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ARCHIMANDRITE, ɑ̄r´´ki-man´drɑit (Gk. archimandritēs, “ruler of the fold,” mandra, “fold,” being applied to a monastic association as consisting of the sheep of Christ): A name given to the head of a larger monastic community, either the abbot of a single monastery or, more in accord with the meaning of the word, the general abbot of several monasteries belonging to one congregation. The title was in general use in the East as early as the fifth century. In the West it is found in the rules of Isidore of Seville (vi.) and Columban (vii.), of the latter part of the same century. From the tenth century it served as a general designation of prelates, even of archbishops. In 1094 Roger of Sicily put all Basilian monks of Sicily and Calabria under an archimandrite, who was later superseded by a secular prelate. By a brief of Urban VIII., Feb. 23, 1635, the archimandrite of Messina was granted quasiepiscopal jurisdiction, the use of the pontificals, and other privileges. The abbots of the Greek Uniate Churches in Poland, Galicia, Transylvania, Hungary, Slavonia, and Venice also have the title “archimandrite.” In the Russian Church the archimandrites enjoy high honor and wear marks of respect which elsewhere belong only to bishops—infulœ, staves, crosses, and the like. They are generally under the diocesan bishop, though many had become immediately subject to the patriarch of Constantinople or the Russian metropolitan previous to the formation of the Holy Synod. Consult Du Cange and, for a most exhaustive treatment, ACL, s.v.

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