Monastery

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 (hermits). A monastery generally includes a place reserved for prayer which may be a chapel, church, or temple, and may also serve as an oratory.

Monasteries vary greatly 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 typically comprises a number of buildings which include a church, dormitory, cloister, refectory, library, balneary and infirmary. Depending on the location, the monastic order and the occupation of its inhabitants, the complex may also include a wide range of buildings that facilitate self-sufficiency and service to the community. These may include a hospice, a school, and a range of agricultural and manufacturing buildings such as a barn, a forge, or a brewery.

In English usage, the term monastery is generally used to denote the buildings of a community of monks. In modern usage, convent tends to be applied only to institutions of female monastics (nuns), particularly communities of teaching or nursing religious sisters. Historically, a convent denoted a house of friars (reflecting the Latin), now more commonly called a friary. Various religions may apply these terms in more specific ways.

Prokudin-Gorskii-09-edit2
Monastery of St. Nilus on Stolobny Island in Lake Seliger near Ostashkov, Russia, ca. 1910
Vista aerea del Monasterio de El Escorial
Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain. Built in 1563–1584.
Sumela From Across Valley
The Sumela Monastery, south of Trabzon in Eastern Turkey. Built in 4th century (estimated 386 AD).

Etymology

St gall plan
The Plan of Saint Gall, the ground plan of an unbuilt abbey, providing for all of the needs of the monks within the confines of the monastery walls

The word monastery comes from the Greek word μοναστήριον, neut. of μοναστήριοςmonasterios from μονάζεινmonazein "to live alone"[1] from the root μόνοςmonos "alone" (originally all Christian monks were hermits); the suffix "-terion" denotes a "place for doing something". 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 also applied to the habitation of a bishop and the cathedral clergy who lived apart from the lay community. Most cathedrals were not monasteries, and 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, and was a Benedictine monastery until the Reformation, and its Chapter preserves elements of the Benedictine tradition. See the entry cathedral. They are also to be distinguished from collegiate churches, such as St George's Chapel, Windsor.

Terms

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 generally called vihara (Pali language). Viharas may be occupied by men or women, and in keeping with common English usage, a vihara populated by females may often be called a nunnery or a convent. However, vihara can also refer to a temple. In Tibetan Buddhism, monasteries are often called gompa. In Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, a monastery is called a wat. In Burma, a monastery is called a kyaung.

A Christian monastery may be an abbey (i.e., under the rule of an abbot), or a priory (under the rule of a prior), or conceivably a hermitage (the dwelling of a hermit). It may be a community of men (monks) or of women (nuns). A charterhouse is any monastery belonging to the Carthusian order. In Eastern Christianity, a very small monastic community can be called a skete, and a very 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 (or anchoritic) life of an anchorite and the eremitic life of a hermit. There has also been, mostly 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, mandir, koil, or most commonly an ashram.

Jains use the Buddhist term vihara.

Monastic life

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 socially separate from the surrounding populace can also vary widely; some religious traditions mandate isolation for purposes of contemplation removed from the everyday world, in which case members of the monastic community may spend most of their time isolated even from each other. 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, and people may be part of a monastic community for periods ranging from a few days at a time to almost an entire lifetime.

The life within the walls of a monastery may be supported in several ways: by manufacturing and selling goods, often agricultural products, by donations or alms, by rental or investment incomes, and 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, charitable and hospital services. Monasteries have often 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.

Buddhism

Ganden Monastery in 1921
Part of Ganden Monastery, Tibet in 1921. Tsongkhapa's tomb is in the center left

Buddhist monasteries, known as vihāra in Pali and Sanskrit, emerged sometime around the fourth century BCE from the practice of vassa, a retreat undertaken by Buddhist monastics during the South Asian wet season. To prevent wandering monks and nuns from disturbing new plant growth or becoming stranded in inclement weather, they were instructed to remain in a fixed location for the roughly three-month period typically beginning in mid-July.

These early fixed vassa retreats were held in pavilions and parks that had been donated to the sangha by wealthy supporters. Over the years, the custom of staying on property held in common by the sangha as a whole during the vassa retreat evolved into cenobitic monasticism, in which monks and nuns resided year round in monasteries.

