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Related to Benedictines: Carmelites, Cistercians, Franciscans, Dominicans


religious order of the Roman Catholic Church, following the rule of St. BenedictBenedict, Saint
, d. c.547, Italian monk, called Benedict of Nursia, author of a rule for monks that became the basis of the Benedictine order, b. Norcia (E of Spoleto).
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 [Lat. abbr.,=O.S.B.]. The first Benedictine monastery was at Monte CassinoMonte Cassino
, monastery, in Latium, central Italy, E of the Rapido River. Situated on a hill (1,674 ft/510 m) overlooking Cassino, it was founded c.529 by St. Benedict of Nursia, whose rule became that of all Benedictine houses in the world.
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, Italy, which came to be regarded as the symbolic center of Western monasticismmonasticism
, form of religious life, usually conducted in a community under a common rule. Monastic life is bound by ascetical practices expressed typically in the vows of celibacy, poverty, and obedience, called the evangelical counsels.
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. St. Benedict's rule was in many ways novel in monastic life in replacing severity with moderation. The monastery, or abbeyabbey,
monastic house, especially among Benedictines and Cistercians, consisting of not less than 12 monks or nuns ruled by an abbot or abbess. Many abbeys were originally self-supporting. In the Benedictine expansion after the 8th cent.
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, was conceived as a devout Christian family, with an abbot or abbess as head. The monks or nuns swore to live in the house until death. The whole of Benedictine life was experienced in common, the waking hours being devoted principally to worship and work, especially manual labor. In the 8th cent. the English Benedictines St. Willibrord and St. Boniface evangelized Frisia and Germany; in this expansion of Christendom the abbey served as an outpost, a unit of both Latin culture (including Western agricultural methods) and Christian religion. The Benedictines were also active in continental Western Europe—their preservation of books was a critical service. At a series of councils held under Louis I at Aachen (A.D. 816–A.D. 819), Benedict of AnianeBenedict of Aniane, Saint,
c.750–821, French abbot who became a monastic adviser to Louis I. He first founded (c.780) an austere monastic community at Aniane in Languedoc, based on Eastern asceticism.
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 attempted to standardize monastic practices in the Carolingian Empire according to the Rule of St. Benedict. In the 10th cent. a reform began at the Benedictine abbey of Cluny, France, that resulted in the development of the Cluniac orderCluniac order
, medieval organization of Benedictines centered at the abbey of Cluny, France. Founded in 910 by the monk Berno and Count William of Aquitaine, the abbey's constitution provided it freedom from lay supervision and (after 1016) from jurisdiction of the local bishop.
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; at Cluny the liturgy was significantly expanded. Another reform, begun in 1098, resulted in the foundation of the order of the CisterciansCistercians
, monks of a Roman Catholic religious order founded (1098) by St. Robert, abbot of Molesme, in Cîteaux [Cistercium], Côte-d'Or dept., France. They reacted against Cluniac departures from the Rule of St. Benedict.
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. Throughout the centuries Benedictine houses have occupied a central position in Western monasticism. Today they are organized as a loose federation of congregations, each congregation being a collection of geographically related abbeys or monasteries that are mainly autonomous. Benedictine work in liturgy has been outstanding. The abbeys at Solesmes and Beuron in particular have established a spiritual life centered around sung liturgy. They are responsible for the restoration of Gregorian melodies (plain chant) and their universal use today in the Roman Catholic Church. Permanent Benedictine establishments in the United States began in the 1840s. Benedictine nuns, originally founded by St. Benedict and his sister Scholastica as an enclosed order, now often do missionary and educational work in communities.


See E. C. Butler, Benedictine Monachism (2d ed. 1924, repr. 1962); C. H. Lawrence, Medieval Monasticism (1984).

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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Benedict of Nursia was a devout Roman Catholic who lived from 480 to 550 CE. Although he was not an ordained priest, those who follow his Benedictine Rule today generally study for the priesthood.

Benedictines are a contemplative order of monks and nuns, usually living communally and reaching for a deeper relationship with God through prayer, meditation, and community service as part of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



oldest Western European Catholic monastic order. Founded circa 530 by Benedict of Nursia at Monte Cassino (Italy); there is also a women’s branch, the Benedictine Nuns.

During the Middle Ages the Benedictine Order owned large amounts of land, and it supported the papacy in its claims for domination throughout Europe. The order attained its greatest influence in the Catholic Church during the tenth and 11th centuries. With the rise of other monastic orders the influence of the Benedictines decreased. During the period of the Great French Revolution the order went into a decline, but in the 19th century its activity revived somewhat. As of 1968, the main Benedictine Order numbered approximately 12,000 monks, belonging to about 20 men’s congregations; there were also 16 women’s congregations (numbering about 20,000 members). The order is headed by an abbot primate, who lives in Rome and is elected every 12 years. The Benedictines are a bulwark of support for the present-day Vatican.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Benedict of Nursia-father of Western monasticism that influenced much of Europe in the Dark Ages-the school remains committed to its mission since its founding in 1906 by the Benedictine Missionary Sisters from Tutzing, Germany.
In many parts of the world, Benedictine communities will hold commemorative masses in honor of their revered patron.
The abbey, however, has 270 lay associates--men and women who live and work in the secular world but seek to follow the Benedictine values of community, hospitality, humility, simplicity, prayer, and praise in their daily lives.
The Monks in Motion project, led by Dr James Kelly, research fellow in the History of Catholicism in Durham University's Department of Theology and Religion, has brought together records of English and Welsh Benedictine monks exiled in Europe in a first-ofits-kind searchable database and uncovered some of their remarkable histories.
He added: "The number of English and Welsh Benedictines was actually much higher than previous records suggested, showing that despite its illegality, there were many who were prepared to reject the establishment and enter a life that was proscribed in their homeland."
The future of Grade II-listed St Austin's church in Aigburth has been uncertain since the last few remaining Benedictine priests - a strict religious order within the Catholic community - left the site in 2012 after many years.
German Benedictines established major historical-critical projects (inspired by the French Maurists), participated in learned societies, contributed to (and in some cases founded) academic journals, conducted scientific experiments, expressed disdain for Scholasticism and enthusiasm for the ideas of Locke, Wolff, and Kant, and embarked on theological experiments in ecumenism (Beda Mayr) and religious toleration (Benedict Werkmeister).
Kylemore Abbey, in Connemara, Co Galway, will shut in 2010 as the Benedictine Order no longer has enough staff to run it.
They will attend next Sunday's Vatican ceremonies when Dublin-born monk Dom Columba Marmion becomes the first member of the Irish Benedictine Order to be beatified.
Seckau is the most important Benedictine Abbey in Austria.
The last quarter of the book also contains very useful material: a full bibliography, an index of the Benedictine monasteries with the monks that each sent to Paris, an index of graduates arranged by chronology and secondly by degree in canon law or theology, and an index of persons and places (including those persons to whom a full entry is devoted).