Abbey

  1. A monastery supervised by an abbot.
  2. A convent supervised by an abbess.
  3. A church that is or once was part of a monastery or convent.

An abbey (from the Latin abbatia, which is derived from the Syriac abba, "father"), is a Christian monastery or convent, under the government of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serve as the spiritual father or mother of the community. A priory differs from an abbey only in that the superior bears the title of prior instead of abbot. Priories were originally offshoots from the larger abbeys, to the abbots of which they continued subordinate; however, the actual distinction between abbeys and priories was lost by the Renaissance. Do not confuse the term convent with the term monastery. Both nuns and monks live in monasteries. Sisters, members of active orders, live in convents. Nuns who are cloistered live in monasteries.

ab·ba·tial adj. Of or having to do with an abbey, abbot, or abbess

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