A monastic community of religious persons along with the buildings of the community. The abbey consists of monks ruled by an abbot, or of nuns under an abbess. Abbeys are independent of the jurisdiction of the local bishop. The traditional plan of the buildings included an oratory (chapel), a chapter room (for assemblies of the community in which a chapter of the rule is read), a refectory (dining area), and dormitories, all of which are arranged around a cloister or an open inner court.
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.