Monasticism, also commonly called monachism, is a special form of religious
community life where the people separate themselves from normal the ways of life
to pursue an idea of perfection or a higher religious experience. Monasticism
entails Asceticism, the practice of disciplined self-denial. This asceticism may
include fasting, silence, a prohibition against personal ownership, and an
acceptance of bodily discomfort. It usually includes poverty, celibacy, and
obedience to a spiritual leader. The goal of such practices is usually a more
intense relationship with God, some type of personal enlightenment, or the
service of God through prayer, meditation, or good works such as teaching or

The word monasticism originates from the Greek word "monos" meaning
alone; the early Christian monastic people, or hermits, were called the
"ones that lived alone" because they went into the desert alone to
live a life of solitude. Both men and women practiced monasticism. The men were
called monks and lived in monasteries. The women were called nuns and lived in

Monasticism has an important part in many major religions including the
following: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, The Sufi branch of Islam, and
Christianity. Monasticism has flourished both in the Roman Catholic Church and
in the Eastern Orthodox churches from earliest Christian times to present times,
being reformed and renewed periodically by dynamic individuals with new ideas
from current practice.

Christian monasticism started in the deserts of Egypt and Syria in the third
and fourth centuries AD. Around 271, AD Saint Anthony the Great went into the
desert alone to lead a holy life. Later went to live in the desert. Some were
Christians fleeing persecution in the Roman Empire others were people who found
the vices, or bad things in their lives, intolerable. About 346, AD Saint
Pachomuis was associated with the first communities cenobites in Egypt. Saint
Brasil the Great, bishop of Caesarea, placed monasticism in an urban context by
introducing charitable service as a work discipline.

Category: Religion