Religious vows are the public vows made by the members of religious communities pertaining to their conduct and views. In the Buddhist tradition, in particular within the Mahayana and Vajrayana tradition, many different kinds of religious vows are taken by the lay community as well as by the monastic community, as they progress along the path of their practice. In the monastic tradition of all schools of Buddhism the Vinaya expounds the vows of the ordained Nuns and Monks. In the Christian tradition, such public vows are made by the religious – cenobitic and eremitic – of the Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Eastern Orthodox Churches, whereby they confirm their public profession of the Evangelical Counsels of poverty and obedience or Benedictine equivalent; the vows are regarded as the individual's free response to a call by God to follow Jesus Christ more under the action of the Holy Spirit in a particular form of religious living. A person who lives a religious life according to vows they have made is called a votary or a votarist.
The religious vow, being a public vow, is binding in Church law. One of its effects is. In the Catholic Church, by joining the consecrated life, one does not become a member of the hierarchy but becomes a member of a state of life, neither clerical nor lay, the consecrated state; the members of the religious orders and those hermits who are in Holy Orders are members of the hierarchy. Since the 6th century and nuns following the Rule of Saint Benedict have been making the so-called Benedictine vow at their public profession of obedience, "conversion of manners". During the 12th and 13th centuries mendicant orders emerged, such as the Franciscans and Dominicans, whose vocation emphasizing mobility and flexibility required them to drop the concept of "stability", they therefore profess chastity and obedience, like the members of many other orders and religious congregations founded subsequently. The public profession of these so-called Evangelical counsels, confirmed by vow or other sacred bond, are now a requirement according to modern Church Law.
The "clerks regular" of the 16th century and after, such as the Jesuits and Redemptorists, followed this same general format, though some added a "fourth vow", indicating some special apostolate or attitude within the order. Professed Jesuits, take a vow of particular obedience to the Pope to undertake any mission laid out in their Formula of the Institute; the Missionaries of Charity, founded by St. Teresa of Calcutta centuries are another example of this, in that her sisters take a fourth vow of special service to "the poorest of the poor". In the Catholic Church, the vows of members of religious orders and congregations are regulated by canons 654-658 of the Code of Canon Law; these are public vows, meaning vows accepted by a superior in the name of the Church, they are of two durations: temporary, after a few years, final vows. Depending on the order, temporary vows may be renewed a number of times before permission to take final vows is given. There are exceptions: the Jesuits' first vows are perpetual, for instance, the Sisters of Charity take only temporary but renewable vows.
Religious vows are of two varieties: simple vows and solemn vows. The highest level of commitment is exemplified by those who have taken their perpetual vows. There once were significant technical differences between them in canon law. Only a limited number of religious congregations may invite their members to solemn vows. In congregations with solemn vows, some members with perpetual vows may have taken them rather than solemnly. A perpetual vow can be superseded by the Pope, when he decides that a man under perpetual vows should become a Bishop of the Church. In these cases, the ties to the order the new Bishop had, are dissolved as if the Bishop had never been a member. However, if the Bishop was a member in good standing, he will be regarded, informally, as "one of us", he will always be welcome in any of the order's houses. There are other forms of consecrated life in the Catholic Church for women, they make a public profession of the evangelical counsels of chastity and obedience, confirmed by a vow or other sacred bond, regulated by canon law but live consecrated lives in the world.
