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Abbess of the Adepta Sororitas

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The Abbess of the Adepta Sororitas or the Abbess Sanctorum[Conflicting sources] is the the head of the Adepta Sororitas and at certain times a member of the High Lords of Terra[4],


The original head of the Adepta Sororitas was Alicia Dominica, who led the organisation in the centuries following the Age of Apostasy. Following Dominica's martyrdom there was a void left in the organisation as none of the other leaders felt they were adequate to follow in her footsteps. Eventually Ecclesiarch Equitus XI was forced to intervene, he ordered the leaders of each of the Orders to elect one of their number to lead the Sisterhood. After debates lasting many weeks, Sister Palmiro of the Order of the Holy Word was elected by majority to take up the role of Abbess.[5]

Unfortunately, Sister Palmiro was an extremely humble woman and declined to take up the post. Instead she stated that her intention was to depart on a pilgrimage to San Leor. After further debate, it was decided that Sister Palmiro should, in fact, complete her pilgramage - but that she would take up the position of Abbess on her return and regard it as a suitable penance. After barely a century it became a tradition that the post of Abbess go to the candidate who least desired the role and that they should consider the position a penance rather than a privilege and that, before taking up the post, she should undertake a pilgrimage to San Leor.[5]

For the best part of four millennia, this tradition was upheld - up until the election of Sister Sabrina of the Order of the Ermine Mantle, who disappeared during her pilgrimage and never returned to Terra. Until Sabrina is found, or her fate is determined, Ecclesiastical law states that the post of Abbess must remain vacant[5]

It was ultimately discovered that Sabrina had been trapped on San Leor for over a century, fighting off attacks by Daemons and the Alpha Legion and kept alive by the powers of the Warp and a church bell which swelled with the powers of the Emperor. In the Battle of San Leor, Saint Celestine and her forces found Sabrina and her sisters, but they have remained behind on the world to defend it against Daemons.[8] Following the commencement of the Indomitus Crusade a new Abbess, Morvenn Vahl, was appointed by Roboute Guilliman[9].

After his rebirth Roboute Guilliman obtained the cooperation of the Abbess for not only the Indomitus Crusade, but his coming purge of Imperial bureaucracy.[6] This new Abbess also petitioned for the Officio Assassinorum to deploy assets against Warboss Zagstruck.[7]

Known Abbesses

Conflicting sources

Older sources state:

The Abbess Sanctorum is the commander of the Convent Sanctorum as well as the overall leader of the Adepta Sororitas. Acting as both the Sororitas military and spiritual leader, the Abbess Sanctorum is often a member of the High Lords of Terra and oversees the Sororitas from their Convent on Terra. She is assisted by the Prioress of Convent Prioris based on Ophelia IV, who acts as her second-in-command.[1]

However, this is contradicted by more current materials which have moved the Convent Sanctorum to Ophelia VII and Convent Prioris to Terra[2], and that both convents are overseen by a Prioress.[3]

With the introduction of Morvenn Vahl into the setting, the Abbess being dubbed the Abbess Sanctorum has reappeared.[9]


Members of the High Lords of Terra
Permanent Members Master of the AdministratumEcclesiarchInquisitorial RepresentativeFabricator-GeneralGrand Provost MarshalPaternoval EnvoyMaster of the AstronomicanMaster of the Adeptus Astra TelepathicaGrand Master of AssassinsLord Commander of the Imperium
Rotating Members Lord Commander of Segmentum SolarLord Commander MilitantCardinals of the Holy SynodAbessChancellor of the Estate ImperiumSpeaker for the Chartist CaptainsLord High AdmiralCaptain-General
Lesser Members Chirurgeon-GeneralChancellor of the Imperial CouncilCommandant of the Schola ProgeniumLord Constable of the SynopticonMistress Plenary of the Catacombs
Former Members High Lord of the Imperial Chancellery