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First Comment[edit]

I hesitate to comment here because this article is not something I have studied. But I'd like to ask if you'd consider adding some history as concerns the use of sign language in ancient monasteries where speaking was forbidden. My reason is that the Spanish manual alphabet is thought to have been invented by monks because they were forbidden to speak. The Spanish manual alphabet is, with the exception of a couple of letters, used by the deaf in most of Europe and the Americas (not England, but for certain in France, Italy, USA, Canada, Mexico). It dates to the 16th century. Pedro Ponce de Leon, a Spaniard and a monk, reported that it was invented by Saint Benedict (I think. I can look it up). Ponce de Leon employed it to teach the deaf children of certain members of the Spanish aristocracy to read, write and speak. Thus, the use of signs, and especially the manual alphabet, is of signficant historical interest to student of deaf history and deaf culture. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in this information as a possible addition to this page. Ray Foster 02:12, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)

This is a fascinating topic, but it should probably be discussed in the section entitled Sign Language. Phiddipus 04:43, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)
If Ray is right, then the topic would deserve to be mentioned in the Monastery article, with a link to Sign Language. olivier 05:22, Dec 24, 2004 (UTC)
Well, it seems to me that the information is specific to the origins of sign language in general while this article is about monastacism. 99% of monastacism had nothing to do with sign language. Only cloiseterd Roman Catholic monks with the Charism of silence would have used it, and then only a few of those monasteries. On the other hand it is very relavant to the development of sign language having to do with its origins. Phiddipus 15:23, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Okay. I'll leave the discussion to you people since you understand the big picture for your article. I want to add that I looked up some of the information that I've already cited and it was Saint Bonaventure, not Saint Benedict, that the origins of the manual alphabet were attributed to. The reason the manual alphabet was devised at all was for the use of the very ill. When they were so sick that they could not speak, the idea was that they could make one of the handshapes of the alphabet that corresponded to a special prayer they wanted to be said for them. I've seen a painting depicting this somewhere online, circa 1500-ish. I'll shut up.  :-) Ray Foster 22:29, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Please don't shut up! IT IS useful to have a link between the 2 topics. Sign language can in fact be mentioned in Christian monasticism, with the details you are mentioning. olivier 06:45, Dec 25, 2004 (UTC)

Counts of monks in monasteries[edit]

Out of curiosity only, were either the Cappadocian Caves or Mt Athos ever a single monastery? I welcome the info. BTW, I am just wondering about the organisational structure. (20040302)

In most cases when dealing even with individual monasteries they are considered to be communities. The community of monks that lived in the Cappadocian caves might be difficult to define as a single entity, but seeing that the "gathering" of so many monks in a single area carved out of the limestone may qualify them as a single community especially if they frequently interacted with one another. Consider that most monasteries are fairly heavily cloistered in the Orthodox Church. I myself have visitied monasteries where the monks (most of them) had not been outside the walls of their monastery for 30 years. Mt Athos, on the other hand, has numerous independently functioning monasteries and a great deal of interactivity between them. The political structure of the peninsula is governed by the heads of these monasteries who meet in council in Keryes located in the center of the area. Still, some of the single monastic entities such as the monastery of St. Pantelaemons had so many monks that they were fed in shifts in an enormous trapeza (Dining room). Today, if one visits this monastery, one finds that it occupied a whole valley on the sea, and that most of the buildings are closed down because the current monks are too few to maintain the entire structure. Phiddipus 14:42, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

Wow. Thanks, that's really interesting. This is similar to the old Tibetan monasteries around Lhasa, which resemble delapidated ghost towns. There may be 500 or so monks, but 50 years ago there were 10000-15000 at each monastery. In South India, there are three major monasteries with very close connections - I guess the entire population of the three is around 25000, but the monasteries have very carefully distinct hierarchies. On the large feeding days, they feed in shifts also! Though on a day to day basis there are smaller 'houses' or dratsang, which deal with issues of food etc.
Years ago I used to know a Dominican monk who had lived in a monastery all his life. In his last years, his abbot gave him dispensation to travel, and we he spent time (a few days each year) with us (at a Buddhist centre); After a lot of friendly and animated discussion we were mutually surprised at the considerable similarities between the Buddhist and Christian monastic communities - right down to identical house rules! Thanks for your information again! Keep well (20040302)

