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religious order

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In Christianity, a group of men or women who live under religious vows. The three vows commonly taken are to relinquish all possessions and personal authority (vows of poverty and obedience) and not to engage in sexual relations (a vow of chastity). Religious orders are found in the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, and, although rarely, in Protestant churches. The Franciscans, Jesuits, and Trappists are religious orders.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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