A prelate canonically elected and confirmed and exercising the duties of his office. There are three grades
- those who preside only over members of their monasteries, and are under the jurisdiction of the bishop (non-exempt);
- those who are immediately subject to the Holy See, with jurisdiction beyond the limit of their abbeys over the people, clergy and laity, of a territory forming an integral part of a bishop‘s diocese (exempt);
- those whose jurisdiction extends over a territory which is no part of any diocese (abbey nullius).
These last, called abbots nullius, have quasi-episcopal jurisdiction and the right to assist at ecumenical councils, with decisive vote. All regular abbots elected for life are obliged, after their ecclesiastical confirmation, to receive the blessing, at which they are invested with the miter, crosier, pectoral cross, ring, and other insignia of their office.