In the eleventh and twelfth centuries Byzantium saw the rise of an influential monastic reform movement, which found its expression in rules and saints' lives. In these texts the question of worldly possessions was repeatedly broached. The authors challenged the hitherto common practice of allowing monks some private property and insisted that in their monasteries nobody should own money or other goods. Yet when it came to communal property the situation was starkly different. Most reformers accepted the traditional view that monasteries should be endowed with land in order to meet the material needs of the communities, and if anything were even more acquisitive than their forebears. There was, however, a small group of monastic founders, which challenged this consensus. They insisted that their monasteries should not accept donations of land because such behaviour went against Christ's demand not to take thought for the morrow and displayed a lack of trust in divine providence. This article presents the surviving evidence and seeks to explain how communities without landed property ensured their survival.