from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Trappist praying in his cell

The adjective monastic (“ monastic ”, “monastic”) is a technical term used in theology, church history and religious studies . It denotes what sets the monastic way of life apart from others or what it produced on its own. The term was coined by Christian authors of antiquity, but is also used today for other - especially Buddhist - phenomena of monasticism.


The origin of the word lies in the ancient Greek adjective μοναστικός monastikós , which was Latinized by Latin- speaking ancient authors in the form monasticus . In ancient and medieval texts, monasticus ("monastic") is used to denote the monastic discipline, way of life, clothing, training, etc.

Monastic orders

Under monastic orders are understood religious orders in the Catholic Church , whose members live in the monastic seclusion of the exam result. They devote themselves predominantly to prayer, especially the solemn Liturgy of the Hours , which they perform publicly on behalf of the Church, and to contemplation . The monastic orders include monastic orders and branches for nuns . Mainly there are Benedictines and Benedictine , Cistercian and Cistercian , Trappist and Trappist , Camaldolese , Carthusians , the Discalced Carmelite nuns as well as the Carmelites of the Old Order branch, the Poor Clares , Capuchin Poor Clares and derived reform order and the second Order of the Order of Preachers ( Dominicans ). Only members of these orders are called monks and nuns; in the other religious communities is called monks or -priestern and nuns . While the members of the monastic orders - but also the religious orders of knights, mendicant orders, regular canons and regular clerics - take solemn vows , the members of congregations take so-called simple vows.

Monastic theology

In research on the history of theology, the term “monastic theology” introduced by Jean Leclercq in 1946 is used. In contrast to scholastic theology, it is a type of theological work that is oriented towards the needs of monastic life. It is about experiences and questions related to the monastic way of life. Monastic theology reached its climax in the work of Bernhard von Clairvaux .


  1. ^ Pierre Chantraine : Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque. Histoire des mots . 2nd edition, Paris 2009, pp. 684 f .; Thesaurus linguae Latinae , Leipzig 1936–1966, vol. 8, col. 1404 f.
  2. Juan María Laboa (ed.): Atlas of monasticism . Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg 2003, p. 5.
  3. See Greg Peters: Monastic orders. In: George Thomas Kurian (Ed.): The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization . Wiley, Malden 2011, Vol. 3, pp. 1551-1555.
  4. Ulrich Köpf : Monastic Theology. In: Lexicon for Theology and Church . Freiburg 1998, Vol. 7, Col. 389 f.