Anchorite


Anchorite
Anchoress is the female form. A recluse; a person persuaded by faith to reject the world and live in isolation. Sometimes such persons were immured, wholly confined and even literally walled in. Before one could be 'bricked in' permission was required from a bishop. One of his duties would be to officiate, for which ceremonies in *pontificals survive. Indeed, an anchoress received the last rites, and had the office of the dead said over her. She then entered her cell and was bricked in, accompanied at each stage by various prayers. Strange as it may seem today, such women felt they were entering a community. The *Ancrene Riwle makes plain, as it praises the feeling of communality, that the anchoresses communicated with one another through servants, described as 'maidens', who carried spoken messages to and fro between the cells. These cells typically had three windows, a private altar, and a bed and crucifix. One of the windows gave a view of the altar of the church to which the cell was attached; a second window opened into servants' quarters through which food and, presumably, a chamber-pot were passed; the third and smallest, known as the 'parlour' window, faced outwards and was used to speak to visitors. This was the smallest so as to minimise the temptation implicit in seeing the outside world. This last was similar to the *fenestra parvula of Gilbertine monasteries. The Ancrene Riwle offers the following as definition of an anchorite: 'an anker is called an anker . . . [for being] anchored under the church like an anchor under the ship [to hold it] so that waves and storms don't overturn it'. [< Gr. anakhoro = to withdraw]

Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases. .

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  • Anchorite — (male)/anchoress (female), (adj. anchoritic; from the Greek polytonic|ἀναχωρέω anachōreō, signifying to withdraw , to depart into the rural countryside ), denotes someone who, for religious reasons, withdraws from secular society so as to be able …   Wikipedia

  • Anchorite — An cho*rite, n. Same as {Anchoret}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • anchorite — (n.) mid 15c., hermit (especially those of the Eastern deserts), recluse, one who withdraws from the world for religious reasons, from M.L. anchorita, from Gk. anakhoretes, lit. one who has retired, agent noun from anakhorein to retreat, go back …   Etymology dictionary

  • anchorite — hermit, eremite, *recluse, cenobite Analogous words: *ascetic, mystic: *religious, monk, friar …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • anchorite — anchorite, anchoret n eremite, hermit, solitary, recluse, Islam. marabout, Islam. santon; anchoress, an cress, hermitess, Obs. hermitress, nun; troglodyte, cave dweller, incluse; stylite, pillarist, pillar saint; ascetic, celibate, monk, monastic …   A Note on the Style of the synonym finder

  • anchorite — ► NOUN historical ▪ a religious recluse. ORIGIN Greek anakh r t s, from anakh rein retire …   English terms dictionary

  • anchorite — [aŋ′kəret΄, aŋ′kərit′aŋ′kə rīt΄] n. [ME < OFr anachorete < LL(Ec) anachoreta < LGr anachōrētēs, one retired < Gr anachōrein < ana , back + chōrein, to retire < IE base * ĝhē , ĝhēi, leave behind, GO1] a person who lives alone… …   English World dictionary

  • Anchorite — Anchoret An cho*ret, Anchorite An cho*rite, n. [F. anachor[ e]te, L. anachoreta, fr. Gr. ?, fr. ? to go back, retire; ? + ? to give place, retire, ? place; perh. akin to Skr. h[=a] to leave. Cf. {Anchor} a hermit.] One who renounces the world and …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • anchorite — also anchoret noun Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin anchorita, alteration of Late Latin anachoreta, from Late Greek anachōrētēs, from Greek anachōrein to withdraw, from ana + chōrein to make room, from chōros place Date: 15th… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • anchorite — anchoritic /ang keuh rit ik/, adj. anchoritically, adv. anchoritism /ang keuh ruy tiz euhm/, n. /ang keuh ruyt /, n. a person who has retired to a solitary place for a life of religious seclusion; hermit. Also, anchoret. [1400 50; late ME… …   Universalium


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