Cellitae were a class of monks midway between hermits and cenobites. Strictly speaking, they were the "anchorites," so called because they withdrew or retired from the ecoenobia, wherein the monks dwelt together, to small cells in the immediate vicinity. On festivals the cellitae repaired to the church of the monastery, and thus, being still semi-attached to the community, they differed from the " hermits," who were independent of control. As preferring the more complete privacy and quiet of these cells to living in common, they were sometimes called hesychastee. But the cells off the cellitae, properly, so called, resembled rather a "laura" in Egypt aid Palestine, each laurae being a quasi-coenobitis cluster of cells, forming a community to which, in the earlier days of monasticism, the abbot's will was in place of a written rule. The first of these laurae is said to have been founded by St. Chariton, about the middle of the 4th century, near the Dead Sea. Other famous laurae were those of St. Euthymius, near Jerusalem, in the next century, and of St. Sabas, near the Jordan. Each cell had a small garden or vineyard, in which the monk could occupy himself at pleasure. But sometimes the cellita was a monk with aspirations after more than ordinary self-denial. Thus it was a custom at Vienna, in the 6th century, for some monk, selected as pre-eminent in sanctity, to be immured in a solitary cell, as an intercessor for the people.
A strict rule for cellitse was drawn sup in the 9th century. Their ceils were to be near the monastery either standing apart one from another, or commonly eating only by a window, The cellitre were to be supported by their own work or by alms; they might be either clergy or laymen. If professed monks, they were to wear the dress of the order; if not, a cape as a badge. None were to be admitted among the cellitre except by the bishop or the abbot, nor without a novitiate. They were to have their own chapel for mass; and a window in the wall of the church, through which they might "assist" at the services, and receive the confessions of penitents, A seal was to be set by the bishop on the door of each cell, never to be broken, except in urgent sickness, for the necessary medical and spiritual comfort.