Spiritual developmentChristianity

The Catholic hierarchy: what is the abbot?

In the Christian world, there is an orderly system of titles and dignities that divide the clergy into certain categories. Such a hierarchy is necessary in order to avoid chaos and confusion, because, despite the common goal of all the followers of Christ (preaching the word of God), someone still has to lead the rest.

Therefore, let us consider a Catholic order such as the abbot of the monastery. In fact, despite the fact that today this title is rarely used among the clergy, in the old days everything was quite different. But let's talk about everything in order.

New post in the clergy

So, in order to understand what the abbot is, you need to go to the beginning of the fifth century. In those distant times, when in Europe only the first Catholic monasteries appeared. Naturally, along with this, there was to appear one who would take on the role of mentor, capable not only of managing the life of the community, but also establishing contacts with the rest of the world.

It was during this period that the first abbot of a small monastery appeared, appointed by the Pope himself. A little later, at the general meeting of the clergy, this order was officially approved, and from now on all the abbots of the monasteries received the same title.

What is the abbot in the Catholic hierarchy of that time?

It should be noted that from the V to the VIII century the abbot was the main ruler of the monastery. His power allowed him to make many decisions related to the internal policy of the monastery. The abbot obeyed the bishop, and, like any Catholic priest, the Pope. Although there were autonomous monasteries, whose abbots fulfilled only the instructions of the Pope.

Over the years, the power of the abbots grew rapidly and allowed them to influence the decisions of local land managers. Moreover, some abbots themselves were landowners, since the Catholic Church granted them their own plots, naturally, for the needs of the monastery.

Changes in order with the advent of the Carolingians

The turning point was the coming to power of Charles Martel. In the period from VIII to X centuries. The management of the monasteries passed into the hands not so much of the clergy as to the adherents of the power of the kings. If you understand what is the abbot of those times, in most cases it was the vassal of the ruler, who proved himself in combat.

Such appointments to the office of the abbot were a kind of encouragement or payment. At the same time the rulers of the monasteries did not really want to listen to the orders of the bishops, which obviously did not suit the latter.

Who is the abbot today?

The rule of the Carolingians collapsed, after which the power was again taken over by the Catholic Church. And although such castling was often the case in history, the abbots' position did not change much from this. As before, they were the usual rulers of the monastery, subject to the orders of the bishops.

However, since the XVI century in France, the abbots began to be called all the young men that were priluchy to the church. However, most of them did not even have spiritual titles.

Given the similar growth in the number of abbots, their significance for the church has fallen dramatically. Therefore, many of them began to work as ordinary teachers teaching in theological schools or nobility houses.

But what is the abbot today? At the present time, this word is rarely used in the secular as well as in the spiritual life of Catholics. San Abbot is, rather, a tribute to the past than a full title.

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