In India, Buddhist monasteries gradually developed into centres of learning where philosophical principles were developed and debated; this tradition is currently preserved by monastic universities of Vajrayana Buddhists, as well as religious schools and universities founded by religious orders across the Buddhist world. In modern times, living a settled life in a monastery setting has become the most common lifestyle for Buddhist monks and nuns across the globe.

Whereas early monasteries are considered to have been held in common by the entire sangha, in later years this tradition diverged in a number of countries. Despite vinaya prohibitions on possessing wealth, many monasteries became large land owners, much like monasteries in medieval Christian Europe. In Chinese Buddhism, peasant families worked monastic-owned land in exchange for paying a portion of their yearly crop to the resident monks in the monastery, just as they would to a feudal landlord. In Sri Lanka and in Tibetan Buddhism, the ownership of a monastery often became vested in a single monk, who would often keep the property within the family by passing it on to a nephew who ordained as a monk. In Japan, where civil authorities permitted Buddhist monks to marry, being the head of a temple or monastery sometimes became a hereditary position, passed from father to son over many generations.

Forest monasteries – most commonly found in the Theravada traditions of Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka – are monasteries dedicated primarily to the study of Buddhist meditation, rather than scholarship or ceremonial duties. Forest monasteries often function like early Christian monasteries, with small groups of monks living an essentially hermit-like life gathered loosely around a respected elder teacher. While the wandering lifestyle practised by the Buddha and his disciples continues to be the ideal model for forest tradition monks in Thailand and elsewhere, practical concerns- including shrinking wilderness areas, lack of access to lay supporters, dangerous wildlife, and dangerous border conflicts- dictate that increasing numbers of "meditation" monks live in monasteries, rather than wandering.

Tibetan Buddhist monasteries or gompas are sometimes known as lamaseries and the monks are sometimes (mistakenly) known as lamas. Helena Blavatsky's Theosophical Society named its initial New York City meeting place "the Lamasery."[2]

Some famous Buddhist monasteries include:

A further list of Buddhist monasteries is available at the list of Buddhist temples

Trends

Some of the largest monasteries in the world are Buddhist. Drepung Monastery in Tibet housed around 10,000 monks prior to the Chinese invasion.[3][4] Today, its relocated monastery in India houses around 8000.

Christianity

Morgabrielmain
Mor Gabriel Monastery was founded in 397 by Mor Shmu'el and his student Mor Shem'un.
Mor Hananyo
The Mor Hananyo Monastery, one of the many monasteries of Mount Izla

According to tradition, Christian monasticism began in Egypt with Anthony the Great. Originally, all Christian monks were hermits seldom encountering other people. But because of the extreme difficulty of the solitary life, many monks failed, either returning to their previous lives, or becoming spiritually deluded.

A transitional form of monasticism was later created by Saint Amun in which "solitary" monks lived close enough to one another to offer mutual support as well as gathering together on Sundays for common services.

It was Pachomius the Great who developed the idea of cenobitic monasticism: having renunciates live together and worship together under the same roof. Some attribute his mode of communal living to the barracks of the Roman Army in which Pachomios served as a young man.[5] Soon the Egyptian desert blossomed with monasteries, especially around Nitria (Wadi El Natrun), which was called the "Holy City". Estimates are that upwards of 50,000 monks lived in this area at any one time. Hermitism never died out though, but was reserved only for those advanced monks who had worked out their problems within a cenobitic monastery.

The idea caught on, and other places followed:

Western Medieval Europe

Monte Cassino Opactwo 1
Abbey of Monte Cassino, originally built by Saint Benedict, shown here as rebuilt after World War II

The life of prayer and communal living was one of rigorous schedules and self-sacrifice. Prayer was their work, and the Office prayers took up much of a monk's waking hours – Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, daily Mass, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. In between prayers, monks were allowed to sit in the cloister and work on their projects of writing, copying, or decorating books. These would have been assigned based on a monk's abilities and interests. The non-scholastic types were assigned to physical labour of varying degrees.

The main meal of the day took place around noon, often taken at a refectory table, and consisted of the most simple and bland foods i.e., poached fish, boiled oats. While they ate, scripture would be read from a pulpit above them. Since no other words were allowed to be spoken, monks developed communicative gestures. Abbots and notable guests were honoured with a seat at the high table, while everyone else sat perpendicular to that in the order of seniority. This practice remained when some monasteries became universities after the first millennium, and can still be seen at Oxford University and Cambridge University.

