Idiorrhythmic monasticism

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Idiorrhythmic monasticism is a form of monastic life in Christianity.[1]

It was the original form of monastic life in Christianity, as exemplified by St. Anthony of Egypt (c. 250–355) and is the opposite of cenobitic monasticism in that instead of communal ownership, the monk lives alone, often in isolation. Philosophically it consisted of a total withdrawal from society, normally in the desert, and the constant practice of mental prayer.[2] The word Idiorrhythmic comes from two Greek words idios, “particular” and rhythmos, “rule” meaning “following one's own devices,”[3]

It was first developed by St. Anthony of Egypt (c. 250–355) and today is only known to be practised in Mount Athos, Greece.

See also


  1. Merriam-Webster: idiorrhythmic.
  2. idiorrhythmic monasticism.
  3. Idiorrhythmic Monasticism in ALEXANDER P. KAZHDAN, The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (Oxford University Press, 1991).