Saturday, 2 February 2019

Friar versus Monk

While visiting and cycling around various sites and Abbeys I noticed that some were described as Monasteries while others were called Friaries.

Naturally enough I decided to find out what lay in the distinction between both so I'll give a quick overview of what I found.

Monks are generally "cloistered". They chiefly live, work, pray and study, within the walls of their Monasteries. They are mainly unordained and are not priests (though some are). The head Monk, the Abbot is usually an ordained Monk (Priest) in order to be able to provide mass and the sacrements.

Friars are not confined to their place of residence and in fact more often live within communities or travel around in order to help the poor or spread the gospel depending on the ethos and mission of the particular order to which they belong. Friars are mendicants (they hold vows of poverty and rely on donations for survival and day to day living), a tradition which started to take a bigger hold on the christian world in the 12th and 13th centuries as people became disillusioned with the monastic traditions and the seemingly distanced and often rich world of the Monasteries.

There are literally pages and pages of information on rites, ordination, vows and orders, but as far as I am aware those are the basic differences between Monks and Friars. Hope it helps.