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Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino
Abbey, with his burial Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, near Orléans, France Sacro Speco, at Subiaco, Italy

Feast 11 July (General Roman Calendar), (Anglican Communion) 14 March (Byzantine Rite) 21 March (pre-1970 General Roman Calendar)

Attributes -Bell -Broken tray -Broken cup and serpent representing poison -Broken utensil -Bush -Crosier -Man in a Benedictine
Benedictine
cowl holding Benedict's rule or a rod of discipline -Raven

Patronage -Against poison -Against witchcraft -Agricultural workers -Cavers -Civil engineers -Coppersmiths -Dying people -Erysipelas -Europe -Farmers -Fever -Gall stones - Heerdt
Heerdt
(Germany) - Heraldry
Heraldry
and Officers of arms -the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest -Inflammatory diseases -Italian architects -Kidney disease -Monks -Nettle rash -Norcia, (Italy) -People in religious orders -Schoolchildren and students -Servants who have broken their master's belongings -Speleologists -Spelunkers -Temptations

Benedict of Nursia
Nursia
(Latin: Benedictus Nursiae; Italian: Benedetto da Norcia; Vulgar Latin: *Benedecto; Gothic: Benedikt; c. 2 March 480 – 543 or 547 AD) is a Christian saint, who is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Catholic Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
and Old Catholic Churches.[1] He is a patron saint of Europe.[2] Benedict founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, Lazio, Italy (about 40 miles (64 km) to the east of Rome), before moving to Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino
in the mountains of southern Italy. The Order of Saint Benedict is of later origin and, moreover, not an "order" as commonly understood but merely a confederation of autonomous congregations.[3] Benedict's main achievement is his "Rule of Saint Benedict", containing precepts for his monks. It is heavily influenced by the writings of John Cassian, and shows strong affinity with the Rule of the Master. But it also has a unique spirit of balance, moderation and reasonableness (ἐπιείκεια, epieikeia), and this persuaded most religious communities founded throughout the Middle Ages to adopt it. As a result, his Rule became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom. For this reason, Benedict is often called the founder of Western Christian monasticism.

Contents

1 Biography 2 Early life 3 Later life 4 Veneration 5 Rule of Saint Benedict 6 Saint Benedict Medal 7 Influence 8 Gallery 9 See also 10 References 11 Sources 12 External links

Biography[edit] Apart from a short poem attributed to Mark of Monte Cassino, the only ancient account of Benedict is found in the second volume of Pope Gregory I's four-book Dialogues, thought to have been written in 593.[4] The authenticity of this work has been hotly disputed, especially by Dr Francis Clarke in his two volume work The Pseudo-Gregorian Dialogues. Book
Book
Two consists of a prologue and thirty-eight succinct chapters.[5] Gregory’s account of this saint’s life is not, however, a biography in the modern sense of the word. It provides instead a spiritual portrait of the gentle, disciplined abbot. In a letter to Bishop Maximilian of Syracuse, Gregory states his intention for his Dialogues, saying they are a kind of floretum (an anthology, literally, 'flowers') of the most striking miracles of Italian holy men.[6] Gregory did not set out to write a chronological, historically anchored story of Saint Benedict, but he did base his anecdotes on direct testimony. To establish his authority, Gregory explains that his information came from what he considered the best sources: a handful of Benedict’s disciples who lived with the saint and witnessed his various miracles. These followers, he says, are Constantinus, who succeeded Benedict as Abbot
Abbot
of Monte Cassino; Valentinianus; Simplicius; and Honoratus, who was abbot of Subiaco when St Gregory wrote his Dialogues. In Gregory's day, history was not recognised as an independent field of study; it was a branch of grammar or rhetoric, and historia (defined as 'story') summed up the approach of the learned when they wrote what was, at that time, considered 'history.'[7] Gregory’s Dialogues
Dialogues
Book
Book
Two, then, an authentic medieval hagiography cast as a conversation between the Pope
Pope
and his deacon Peter, is designed to teach spiritual lessons.[4] Early life[edit] He was the son of a Roman noble of Nursia,[4] the modern Norcia, in Umbria. A tradition which Bede
Bede
accepts makes him a twin with his sister Scholastica. If 480 is accepted as the year of his birth, the year of his abandonment of his studies and leaving home would be about 500. Saint Gregory's narrative makes it impossible to suppose him younger than 20 at the time. He was old enough to be in the midst of his literary studies, to understand the real meaning and worth of the dissolute and licentious lives of his companions, and to have been deeply affected by the love of a woman. He was at the beginning of life, and he had at his disposal the means to a career as a Roman noble; clearly he was not a child. Benedict was sent to Rome
Rome
to study, but was dissatisfied by the life he found there. He does not seem to have left Rome
Rome
for the purpose of becoming a hermit, but only to find some place away from the life of the great city. He took his old nurse with him as a servant and they settled down to live in Enfide.[8] Enfide, which the tradition of Subiaco identifies with the modern Affile, is in the Simbruini mountains, about forty miles from Rome
Rome
and two from Subiaco.

