Melkite Patriarch Gregory III (centre of picture) with some archimandrites, visiting the sanctuary of Our Lady of Caravaggio, Italy, on 11 September 2008

The title archimandrite (Greek: ἀρχιμανδρίτης, translit. archimandritēs), primarily used in the Eastern Orthodox and the Eastern Catholic churches, originally referred to a superior abbot (hegumenos) whom a bishop appointed to supervise several 'ordinary' abbots and monasteries, or to the abbot of some especially great and important monastery.

It is also used purely as a title of honour, with no connection to any actual monastery, and is bestowed on clergy as a mark of respect or gratitude for service to the Church. This particular sign of respect is only given to those priests who have taken vows of celibacy, that is monks. Distinguished married clergy may receive the title of archpriest.


The term derives from the Greek: the first element from ἀρχι archi- meaning "highest" or from archon "ruler"; and the second root from μάνδρα mandra meaning "enclosure" or "corral", "pen" and denoting a "monastery" (compare the usage of "flock" for "congregation").

The title has been in common use since the 5th century, but is mentioned for the first time in a letter to Epiphanius, prefixed to his Panarium (ca. 375), but the Lausiac History of Palladius may evidence its common use in the 4th century as applied to Saint Pachomius.[1]

When the supervision of monasteries passed to another episcopal official—the Great Sakellarios ("sacristan")—the title of archimandrite became an honorary one for abbots of important monasteries (compared to an ordinary abbot, a hegumenos).

Other Languages
беларуская: Архімандрыт
български: Архимандрит
Boarisch: Archimandrit
čeština: Archimandrita
Deutsch: Archimandrit
Ελληνικά: Αρχιμανδρίτης
español: Archimandrita
Esperanto: Arkimandrito
français: Archimandrite
한국어: 대수도사제
hrvatski: Arhimandrit
Bahasa Indonesia: Arkimandrit
italiano: Archimandrita
қазақша: Архимандрит
lumbaart: Archimandrita
македонски: Архимандрит
Nederlands: Archimandriet
日本語: 掌院
norsk nynorsk: Arkimandritt
português: Arquimandrita
română: Arhimandrit
русский: Архимандрит
slovenčina: Archimandrita
српски / srpski: Архимандрит
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Arhimandrit
svenska: Arkimandrit
українська: Архімандрит