An abbey (from Latin Abbatija ) is a monastery, which regularly an abbot or abbess.

Usually possess only the monastic orders and the Canons Regular of the Catholic Church monasteries in the rank of an abbey. An exception is the St. Thomas the Augustinian Abbey in Old Brno ( OSA). As Abbey also deaneries are often referred to. For the survey of a monastery the abbey church by the Holy See certain legal requirements must be met ( eg, a certain minimum number of monks or nuns ). If a monastery raised to the rank of an abbey, the Convention can choose an abbot or abbess.

Particularly important abbeys, monasteries often the root of a Benedictine Congregation, also carry the title Archabbey; in Austria about the Abbey Abbey of St. Peter and in Germany the Erzabteien Beuron and St. Ottilie. The head of an Abbey is an abbot.

In general, the abbeys not subject to the local competent bishop, but directly to St.. Chair. A few abbeys form their own diocese. In these territorial abbeys abbot has jurisdiction of a bishop of the territory of the abbey. However, a power of orders him not to come. In recent years, these territorial abbeys however, have been severely curtailed, so that although they are still considered as such, but only have the parish of Abbey itself usually.

Within the Cistercian monasteries primary hot those abbeys were founded by the original monastery of the Cistercian Citeaux first four daughter monasteries.

In the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation were called abbeys, which reported directly to the Emperor, Imperial abbeys.

A prince Abbey was an abbey with rights of a principality and a Prince-Abbot as head, such as the Prüm Abbey.

Abbey is also - where available - named for the house or the living quarters of the Abbot, also abbot's house or prelature. It consists of living quarters for the abbot, usually a private chapel, sometimes its own cloister, the so-called Abtshof and a private garden.