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An Abbot canonically elected and confirmed, and exercising the duties of his office, is by the law of the Church styled a Regular Abbot.Regular Abbots are prelates in the full sense of the word, and their dignity is of three grades.
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.
William of Vercelli in 1124; and the abbey of the Most Holy Trinity at Cava, dating back to 1011; in Switzerland, the abbey of Einsiedeln, founded about 934; in Hungary (Austria), the arch-abbey of St. The term exempt is, strictly speaking, not applied to an Abbot nullius , because his jurisdiction is entirely extraterritorial.
Within the limits of his territory such an Abbot has, with few exceptions, the rights and privileges of a bishop, and assumes all a bishop's obligations.
Through the Rule of the great Patriarch of Western Monachism the application of the title abbas was definitely fixed, and its use made general in the West. Benedict's conception of a monastic community was distinctly that of a spiritual family.
Every individual monk was to be a son of that family, the, Abbot its father, and the monastery its permanent home. Benedict was based entirely upon the supremacy of the abbot.
Both systems spread rapidly and were soon firmly established in Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor.
Pachomius, who, about the same time, founded his first coenobium , or conventual monastery, at Tabennae in the far south of Egypt. Benedict of Nursia, gave it the definite form and constitution which ultimately assured its triumph in the West. By the middle of the fourth century monachism had also made its appearance in Europe, and here, at the beginning of the sixth, St.The whole government of a religious house depends upon the Abbot.His will is supreme in all things; yet, as the Rule says, nothing is to be taught, commanded, or ordered beyond the precepts of the Lord.The title did not originally imply the exercise of any authority over a religious community. Both names have, however, been permanently retained, and are to this day the titles given to monastic superiors in the Eastern Church.