Abbot It is a concept that, as detailed by the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE ), comes from abbas, a Latin word. The term refers to the religious who occupies the top charge in a type of monastery known as abbey .
The abbot, therefore, is the spiritual father, leader and responsible for a abbey . In its origins, the notion was not linked to a hierarchy or a formal position, but was a honorary title . The honor arose in Syrian monasteries and then began to be implemented in Europe.
With respect to the way in which the abbots lived before formal organization, it is known that they were hermits, who pursued through their acts and customs a state in which their spirit was freed from the material world. It was just thanks to this discipline that they could reach a degree of knowledge and harmony that attracted other religious to congregate around them.
Far from being a selfish attitude or a symbol of lack of interest in other human beings, the isolation of the first abbots had the purpose of spiritual enrichment and reflection which then also benefited those who followed them. For example, when they reached a level of food production sufficient for their own consumption, they did not hesitate to share the surplus with others.
One of the most important names in this context is that of Saint Benedict of Nursia , a Christian presbyter who lived between the end of the 5th and mid-6th centuries in the Byzantine Empire. It is considered the forerunner of western monastic life . He was the founder of the Benedictine order, which had the objective of making the monasteries self-sufficient, that is, based on the autarchy , since until then they used to organize around a church.
Saint Benedict of Nursia enjoys several symbolic titles, such as being the monarch of the West and patron of Europe as patriarch. The concept of monasticism, on the other hand, is defined as the commitment to the lifestyle described above, characterized by asceticism and devotion to a religion , following a certain number of rules. In this regard, Saint Benedict was the author of "The Saint Rule", which has inspired various communities; it is a work composed of a prologue and 73 chapters in which he established certain principles that he considered fundamental for life in the monastery, such as" pray and work. "
When the title began to become popular, he went on to appoint the superior of an organized monastery as community , which acquired the name of abbey. At the end of XV century , abbot was already an ecclesiastical institution, as bishop and others.
In this way, the abbots became, in addition to religious, authority figures who ruled the abbeys. They had jurisdiction over the monastery and over the subjects, they could consecrate churches and give blessings, among other issues.
In addition to the mentioned San Benito , there were many other great abbots importance Historical in the Catholic Church. San Antonio Abad (251 -356 ), for example, was the creator of the hermit movement.
Suger de Saint-Denis , Egidio Abad and San Molaise they are other abbots who, by their actions and their achievements, reached relevance throughout the history .
From an iconographic point of view, the abbot's representation must include the abbey cross in his hand, the habits corresponding to your order and, in the case of mitigated abbots, the name known as miter, characterized by being tall and ending in a point.
There are some expressions of the Spanish language that include the word abbot, such as the following: abbot's face , red, thick and plump face; give yourself an abbot's life , lead a good life; abbot table , do not skimp on expenses at lunchtime.