L. Abbas; from the Aramaic ab (“father”) or aba (“my father”). The term refers to the juridical head of a monastic order. Late Latin and Greek Abbas refer to the superior of a monastic community that adheres to the Benedictine Rule (Benedictines, Cistercians, Camaldolese, Trappists) and of certain other orders such as Premonstratensians, Canons Regular of the Lateran, etc.
Abbot of an autonomous monastery is also a major superior. He can be a judge of the first instance in cases between the members of the abbacy (cf. CIC, c. 1427 § 1). In all cases, an abbot can be judged by Roman Rota alone (cf. c. 1405 § 3, 2º.). Unlike moderators of religious institute, they can hold office for indeterminate period if decided by the institute’s proper law.
Unlike the 1983 Code, 1917 Code prescribed that abbots in charge of an abbey must, within 3 months from their election, receive the blessing from the bishop of the diocese in which the abbey is situated (CIC 1917, c. 625). If he neglects this, he is suspended from jurisdiction latae sententiae (CIC 1917, c. 2402). The 1983 Code does not contain this provision in order to protect the legitimate autonomy of ICL.