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(120 words)

[German Version]

The word “cenobites” is derived from Gk κοινός βίος/koinós bíos and refers to the common life as the characteristic feature of the monastery, as opposed to the isolated life of anachorites. Pachomius is considered the founder of cenobitic monasticism; his rules committed the monks to poverty, celibacy, and obedience. Basil the Great of Caesarea anchored cenobitic monasticism in the church as an impetus toward its reform. John Cassian regarded the cenobites as the earliest form of monasticism. Benedict of Nursia described the monastery as the school for the …

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Holze, Heinrich, “Cenobites”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 11 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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