An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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Abbess

Female leader or superior of a religious community, usually a community following the Benedictine Rule. In community matters, the abbess has the same authority as an abbot, but without the abbot's sacramental function. The abbess is the spiritual, administrative, and jurisdictional superior of the community.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.