Such are the secular institutes, the hermits and the consecrated virgins These make a public profession of the evangelical counsels by a vow or other sacred bond. Similar are the societies of apostolic life. For Protestant criticism of monastic vows as practiced in the Catholic Church, see Augsburg Confession § Article XXVII: Of Monastic Vows Although the taking of vows was not a part of the earliest monastic foundations, vows did come to be accepted as a normal part of the Tonsure service in the Christian East. One would find a spiritual father and live under his direction. Once one put on the monastic habit, it was understood that one
Prayer is an important activity in Christianity, there are several different forms of Christian prayer. Christian prayers are diverse: they can be spontaneous, or read from a text, like the Anglican Book of Common Prayer; the most common prayer among Christians is the "Lord's Prayer", which according to the gospel accounts is how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. "The Lord's Prayer" is a model for prayers of adoration and petition in Christianity. A broad, three stage characterization of prayer begins with vocal prayer moves on to a more structured form in terms of meditation reaches the multiple layers of contemplation, or intercession. There are two basic settings for Christian prayer: private. Corporate prayer includes prayer shared within other public places; these prayers can be informal extemporaneous prayers. Private prayer occurs with the individual praying either silently or aloud within a private setting. Prayer may be structured differently; these types of contexts may include: Liturgical: Often seen within the Catholic Church.
This is a orthodox service, according to Catholics. Within a Catholic Mass, an example of a liturgical form of worship, there are bible readings and a sermon is read. Seen within the Holy Orthodox Church; the Holy Bible is read and a sermon is read. Non-Liturgical: Often seen within Evangelical church, this prayer is not scripted and would be more informal in structure. Most of these prayers would be extemporaneous. Charismatic: Often seen within gospel churches, it is the main form of worship in Pentecostal churches. It includes song and dance, may include other artistic expressions. There may be no apparent structure, but the worshippers will be "led by the Holy Spirit". Prayer in the New Testament is presented as a positive command; the people of God are challenged to include prayer in their everyday life in the busy struggles of marriage as it is thought to bring the faithful closer to God. Throughout the New Testament, prayer is shown to be God's appointed method by which the faithful obtain what he has to bestow.
Prayer, according to the Book of Acts, can be seen at the first moments of the church. The apostles regarded prayer as an essential part of their lives; as such, the apostles incorporated verses from Psalms into their writings. Romans 3:10-18 for example is borrowed from other psalms. Thus, due to this emphasis on prayer in the early church. Lengthy passages of the New Testament are prayers or canticles, such as the Prayer for forgiveness, the Lord's Prayer, the Magnificat, the Benedictus, Jesus' prayer to the one true God, exclamations such as, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ", the Believers' Prayer, "may this cup be taken from me", "Pray that you will not fall into temptation", Saint Stephen's Prayer, Simon Magus' Prayer, "pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men", Maranatha. Elements of the oldest Christian prayers may be found in liturgies such as the Roman Catholic Mass, the Orthodox Divine Liturgy, the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, the Lutheran Book of Worship.
Many denominations that adhere to a liturgical tradition use specific prayers geared to the season of the Liturgical Year, such as Advent, Christmas and Easter. Some of these prayers are found in the Roman Breviary, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Orthodox Book of Needs and the Anglican Book of Common Prayer; the ancient church, in both Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity, developed a tradition of asking for the intercession of saints, this remains the practice of most Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholic, some Anglican churches. Churches of the Protestant Reformation however rejected prayer to the saints on the basis of the sole mediatorship of Christ; the reformer Huldrych Zwingli admitted that he had offered prayers to the saints until his reading of the Bible convinced him that this was idolatrous. Christian meditation is a structured attempt to get in touch with and deliberately reflect upon the revelations of God; the word meditation comes from the Latin word meditārī, which has a range of meanings including to reflect on, to study and to practice.
