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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 and a narrower sense.

In the wider sense, the term is used to refer to members of a religion who live in the wider community, not explicitly segregated from others and not dedicated solely to religion, but often worshipping together, usually in a religious venue such as a temple, synagogue, church or mosque; in many religions a group worshipping in common is called a congregation[disambiguation needed]. People who define themselves as having a particular religion are considered to be members of the religion's wider community. Members of one community may tend to live near each other, but this is not an obligation. In this sense reference is made to, for example, the Catholic community of Belfast (a city), or the Jewish community of France (a country). In some cases a person must be formally accepted as a member of a religion and part of the community. In Israel only couples both from the same officially recognized religious community may marry, although marriage elsewhere is recognised.

In a different, narrower sense, a religious community[1][2] is 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.[3] This article is about such communities dedicated to religion.




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.


In addition to the general usage of a group of people assembled for religious worship, the Congregation is a type of department of the Roman Curia.


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. [4]

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[5], Amish and some Mennonite churches. Some of these communities are tightly-bound, such as the Bruderhof[6] and Hutterites[7]. 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.

Monasteries and convents[edit]

Apostolic communities[edit]

Eastern Orthodoxy[edit]

Buddhist monasteries[edit]

Tibetan monasteries[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Full communion in Christianity
  • Religious organization
  • Ummah, the Muslim worldwide community


  1. "PRH - Start-up notification of religious community". Finnish Patent and Registration Office. 19 September 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2020. One definition of the requirements to be recognised as a "religious community"
  2. "Find a Religious Community". Diocese of Portsmoth. 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2020. Example of use of the term "Religious Community"
  3. Deegan, P.J. (1970). The monastery: life in a religious community. Creative Educational Society. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png 79 pages.
  4. "The Role of Lay Associates in Religious Life".
  5. Bruderhof (2012-01-11), Bruderhof - Why Community, retrieved 2017-05-25
  6. Rajani, Deepika (2019-07-25). "Inside The Bruderhof: The radical Christians living in an English village". inews.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  7. Ryan, John. "Hutterites". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2017-06-12.

Further reading[edit]

This article "Religious community" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Religious community. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.