Monasteries were important contributors to the surrounding community. They were centres of intellectual progression and education. They welcomed aspiring priests to come study and learn, allowing them even to challenge doctrine in dialogue with superiors. The earliest forms of musical notation are attributed to a monk named Notker of St Gall, and was spread to musicians throughout Europe by way of the interconnected monasteries. Since monasteries offered respite for weary pilgrim travellers, monks were obligated also to care for their injuries or emotional needs. Over time, lay people started to make pilgrimages to monasteries instead of just using them as a stop over. By this time, they had sizeable libraries that attracted learned tourists. Families would donate a son in return for blessings. During the plagues, monks helped to till the fields and provide food for the sick.

A Warming House is a common part of a medieval monastery, where monks went to warm themselves. It was often the only room in the monastery where a fire was lit.

Catholic

Convento M. Argentario
Passionist Monastery in Monte Argentario, Tuscany, Italy

A number of distinct monastic orders developed within Roman Catholicism:

Bassac 16 Abbaye vue ESE 2014
Bassac Abbey (12th -18th centuries), Bassac, Charente, France

While in English most mendicant Orders use the monastic terms of monastery or priory, in the Latin languages, the term used by the friars for their houses is convent, from the Latin conventus, e.g., (Italian: convento) or (French: couvent), meaning "gathering place". The Franciscans rarely use the term "monastery" at present, preferring to call their house a "friary".

Orthodox

Троїцький монастир
Trinity Monastery in Chernihiv, Ukraine, was reconstructed in 1649.
RilaMon2
Rila monastery in Bulgaria, UNESCO World Heritage Site

In the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Church, both monks and nuns follow a similar ascetic discipline, and even their religious habit is the same (though nuns wear an extra veil, called the apostolnik). Unlike Roman Catholic monasticism, the Orthodox do not have separate religious orders, but a single monastic form throughout the Orthodox Church. Monastics, male or female, live away from the world, in order to pray for the world.

Monasteries vary from the very large to the very small. There are three types of monastic houses in the Orthodox Church:

  • A cenobium is a monastic community where monks live together, work together, and pray together, following the directions of an abbot and the elder monks. The concept of the cenobitic life is that when many men (or women) live together in a monastic context, like rocks with sharp edges, their "sharpness" becomes worn away and they become smooth and polished. The largest monasteries can hold many thousands of monks and are called lavras. In the cenobium the daily office, work and meals are all done in common.
  • A skete is a small monastic establishment that usually consist of one elder and two or three disciples. In the skete most prayer and work are done in private, coming together on Sundays and feast days. Thus, skete life has elements of both solitude and community, and for this reason is called the "middle way".
  • A hermit is a monk who practises asceticism but lives in solitude rather than in a monastic community.

One of the great centres of Orthodox monasticism is Mount Athos in Greece, which, like the Vatican State, is self-governing. It is located on an isolated peninsula approximately 20 miles (32 km) long and 5 miles (8.0 km) wide, and is administered by the heads of the 20 monasteries. Today the population of the Holy Mountain is around 2,200 men only and can only be visited by men with special permission granted by both the Greek government and the government of the Holy Mountain itself.

Oriental Orthodox

Mor-mattai
Dayro d-Mor Mattai was founded in 363 by the hermit Mar Mattai who had fled persecution in Amid under the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate.

The Oriental Orthodox churches, distinguished by their Miaphysite beliefs, consist of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria (whose Patriarch is considered first among equals for the following churches), Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Indian Orthodox Church, and Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch. The now extinct Church of Caucasian Albania also fell under this group.

The monasteries of St. Macarius (Deir Abu Makaria) and St. Anthony (Deir Mar Antonios) are the oldest monasteries in the world and under the patronage of the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Others

The last years of the 18th century marked in the Christian Church the beginnings of growth of monasticism among Protestant denominations. The center of this movement was in the United States and Canada beginning with the Shaker Church, which was founded in England and then moved to the United States. In the 19th century many of these monastic societies were founded as Utopian communities based on the monastic model in many cases. Aside from the Shakers, there were the Amanna, the Anabaptists, and others. Many did allow marriage but most had a policy of celibacy and communal life in which members shared all things communally and disavowed personal ownership.

