By: Melanie Roberts

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May 5th, 2020

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Melanie Roberts

Digital Communications Major


Monasticism is a religious way of life in which one renounces worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work. This spiritual practice is a vital role in many Christian churches, particularly in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.

Monasticism emerged in the late 3rd century and had become an established institution in the Christian church by the 4thcentury. The monasticism tradition began with St Paul of Thebes retreating to a cave in the Egyptian desert in AD 250.

The lifestyle of women pursuing a monastic life is generally called nuns, while monastic men are called nuns. Monks and nuns live isolated from the world to become closer to God. In Catholicism, the church is the body of Christ, the effort of Christ’s love on some men was to call them to monasticism, to the greater appreciation of Christ dedicating their lives entirely too God and the Church.

The two basic kinds of monasticism are eremitic and cenobitic. An eremitic is a hermit lifestyle where a person lives in isolated from society. A cenobite is a monastic tradition that emphasizes a communal lifestyle. Both types have variations, and they appear in several religious traditions. The third form of monasticism, found primarily in Eastern Christianity, is the skete. A skete allows relative isolation for monks, but also provides for collective services and the safety of shared possessions and protection.

The environment of the monastic pursuit is one that involves ora et labora, Latin for “prayer and work,” an agreement of every aspect of one’s life to a practiced awareness of God’s presence.