Territorial Abbey

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Coat of arms of the abbot of a territorial abbey (recognizable by the galero with twelve green tassels and a shepherd's staff)

A territorial abbey or regional abbey (Latin abbatia territorialis ; historical names: abbatia nullius (dioecesis) , private abbey , exem (p) te abbey ) is a Roman Catholic abbey with a bishopric-like function. It can be assigned to either immediately or a church province . Your abbot has the power of jurisdiction of a bishop , but not his power of ordination. He is a member of the local episcopal conference .

Newer development

The number of territorial abbeys has been systematically reduced by the Holy See since the Second Vatican Council . The aim is to separate monastic and diocesan tasks. There are still eleven territorial abbeys in the Catholic Church around the world.

In 2002 the territory of the traditional Italian Benedictine Abbey of Subiaco was added to the surrounding dioceses with the exception of a small remainder. Since then, the term 'Territorial Abbey' has only been a title with purely symbolic and historical value. So z. B. the territory of the Territorial Abbey of Subiaco only applies to the abbey itself.

Likewise, in 2014 the area of ​​the Benedictine Archabbey of Montecassino, comprising 53 parishes to date, was added to the diocese of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo and the territory of Montecassino was limited to the actual abbey area. However, the title and full exemption of a regional abbey are retained by the Benedictine arch monastery.

The Roman territorial abbey of San Paolo fuori le Mura had to give up the pastoral care territory it was in charge of in 2005. Here the former territorial abbey was downgraded to a normal abbey. Other ancient monasteries are on the list of territorial abbeys that may be subdivided, including the Italian abbeys of Monte Oliveto , Montevergine and Santissima Trinità di Cava de 'Tirreni .

The Cistercian territorial abbey Claraval in Brazil was dissolved in December 2002 and the "diocesan" area was incorporated into the diocese of Guaxupé . The Cistercian abbey continues as a normal monastery.

Current territorial abbeys




The change in these territorial abbeys is unlikely for the time being, as the Swiss cantons reserve a say in the diocesan structure.


North Korea

Former territorial abbeys









South Africa

Tanganyika / Tanzania

United States

See also


  • Dieter Albrecht: Art. Berchtesgaden , in: LThK, 3rd edition, vol. 2, Freiburg 1994, col. 243;
  • Benedict XVI. : Motu Proprio The venerable basilica for the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls and its extra-territorial area from May 31, 2005.
  • Basilius double field: Art. Belmont (North Carolina) , in: LThK , 3rd edition, vol. 2, Freiburg 1994, col. 194;
  • Ilona Riedel-Spangenberger : Basic concepts of canon law . Paderborn 1992 [article »abbot« and »particular church«];
  • {Pontifical yearbooks}: Annuario Pontificio per l'anno 1947, Vatican City 1947; Annuario Pontificio per l'anno 1966, Vatican City 1966; Annuario Pontifico per l'anno 2003, Vatican City 2003; Annuario Pontificio per l'anno 2010, Vatican City 2010;
  • Oskar Stoffel: Art. Praelatura territorialis and Abbatia territorialis , in: LThK, 3rd edition, vol. 8, Freiburg 1999, col. 483 f;
  • Oskar Stoffel: Art. Praelatura territorialis and Abbatia territorialis , in: Lexikon des Kirchenrechts, Freiburg 2004, Sp. 774 f;