ARCHIMANDRITE (from Gr., a ruler, and , a fold or monastery), a title in the Greek Church applied to a superior abbot, who has the supervision of several abbots and monasteries, or to the abbot of some specially great and important monastery, the title for an ordinary abbot being hegumenos. The title occurs for the first time in a letter to Epiphanius, prefixed to his Panarium (c. 375), but the Lausiac History of Palladius may be evidence that it was in common use in the 4th century as applied to Pachomius (q.v.). In Russia the bishops are commonly selected from the archimandrites. The word occurs in the Regula Columbani (c. 7), and du Cange gives a few other cases of its use in Latin documents, but it never came into vogue in the West. Owing to intercourse with Greek and Slavonic Christianity, the title is sometimes to be met with in southern Italy and Sicily, and in Hungary and Poland.
See the article in the Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)