In the 19th-century monasticism was revived in the Church of England, leading to the foundation of such institutions as the House of the Resurrection, Mirfield (Community of the Resurrection), Nashdom Abbey (Benedictine), Cleeve Priory (Community of the Glorious Ascension) and Ewell Monastery (Cistercian), Benedictine orders, Franciscan orders and the Orders of the Holy Cross, Order of St. Helena. Other Protestant Christian denominations also engage in monasticism, particularly Lutherans in Europe and North America. For example, the Benedictine order of the Holy Cross at St Augustine's House in Michigan is a Lutheran order of monks and there are Lutheran religious communities in Sweden and Germany. In the 1960s, experimental monastic groups were formed in which both men and women were members of the same house and also were permitted to be married and have children—these were operated on a communal form.

Trends

Buckfast Abbey - geograph.org.uk - 932824
Buckfast Abbey, Devon, England, and its surrounding monastery, were rebuilt in the 20th century.

There is a growing Christian neo-monasticism, particularly among evangelical Christians.[7]

Hinduism

Advaita Vedanta

Vidyashankara Temple at Shringeri
Hindu matha, Vidyasankara Temple

From the times of the Vedas people following monastic ways of life have existed in the Indian sub-continent. In what is now called Hinduism, monks have existed for a long time, and with them, their respective monasteries, called mathas. Important among them are the chatur-amnaya mathas established by Adi Shankara which formed the nodal centres of under whose guidance the ancient Order of Advaitin monks were re-organised under ten names of the Dashanami Sampradaya.

Sri Vaishnava

Parakala Mutt - as it stands today
Parakala Mutt - as it stands today

Ramanuja heralded a new era in the world of Hinduism by reviving the lost faith in it and gave a firm doctrinal basis to the Vishishtadvaita philosophy which had existed since time immemorial. He ensured the establishment of a number of mathas of his Sri Vaishnava creed at different important centres of pilgrimage.

Later on, other famous Sri Vaishnava theologians and religious heads established various important mathas such as

Nimbarka Vaishnava

Ukhra Nimbarka Peeth Mahanta Asthal
Ukhra Nimbarka Peeth Mahanta Asthal

Nimbarka Sampradaya of Nimbarkacharya is popular in North, West and East India and has several important Mathas.

Dvaita Vedanta

Ashta matha (eight monasteries) of Udupi were founded by Madhvacharya (Madhwa acharya), a dwaitha philosopher.

Sufism

Islam discourages monasticism, which is referred to in the Quran as "an invention".[8][9] However, the term "Sufi" is applied to Muslim mystics who, as a means of achieving union with Allah, adopted ascetic practices including wearing a garment made of coarse wool called "sf". The term "Sufism" comes from "sf" meaning the person, who wears "sf". But in the course of time, Sufi has come to designate all Muslim believers in mystic union.[10]

See also

References

  1. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  2. ^ Crowley, John (February 2013). "Madame and the Masters: Blavatsky's cosmic soap opera". Harper's. p. 84.
  3. ^ "Tibet in Louisville". Spiritual Travels. Lori. Archived from the original on 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2013-02-11.
  4. ^ Macartney, Jne (March 12, 2008). "Monks under siege in monasteries as protest ends in a hail of gunfire". The Sunday Times.
  5. ^ Dunn, Marilyn. The Emergence of Monasticism: From the Desert Fathers to the Early Middle Ages. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 2000. p29.
  6. ^ "Манастирът в с. Златна Ливада – най-старият в Европа" (in Bulgarian). LiterNet. 30 April 2004. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  7. ^ Bill Tenny-Brittian, Hitchhiker's Guide to Evangelism, page 134 (Chalice Press, 2008). ISBN 978-0-8272-1454-5
  8. ^ "The Quran, sura 57, verse 27". www.perseus.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  9. ^ "The Quranic Arabic Corpus - Translation". corpus.quran.com. Retrieved 2017-11-02.
  10. ^ "The Neoplatonist Roots of Sufi Philosophy" by Kamuran Godelek,20th World Congress of Philosophy, [1]

External links

Church (building)

A church building or church house, often simply called a church, is a building used for Christian religious activities, particularly for Christian worship services. The term is often used by Christians to refer to the physical buildings where they worship, but it is sometimes used (by analogy) to refer to buildings of other religions. In traditional Christian architecture, the church is often arranged in the shape of a Christian cross. When viewed from plan view the longest part of a cross is represented by the aisle and the junction of the cross is located at the altar area.

