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This Syriac or Chaldee word is found three times in the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6), and in each case is followed by its Greek equivalent, which is translated "father." It is a term expressing warm affection and filial confidence. It has no perfect equivalent in our language. It has passed into European languages as an ecclesiastical term, "abbot."
the superior of a monastic community that follows the Benedictine Rule (Benedictines, Cistercians, Camaldolese, Trappists) and of certain other orders (Premonstratensians, canons regular of the Lateran). The word derives from the Aramaic ab ("father"), or aba ("my father"), which in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) and in New Testament Greek was written abbas. Early Christian Egyptian monks renowned for age and sanctity were called abbas by their disciples, but, when monasticism became more organized, superiors were called proestos ("he who rules") in the East and the Latin equivalent, praepositus, in the West.