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From the East the word passed over to the West, and here it was soon received into general use to designate the superior of an abbey or a monastery. Cassian, who at the beginning of the fifth century had transplanted Egyptian monachism to Gaul, was addressed as Abbas , Pater , and Dominus ; he himself termed the superior of the monastery Praepositus .
And when an Abbot has jurisdiction over the clergy and laity of a district or territory (comprising one or several cities and places) which forms no part whatever of any diocese, his abbey is styled vere nullius dioecesis (of no diocese) and, excepting a few rights only, for the exercise of which the ordo episcopalis is required, his authority is in all things equal to that of a bishop.A title given to the superior of a community of twelve or more monks. Every group of hermits and every coenobium naturally had its superior. In the East he was usually styled the elder, the senior, or also father of the monastery.The name is derived from abba , the Syriac form of the Hebrew ab , and means "father". In Asia Minor and among the Greeks generally he was called archimandrite ( archos , a chief, and mandra , a fold, monastery ) or hegumenos.When the monasteries in which the same regular observance is followed, or the abbeys of the same province, district, or country form a congregation, i.e.a federation of houses to promote the general interest of the order, the presiding Abbot is styled the "Abbot President", or the "Abbot General." Thus, the Cassinese Congregation of the Primitive Observance has at its head an Abbot General; the English Congregation, the American-Cassinese, and the American-Swiss, have each an Abbot President.
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It is of course needless to say that this obedience did not extend to the commission of evil, even were any such command ever imposed (Gasquet, English Monastic Life , London, 1904, p. The obedience shown to the Abbot is regarded as obedience paid to God Himself, and all the respect and reverence with which he is treated by the brethren of his house is paid him for Christ's love, because as abbot -- father -- he is the representative of Christ in the midst of the brethren.