Christian meditation is the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God. Christian meditation aims to heighten the personal relationship based on the love of God that marks Christian communion. At times there may be no clear-cut boundary between Christian meditation and Christian contemplation, they overlap. Meditation serves as a foundation on which the contemplative life stands, the practice by which someone begins the state of contemplation. In contemplative prayer, this activity is curtailed, so that contemplation has been described as "a gaze of faith", "a silent love". Meditation and contemplation are components of the Rosary, encouraged by the Magisterium; this kind of prayer involves the believer taking the role of an intercessor, praying on behalf of another individual, group or community, or a nation. Ejaculatory prayer is the use of brief exclamations. Saint Augustine remarked that the Egyptian Christians who withdrew to a solitary life "are said to sa
Canon law is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of a Christian organization or church and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law, or operational policy, governing the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, the individual national churches within the Anglican Communion; the way that such church law is legislated, interpreted and at times adjudicated varies among these three bodies of churches. In all three traditions, a canon was a rule adopted by a church council. Greek kanon / Ancient Greek: κανών, Arabic Qaanoon / قانون, Hebrew kaneh / קנה, "straight"; the Apostolic Canons or Ecclesiastical Canons of the Same Holy Apostles is a collection of ancient ecclesiastical decrees concerning the government and discipline of the Early Christian Church, incorporated with the Apostolic Constitutions which are part of the Ante-Nicene Fathers. In the Fourth century the First Council of Nicaea calls canons the disciplinary measures of the Church: the term canon, κανὠν, means in Greek, a rule.
There is a early distinction between the rules enacted by the Church and the legislative measures taken by the State called leges, Latin for laws. In the Catholic Church, canon law is the system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the Church's hierarchical authorities to regulate its external organization and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the Church. However, despite the power of the church and its insistence on creating a specific format for the way its members would live their lives, it was not followed. Powerful and wealthy individuals simply did not abide by the rules and were allowed to approach family life and marriage how they saw fit. A prime instance of this was shown through annulments granted by the church; the church disregarded and disallowed divorce. However, powerful men could annul their marriages; this was noteworthy due to the fact that an annulment was distorting to marriage law and contradicting to the disallowance of divorce.
An annulment would not only cease a marriage but rather end the marriage and rule that the marriage was never valid, nor did it formally exist. Another potent example of Canon Law not being enforced is in regards to polygyny. Men having multiple wives was outright banned by the Catholic church. However, as seen in the example of wealthy and powerful individuals it was allowed. Men who were powerful enough were allowed to have multiple wives, concubines and could have sex prior to marriage. Despite the aforementioned blatant nonobservance to Canon Law, the codes set in place did shape and provide a code that the majority of the members of the catholic church directly abode and lived their lives according to. In the Latin Church, positive ecclesiastical laws, based directly or indirectly upon immutable divine law or natural law, derive formal authority in the case of universal laws from the supreme legislator, who possesses the totality of legislative and judicial power in his person, while particular laws derive formal authority from a legislator inferior to the supreme legislator.
The actual subject material of the canons is not just doctrinal or moral in nature, but all-encompassing of the human condition. The Catholic Church includes the main five rites of churches which are in full union with the Holy See and the Latin Church: Alexandrian Rite Churches which include the Coptic Catholic Church and Ethiopian Catholic Church. West Syriac Rite which includes the Maronite Church, Syriac Catholic Church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. Armenian Rite Church which includes the Armenian Catholic Church. Byzantine Rite Churches which include the Albanian Greek Catholic Church, Belarusian Greek Catholic Church, Bulgarian Church, Byzantine Catholic Church of Croatia and Serbia, Greek Church, Hungarian Greek Catholic Church, Italo-Albanian Church, Macedonian Greek Catholic Church, Melkite Church, Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholic, Russian Church, Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church, Slovak Greek Catholic Church and Ukrainian Catholic Church. East Syriac Rite Churches which includes the Chaldean Syro-Malabar Church.
