The Priory de Graville, France

A priory is a house of men or women under religious vows that is headed by a prior or prioress. Priories may be houses of mendicant friars or religious sisters (as the Dominicans, Augustinians and Carmelites, for instance), or monasteries of monks or nuns (as the Carthusians).

The Benedictines and their offshoots (Cistercians and Trappists among them), the Premonstratensians, and the military orders distinguish between conventual and simple or obedientiary priories. Conventual priories are those autonomous houses which have no abbots, either because the canonically required number of twelve monks has not yet been reached, or for some other reason. At present the Benedictine Order has twenty-seven conventual priories. Simple or obedientiary priories are dependencies of abbeys. Their superior, who is subject to the abbot in everything, is called a "prior." These monasteries are satellites of the mother abbey. The Cluniac order is notable for being organised entirely on this obedientiary principle, with a single abbot at the Abbey of Cluny, and all other houses dependent priories.

Priory may also refer to schools operated or sponsored by the Benedictines, such as the Saint Louis Priory School or the Woodside Priory School. Priory is also used to refer to the geographic headquarters of several commanderies of knights.

Sources and references

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed (1913). "Priory". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Priory — • A monastery whose superior is a prior. Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Priory     Priory     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Priory — Pri o*ry, n.; pl. {Priories}. [Cf. LL. prioria. See {Prior}, n.] A religious house presided over by a prior or prioress; sometimes an offshoot of, an subordinate to, an abbey, and called also {cell}, and {obedience}. See {Cell}, 2. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • priory — late 13c., from Anglo Fr. priorie (mid 13c.), from M.L. prioria monastery governed by a prior, from L. prior (see PRIOR (Cf. prior) (n.)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • priory — *cloister, monastery, nunnery, convent, abbey …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • priory — ► NOUN (pl. priories) ▪ a monastery or nunnery governed by a prior or prioress …   English terms dictionary

  • priory — [prī′ə rē] n. pl. priories [ME < Anglo Fr priorie < ML prioria] a monastery governed by a prior, or a convent governed by a prioress, sometimes as a subordinate branch of an abbey SYN. CLOISTER …   English World dictionary

  • priory — [[t]pra͟ɪ͟əri[/t]] priories N COUNT: oft in names after n A priory is a place where a small group of monks live and work together. ...Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island …   English dictionary

  • priory — UK [ˈpraɪərɪ] / US [ˈpraɪrɪ] noun [countable] Word forms priory : singular priory plural priories a building where the members of a Christian religious community live …   English dictionary

  • Priory — A house of canons regular; a monastery ruled by a *prior or a *convent by a prioress. Cf. Alien priory …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • priory — noun the sisters of this priory are famous for their spinning and weaving Syn: religious house, abbey, cloister; monastery, friary; convent, nunnery …   Thesaurus of popular words

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