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The word monastery comes from the Latin monasterium, the lifestyle of a monk, or the place where monks or other religious live, work and worship in community. The word monasterium was applied to the bishop and cathedral clergy who lived apart from the lay community, which, though in no true sense a monastery, was nevertheless often called a monasterium. Thus in English-language usage, cathedrals, which were never monasteries, developed named such as York Minster, and abbeys could likewise be termed "minster" such as Westminster Abbey. See the entry cathedral.

For a discussion of the history and development of monasteries see monasticism and abbey.

Table of contents
1 Christian monasteries
2 Buddhist monasteries
3 Related articles

Christian monasteries

Can be of either monks (male religious), or nuns, (female religious).

The names given to various types of monastic establishment include:


A number of distinct monastic orders developed within Roman Catholicism. Eastern Orthodoxy does not have a system of individual Orders, per se.

Augustinian canons ('The Black Canons'), which evolved from the Priests Canons who would normally work with the Bishop: now living together with him as monks under St. Augustine's rule
Augustinian friars
Benedictine monks ('The Black Monks') , founded by St. Benedict, stresses manual labor in a self-subsistent monastery.
Carmelite friars ('The White Friars'), Contemplative Order
Carthusian monks
Cistercian monks ('The White Monks')
Cluniac monks
Dominican friars, ('The Black Friars'/'The Friars Preachers') Mendicant (preaching) order. They blend the active and the contemplative life: namely they practice contemplation, and go out to preach the fruits of that contemplation and encourage others to contemplate.
Franciscan friars ('The Grey Friars'/'Friars Minor'), another Mendicant order, they were charged with preaching to the poor.
Poor Clares
Premonstratensian canons ('The White Canons')
Tironensian monks ('The Grey Monks')
Trinitarians ('The Red Friars')
Christian Brothers
Valliscaulian monks
Visitation Sisters
Knights Templar
Knights Hospitaller

The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is a religious order, having vows; but, it is not a monastic order, strictly speaking, as all its members live in the world.

Catholic monasteries

Famous monasteries include:

Famous dissolved monasteries:

Orthodox Christian monasteries

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, a highest-rank monastery is called lavra.

The centre of Orthodox monasticism is Mount Athos in Greece, an isolated peninsula containing over a dozen ancient monasteries.

Other famous Orthodox monasteries include:

See also: monasticism, abbey, priory, cloister Look under the specific monastic order you are interested in, e.g. Benedictine, Cluny, etc. Broader treatment and a more complete list are available at the entry for Monasticism.

Buddhist monasteries

See also: monasticism, List of Buddhist temples

Related articles