All of these church groups are in full communion with the Supreme Pontiff and are subject to the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. The Catholic Church has what is claimed to be the oldest continuously functioning internal legal system in Western Europe, much than Roman law but predating the evolution of modern European civil law traditions. What began with rules adopted by the Apostles at the Council of Jerusalem in the first century has developed into a complex legal system encapsulating not just norms of the New Testament, but some elements of the Hebrew, Visigothic and Celtic legal traditions; the history of Latin canon law can be divided into four periods: the jus antiquum, the jus novum, the jus novissimum and the Code of Canon Law. In relation to the Code, history can be divided into the jus novum; the canon law of the Eastern Catholic Churches, which had developed some different disciplines and practices, underwent its own process of codification, resulting in the Code of Canons of the Eastern C
A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monks or nuns, whether living in communities or alone. A monastery includes a place reserved for prayer which may be a chapel, church, or temple, may serve as an oratory. Monasteries vary in size, comprising a small dwelling accommodating only a hermit, or in the case of communities anything from a single building housing only one senior and two or three junior monks or nuns, to vast complexes and estates housing tens or hundreds. A monastery complex comprises a number of buildings which include a church, cloister, library and infirmary. Depending on the location, the monastic order and the occupation of its inhabitants, the complex may include a wide range of buildings that facilitate self-sufficiency and service to the community; these may include a hospice, a school, a range of agricultural and manufacturing buildings such as a barn, a forge, or a brewery. In English usage, the term monastery is used to denote the buildings of a community of monks.
In modern usage, convent tends to be applied only to institutions of female monastics communities of teaching or nursing religious sisters. A convent denoted a house of friars, now more called a friary. Various religions may apply these terms in more specific ways; the word monastery comes from the Greek word μοναστήριον, neut. of μοναστήριος – monasterios from μονάζειν – monazein "to live alone" from the root μόνος – monos "alone". The earliest extant use of the term monastērion is by the 1st century AD Jewish philosopher Philo in On The Contemplative Life, ch. III. In England the word monastery was applied to the habitation of a bishop and the cathedral clergy who lived apart from the lay community. Most cathedrals were not monasteries, were served by canons secular, which were communal but not monastic. However, some were run by monasteries orders, such as York Minster. Westminster Abbey was for a short time a cathedral, was a Benedictine monastery until the Reformation, its Chapter preserves elements of the Benedictine tradition.
See the entry cathedral. They are to be distinguished from collegiate churches, such as St George's Chapel, Windsor. In most of this article, the term monastery is used generically to refer to any of a number of types of religious community. In the Roman Catholic religion and to some extent in certain branches of Buddhism, there is a somewhat more specific definition of the term and many related terms. Buddhist monasteries are called vihara. Viharas may be occupied by men or women, in keeping with common English usage, a vihara populated by females may be called a nunnery or a convent. However, vihara can refer to a temple. In Tibetan Buddhism, monasteries are called gompa. In Thailand and Cambodia, a monastery is called a wat. In Burma, a monastery is called a kyaung. A Christian monastery may be a priory, or conceivably a hermitage, it may be a community of men or of women. A charterhouse is any monastery belonging to the Carthusian order. In Eastern Christianity, a small monastic community can be called a skete, a large or important monastery can be given the dignity of a lavra.
The great communal life of a Christian monastery is called cenobitic, as opposed to the anchoretic life of an anchorite and the eremitic life of a hermit. There has been under the Osmanli occupation of Greece and Cyprus, an "idiorrhythmic" lifestyle where monks come together but being able to own things individually and not being obliged to work for the common good. In Hinduism monasteries are called matha, koil, or most an ashram. Jains use the Buddhist term vihara. In most religions the life inside monasteries is governed by community rules that stipulate the gender of the inhabitants and require them to remain celibate and own little or no personal property; the degree to which life inside a particular monastery is separate from the surrounding populace can vary widely. Others focus on interacting with the local communities to provide services, such as teaching, medical care, or evangelism; some monastic communities are only occupied seasonally, depending both on the traditions involved and the local weather, people may be part of a monastic community for periods ranging from a few days at a time to an entire lifetime.
