Hierarchy

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prior

The prior was a monastic superior, just under the abbot, and served as the abbot’s deputy in his absence. His title signifies his priority in the community, calling him, literally, the first. Unlike the other obedientiaries, the prior was not appointed by the abbot. Lectio 20 describes the way in which he was elected by a council of elders in the presence of the abbot and the community. All permissions (to speak with outsiders, to leave the abbey walls, to participate in blood-letting, etc.) were granted by him. The prior was also the disciplinarian of the community. He monitored behavior and corrected transgressions. He took his turn in weekly services, and also played a major role in important liturgies.