Saint Benedict orders Saint Maurus
Saint Maurus
to the rescue of Saint Placidus, by Fra Filippo Lippi, 1445 A.D.

A short distance from Enfide
Enfide
is the entrance to a narrow, gloomy valley, penetrating the mountains and leading directly to Subiaco. The path continues to ascend, and the side of the ravine, on which it runs, becomes steeper, until a cave is reached above which the mountain now rises almost perpendicularly; while on the right, it strikes in a rapid descent down to where, in Saint Benedict's day, 500 feet (150 m) below, lay the blue waters of the lake. The cave has a large triangular-shaped opening and is about ten feet deep. On his way from Enfide, Benedict met a monk, Romanus of Subiaco, whose monastery was on the mountain above the cliff overhanging the cave. Romanus had discussed with Benedict the purpose which had brought him to Subiaco, and had given him the monk's habit. By his advice Benedict became a hermit and for three years, unknown to men, lived in this cave above the lake.[2] Later life[edit] Gregory tells us little of these years. He now speaks of Benedict no longer as a youth (puer), but as a man (vir) of God. Romanus, he twice tells us, served the saint in every way he could. The monk apparently visited him frequently, and on fixed days brought him food.[8] During these three years of solitude, broken only by occasional communications with the outer world and by the visits of Romanus, Benedict matured both in mind and character, in knowledge of himself and of his fellow-man, and at the same time he became not merely known to, but secured the respect of, those about him; so much so that on the death of the abbot of a monastery in the neighbourhood (identified by some with Vicovaro), the community came to him and begged him to become its abbot. Benedict was acquainted with the life and discipline of the monastery, and knew that "their manners were diverse from his and therefore that they would never agree together: yet, at length, overcome with their entreaty, he gave his consent" (ibid., 3). The experiment failed; the monks tried to poison him. The legend goes that they first tried to poison his drink. He prayed a blessing over the cup and the cup shattered. Thus he left the group and went back to his cave at Subiaco. There lived in the neighborhood a priest called Florentius who, moved by envy, tried to ruin him. He tried to poison him with poisoned bread. When he prayed a blessing over the bread, a raven swept in and took the loaf away. From this time his miracles seem to have become frequent, and many people, attracted by his sanctity and character, came to Subiaco to be under his guidance. Having failed by sending him poisonous bread, Florentius tried to seduce his monks with some prostitutes. To avoid further temptations, in 530 Benedict left Subiaco. He founded 12 monasteries in the vicinity of Subiaco, and, eventually, in 530 he founded the great Benedictine
Benedictine
monastery of Monte Cassino,[2] which lies on a hilltop between Rome
Rome
and Naples.[9] During the invasion of Italy, Totila, King of the Goths, ordered a general to wear his kingly robes and to see whether Benedict would discover the truth. Immediately the Saint detected the impersonation, and Totila
Totila
came to pay him due respect.[2] Veneration[edit]

Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
icon of Saint Benedict.

Totila
Totila
and Saint Benedict, painted by Spinello Aretino.

He died of a fever at Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino
not long after his sister, Saint Scholastica, and was buried in the same place as his sister. According to tradition, this occurred on 21 March 543 or 547. He was named patron protector of Europe by Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
in 1964.[10] In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared him co-patron of Europe, together with Saints Cyril and Methodius.[11] In the pre-1970 General Roman Calendar, his feast is kept on 21 March, the day of his death according to some manuscripts of the Martyrologium Hieronymianum and that of Bede. Because on that date his liturgical memorial would always be impeded by the observance of Lent, the 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar
General Roman Calendar
moved his memorial to 11 July, the date that appears in some Gallic liturgical books of the end of the 8th century as the feast commemorating his birth (Natalis S. Benedicti). There is some uncertainty about the origin of this feast.[12] Accordingly, on 21 March the Roman Martyrology mentions in a line and a half that it is Benedict's day of death and that his memorial is celebrated on 11 July, while on 11 July it devotes seven lines to speaking of him, and mentions the tradition that he died on 21 March.[13] The Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
commemorates Saint Benedict on 14 March.[14] The Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
has no single universal calendar, but a provincial calendar of saints is published in each province. In almost all of these, Saint Benedict is commemorated on 11 July. Rule of Saint Benedict[edit] Main article: Rule of Saint Benedict Seventy-three short chapters comprise the Rule. Its wisdom is of two kinds: spiritual (how to live a Christocentric life on earth) and administrative (how to run a monastery efficiently). More than half the chapters describe how to be obedient and humble, and what to do when a member of the community is not. About one-fourth regulate the work of God (the Opus Dei). One-tenth outline how, and by whom, the monastery should be managed. Following the golden rule of Ora et Labora - pray and work, the monks each day devoted eight hours to prayer, eight hours to sleep, and eight hours to manual work, sacred reading, or works of charity.[2] Saint Benedict Medal[edit] Main article: Saint Benedict Medal

