AskDefine | Define postulant

Dictionary Definition

postulant n : one submitting a request or application especially one seeking admission into a religious order

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. A person who submits a petition; a petitioner
  2. A person seeking admission to a religious order

Extensive Definition

A Postulant (from the Latin postulare, to ask) was originally one who makes a request or demand; hence, a candidate. Its use is now generally restricted to those asking for admission into a monastery, both before actual admission and for the length of time proceeding their admission into the novitiate. It is also used to describe the ecclesiastical status of a person who has discerned a call to the priesthood and received parish and diocesan endorsement. The candidate retains postulant status throughout seminary, until ordination to the transitional diaconate takes place. The term is more common in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches; the Orthodox tend to avoid Latin terminology.
The length of time that a prospective monastic remains a postulant may vary depending on the monastery, the particular monastic order, or the postulant's individual situation. During this time, the postulant generally participates as fully as possible in the life of the community, joining the novices and professed monks for work and prayer. Since typically no vows are taken at this stage, it is easier for a person not fully certain about the monastic life to reexamine their intentions and commitment before taking vows as a novice.
In Theravada Buddhist monasticism, a postulant is called an anagarika (Pali: "without a house").

References

postulant in Swedish: Postulant

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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