An abbey (from Latin abbatia, from Latin abbās, derived from Aramaic abba, "father") has historically been a Catholic or, more recently, Anglican, monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.

The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey, in some cases for centuries (for example, see Westminster Abbey below). There were many orders that had their own styles of abbeys. Among these were the primary orders such as Benedictine, Cistercian, Carthusian. However there were also the minor order such as the Dominicans, Franciscans, and Carmelites.

By Dean Hanley

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