Towers or domes are often added with the intention of directing the eye of the viewer towards the heavens and inspiring visitors. Modern church buildings have a variety of architectural styles and layouts; many buildings that were designed for other purposes have now been converted for church use, and, conversely, many original church buildings have been put to other uses.

The earliest identified Christian church building was a house church founded between 233 and 256. From the 11th through the 14th centuries, a wave of building of cathedrals and smaller parish churches were erected across Western Europe. A cathedral is a church building, usually Roman Catholic, Protestant (including Anglican), Eastern Orthodox, or Oriental Orthodox, housing a cathedra, the formal name for the seat or throne of a presiding bishop.

Drepung Monastery

'Drepung Monastery (Wylie: bras spungs dgon pa, "Rice Heap Monastery"), located at the foot of Mount Gephel, is one of the "great three" Gelug university gompas (monasteries) of Tibet. The other two are Ganden Monastery and Sera Monastery.

Drepung is the largest of all Tibetan monasteries and is located on the Gambo Utse mountain, five kilometers from the western suburb of Lhasa.

Freddie Spencer Chapman reported, after his 1936-37 trip to Tibet, that Drepung was at that time the largest monastery in the world, and housed 7,700 monks, "but sometimes as many as 10,000 monks."Since the 1950s, Drepung Monastery, along with its peers Ganden and Sera, have lost much of their independence and spiritual credibility in the eyes of Tibetans since they operate under the close watch of the Chinese security services. All three were reestablished in exile in the 1950s in Karnataka state in south India. Drepung and Ganden are in Mundgod and Sera is in Bylakuppe.

Dzogchen Monastery

Dzogchen Monastery (Tib. རྫོགས་ཆེན་དགོན། rdzogs chen dgon) is one of the six great monasteries of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located in Kham within modern day Dêgê County, Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, China.

Ganden Monastery

Ganden Monastery (also Gaden or Gandain) or Ganden Namgyeling is one of the "great three" Gelug university monasteries of Tibet. It is in Dagzê County, Lhasa. The other two are Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery. Ganden Monastery was founded in 1409 by Je Tsongkhapa Lozang-dragpa, founder of the Gelug order. The monastery was destroyed after 1959, but has since been partially rebuilt. Another monastery with the same name and tradition was established in Southern India in 1966 by Tibetan exiles.

Heraklion

Heraklion or Heraclion (; Greek: Ηράκλειο, Irákleio, pronounced [iˈraklio]) is the largest city and the administrative capital of the island of Crete and capital of Heraklion regional unit. It is the fourth largest city in Greece. According to the results of the 2011 census, the municipality's population was 173,993 and according to the results of 2011 census, the metropolitan area has a population of 225,574 and it extends over an area of 684.3 km2 (264.2 sq mi).

The Bronze Age palace of Knossos, also known as the Palace of Minos, is located nearby.

Heraklion announced as Europe’s fastest growing tourism destination for 2017, according to Euromonitor, showing an 11.2% growth in international arrivals. According to the ranking, Heraklion was ranked as the 20th most visited region in Europe, as the 66th area on the Planet and as the 2nd in Greece for the year 2017, with 3.2 million visitors and the 19th in Europe for 2018, with 3,4 million visitors [2].

Kiev Pechersk Lavra

Kiev Pechersk Lavra or Kyivo-Pechers’ka Lavra (Ukrainian: Києво-Печерська лавра: Kyievo-Pechers'ka lavra; Russian: Киeво-Печерская лавра: Kyievo-Pecherska lavra), also known as the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves, is a historic Orthodox Christian monastery which gave its name to one of the city districts where it is located in Kyiv.

