What Are the Different Types of Monks?

Different types of monks include Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Vaishnava and Shaolin monks, among others. Monks practice religion in one of two ways. Eremitic monks are solitary hermits, while cenobitic monks live and pray together in a community.

Christian monks are divided into nine orders. The most well-known of these are Basilian, Benedictine, Franciscan and Dominican. Basilian monks follow the Rule of Basil the Great, which is primarily an Eastern Orthodox form of Christianity. The Franciscan Order was founded by Francis of Assisi around 1209. Francis was brought up in a wealthy home, but he decided to devote his life to worship after God spoke to him later in life.

One of the first set of rules or instructions for monks was written by Saint Augustine, a bishop of the early church in North Africa, and it had an important philosophical influence on Christianity. Before Augustine was baptized in A.D. 387, he was a pagan. Augustine was then ordained as the Bishop of Hippo in A.D. 396.

Some of the earliest known monks lived in Egypt. In 3rd- and 4th-century Egypt, monks were known as hermits and came from two orders. Anchorites went into the desert and stayed in one place, while others remained solitary and led a nomadic lifestyle.