Archimandrite

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Description:
The title Archimandrite (Greek: - archimandrites), primarily used in the Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Catholic churches, originally referred to a superior abbot whom a bishop appointed to superviseseveral 'ordinary' abbots (each styled hegumenos) and monasteries, or to the abbot of some especially great and important monastery. The title is also used as one purely of honour, with no connection to any actual monastery, and is bestowed on clergy as a mark of respect or gratitude for service to the Church. This particular sign of respect is only given to those priests who have taken vows of celibacy, that is monks; distinguished married clergy may receive the title of archpriest.

History

The term derives from the Greek: the first element from archi- meaning "highest" or from archon "ruler"; and the second root from mandra meaning "enclosure" or "pen" and denoting a "monastery" (compare the usage of "flock" for "congregation").

The title has been in common use since the 5th century, but is mentioned for the first time in a letter to Epiphanius, prefixed to his Panarium (ca. 375), but the Lausiac History of Palladius may evidence its common use in the 4th century as applied to Saint Pachomius.

When the supervision of monasteries passed to another episcopal official — the Great Sakellarios ("sacristan") — the title of archimandrite became an honorary one for abbots of important...
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