Hegumen

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Hegumen, hegumenos, igumen, or ihumen (; Macedonian, Bulgarian and Russian: игумен, arabic:القمص, trans. igumen; Ukrainian: Ігумен ihumen; , iğumeni; ; Serbian: игуман or iguman) is the title for the head of a monastery of the Eastern Orthodox Church or Eastern Catholic Churches, similar to the one of abbot. The head of a convent of nuns is called hegumenia or ihumenia (; Serbian: игуманија or igumanija; ). The term means "the one who is in charge", "the leader" in Greek.

Initially the title was applied to the head of any monastery. After 1874, when the Russian monasteries were secularized and classified into three classes, the title of hegumen was reserved only for the lowest, third class. The head of a monastery of the second or first class holds the rank of archimandrite. In the Greek Catholic Church, the head of all monasteries in a certain territory is called the protohegumen.

The duties of both hegumen and archimandrite are the same, archimandrite being considered the senior dignity of the two. In the Russian Orthodox Church the title of Hegumen may be granted as an honorary title to any hieromonk, even one who does not head a monastery.



A ruling hegumen is formally installed in a ceremony by the bishop, during which he is presented with his pastoral staff (Greek: paterissa, Slavonic: палица, palitza). Among the Russians, the pastoral staff for a Hegumen tends to be of wood (usually ebony), rather than metal. The...
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