There are many religious practices all over the world. There are different rituals for different religions. Different religions have different worship places like temples, churches, mosques, gurdwara, etc.
In Christianity, there are two religious facilities like abbey and monastery. Though people use these terms as synonyms, they both are different.
Abbey and Priory are the monasteries of the Christians, and both have their own importance in the religion.
- An abbey is a large monastery or convent run by an abbot or abbess, while a priory is a smaller religious house subordinate to an abbey.
- Abbots and abbesses have greater authority and control over their monks or nuns in an abbey. At the same time, a prior or prioress is subordinate to the abbot or abbess in a priory.
- Abbots and abbesses in an abbey have more administrative and financial responsibilities than a prior or prioress in a priory.
Abbey vs Priory
An abbey is a type of monastery headed by an abbot or abbess, large and self-sufficient, housing a community of religious persons such as monks or nuns. A priory, on the other hand, is smaller and subordinate to an abbey, and is led by a prior or prioress.
Abbey is a monastery that translates to father or nunnery. The leader of an abbey is either an abbess or an abbot. Abbey is a holy religious structure for the people who follow Christianity and where all religious activities happen.
A priory is a monastery church which further translates to Seat. The leader of a priory is either a prior or a prioress. The leader of the priory is subordinate to the leader of an abbey. It is just a place for worship.
|Parameters of comparison||Abbey||Priory|
|Latin word||The Latin word for Abbey is Abbatia.||The Latin word for Priory is Cathedra.|
|Meaning||Abbey or Abbatia means Father or Nunnery.||Priory or Cathedra means Seat.|
|Leader||The leader of the abbey is either an abbess or an abbot.||The leader of a priory is either a prior or a prioress.|
|Monastery/Church||Abbey is more like a monastery.||Priory is like a monastery church.|
|Purpose||Abbey has many purposes.||Priory is only for worship.|
|Number of monks||An abbey must have a minimum of 12 monks.||A priory does not say anything about the exact number of monks.|
What is Abbey?
Abbey is derived from the Latin word ‘abbatia’, which further translates to father or nunnery.
Abbey is a monastery which means that they can be used interchangeably. The leader is called abbot (spiritual father) or abbess (spiritual mother), depending on who is the leader, a Christian monk or a nun.
This is a religious place where the monks and nuns live. An abbot and an abbess have the same monastic as that of a bishop.
The monks and the nuns living in an Abbey live isolated from society. They are themselves responsible for the food they eat and for the clothes they wear. They also work for the improvement of society by helping needy people.
They also guide people and pave their way through to reach divinity.
It is a place that must have 12 or more monks. It is a holy place for the people who follow Christianity. It is a space or a building where religious works or activities take place. It comprises of different purposes.
People discontinued using this term because it caused huge confusion because it is a place where the nuns and the monks live.
What is Priory?
Priory is derived from the Latin word cathedra, which further translates to Seat.
Priory is subordinate to Abbey. A priory is a monastery of monks and nuns.
The leader who rules a Priory is called a Prior or Prioress, depending on who the leader is. A prior or a prioress is subordinate to an abbot or an abbess, making them equivalent to a bishop. The leader of the priory wears a type of cross around their neck.
The leader of a priory is chosen in two ways. One is the leader chosen by the monks or nuns who vote for their respective leader, or the leader is subject to the will of the leader of the Abbey.
There are two types of Priories: a conventual Priory and a dependent Priory. A conventual priory is an autonomous priory, whereas a dependent priory is a dependent priory on an abbey or a motherhouse.
It is home to many religious fraternities.
Main Differences Between Abbey and Priory
- Abbey is derived from the Latin word Abbatia whereas priory is derived from the Latin word cathedra.
- Abbey in Latin means father or nunnery, whereas priory in Latin means Seat.
- An abbess or an abbot leads Abbey, whereas a prior or a prioress leads a priory.
- Abbey is a holy place or a structure where religious activities take place, whereas a priory is a structure or a place to worship only.
- An abbess or an abbot leads the monks and the nuns of an Abbey, whereas a prior or a prioress leads the monks and the nuns.
- A Priory is subordinate to an Abbey.
- The leader of an abbey is chosen among themselves and is clarified by the Bishop of the Diocese, whereas the leader of a priory is chosen in two ways.
- An abbey is a place that gives residence to some nuns and monks, whereas a priory is just a place of worship.
- An abbey is a place where there should be more than 12 monks, whereas the priory does not say the exact number of monks.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.