Catholic Pocket Dictionary – abbot


The “father” or superior of a community of men living under vows and according to a particular rule. The transference of the idea of fatherhood to the relation between the head of a congregation or a religious community and his subjects is so natural that already in the apostolic times we find Saint Paul reminding the Corinthians that they had not many fathers in Christ (“for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you,” etc.), notwithstanding the apparent prohibition in the gospel of Saint Matthew. But it was customary to call bishops by the Greek word for father; hence the corresponding designation for the head of a community of monks was taken, to avoid confusion, from the Chaldaic form (abba, abbas) of the word which means “father” in the Semitic languages.

MLA Citation

  • Father James J McGovern. “abbot”. Catholic Pocket Dictionary, 1906. CatholicSaints.Info. 14 November 2015. Web. 27 November 2021. <>