Since its foundation as the cave monastery in 1051 the Lavra has been a preeminent center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe. Together with the Saint Sophia Cathedral, it is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monastery complex is considered a separate national historic-cultural preserve (sanctuary), the national status to which was granted on 13 March 1996. The Lavra is not only located in another part of the city, but is part of a different national sanctuary than Saint Sophia Cathedral. While being a cultural attraction, the monastery is once again active, with over 100 monks in residence. It was named one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine on 21 August 2007, based on voting by experts and the internet community.Currently, the jurisdiction over the site is divided between the state museum, National Kyiv-Pechersk Historic-Cultural Preserve, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) as the site of the chief monastery of that Church and the residence of its leader, Metropolitan Onuphrius.

List of Buddhist temples

This is a list of Buddhist temples, monasteries, stupas, and pagodas for which there are Wikipedia articles, sorted by location.

Lists of New Testament minuscules

The list of New Testament Minuscules ordered by Gregory-Aland index number is divided into three sections:

List of New Testament minuscules (1–1000)

List of New Testament minuscules (1001–2000)

List of New Testament minuscules (2001–)

List of New Testament Minuscules ordered by location and hosting institution:

(*) Indicates only a portion of manuscript held by institution

(**) Indicates manuscript is a forgery

Monte Cassino

Monte Cassino (sometimes written Montecassino) is a rocky hill about 130 kilometres (81 mi) southeast of Rome, in the Latin Valley, Italy, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to the west of the town of Cassino and 520 m (1,706.04 ft) altitude. Site of the Roman town of Casinum, it is best known for its abbey, the first house of the Benedictine Order, having been established by Benedict of Nursia himself around 529. It was for the community of Monte Cassino that the Rule of Saint Benedict was composed.

The first monastery on Monte Cassino was sacked by the invading Lombards around 570 and abandoned. Of the first monastery almost nothing is known. The second monastery was established by Petronax of Brescia around 718, at the suggestion of Pope Gregory II and with the support of the Lombard Duke Romuald II of Benevento. It was directly subject to the pope and many monasteries in Italy were under its authority. In 883 the monastery was sacked by Saracens and abandoned again. The community of monks resided first at Teano and then from 914 at Capua before the monastery was rebuilt in 949. During the period of exile, the Cluniac Reforms were introduced into the community.

The 11th and 12th centuries were the abbey's golden age. It acquired a large secular territory around Monte Cassino, the so-called Terra Sancti Benedicti ("Land of Saint Benedict"), which it heavily fortified with castles. It maintained good relations with the Eastern Church, even receiving patronage from Byzantine emperors. It encouraged fine art and craftsmanship by employing Byzantine and even Saracen artisans. In 1057, Pope Victor II recognised the abbot of Monte Cassino as having precedence over all other abbots. Many monks rose to become bishops and cardinals, and three popes were drawn from the abbey: Stephen IX (1057–58), Victor III (1086–87) and Gelasius II (1118–19). During this period the monastery's chronicle was written by two of its own, Cardinal Leo of Ostia and Peter the Deacon (who also compiled the cartulary).

By the 13th century, the monastery's decline had set in. In 1239, the Emperor Frederick II garrisoned troops in it during his war with the Papacy. In 1322, Pope John XXII elevated the abbey into a bishopric but this was suppressed in 1367. The buildings were destroyed by an earthquake in 1349, and in 1369 Pope Urban V demanded a contribution from all Benedictine monasteries to fund the rebuilding. In 1454 the abbey was placed in commendam and in 1504 was made subject to the Abbey of Santa Giustina in Padua.

In 1799, Monte Cassino was sacked again by French troops during the French Revolutionary Wars. The abbey was dissolved by the Italian government in 1866. The building became a national monument with the monks as custodians of its treasures. In 1944 during World War II it was the site of the Battle of Monte Cassino and the building was destroyed by Allied bombing. It was rebuilt after the war.

After the reforms of the Second Vatican Council the monastery was one of the few remaining territorial abbeys within the Catholic Church. On 23 October 2014, Pope Francis applied the norms of the motu proprio Ecclesia Catholica of Paul VI (1976) to the abbey, removing from its jurisdiction all 53 parishes and reducing its spiritual jurisdiction to the abbey itself—while retaining its status as a territorial abbey. The former territory of the Abbey, except the land on which the abbey church and monastery sit, was transferred to the diocese of Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo.

