Difference between an abbey and a cathedral
Abbey Vs Cathedral:
Although both abbeys and cathedrals serve as Christian buildings, there exist certain differences between the two which make them not so hard to distinguish one form the other.
What is an abbey?
An abbey, a term derived from the Latin word abbatia, which is derived from the Syriac term abba which means “father”, is a catholic monastery or a convent which is supervised by an abbess or an abbot. It is a place where priests or monks live, worship and conduct their day to day activities. An abbey is an ensemble of minor buildings or a complex of buildings which are comprised of a separate monastery or convent, place of worship and other buildings. Each abbey is usually customized for specific purposes such as living, praying, grooming, training, etc.
An abbey is also sometimes referred to as a nunnery and yet, this term is not used today as it seems to indicate an abbey as a place that is reserved exclusively for nuns which is not true.
What is a cathedral?
A cathedral, derived from the Latin word Cathedra which means seat, is a fairly large and an ornate church building usually under the denomination with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Anglican, Catholic and some Lutheran churches. It serves as the central and the principal church of a bishop’s diocese and contains also the episcopal throne. As indicated by its name, the cathedral of a certain diocese is considered as the bishop’s seat. Yet, this term is used today in a more general sense to refer to large and important churches as well and yet, this is not advised as it would lead to a sense of confusion as to the distinction between a cathedral and a church.
What is the difference between a cathedral and an abbey?
Whereas an abbey is a complex or an ensemble of many minor buildings, a cathedral is defined as a single large and ornate church building with impressive edifices, paintings and the like. Also, an abbey is conducted under the supervision of an abbess or an abbot whereas a cathedral is conducted under the denomination with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Anglican, Catholic and some Lutheran churches.
An abbey is a place that is constructed for the nuns and the priests to live in, worship and perform their day to day activities. It is termed as a monastery or a convent. Yet a cathedral is a place of worship and serves as the Bishop’s seat and often bears the Bishop’s throne as well. It is also the central and the principal church of a diocese and is often larger in size and more ornate than other churches. Priests and nuns do not live in cathedrals. A cathedral is used as a place of worship, functions, holding of mass and also, as a place where marriages are conducted.