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The carrying of tapers figures among the marks of respect prescribed to be shown to the highest dignitaries of the Roman Empire in the "Notitia Dignitatum Imperii".
It is highly probable that the candles which were borne from a very early period before the pope or the bishop when he went in procession to the sanctuary, or which attended the transport of the book of the Gospels to the ambo or pulpit from which the deacon read, were nothing more than an adaptation of this secular practice.
Monasticism or monachism, literally the act of "dwelling alone" (Greek monos, monazein, monachos ), has come to denote the mode of life pertaining to persons living in seclusion from the world, under religious vows and subject to a fixed rule, as monks, friars, nuns, or in general as religious.
(1) Origin Any discussion of pre-Christian asceticism is outside the scope of this article.
So too, any question of Jewish asceticism as exemplified in the Essenes or Therapeutae of Philo's "De Vita Contemplativa" is excluded.
It has already been pointed out that the monastic ideal is an ascetic one, but it would be wrong to say that the earliest Christian asceticism was monastic.
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