coenobium

Greek: koinos, common; bios, life

A community of monks, or cenobites, living in the same house under one authority; a monastery; convent; religious community. Their origin is ascribed to Anthony the Abbot of the 3rd century, and with a greater degree of probability to Pachomius of Tabenna, of the 4th century. The earliest were very probably for women. An ancient Irish coenobium was originally a sept, or family, whose chief had become its religious head or had relinquished the headship to a comarba (Gaelic: comharba, successor, vicar, abbot). The word coenobium is sometimes used for the basilica or church of the monastery.