Christian monasticism is a practice which began to develop early in the history of the Christian Church, modeled upon scriptural examples and ideals, including those in the Old Testament, but not mandated as an institution in the scriptures. It has come to be regulated by religious rules (e.g. the Rule of St Basil, the Rule of St Benedict, the Rule of Saint Augustine) and, in modern times, the Canon law of the respective Christian denominations that have forms of monastic living. Those living the monastic life are known by the generic terms monks (men) and nuns (women). In modern English, they are also known by the gender-neutral term "monastics." The word monk originated from the Greek word monos, which means alone. Monks did not live in monasteries at first, rather, they began by living alone, as the word monos might suggest. As more people took on the lives of monks, living alone in the wilderness, they started to come together and model themselves after the original monks nearby. Quickly the monks formed communities to further their ability to observe an ascetic life. Monastics generally dwell in a monastery, whether they live there in community (cenobites), or in seclusion (recluses).
Famous quotes containing the words christian and/or monasticism:
“It is necessary not to be Christian to appreciate the beauty and significance of the life of Christ.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Christianity as an organized religion has not always had a harmonious relationship with the family. Unlike Judaism, it kept almost no rituals that took place in private homes. The esteem that monasticism and priestly celibacy enjoyed implied a denigration of marriage and parenthood.”
—Beatrice Gottlieb, U.S. historian. The Family in the Western World from the Black Death to the Industrial Age, ch. 12, Oxford University Press (1993)