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A Skete is a monastic style community that allows relative isolation for monks, but alsoallows for communal services and the safety of shared resources and protection. It is one of threeearly monastic orders along with eremitic and coenobitic that became popular during the earlyformation of the Christian Church.

Skete communities usually consist of a number of small cells or caves that act as theliving quarters with a centralized church or chapel. These communities are thought of as a bridgebetween strict hermetic lifestyle and communal lifestyles since it was a blend of the two. Thesecommunities were a direct response to the ascetic lifestyle that early Christians aspired to live.Skete communities were often a bridge to a stricter form of hermitage or to martyrdom.The term Skete is most likely a reference to the Scetis valley region of Egypt whereSkete communities first appear, but a few scholars have argued that it instead is a stylizedspelling of the word ascetic.

Early History

It is impossible to talk about the earliest Skete communities without touching briefly on the early days of monasticism itself. The earliest monks were simply men who fled civilization to lead an ascetic lifestyle alone in the desert. Early desert ascetics have been chronicled as far back as the writings of Eusebius In his book Church history or Ecclesiastical History, he writes of early desert fathers who left civilization behind to wander the desert, eventuallydrawing a following and settling...
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