Religious community

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A religious community is a community (group of people) who practice the same religion. The term is used in a wider sense and a different narrower sense. People who define themselves as having a particular religion are considered to be members of the religion's community.

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). 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.[1]

Types of Christian Communities[edit]


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.


Lay, also known as lay affiliates or associates, play an important part in a religious community. Men and women who take part, formally, in a religious community, to make their mission and spirituality, and have great influence on the like of the community are known as lay affiliates. [2]

Canons Regular[edit]

Canons regular

Monastic Orders[edit]

Mendicant Orders[edit]

Clerks Regular[edit]

Clerical Religious Congregations[edit]

Lay Religious Congregations[edit]

Lay religious communities include groups such as the Hutterites, Bruderhof[3], Amish and some Mennonite churches. Some of these communities are tightly-bound, such as the Bruderhof[4] and Hutterites[5]. The Amish and similar groups tend to be more loosely formed, but still act in a communal way. All of these communities will claim to be Christ-centred.

Apostolic Communities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Deegan, P.J. (1970). The monastery: life in a religious community. Creative Educational Society. 79 pages.
  2. ^ "The Role of Lay Associates in Religious Life".
  3. ^ Bruderhof (2012-01-11), Bruderhof - Why Community, retrieved 2017-05-25
  4. ^ Rajani, Deepika (2019-07-25). "Inside The Bruderhof: The radical Christians living in an English village". Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  5. ^ Ryan, John. "Hutterites". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2017-06-12.

Further reading[edit]