Samuel in his later days appears presiding over the exercises of a group of nebhiim at Ramah, where they seem to have had a sort of coenobium (Naioth), but he was not himself a nabhia - that name is never applied to him except in I Sam.
Palladius, who visited the Egyptian monasteries about the close of the 4th century, found among the 300 members of the coenobium of Panopolis, under the Pachomian rule, 15 tailors, 7 smiths, 4 carpenters, 12 camel-drivers and 15 tanners.
St Patrick himself in his Confession makes mention of monks in Ireland in connexion with his mission, but the few glimpses we get of the monastic life of the decades immediately following his death prove that the earliest type of coenobium differed considerably from that known at a later period.
The coenobium of the end of the 5th century consisted of an ordinary sept or family whose chief had become Christian.
All the bishops in a coenobium were subject to the abbot; but besides the bishop in the monastic families, every tuath or tribe had its own bishop. The church in Ireland having been evolved out of the monastic nuclei already described the tribe bishop was an episcopal development of a somewhat later period.