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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary
A woman, in several Christian countries, who devotes herself, in a cloister or nunnery, to a religious life.
See article MONK. There were women in the ancient Christian church, who made public profession of virginity before the monastic life was known in the world, as appears from the writings of Cyprian and Tertullian. These, for distinction's sake, are sometimes called ecclesiastical virgins, and were commonly enrolled in the canon or matricula of the church. They differed from the monastic virgins chiefly in this, that they lived privately in their father's houses, whereas the others lived in communities: but their profession of virginity was not so strict as to make it criminal for them to marry afterwards, if they thought fit. As to the consecration of virgins, it had some things peculiar in it: it was usually performed publicly in the church by the bishop. The virgin made a public profession of her resolution, and then the bishop put upon her the accustomed habit of sacred virgins. One part of this habit was a veil, called the sacrum valamen; another was a kind of mitre or coronet worn upon the head. At present, when a woman is to be made a nun, the habit, veil, and ring of the candidate are carried to the altar; and she herself, accompanied by her nearest relations, is conducted to the bishop, who, after mass and an anthem (the subject of which is "that she ought to have her lamp lighted, because the bridegroom is coming to meet her") pronounces the benediction: then she rises up, and the bishop consecrates the new habit, sprinkling it with holy water.
When the candidate has put on her religious habit, she presents herself before the bishop, and sings on her knees Ancilla Christi sum, &c. then she receives the veil, and afterwards the ring, by which she is married to Christ; and, lastly, the crown of virginity. When she is crowned, an anathema is denounced against all who shall attempt to make her break her vows. In some few instances, perhaps, it may have happened that nunneries, monasteries, &c. may have been useful as well to morality and religion as to literature; in the gross, however, they have been highly prejudicial; and however well they might be supposed to do when viewed in theory, in fact they are unnatural and impious. It was surely far from the intention of Providence to seclude youth and beauty in a cloister, or to deny them the innocent enjoyment of their years and sex.
4. OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST
11. OFFICERS CHURCH
12. OFFICES OF CHRIST
14. OMNIPOTENCE OF GOD
15. OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD
16. OMNISCIENCE OF GOD
24. ORDERS, RELIGIOUS
25. ORDINANCES OF THE GOSPEL
28. ORIGINAL SIN
29. ORIGIN OF EVIL
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Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Nun'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/cbd/n/nun.html. 1802.