Having 2 monastics in my immediate family, and being very interested in the spiritual lives of members of many religions, I have noticed the very strong similarities between Orthodox monasticism and Buddhist. The very idea of a coenobitic community and its “Moderation” reflects the philosophy of the middle path which Prince Siddhartha established in Buddhism. Orthodox monasticism began as extremely harsh asceticism and evolved for the same reasons. If you work the body too hard, it will break, if you treat it too softly it wont accomplish anything. Being an Orthodox Christian, I have a deep and abiding respect for Buddhist monks. In fact I have visited on numerous occasions “Shasta Abbey”, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California. Since Orthodox are vegan about 1/3 of the year I use their cookbook since they also are vegan.Phiddipus 19:15, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

Well, it's a pleasure to have met you, sir. (20040302 22:56, 22 September 2005 (UTC))

Redirection from Friary[edit]

Currently, there is a redirection of the term friary to this page which, in its first paragraph, provides a link back to friary. I would recommend to remove this redirection and to create a page for friaries on their own as this term is exclusively used for monasteries of mendicant orders. --AFBorchert 12:55, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

de-linkified friary here and noted it refers to mendicant orders of friars. -- Akb4 11:44, 23 January 2007 (UTC)Diane-Joy is COool!!!scl.

Structure or Institution?[edit]

Is a monastery a structure, or is it an institution? I'm asking because of a question raised elsewhere. I guess it may just be a basic ambiguity. (20040302)

There are many monastics within the Eastern Orthodox Church that feel the proper structure of monastic life is a teacher/pupil or father/son relationship. Every monk/nun has a spiritual guide within the monastery. Therefore – when a monastery gets too big, when there are too many pupils and not enough teachers then the monastery become too much an institution (the quality of the monastic life suffers) and so the monastery should be split up into smaller groups. The best monks and the most intense learning occurs in Sketes (Small monasteries of 6 or 8 monks).

--Phiddipus (talk) 06:19, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

picture problem[edit]

can someone fix the picture of the flashing girl. i like boobies as much as the next guy, but i dont think this is exactly the place for it.

Monastic/Religious rule[edit]

There is a redirect from "Monastic rule" to this article; but the subject is not properly addressed here. Suggest to restore the original article or have a new sub-heading here. Enough can be said about it to fill a few lines. 01:27, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Warming House[edit]

The aforementioned article needs a home. It is one sentence. I suggest it be move in this article, else another article about the design of monasteries

a little cleanup[edit]

ok, I grabbed lots of clues from the abbey article and created the terms section. also alphabetized buddhism/christianity/hinduism, redid the intro paragraphs a bit. still needs more content, of course. I'm sure there are more religions with monasteries, more terms for buddhist and hindu monasteries, etc. -- Akb4 11:44, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Buddhism is father to many faiths[edit]

thank you for stating : "By the time Christian cenobites emerged in the 4th century AD, Buddhist monasteries had been in existence for seven hundred years or more, and had spread deep into the Persian empire. Thurman says "It is quite likely that (Buddhist monasticism) influenced West Asia, North Africa, and Europe through lending its institutional style to Manicheism and Aramaic and Egyptian Christianity.""

I think a research into origins of christianity will reveal that buddhism is father of christianity. Jesus & his parents fled to egypt to escape king Herod's persecution. Jesus might have learnt buddhist principles of celibacy,tolerance and kindness from there. It is also said that John the baptist belonged to Essene sect and so his disciple Jesus. Essene sect of jews sprang up from buddhism.


