Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
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Originally a hermit or anchorite, but already in the early Church applied to men living a community life in a monastery, under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, according to a specific rule, such as that of St. Basil or St. Benedict. (Etym. Greek monachos, living alone, solitary.)