The 1990 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches lists seven categories of the 'consecrated life': (1) Societies of Apostolic Life, (2) Secular Institutes, (3) Societies of Common Life in the Manner of the Religious, (4) Congregations, (5) Orders, (6) Hermitages and (7) Monasteries. The differences among these generally pertain to the nature of the vows taken and the relative rigour of lifestyle. The most prominent communities tend to be the 'exempt Orders', that is, religious communities not under the jurisdiction of the local hierarch, a system adapted from the West (though with some parallels - on a smaller scale - in Orthodoxy, e.g. the Stauropegial monasteries).

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