Despite the common association of monasteries with intercession in the early Middle Ages, the religious, cultural, and social practice of prayer extended beyond the narrow ascetic–monastic sphere. In keeping with both Old Testament and early Christian traditions, prayer was understood as an expression of brotherly love that was the duty of all Christians, and not as the exclusive obligation of a few ascetic specialists. Even when prayer served the primary function of worship, the idea of intercession was at least implied—a functional complementarity reflected in the so-called double command of love: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like to it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mark 12:30–31). By late antiquity, the charitable dimension of prayer was integral both to ecclesiology and to the development of Christian social concepts. Prayer ensured the connection of the people to God and guaranteed the functional unity of the ecclesia, defined in particular as a communitas sanctorum, a community forged between the living and the dead, with a special emphasis on the saints.