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Answered 2011-01-21 14:49:11

Monks always lived in monasteries, which were divided into Abbeys (headed by an abbot) and Priories (smaller places headed by a prior).

Both words come from the Greek word monos, meaning "alone". The earliest Christian monks were solitary hermits living in desert areas of the Middle East; gradually they began to build small communities and live together, but kept the name monastes or monk.

The Cistercian Order in England attempted to preserve this way of life by choosing to build monasteries in remote, secluded and wilderness areas, particularly on the Yorkshire moors. There they could live in a community, but "alone" from the outside world.

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