The life within the walls of a monastery may be supported in several ways: by manufacturing and selling goods agricultural products, by donations or alms, by rental or investment incomes, by funds from other organizations within the religion, which in the past formed the traditional support of monasteries. There has been a long tradition of Christian monasteries providing hospitable and hospital services. Monasteries have been associated with the provision of education and the encouragement of scholarship and research, which has led to the establishment of schools and colleges and the association with universities. Christian monastic life has adapted to modern society by offering computer services, accounting services and management as well as modern hospital and educational administration. Buddhist monasteries, known as vihāra i
In the practice of Christianity, canonical hours mark the divisions of the day in terms of periods of fixed prayer at regular intervals. A book of hours contains a version of, or selection from, such prayers; the practice of daily prayers grew from the Jewish practice of reciting prayers at set times of the day known as zmanim: for example, in the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Peter and John the Evangelist visit the Temple in Jerusalem for the afternoon prayers. Psalm 119:164 states: "Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws"; this practice is believed to have been passed down through the centuries from the Apostles, with different practices developing in different places. As Christian monasticism spread, the practice of specified hours and liturgical formats began to develop and become standardized. Around the year 484, the Greek-Cappadocian monk Sabbas the Sanctified began the process of recording the liturgical practices around Jerusalem, while the cathedral and parish rites in the Patriarchate of Constantinople evolved in an different manner.
In 525, Benedict of Nursia set out one of the earliest schemes for the recitation of the Psalter at the Office. The two major practices were synthesized, commencing in the 8th century, to yield an office of great complexity; the Cluniac Reforms of the 11th century renewed an emphasis on liturgy and the canonical hours in the reformed priories of the Order of Saint Benedict, with Cluny Abbey at their head. In the Catholic Church, canonical hours are called offices, since they refer to the official set of prayers of the Church, known variously as the officium divinum, the opus Dei; the current official version of the hours in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church is called the Liturgy of the Hours in North America or divine office in Ireland and Britain. In Anglicanism, they are known as the daily or divine office, to distinguish them from the other'offices' of the Church. In the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches, the canonical hours may be referred to as the divine services, the book of hours is called the horologion.
Despite numerous small differences in practice according to local custom, the overall order is the same among Byzantine Rite monasteries, although parish and cathedral customs vary rather more so by locale. The usage in Oriental Orthodoxy, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Eastern Catholic counterparts all differ from each other and from other rites. Well-established by the 9th century in the West, these canonical offices consisted of seven daily prayer events, including lauds, terce, none and compline, as well as the night office, sometimes referred to as vigils, consisting of a number of sections called'nocturnes'. Building on the recitation of psalms and canticles from scripture, the Church has added hymns, hagiographical readings, other prayers; the canonical hours stemmed from Jewish prayer. In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelite priests to offer sacrifices of animals in the morning and evening; these sacrifices moved from the Tabernacle to Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. During the Babylonian captivity, when the Temple was no longer in use, the first synagogues were established, the services of Torah readings and hymns began to evolve.
This "sacrifice of praise" began to be substituted for the sacrifices of animals. After the people returned to Judea, the prayer services were incorporated into Temple worship as well; as time passed, the Jews began to be scattered across the Greco-Roman world in what is known as the Jewish diaspora. By the time of the Roman Empire, the Jews began to follow the Roman system of conducting the business day in scheduling their times for prayer. In Roman cities, the bell in the forum rang the beginning of the business day at about six o'clock in the morning, noted the day's progress by striking again at about nine o'clock in the morning, tolled for the lunch break at noon, called the people back to work again at about three o'clock in the afternoon, rang the close of the business day at about six o'clock in the evening; the narrative of Jesus' crucifixion and death refers to the sixth and ninth hours: Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice... and breathed His last. The first miracle of the apostles, the healing of the crippled man on the temple steps, occurred because Saint Peter and John the Apostle went to the Temple to pray. One of the defining moments of the early Church, the decision to include Gentiles among the community of believers, arose from a vision Peter had while praying at noontime; as Christianity began to separate from Judaism, the practice of praying at fixed times continued. The early church was known to pray the Psalms, which have remained the principal part of the canonical hours. By 60 AD, the Didache, the oldest known liturgical manual for Christians, recommended disciples to pray the Lord's Prayer three times a day. Pliny the Younger, not a Christian himself, mentions not only fixed times of prayer by believers, but specific services
A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of laypeople and, in some orders, clergy. Religious orders exist in many of the world's religions. In Buddhist societies, a religious order is one of the number of monastic orders of monks and nuns, many of which follow under a different school of teaching, such as Thailand's Dhammayuttika order - a monastic order founded by King Mongkut. A well-known Chinese Buddhist order is the ancient Shaolin order in Ch'an Buddhism and in modern times the Order of Hsu Yun. A Catholic religious institute is a society whose members pronounce vows that are accepted by a superior in the name of the Church and who live a life of brothers or sisters in common. Catholic religious orders and congregations are the two historical categories of Catholic religious institutes.
