Monasteries and nunneries are numerous, dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries, but their influence is now less potent than in those days and the monastic population is not so large.
About the year 1170 Lambert le Begue, a priest of Liege, who had devoted his fortune to founding the hospital and church of St Christopher for the widows and children of crusaders, conceived the idea of establishing an association of women, who, without taking the monastic vows, should devote themselves to a life of religion.
There is no evidence to show that the Vincent who was sub-prior of this foundation in 1246 is the encyclopaedist; nor indeed is it likely that a man of such abnormally studious habits could have found time to attend to the daily business routine of a monastic establishment.
A monastic library was the proper place for this gentle emotional dreamer, who clung so fondly to the ancient traditions.
The next great monastic revival, the Cistercian, arising in the last years of the 11th century, had a wider diffusion, and a Cistercian.
On the death of the childless tsar, he was the popular candidate for the vacant throne; but he acquiesced in the election of Boris Godunov, and shared the disgrace of his too-powerful family three years later, when Boris compelled both him and his wife, Xenia Chestovaya, to take monastic vows under the names of Philaret and Martha respectively.
These ideas governed it in medieval times also, and in this way monastic life received a decided bent towards mysticism: the monks strove to realize the heavenly life even upon earth, their highest aim being the contemplation of God and of His ways.
The sequestration of the monastic estates, which in 1864 covered nearly one-third of Rumania, was due to flagrant abuses.
These essential elements of monastic life are ranged about a cloister court, surrounded by a covered arcade, affording communication sheltered from the elements between the various buildings.
Yet under Julius steps were taken to abolish plurality of benefices and to restore monastic discipline; the Collegium Germanicum, for the conversion of Germans, was established in Rome, 1552; and England was absolved by the cardinal-legate Pole, and received again into the Roman communion (1554) Julius died on the 23rd of March 1555, and was succeeded by Marcellus II.