Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/43

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purchase his stock. On him, too, devolved the task of making preparation for the baths, feet-washing, and shaving of the brethren.

The novice-master was of course one of the most important officials in every monastery. In church, in the refectory, in the cloister, in the dormitory, he kept a watchful control over the novices, and spent the day teaching them and exercising them in the rules and traditional practices of the religious life, encouraging and helping those who showed real signs of a monastic vocation. The weekly officials included, besides the servers already referred to, the reader in the refectory, who was enjoined to make careful preparation so as to avoid mistakes. Also, the antiphoner whose duty it was to read the invitatory at Matins, intone the first antiphon of the Psalms, the versicles and responsories, after the lessons, and the capitulum, or little chapter, etc. The hebdomadarian, or priest of the week, had to commence all the various canonical Hours, give all the blessings that might be required, and sing the High Mass each day.

The greater Abbeys in England were represented through their superiors in Parliament, in Convocations, and in Synod. Their superiors were regularly included in the Commissions of Peace, and in all things acted as, and were considered the equals of, their great feudal neighbours. The alms bestowed on the poor by the monasteries, together with those furnished by law, by the parish priests, served to support them without recourse to the more recent poor-laws. The lot of the poor was lightened, and they knew that they could turn for help and sympathy to the religious houses. Poverty as witnessed in these days was impossible in all the Middle Ages, because the monks, spread over all the country, acted as merely stewards of God's property, and dispensed it, if lavishly, yet with discretion. The relations between the monks and their tenants were uniformly kindly; the smaller cottagers were treated with much consideration, and if it became necessary to inflict fines, justice was tempered with mercy. The monastic manors were worked somewhat on the principle of a co-operative farm. If we may form a judgment on the whole of England from the "Durham Halmote Rolls," the conditions of village life left little to be desired. Provisions for watching over the public health were enforced, a guard kept over water supplies, stringent measures taken in regard to springs and wells, and the cleansing of ponds and milldams. A common mill ground the tenants' corn, and their bread was baked in a common oven. The relation of the monks to their peasant-tenants was rather that of rent-chargers than of absolute owners. (See Abbot, Abbess, Prior, Monasticism, Obedientiaries, Benedictines.)

Besse in Dictionanaire d'archéologie chrêtienne et de liturgie; art: Abbaye (Paris, 1903); Gasquet, English Monastic Life (London, 2d ed., 1904); Allies, The Monastic Life from the Fathers of the Desert to Charlemagne (London, 1896); Kitchen (ed.), A Consuetudinary of the 14th Century for the House of St. Swithin, Winchester (Hampshire Record Society, 1892); Kitchen (ed.), Compotus Rolls of the Obedientiaries of St. Swithin's Priory, Winchester (Hampshire Record Society, 1892); Thompson (ed.), Customary of the Benedictine Monasteries of St. Augustine, Canterbury, and St. Peter's, Westminster (Henry Bradshaw Society, 1902–04); Raine (ed.), Rites and Customs within the Monastical Church of Durham (Surtees Society, 1842); Booth (ed.), Halmote Proratus Durhamensis (Surtees Society, 1886); Fowler (ed.), Durham Account Rolls (Surtees Society, 1898–1900); Gasquet (ed.), Ancien Ruwle: The Nun's Rule (London, 1903); Eckenstein, Woman under Monasticism (London, 1896).

Abbo Cernuus, ("the crooked"), a French Benedictine monk of St-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, sometimes called Abbo Parisiensis. He was born about the middle of the ninth century, was present at the siege of Paris by the Normans (885–86), and wrote a description of it in Latin verse, with an account of subsequent events to 896, "De bellis Parisiacæ urbis." He also left some sermons for the instructions of clerics in Paris and Poictiers (P.L., CXXII). His death took place after 921.

Wattenbach, Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen (Berlin, 1893), I, 299; Molinier, Les Sources de l'histoire de France (Paris, 1901), I, n, 864.

Abbon (or Abbo), Saint, b. near Orléans c. 945; d. at Fleury, 13 November, 1004, a monk of the Benedictine monastery of Fleury sur Loire (Fleuret), conspicuous both for learning and sanctity, and one of the great lights of the Church in the stormy times of Hugh Capet of France and of the three Ottos of Germany. He devoted himself to philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy. In early life he was called to England to direct the school of the newly founded monastery of Ramsey, in the County of Huntingdon, after which he returned to Fleury. On the death of the Abbot Oilbold, Abbon was selected to succeed him, but one of the monks who had secured the support of the King and his son Robert, the Bishop of Orléans, contested the choice, and the matter assumed national importance in the political forces it brought into play. It was finally settled by the famous Gerbert (later Pope Sylvester II) in favour of Abbon. He was present at the Synod of St. Basolus (St. Basle), near Reims, at which Archbishop Arnolf was tried for treason and deposed, to make way for Gerbert. When the question arose about the marriage of Robert the Pious and Bertha, Abbon was commissioned to arrange it with the Pope. On the way to Rome he met Pope Gregory V, who was a fugitive from the city from which the Antipope John XVII had expelled him. Between the Pontiff and the Abbot the greatest esteem and affection existed. The royal petition for a dispensation was rejected. Abbon succeeded in bringing about the restoration of Arnulf to the see of Reims. His influence contributed largely to calm the excitement about the fear of the end of the world which is said to have been general in Europe in 1000. His glorious life had a sad ending. In 1004 he attemped to restore discipline in the monastery of La Reole, in Gascony, by transferring some of the monks of Fleury into that community. But the trouble increased; fighting began between the two parties and when St. Abbon endeavoured to separate them he was pieced in the side by a lance. He concealed the wound and reached his cell, where he died in the arms of his faithful disciple Aimoin, who has left an account of his labours and virtues. The miracles wrought at his tomb soon caused him to be regarded in the Church of Gaul as a saint and martyr. His feast is kept 13 November.

Cochard, Les Saints de l'église d'Orléans (1879), 362–383; The Month (1874), XX, 163; XXI, 28–42; Sackur, Die Cluniacenser (1892), I, 270, 297; Pardiac, Hist. de St. Abbon de Fleury (Paris, 1872).

Abbot, a title given to the superior of a community of twelve or more monks. The name is derived from abba, the Syriac form of the Hebrew word ab, and means "father". In Syria, where it had its origin, and in Egypt, it was first employed as a title of honour and respect, and was given to any monk of venerable age or of eminent sanctity. The title did not originally imply the exercise of any authority over a religious community. From the East the word passed over to the West, and here it was soon received into general use to designate the superior of an abbey or a monastery. In this article we shall treat: I. Historical Origin; II. Nature of the Office; III. Kinds of Abbots; IV. Mode of Election; V. Benediction of the Abbot; VI. Authority; VII. Rights and Privileges; VIII. Assistance at Councils.

I. Historical Origin.—Monastic communities were first organized in Egypt at the beginning of