Commemorated on March 14
Saint Benedict, founder of Western monasticism, was born in the
Italian city of Nursia in the year 480. When he was fourteen years of
age, the saint’s parents sent him to Rome to study. Unsettled by the
immorality around him, he decided to devote himself to a different sort
At first Saint Benedict settled near the church of the
holy Apostle Peter in the village of Effedum, but news of his ascetic
life compelled him to go farther into the mountains. There he
encountered the hermit Romanus, who tonsured him into monasticism and
directed him to live in a remote cave at Subiaco. From time to time, the
hermit would bring him food.
For three years the saint waged a
harsh struggle with temptations and conquered them. People soon began to
gather to him, thirsting to live under his guidance. The number of
disciples grew so much, that the saint divided them into twelve
communities. Each community was comprised of twelve monks and was a
separate skete. The saint gave each skete an igumen from among his
experienced disciples, and only the novice monks remained with Saint
Benedict for instruction.
The strict monastic Rule Saint Benedict
established for the monks was not accepted by everyone, and more than
once he was criticized and abused by dissenters.
settled in Campagna and on Mount Cassino he founded the Monte Cassino
monastery, which for a long time was a center of theological education
for the Western Church. The monastery possessed a remarkable library.
Saint Benedict wrote his Rule, based on the experience of life of the
Eastern desert-dwellers and the precepts of Saint John Cassian the Roman
The Rule of Saint Benedict dominated Western
monasticism for centuries (by the year 1595 it had appeared in more than
100 editions). The Rule prescribed the renunciation of personal
possessions, as well as unconditional obedience, and constant work. It
was considered the duty of older monks to teach the younger and to copy
ancient manuscripts. This helped to preserve many memorable writings
from the first centuries of Christianity.
Every new monk was
required to live as a novice for a year, to learn the monastic Rule and
to become acclimated to monastic life. Every deed required a blessing.
The head of this cenobitic monastery is the igumen. He discerns,
teaches, and explains. The igumen solicits the advice of the older,
experienced brethren, but he makes the final decisions. Keeping the
monastic Rule was strictly binding for everyone and was regarded as an
important step on the way to perfection.
Saint Benedict was
granted by the Lord the gift of foresight and wonderworking. He healed
many by his prayers. The monk foretold the day of his death in 547. The
main source for his Life is the second Dialogue of Saint Gregory.
Benedict’s sister, Saint Scholastica (February 10), also became famous
for her strict ascetic life and was numbered among the saints.
TROPARION - TONE 1
By your ascetic labors, God-bearing Benedict, / you were proven to be
true to your name. / For you were the son of benediction, / and became a
rule and model for all who emulate your life and cry: / “Glory to Him
who gave you strength! / Glory to Him who granted you a crown! / Glory
to Him who through you grants healing to all!”
KONTAKION - TONE 6
You were enriched with God’s grace; / your works agreed with your name, O
Benedict, helpful servant of Christ God. / Through prayer and fasting
you were revealed to be filled with the gifts of the Spirit of God! /
You are a healer of the sick, the banisher of demons and speedy defender
of our souls!
SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2016(with 2015's link here also and further: 2014 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and even 2008!):
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