The Latin word abbatia came to our language as an abbey. The concept, in the first meaning collected by the dictionary, refers to the position of the abbot or abbess.
By extension, an abbey is a region under the jurisdiction of the abbot and the church where he carries out his functions. Currently, the most common use of the term is associated with the building of these temples.
It is important to note that the abbot is the religious who occupies the highest place in the structure of a monastery (the abbey). The abbot is considered the spiritual father of the group of monks who are part of the abbey in question.
In the first monastic-type communities, there was a common center that was surrounded by various buildings. In that center lived someone recognized for his asceticism or his holiness. Over the years, this almost spontaneous structure began to acquire more formality, with disciples gathering around the place where their spiritual guide retired. In this way, the religious communities that led to the abbeys began to develop.
This person who gathered so many people around his house used to lead a hermit lifestyle, that is, away from the rest of society. On the other hand, they also stood out for following practices and norms that guided them towards the achievement of virtue and the liberation of the spirit. Precisely, it was not in them the need to organize these communities in a formal way, but this arose over time and they had to adapt.
Although the term abbey is usually associated with Christianity, it is important to note that this type of community did not appear for the first time in the context of this religion; For example, the Essenes had already existed in Judea (a Jewish movement whose emergence is estimated around 250 BC and lasted until the first century, according to various evidences), and in Egypt, the Therapeutae (an order of the type monastic that was established a short distance from Alexandria, next to Lake Mareotis).
The Westminster Abbey, located in London (England), is one of the most famous in the world. He had its consecration in 1065 and is part of the list of the World Heritage manages the UNESCO. From 1066 onwards, most of the English kings were crowned at this abbey.
The Abbey of Cluny, which is also known as Clungy or Cluni, is in France, in the current municipality namesake and its foundation took place at the end of the first century Pope Sergius III was the authority of the abbey, where he lived the abbot Bernón de Baume. In the year 1790, a group of revolutionaries plundered it and left it in ruins, and that is why today we cannot fully appreciate it.
The Montecasino Abbey, meanwhile, belongs to the order of Saint Benedict and is located south of Rome, Italy, on a rocky hill that is approximately 520 meters high. The fact that makes it so important is that Benedict of Nursia, considered no less the precursor of western monastic life, dedicated this point to the establishment of the first monastery, and there the Benedictine order arose. In addition, in this abbey many confrontations were fought in the last stage of the Second World War.
The Abbey of Lagrasse belongs to the Benedictine order and is situated in the French village namesake, next to the river Orbieu. It was founded in the 7th century and is one of the oldest on the European continent. Thanks to the privileges and donations that various lords gave him, such as castles and lands, this abbey soon enjoyed great wealth.