A monk (from the Greek monachosis meaning solitary man) a man devoted to the regular church. In the early Christian period monks would usually live alone, but starting with Saint Benedict in the sixth century they began usually residing in communities, called monasteries, where they followed a regulum, or Rule. Solitary monastics then came to be known as hermits or anchorites
According to the Rule of St. Benedict the medieval monk would be sworn to poverty and obedience, chastity and prayer and live a life of withdrawal and contemplation. The monk would start as a novice and follow the instructions of his superior, the abbot. His days would have been spent in prayer and in labour (ora et labora).
Following the First Crusade several orders of monastic knights were founded to defend the Holy Land and succor pilgrims, most notably the Templars and the Hospitallers. While sworn to obedience, chastity and prayer, these knights of the Church Militant were trained in the arts of war and often represented a significant power in the politics of the Crusader States.