may or may not be a presbyter. He has wide jurisdiction and authority over the community he leads.

Origins

The title had its origin in the monasteries of Egypt and Syria, and it spread throughout the eastern Mediterranean, soon becoming generally accepted in all languages as the designation of the head of a monastery. The word is derived from the Aramaic av meaning "father" or abba, meaning "my father". In the Septuagint, it was written as "abbas".[1]

Monastic history

The position of abbot has existed since the beginning of cenobitic monasteries.

Early history

In Egypt, the first home of monasticism, the jurisdiction of the abbot, or archimandrite, was loosely defined. Sometimes he ruled over one community or several, each of which had its own abbot as well. St. John Cassian speaks of an abbot of the Thebaid who had 500 monks under him. By the Rule of St. Benedict, which, until the Cluniac reforms, 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. 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. By the close of the 5th Century, nearly all Eastern abbots had 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 Second Ecumenical Council in AD 448, 23 abbots signed with 30 bishops.[2]

The Seventh Ecumenical Council in AD 787 recognized the right of abbots to ordain their monks to the inferior orders below the diaconate, a power usually reserved to bishops.

Modern practices

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the abbot is referred to as the igumen. The Superior of a convent of nuns is called the igumenia. The title of archimandrite (literally, "chief of a sheepfold") is an honorific title given to monastics, one level lower than a bishop. The principle set forth in the Corpus Juris Civilis still applies, whereby most abbots are immediately subject to the local bishop. Those monasteries which enjoy the status of being stauropegiac are subject only to a primate or his Synod of Bishops, and not the local bishop.

See also

Notes

  1. "Abbey Austin". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A–Ak – Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2010. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
  2. Venables, Edmund (1911). "Abbot". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

References


This article forms part of the series
Clergy
Antiochian Local Synod
Major orders Bishop | Priest | Deacon
Minor orders Subdeacon | Reader | Cantor | Acolyte
Other orders Chorepiscopos | Exorcist | Doorkeeper | Deaconess - Presbityde
Episcopal titles Patriarch | Catholicos | Archbishop | Metropolitan | Auxiliary | Titular
Priestly titles Protopresbyter | Archpriest | Protosyngellos | Economos
Diaconal titles Archdeacon | Protodeacon
Minor titles Protopsaltes - Lampadarios
Monastic titles Archimandrite | Abbot - Hegumen
Related Ordination | Vestments | Presbeia | Honorifics | Clergy awards | Exarch | Proistamenos | Vicar
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