Abbot Primate

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Coat of arms of an abbot primate

Abbot Primate ( Latin Abbas Primas ) has been called the head of a religious confederation since the late 19th century . A confederation is the amalgamation of various religious congregations , which in turn are formed by the individual monasteries attached to them. The abbot primate is one of the “higher superiors” mentioned in canon law , but his competencies essentially result from the proper law of the order concerned.

Holy Roman Empire

In the Holy Roman Empire , the Prince Abbot of Fulda was the primate of all Benedictines until secularization .


Since 1893 an abbot primate has been at the head of the Benedictine Confederation , the worldwide association of Benedictine monasteries . He represents the Confederation externally, including at the Holy See , but has no central leadership role. He has special supervision over the monasteries that do not belong to any congregation (monasteries extra congregationes ).

The Abbot Primate is elected by the Benedictine Abbots' Congress , which meets every four years . The term of office is eight years, with the possibility of re-election for further four-year terms. He heads the Primate Abbey of Sant'Anselmo in Rome and is Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant'Anselmo , a Pontifical College.

List of incumbents
  1. 1893–1913 Hildebrand de Hemptinne
  2. 1913–1947 Fidelis von Stotzingen
  3. 1947–1959 Bernard Kälin
  4. 1959–1967 Benno Gut
  5. 1967-1977 Rembert Weakland
  6. 1977–1992 Viktor Josef Dammertz
  7. 1992–1995 Jerome Theisen (died in office), 1995–1996 Francis Rossiter (Pro-Primas, ad interim)
  8. 1996-2000 Marcel Rooney
  9. 2000–2016 Notker Wolf
  10. 2016– Gregory Polan0000

Augustinian Canons

The head of the worldwide confederation of Augustinian Canons also bears the title of Abbot Primate. He is elected for six years from among the heads of the individual congregations - which have formed a confederation since 1959 - but remains at the same time abbot or provost of his respective monastery. Office holder until 2016 was Provost Bernhard Backovsky, Abbot General of the Congregation of the Austrian Augustinian Canons . The Primate Council of the Confederation of Augustinian Canons elected Jean-Michel Girard, Provost of the Great Saint Bernard Monastery , as Abbot Primate on October 11, 2016 in Assisi (Italy) .

List of incumbents
  1. 1959–1968 Louis-Séverin Haller , Congregation of St. Maurice
  2. 1968–1974 Gebhard Koberger , Austrian Congregation of Lateran Canons
  3. 1974–1980 (Anton Bull), Lateran Congregation
  4. 1980–1986 Angelin-Maurice Lovey, Congregation of the Great St. Bernhard
  5. 1986–1992 Karl Egger , Windesheim Congregation of the Lateran Canons
  6. 1992–1998 Henri Salina , Congregation of St. Maurice
  7. 1998–2004 Anthony Maggs, Lateran Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer
  8. 2004–2010 Maurice Bitz, Congregation of St. Victor
  9. 2010–2016 Bernhard Backovsky , Austrian Congregation of Lateran Canons
  10. 2016- Jean-Michel Girard, Congregation of the Great St. Bernard0000


  • Gerard Oesterle, The Papal Law of the Benedictine Confederation , in: Benediktinische Monatsschrift 28 (1952), 353–363.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Gregory Polan new Abbot Primate. In: Retrieved September 10, 2016 .