Catholic Dictionary




An abbey that does not belong to a diocese. It is therefore separate and juridically distinct by its own boundaries from surrounding dioceses. It is governed by an abbot who exercises active jurisdiction over the clergy and faithful living in his territory. In a document issued on December 29, 1976, Pope Paul VI declared that no more abbeys nullius would be established except for extraordinary reasons; and except for a few institutions of historic importance, present abbeys nullius would be phased out of existence.