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The members of the covenant were an important part of early Syriac Christianity. Before the advent of monasticism proper (which developed in the desert of Egypt), most Syriac churches would consist of a community focused around the members of the covenant: men and women who had committed themselves to sexual abstinence and the service of the church. This name is the English translation of the Syriac bnay qyāmâ (ܒܢܝ ܩܝܡܐ), literally sons of the covenant. A male member of the covenant was called bar qyāmâ (ܒܪ ܩܝܡܐ), or son of the covenant; a female member was bat qyāmâ (ܒܪܬ ܩܝܡܐ), or daughter of the covenant.
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