abbess defined in 1939 yearabbess - Abbess (late Lat. abbatissa);
abbess - Superior of a convent of nuns 12 or more in number. She is elected by the votes of professed members of the community. An abbess has generally the jurisdiction and powers of an abbot, but cannot exercise any priestly function. The title dates from the 6th century, and in medieval times, especially in Anglo-Saxon England, the abbess had great authority. She took part in ecclesiastical synods, and if the abbey lands were held direct from the crown she was summoned to the king's council. In Germany certain abbesses ranked as independent princes, and the title was retained in the 16th century by the Protestants who succeeded to the headship of some of the religious communities of women.
near abbess in Knolik
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