From a reader…
What name is put in the Canon at ‘Antistite nostro N.’ when in the territory of a Territorial Abbey?
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal 149 provides us with a somewhat clear answer for the Novus Ordo Missae:
“The diocesan Bishop or anyone equivalent to him in law must be mentioned by means of this formula: una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro N. et Episcopo (or Vicario, Prelato, Praefecto, Abbate) (together with your servant N., our Pope, and N., our Bishop [or Vicar, Prelate, Prefect, Abbot]).”
The Roman Canon uses the term “Antistite” (Antistes…”overseer”) rather than “Episcopo” (Episcopus… “bishop”). I think it is appropriate, when using the Roman Canon, to refer to a territorial abbot, or another prelate equivalent to a bishop in a particular church, using the title “antistes“.
This would only occur for a territorial abbey, and not for an abbey lacking territorial jurisdiction.
Normally, and abbey has as its superior an abbot whose authority extends as far as the monastery’s limits and to the monks under his charge. However, there are also some abbot who exercise jurisdiction over a larger territory around the abbey. There rare ecclesial critters were called an abbot nullius diœceseos, “belonging to no diocese”, or for short “abbot nullius“. They were sort of like a bishop. As a matter of fact, in more recent times some abbots would be consecrated bishop and made also ordinary of the diocese. One of the founding bishops of the seminary I was in in Rome was one such, the Bishop Abbot of Subiaco, Stanislaus Andreotti, OSB (+2003). He was very kind to me once, in a moment of attempted public humiliation. But that’s one for the memoirs.
Sadly, the number of territorial abbeys has been reduced in recent years.
There are currently only ten territorial abbeys left: 5 in Italy (Monte Oliveto Maggiore, Montevergine, Grottaferrata, Santissima Trinità di Cava, and Subiaco), 2 in Switzerland (Einsiedeln and St. Maurice), Pannonhalma in Hungary, Wettingen-Mehrerau in Austria, and the sad case of Tokwon in North Korea (entirely evacuated, most of the monks martyred in the 1950’s).
The great Abbey of Montecassino lost its territory in 2014. Monserrate do Rio de Janeiro was suppressed in 2003. Claraval suppressed in 2002. Belmont Abbey in these USA was suppressed in 1977. The sad litany goes on.