Monasteries & other Christian communities

Ever since the beginning of the Church, there have been some Christians who wished to devote themselves more fully to a life of prayer or service, away from the everyday distractions of life. In time, monastic orders were developed for such communities, examples of which are the Benedictines, Dominicans, Franciscans, and Jesuits. Christians devoting themselves to such a life take vows for life (usually of obedience, poverty and chastity) and are known as monks or nuns. Some of these communities are intentionally separated from society at large, while others offer services such as schools, care homes and spiritual retreats. Most of such orders are Catholic or Orthodox; Protestants are less drawn to this form of community, although the Anglican Church does have some. In the twentieth century a number of Protestant or ecumenical Christian communities were established however, but usually without the above vows or life commitments, but which nevertheless had a clear intention of prayer and service. Examples of this are the Iona Community in Scotland and the Othona communities in Essex and Dorset.

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