The monasteries are of three kinds: cenobia proper, wherein full monastic common life, with personal poverty, is observed; others called idiorrhythmic, wherein the monks are allowed the use of their private means and lead a generally mitigated and free kind of monastic life; and the lauras, wherein the life is semi-eremitical.
In the Lauras the young monks lived a cenobitical life, but the elders a semi-eremitical one, each in his own hut within the precincts of the Laura, attending only the solemn church services.
Lake in Early Days of Monasticism on Mount Athos (1909) traces the development through three well-defined stages in the 9th and 10th centuries - (a) the hermit period, (b) the loose organization of hermits in lauras, (c) the stricter rule of the monastery, with definite buildings and fixed rules under an ii-youµevos or abbot.
The monasteries now have taken over the name lauras.
The most famous monasteries are those on Mount Athos; in 1902 there were twenty lauras with many dependent houses and 7522 monks there, mainly.