Religious order

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A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of initiates (laity) and, in some traditions, ordained clergies. Religious orders exist in many of the world's religions.


Buddhist tradition

In Buddhist societies such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, Korea and Tibet, a religious order is one of the number of monastic orders of monks and nuns, many of which follow under a different school of teaching, such as Zen. A well-known Chinese Buddhist order is the ancient Shaolin order in Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism and in modern times the Order of Hsu Yun (

Christian tradition

Orthodox tradition

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, there is only one type of monasticism. The profession of monastics is known as Tonsure (referring to the ritual cutting of the monastic's hair which takes place during the service) and is considered to be a Sacred Mystery (Sacrament). The Rite of Tonsure is printed in the Euchologion (Church Slavonic: Trebnik), the same book as the other Sacred Mysteries and services performed according to need.

Catholic tradition

A Catholic religious order is an organization, recognised by the Church, whose members (commonly referred to as "religious") strive to achieve a common purpose through formally dedicating their life to God.[1] Religious orders are distinct from secular institutes and other lay ecclesial movements. In the Catholic Church non-ordained members of religious orders are not members of the hierarchy but belong to the Laity,[2] unless they are also deacons or priests in Holy Orders.

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