There is no evidence for this. And the Christian monasticism was developed independently through quite a number of stages. (If Buddhist monasticism would have been known, this might have been different.) However, there exists quite some interesting contacts between Buddhist and Christian monks nowadays. In 1996, for example, was a five-day meeting held by Buddhist and Christian monks and nuns at the Abbey of Gethsemani (Trappist). See: Donald W. Mitchell, James Wiseman O.S.B. (Editors): The Gethsemani Encounter. Continuum, New York, ISBN 0-8264-1046-4. The very personal views of a Trappist monk during his journeys in Asia (including an encounter with the Dalai Lama) are to be found here: Thomas Merton: The Asian Journal, ISBN 0-8112-0570-3. --AFBorchert 20:32, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

A number of problems exist here. First of all the Essenes were a xenophobic group of Jewish zealots who rejected the Hellenistic influence of the Greeks on Jerusalem which had existed since the Greek conquest of Israel cir 250 BC. Neither St John, nor Christ were Essene since they regularly interacted with the "common" Greek speaking Hebrews. Christ Jesus even quotes scripture using the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament. Had Christ Jesus been an Essene then the very thought of him being influenced by non-Jewish ideas would be absurd. Even so, Christ Jesus was Jewish. His parents excursion into Egypt would not necessarily had much influence on him since the biblical evidence indicates he was a model Hebrew, keeping every rule, even during the events of his Passion on the Cross. No, Christ was not anything but the perfect Jewish teacher, with a deeper understanding of the Truth behind the Law than the Pharisees. His message has none of the flavor of Buddhism nor any of the philosophical reasoning associated with it. Christianity itself is an extension or rather a fulfillment of Judaism – at least that’s how Christians see it.--Phiddipus (talk) 06:10, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Romanian monasteries[edit]

Many Romanian monasteries were added recently to the list. It seems to me that Romania is now overrepresented with so many examples. The reader can't find out which ones are really significant which are only locally important. I suggest to remove the surplus examples and only keep the four most important ones. There is a List of religious buildings in Romania which should be expanded or - even better - split into a monasteries and a cathedrals list. What dou you think? Zello 22:25, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

What???[edit] are there any modern day monestaries??? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Snick's Friend (talkcontribs) 21:10, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I am not sure what you are asking. There are within the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches many monasteries in exsistance, some of them ancient, some of them recently founded. Often when a monastery grows too big (like a bee hive), a number of monks are allowed to move away and start a new monastery. Sometimes (within the Orthodox Church) a single monk moves out with the intensions of becoming a hermit, but instead, a new community of monks developes around him and a new monastery is born. This happens quite frequently, even today.--Phiddipus (talk) 05:50, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Oldest monastery?[edit]

The oldest monastery, at least in Europe, seems to be St. Athanasius Monastery in the Bulgarian village of Zlatna Livada [1]. It was reportedly established by St. Athanasius of Alexandria himself in AD 344, while he was returning from the Council of Sardica. --Vladko (talk) 15:43, 8 February 2008 (UTC)


There is a claim in the article that the term 'nunnery' is offensive. This view is unsourced, and in my personal experience, untrue. e.g. Chi Lin Nunnery Is this the experience of others, I wonder. Presumably the author of the claim had something in mind when writing.--jrl 08:31, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

I've looked, and can't find any reference, either now or earlier in September, to the word Nunnery" being offensive. Where did it go? Amandajm (talk) 08:31, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Monastery: a room for homosexual people[edit]

Monasteries were during the centuries a room, where many homosexual people lived. In the article should that be mentioned. (talk) 12:05, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Since 1960s the LGBT social movements became more popular in Developed countries and homosexual people in these countries live today open with their partners (Same-sex marriage). That is one important reason, why monasteries in Developed countries today are ofen closed and have not enough monks and nuns. (talk) 12:10, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

I think that this these are very controversial comments and would need citations from reliable sources. Daniel the Monk (talk) 17:54, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Taoist Monasteries[edit]

Perhaps it would be interesting to add a line or two about the Taoist Monasteries existing in China? (talk) 09:24, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Certainly! Would you like to create a new section and add the relevant info? Amandajm (talk) 06:53, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Terry Jones's book on medieval life[edit]

In Terry Jones' "Medieval Lives", he busts a lot of the myths about monasteries in medieval Europe: apparently there was very little hardship and a lot of gluttony, simony, wealth and whoring. The section in this article probably needs to be verified against the scholarly literature and changed. AllGloryToTheHypnotoad (talk) 01:42, 17 December 2016 (UTC)