Image of Saint Benedict with a cross (which is inscribed, "Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Non draco sit mihi dux!" ("May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon never be my overlord!")) and a scroll stating "Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! ("Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!", or in brief, Vade Retro Satana
Vade Retro Satana
which is abbreviated on the Saint Benedict Medal

This medal originally came from a cross in honour of Saint Benedict. On one side, the medal has an image of Saint Benedict, holding the Holy Rule in his left hand and a cross in his right. There is a raven on one side of him, with a cup on the other side of him. Around the medal's outer margin are the words "Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur" ("May we, at our death, be fortified by His presence"). The other side of the medal has a cross with the initials CSSML on the vertical bar which signify "Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux" ("May the Holy Cross be my light") and on the horizontal bar are the initials NDSMD which stand for "Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux" ("Let not the dragon be my overlord"). The initials CSPB stand for "Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti" ("The Cross of the Holy Father Benedict") and are located on the interior angles of the cross. Either the inscription "PAX" (Peace) or the Christogram
Christogram
"IHS" may be found at the top of the cross in most cases. Around the medal's margin on this side are the Vade Retro Satana initials VRSNSMV which stand for "Vade Retro Satana, Nonquam Suade Mihi Vana" ("Begone Satan, do not suggest to me thy vanities") then a space followed by the initials SMQLIVB which signify "Sunt Mala Quae Libas, Ipse Venena Bibas" ("Evil are the things thou profferest, drink thou thy own poison").[15]

Benedict depicted on a Jubilee Saint Benedict Medal
Saint Benedict Medal
for the 1400th anniversary of his birth in 1880

This medal was first struck in 1880 to commemorate the fourteenth centenary of Saint Benedict's birth and is also called the Jubilee Medal; its exact origin, however, is unknown. In 1647, during a witchcraft trial at Natternberg near Metten Abbey
Metten Abbey
in Bavaria, the accused women testified they had no power over Metten, which was under the protection of the cross. An investigation found a number of painted crosses on the walls of the abbey with the letters now found on St Benedict medals, but their meaning had been forgotten. A manuscript written in 1415 was eventually found that had a picture of Saint Benedict holding a scroll in one hand and a staff which ended in a cross in the other. On the scroll and staff were written the full words of the initials contained on the crosses. Medals then began to be struck in Germany, which then spread throughout Europe. This medal was first approved by Pope Benedict XIV
Pope Benedict XIV
in his briefs of 23 December 1741, and 12 March 1742.[15] Saint Benedict has been also the motive of many collector's coins around the world. The Austria 50 euro 'The Christian Religious Orders', issued on 13 March 2002 is one of them. Influence[edit]

Austria 50 euro 'The Christian Religious Orders' commemorative coin

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The early Middle Ages have been called "the Benedictine centuries."[16] In April 2008, Pope
Pope
Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI
discussed the influence St Benedict had on Western Europe. The pope said that "with his life and work St Benedict exercised a fundamental influence on the development of European civilization and culture" and helped Europe to emerge from the "dark night of history" that followed the fall of the Roman empire.[17] Saint Benedict contributed more than anyone else to the rise of monasticism in the West. His Rule was the foundational document for thousands of religious communities in the Middle Ages.[18] To this day, The Rule of St. Benedict is the most common and influential Rule used by monasteries and monks, more than 1,400 years after its writing. Today the Benedictine
Benedictine
family is represented by two branches: the Benedictine
Benedictine
Federation and the Cistercians.[19] The influence of Saint Benedict produced "a true spiritual ferment" in Europe, and over the coming decades his followers spread across the continent to establish a new cultural unity based on Christian faith. A basilica was built upon the birthplace of Saints Benedict and Scholastica
Scholastica
in the 1400s. Ruins of their familial home were excavated from beneath the church and preserved. The earthquake of October 30th, 2016 completely devastated the structure of the basilica, leaving only the front facade and altar standing.[20][21] Gallery[edit]

Saint Benedict and the cup of poison (Melk Abbey, Austria)

Small gold-coloured Saint Benedict Crucifix

Two sides of a Saint Benedict Medal

Portrait (1926) by Herman Nieg (1849–1928); Heiligenkreuz Abbey, Austria

St. Benedict at the Death of St. Scholastica
Scholastica
(ca. 1250-60), Musée National de l'Age Médiévale, Paris, orig. at the Abbatiale of St. Denis

Statue in Einsiedeln, Switzerland

See also[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Benedict of Norcia.