Religious institutes are distinct from secular institutes, another kind of institute of consecrated life, from lay ecclesial movements. In the Catholic Church, members of religious institutes, unless they are deacons or priests in Holy Orders, are not clergy, but belong to the laity. While the state of consecrated life is neither clerical nor lay, institutes themselves are classified as one or the other, a clerical institute being one that "by reason of the purpose or design intended by the founder or by virtue of legitimate tradition, is under the direction of clerics, assumes the exercise of sacred orders, is recognized as such by the authority of the Church". Well-known Roman Catholic religious institutes, not all of which were classified as "orders" rather than "congregations", include Augustinians, Carmelites, Franciscans, Piarists, Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Congregation of Holy Cross. Several religious orders evolved during the Crusades to incorporate a military mission thus became "religious military orders", such as the Knights of the Order of Saint John.
It is typical of non-monastic religious institutes to have a motherhouse or generalate that has jurisdiction over any number of dependent religious communities, for its members to be moved by their superior general to any other of its communities, as the needs of the institute at any one time demand. In accordance with the concept of independent communities in the Rule of St Benedict, the Benedictines have autonomous abbeys. Hence they can not move -- abbess -- to another abbey. An "independent house" may make a new foundation which remains a "dependent house" until it is granted independence by Rome and itself becomes an abbey; the autonomy of each house does not prevent them being affiliated into congregations – whether national or based on some other joint characteristic – and these, in turn, form the supra-national Benedictine Confederation. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, there is only one type of monasticism; the profession of monastics is considered by monks to be a Sacred Mystery. The Rite of Tonsure is printed in the Euchologion, the same book as the other Sacred Mysteries and services performed according to need.
See also: Active Lutheran orders Martin Luther had concerns with the spiritual value of monastic life at the time of the Reformation. After the foundation of the Lutheran Churches, some monasteries in Lutheran lands and convents adopted the Lutheran Christian faith. Other examples of Lutheran religious orders include the "Order of Lutheran Franciscans" in the United States. A Lutheran religious order following the Rule of St. Benedict, "The Congregation of the Servants of Christ," was established at St. Augustine's House in Oxford, Michigan, in 1958 when some other men joined Father Arthur Kreinheder in observing the monastic life and offices of prayer; this order has strong ties in Germany. In 2011, an Augustinian religious order, the Priestly Society of St. Augustine was established by the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church, its headquarters is at Christ Lutheran Church ALCC. Kent Island, Fr. Jens Bargmann, Ph. D. is the Grand Prior. Religious orders in England were dissolved by King Henry VIII upon the separation of the English church from Roman primacy.
For three hundred years, there were no formal religious orders in Anglicanism, although some informal communities – such as that founded by Nicholas Ferrar at Little Gidding – sprang into being. With the advent of the Oxford Movement in the Church of England and worldwide Anglicanism in the middle of the 19th century, several orders appeared. In 1841, the first order for women was established; the first order for men was founded 25 years later. Anglican religious voluntarily commit themselves for life, or a term of years, to holding their possessions in common or in trust. There are presently thirteen active religious orders for men, fifty-three for women, eight mixed gender; the Methodist Church of Great Britain, its ancestors, have established a number of orders of Deaconesses
A hermit is a person who lives in seclusion from society for religious reasons. Hermits are a part of several sections of Christianity, the concept is found in other religions as well. In Christianity, the term was applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament. In the Christian tradition the eremitic life is an early form of monastic living that preceded the monastic life in the cenobium; the Rule of St Benedict lists hermits among four kinds of monks. In the Roman Catholic Church, in addition to hermits who are members of religious institutes, the Canon law recognizes diocesan hermits under the direction of their bishop as members of the consecrated life; the same is true in many parts of the Anglican Communion, including the Episcopal Church in the US, although in the canon law of the Episcopal Church they are referred to as "solitaries" rather than "hermits". Both in religious and secular literature, the term "hermit" is used loosely for any Christian living a secluded prayer-focused life, sometimes interchangeably with anchorite/anchoress, recluse and "solitary".