Mount Athos

Mount Athos (; Greek: Άθως, Áthos [ˈaθos]) is a mountain and peninsula in northeastern Greece and an important centre of Eastern Orthodox monasticism. It is governed as an autonomous polity within the Greek Republic. Mount Athos is home to 20 monasteries under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

Mount Athos is commonly referred to in Greek as the "Holy Mountain" (Ἅγιον Ὄρος, Hágion Óros) and the entity as the "Athonite State" (Αθωνική Πολιτεία, Athoniki Politia). Other languages of Orthodox tradition also use names translating to "Holy Mountain", including Bulgarian and Serbian Света гора, Sveta gora; Russian Святая гора, Svyatya gora; Georgian მთაწმინდა, mtats’minda. In the classical era, while the mountain was called Athos, the peninsula was known as Acté or Akté (Ἀκτή).

Mount Athos has been inhabited since ancient times and is known for its nearly 1,800-year continuous Christian presence and its long historical monastic traditions, which date back to at least 800 A.D. and the Byzantine era. Today, over 2,000 monks from Greece and many other countries, including Eastern Orthodox countries such as Romania, Moldova, Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia, live an ascetic life in Athos, isolated from the rest of the world. The Athonite monasteries feature a rich collection of well-preserved artifacts, rare books, ancient documents, and artworks of immense historical value, and Mount Athos has been listed as a World Heritage site since 1988.

Although Mount Athos is legally part of the European Union like the rest of Greece, the Monastic State of the Holy Mountain and the Athonite institutions have a special jurisdiction which was reaffirmed during the admission of Greece to the European Community (precursor to the EU). This empowers the Monastic State's authorities to regulate the free movement of people and goods in its territory; in particular, only males are allowed to enter.

Nun

A nun is a member of a religious community of women, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the enclosure of a monastery. Communities of nuns exist in numerous religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism.

In the Buddhist tradition, female monastics are known as Bhikkhuni, and take several additional vows compared to male monastics (bhikkhus). Nuns are most common in Mahayana Buddhism, but have more recently become more prevalent in other traditions.

Within Christianity, women religious, known as nuns or religious sisters, are found in Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran traditions among others. Though the terms are often used interchangeably, nuns historically take solemn vows and live a life of prayer and contemplation in a monastery or convent, while sisters take simple vows and live an active vocation of prayer and charitable works in areas such as education and healthcare. Examples include the monastic Order of Saint Clare founded in 1212 in the Franciscan tradition, or the Missionaries of Charity founded in 1950 by Mother Teresa to care for people living in grave poverty.

Priory

A priory is a monastery of men or women under religious vows that is headed by a prior or prioress. Priories may be houses of mendicant friars or nuns (such as the Dominicans, Augustinians, Franciscans, and Carmelites, for instance), or monasteries of monks or nuns (as with the Benedictines). Houses of canons regular and canonesses regular also use this term, the alternative being "canonry".

In pre-Reformation England, if an abbey church was raised to cathedral status, the abbey became a Cathedral Priory. The bishop, in effect, took the place of the abbot, and the monastery itself was headed by a prior.

Ramoche Temple

Ramoche Temple (Tibetan: ར་མོ་ཆེ་དགོན་པ་, Wylie: Ra-mo-che Dgon-pa, Lhasa dialect IPA: [ràmotɕe kø̃̀pa]; Chinese: 小昭寺; pinyin: Xiǎozhāo Sì) is a Buddhist monastery in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region. It dates back to the seventh century and is considered to be the most important temple in the city after the Jokhang Temple. Situated in the northwestern part of the Tibetan capital, it is east of the Potala and north of the Jokhang. The site occupies an area of 4,000 square meters (almost one acre).

Saint Catherine's Monastery

Saint Catherine's Monastery (Arabic: دير القدّيسة كاترين‎; Greek: Μονὴ τῆς Ἁγίας Αἰκατερίνης), officially "Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai" (Greek: Ιερά Μονή του Θεοβαδίστου Όρους Σινά), lies on the Sinai Peninsula, at the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai, near the town of Saint Catherine, Egypt. The monastery is controlled by the autonomous Church of Sinai, part of the wider Eastern Orthodox Church, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Built between 548 and 565, the monastery is one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world. The site contains the world's oldest continually operating library, possessing many unique books including the Syriac Sinaiticus and, until 1859, the Codex Sinaiticus.

