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The title did not originally imply the exercise of any authority over a religious community. Both names have, however, been permanently retained, and are to this day the titles given to monastic superiors in the Eastern Church.From the East the word passed over to the West, and here it was soon received into general use to designate the superior of an abbey or a monastery. Cassian, who at the beginning of the fifth century had transplanted Egyptian monachism to Gaul, was addressed as Abbas , Pater , and Dominus ; he himself termed the superior of the monastery Praepositus .At the base of this conical dome they discovered a colony of black-tailed prairie dogs, a species then new to science.After the entire group spent most of a day fetching and pouring about five barrels of water down one hole, the resident rodent was finally evicted and caught.Several others were shot and their skins preserved.Some prairie dogs were also eaten during the expedition and were considered fine table fare.And when an Abbot has jurisdiction over the clergy and laity of a district or territory (comprising one or several cities and places) which forms no part whatever of any diocese, his abbey is styled vere nullius dioecesis (of no diocese) and, excepting a few rights only, for the exercise of which the ordo episcopalis is required, his authority is in all things equal to that of a bishop.This is the third and highest grade of the dignity.
A title given to the superior of a community of twelve or more monks. Every group of hermits and every coenobium naturally had its superior. In the East he was usually styled the elder, the senior, or also father of the monastery. Both systems spread rapidly and were soon firmly established in Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor. Pachomius, who, about the same time, founded his first coenobium , or conventual monastery, at Tabennae in the far south of Egypt. The surface of this rocky outcrop was unaccountably warm to the touch, as if it had been burning from within, a phenomenon now believed to have been caused by chemical oxidation.By August 28 the group had reached the present site of .