Cell

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This article is about monastic cells (living quarters).

A cell in the Christian context is name for the living quarters of monastics, both male and female. Usually, a monk’s cell is small and contains a minimum of furnishings.

The term cell applies to such a living space in a building, usually within a cenobitic monastery, which consists of rooms for each monk or nun, as well as a hermit's primitive solitary living space (possibly a cave, hut in the desert, deep forest, etc.) isolated from monasteries. In a cenobitic setting the building of "cells” also contains communal rooms for eating.

In 2005, the oldest physical example of living quarters for Christian monks was found by renovators who were repairing paintings in a fifteenth-century church at the site of the ancient Monastery of St. Anthony in Egypt, near the Red Sea. The monastery was founded in the mid-fourth century and is located about 100 miles southwest of Cairo, Egypt. These cells date from the fourth and fifth centuries. This archeological find is the first physical evidence that monks lived on the monastery site before the sixth century.

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