Sanga Monastery

Sanga Monastery is a small Tibetan Buddhist monastery located in the town of Dagzê in Dagzê County, Lhasa, Tibet.

Shaolin Monastery

The Shaolin Monastery (Chinese: 少林寺; pinyin: Shàolín sì), also known as the Shaolin Temple, is a Chan ("Zen") Buddhist temple in Dengfeng County, Henan Province, China. Believed to have been founded in the 5th century CE, the Shaolin Temple is the main temple of the Shaolin school of Buddhism to this day.

Shaolin Monastery and its Pagoda Forest were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 as part of the "Historic Monuments of Dengfeng".

Tashi Lhunpo Monastery

Tashi Lhunpo Monastery (Tibetan: བཀྲ་ཤིས་ལྷུན་པོ་), founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama, is a historic and culturally important monastery in Shigatse, the second-largest city in Tibet.

The monastery was sacked when the Gorkha Kingdom invaded Tibet and captured Shigatse in 1791 before a combined Tibetan and Chinese army drove them back as far as the outskirts of Kathmandu, when they were forced to agree to keep the peace in the future, pay tribute every five years, and return what they had looted from Tashi Lhunpo.The monastery is the traditional seat of successive Panchen Lamas, the second highest ranking tulku lineage in the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The "Tashi" or Panchen Lama had temporal power over three small districts, though not over the town of Shigatse itself, which was administered by a dzongpön (prefect) appointed from Lhasa.Located on a hill in the center of the city, the full name in Tibetan of the monastery means "all fortune and happiness gathered here" or "heap of glory". Captain Samuel Turner, a British officer with the East India Company who visited the monastery in the late 18th century, described it in the following terms:

"If the magnificence of the place was to be increased by any external cause, none could more superbly have adorned its numerous gilded canopies and turrets than the sun rising in full splendour directly opposite. It presented a view wonderfully beautiful and brilliant; the effect was little short of magic, and it made an impression which no time will ever efface from my mind."

Pilgrims circumambulate the monastery on the lingkhor (sacred path) outside the walls.

Although two-thirds of the buildings were destroyed during the excesses of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, they were mainly the residences for the 4,000 monks and the monastery itself was not as extensively damaged as most other religious structures in Tibet, for it was the seat of the Panchen Lama who remained in Chinese-controlled territory.

However, during 1966 Red Guards led a crowd to break statues, burn scriptures and open the stupas containing the relics of the 5th to 9th Panchen Lamas, and throw them in the river. Some remains, though, were saved by locals, and in 1985, Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama, began the construction of a new stupa to house them and honour his predecessors. It was finally consecrated on 22 January 1989, just six days before he died aged fifty-one at Tashi Lhunpo. "It was as if he was saying now he could rest."

Trappists

The Trappists, officially the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Latin: Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae, abbreviated as OCSO), are a Catholic religious order of cloistered monastics that branched off from the Cistercians. They follow the Rule of Saint Benedict and have communities of both monks and nuns that are referred to as Trappists and Trappistines, respectively. They are named after La Trappe Abbey, the monastery from which the movement and religious order originated.

Vihara

Vihara (Sanskrit: विहार vihāra) generally refers to a monastery for Buddhist renunciates. The concept is ancient and in early Sanskrit and Pali texts, it meant any arrangement of space or facilities for pleasure and entertainment. The term evolved into an architectural concept wherein it refers to living quarters for monks with an open shared space or courtyard, particularly in Buddhism. The term is also found in Ajivika, Hindu and Jain monastic literature, usually referring to temporary refuge for wandering monks or nuns during the annual Indian monsoons. In modern Jainism, the monks continue to wander from town to town except during the rainy season (Chaturmas), the term "vihara" refers their wanderings.Vihara or vihara hall has a more specific meaning in the architecture of India, especially ancient Indian rock-cut architecture. Here it means a central hall, with small cells connected to it sometimes with beds carved from the stone. Some have a shrine cell set back at the centre of the back wall, containing a stupa in early examples, or a Buddha statue later. Typical large sites such as the Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad Caves, Karli Caves, and Kanheri Caves contain several viharas. Some included a chaitya or worship hall nearby. The vihara was originated to be a shelter for Monks when it rains.

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