Other religions, for example, Hinduism and Taoism have hermits in the sense of individuals living an ascetic form of life. In modern colloquial usage, "hermit" denotes anyone living apart from the rest of society, or participating in fewer social events, for any reason; the word hermit comes from the Latin ĕrēmīta, the latinisation of the Greek ἐρημίτης, "of the desert", which in turn comes from ἔρημος, signifying "desert", "uninhabited", hence "desert-dweller". In the common Christian tradition the first known Christian hermit in Egypt was Paul of Thebes, hence called "St. Paul the first hermit", his disciple Antony of Egypt referred to as "Antony the Great", is the most renowned of all the early Christian hermits owing to the biography by his friend Athanasius of Alexandria. An antecedent for Egyptian eremiticism may have been the Syrian solitary or "son of the covenant" who undertook special disciplines as a Christian. In the Middle Ages some Carmelite hermits claimed to trace their origin to Jewish hermits organized by Elijah.
Christian hermits in the past have lived in isolated cells or hermitages, whether a natural cave or a constructed dwelling, situated in the desert or the forest. People sometimes sought them out for spiritual counsel; some acquired so many disciples that they no longer had physical solitude. The early Christian Desert Fathers wove baskets to exchange for bread. In medieval times hermits were found within or near cities where they might earn a living as a gate keeper or ferryman. From the Middle Ages and down to modern times eremitical monasticism has been practiced within the context of religious institutes in the Christian West. For example, in the Catholic Church the Carthusians and Camaldolese arrange their monasteries as clusters of hermitages where the monks live most of their day and most of their lives in solitary prayer and work, gathering only briefly for communal prayer and only for community meals and recreation; the Cistercian and Carmelite orders, which are communal in nature, allow members who feel a calling to the eremitic life, after years living in the cenobium or community of the monastery, to move to a cell suitable as a hermitage on monastery grounds.
This applies to both their nuns. There have been many hermits who chose that vocation as an alternative to other forms of monastic life. In the 11th century, the life of the hermit gained recognition as a legitimate independent pathway to salvation. Many hermits in that century and the next came to be regarded as saints; the term "anchorite" is used as a synonym for hermit, not only in the earliest written sources but throughout the centuries. Yet the anchoritic life, while similar to the eremitic life, can be distinct from it. Anchorites lived the religious life in the solitude of an "anchorhold" a small hut or "cell" built against a church; the door of an anchorage tended to be bricked up in a special ceremony conducted by the local bishop after the anchorite had moved in. Medieval churches survive that have a tiny window built into the shared wall near the sanctuary to allow the anchorite to participate in the liturgy by listening to the service and to receive Holy Communion. Another window looked out into the street or cemetery, enabling charitable neighbors to deliver food and other necessities.
Clients seeking the anchorite's advice might use this window to consult them. Catholics who wish to live in eremitic monasticism may live that vocation as a hermit: in an eremitical order, but in both cases under obedience to their religious superior, or as an Oblate affiliated with the Camaldolese or as a diocesan hermit under the canonical direction of their bishop. There are lay people who informally follow an eremitic lifestyle and live as solitaries. In the Catholic Church, the institutes of consecrated life have their own regulations concerning those of their members who feel called by God to move from the life in community to the eremitic life, have the permission of their religious superior to do so; the Code of Canon