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In the wider sense the term is used to refer to members of one religion who may live in groups, or near or intermingled with members of other religions. Community members may mix with others in everyday life, but worship separately, typically in a dedicated temple such as a church or mosque. One might speak of the Catholic community of Belfast (a city), or the Jewish community of France (a country). The community may be delimited informally: people who define themselves as having a particular religion are considered to be members of the religion's community. In other cases a person must be formally accepted by community authorities to become acknowledged as a member. In Israel only couples both from the same officially recognized religious community may marry.
The term is also used in a different, narrower sense to mean a group of people of the same religion living together specifically for religious purposes, often subject to formal commitments such as religious vows, as in a monastery.
Types of Christian Communities
Orders are Institutes in which solemn vows are made by at least some of the members. All members of these orders are called regulars, and if they are women they are called nuns ("moniales"). Additionally Orders are typically dated in history as older than Congregations.
A group of people assembled for religious worship. The catholic congregation in the Roman Curia is the most notable congregation.
These Christian institutes, in accordance with the intentions of the Founder or by reason of legitimate tradition, are governed by clerics, assume the exercise of sacred Orders, and are recognized by the Church as clerical Institutes.
Clerical Religious Congregations
Lay Religious Congregations
- Deegan, P.J. (1970). The monastery: life in a religious community. Creative Educational Society. 79 pages.
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- Campbell, H. (2005). Exploring Religious Community Online: We are One in the Network. Digital formations. P. Lang. ISBN 978-0-8204-7105-1. 213 pages.
- Hanretta, S. (2003). Constructing a Religious Community in French West Africa: The Hamawi Sufis of Yacouba Sylla. University of Wisconsin--Madison. 615 pages.
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