Lay Abbots or Abbacomites
Lay Abbots Or Abbacomites Prior to the period of Charlemagne the court appointed its favorites to the office of abbot: rich abbacies were given to the higher secular clergy in commendam, i.e., simply to enjoy its revenues, or else to counts and military chiefs in reward for their services. These lay abbots occupied the monasteries with their families, or with their friends and retainers, sometimes for months, converting them into banqueting halls. or using them for hunting expeditions or for military exercises. The wealthiest abbacies the kings either retained for themselves or bestowed on their sons and daughters, their wives and mistresses. Charlemagne corrected this abuse: he insisted on strict discipline, and made it a rule that schools should be planted in connection with the various monasteries, and that literary labors should be prosecuted within their walls. SEE ABBOT.