lay


Written By: Ehsan Jahandarpour

In religious organizations, the laity consists of all members who are not a part of the clergy, whether they are or are not members of religious institutes, for example a nun or lay brother. In Christian cultures, the term lay priest is sometimes used in the past to refer to a secular priest, a diocesan priest who is not a member of a religious institute. Terms such as lay priest, lay clergy and lay nun were also once used in Buddhist cultures to indicate ordained persons who continued to live in the wider community instead of retiring to a monastery. In the context of specialized professions, the term lay is often used to refer to those who are not members of that profession. The word lay derives from the Anglo-French lai (from Late Latin laicus, from the Greek λαϊκός, laikos, of the people, from λαός, laos, the people at large).