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Benedict of Nursia

Saints portal

Anthony the Great Benedictine
Benedictine
Order Camaldolese Hermit Poustinia San Beneto Saint Benedict Medal Vade retro satana Tenjin (kami): patron of students and scholars

References[edit]

^ Barry, Patrick (1 July 1995). St. Benedict and Christianity in England. Gracewing Publishing. p. 32. ISBN 9780852443385. Retrieved 24 November 2012.  ^ a b c d e Fr. Paolo O. Pirlo, SHMI (1997). "St. Benedict". My First Book
Book
of Saints. Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate - Quality Catholic Publications. pp. 145–147. ISBN 971-91595-4-5.  ^ Holder, Arthur G. (29 July 2009). Christian Spirituality: The Classics. Taylor & Francis. p. 70. ISBN 9780415776028. Retrieved 24 November 2012. Today, tens of thousands of men and women throughout the world profess to live their lives according to Benedict's Rule. These men and women are associated with over two thousand Roman Catholic, Anglican, and ecumenical Benedictine monasteries on six continents.  ^ a b c Ford, Hugh. "St. Benedict of Norcia." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 3 Mar. 2014 ^ Life and Miracles of St. Benedict ( Book
Book
II, Dialogues), translated by Odo John Zimmerman, O.S.B. and Benedict R. Avery, O.S.B. (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1980), p. iv. ^ See Ildephonso Schuster, Saint Benedict and His Times, Gregory J. Roettger, trans. (London: B. Herder, 1951), p. 2. ^ See Deborah Mauskopf Deliyannis, editor, Historiography in the Middle Ages (Boston: Brill, 2003), pp. 1–2. ^ a b "Saint Benedict, Abbot", Lives of Saints, John J. Crawley & Co., Inc. ^ Nursia
Nursia
Archived 16 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "St. Benedict of Norcia". Catholic Online. Retrieved 31 July 2008.  ^ "Egregiae Virtutis". Retrieved 26 April 2009.  Apostolic letter of Pope
Pope
John Paul II, 31 December 1980 (in Latin) ^ "Calendarium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana), pp. 97 and 119 ^ Martyrologium Romanum 199 (edito altera 2004); pages 188 and 361 of the 2001 edition (Libreria Editrice Vaticana ISBN 978-88-209-7210-3) ^ Orthodox Church in America: The Lives of the Saints, March 14th ^ a b The Life of St Benedict, by St. Gregory the Great, Rockford, IL: TAN Books and Publishers, pp 60–62 ^ "Western Europe in the Middle Ages". Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved 17 November 2008.  ^ Benedict XVI, "Saint Benedict of Norcia" Homily given to a general audience at St Peter's Square on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 "?". Retrieved 4 August 2010.  ^ Stracke, Prof. J.R., "St. Benedict – Iconography", Augusta State University Archived 16 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Foley O.F.M., Leonard, rev. McCloskey O.F.M., Pat, "Saint of the Day", American Catholic ^ https://en.nursia.org/earthquake/ ^ http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/beer-brewing-monks-norcia-say-earthquake-destroys-st-benedict-basilica-n675536

Sources[edit]

Gardner, Edmund G. (editor) (1911). The Dialogues
Dialogues
of Saint Gregory the Great. London: Warner. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Benedict of Nursia

Saint Benedict (pdf) from Fr. Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints A Benedictine
Benedictine
Oblate Priest – The Rule in Parish Life Guide to Saint Benedict

St. Benedict’s Rule for Monasteries at Project Gutenberg, translated by Leonard J. Doyle The Holy Rule of St. Benedict, translated by Boniface Verheyen The Order of Saint Benedict The Medal Or Cross of St. Benedict: Its Origin, Meaning, and Privileges Life and Miracles of St Benedict Works by or about Benedict of Nursia
Nursia
at Internet Archive Works by Benedict of Nursia
Nursia
at LibriVox
LibriVox
(public domain audiobooks) "The Life of St. Benedict" from the Caxton translation of the Golden Legend Saint Benedict Of Norcia, Patron Of Poison Sufferers, Monks, And Many More Saint Benedict of Norcia
Norcia
at the Christian Iconography web site. "The Life of St. Benedict: Introduction". Retrieved 17 November 2008.  Colonnade Statue in St Peter's Square Founder Statue in St Peter's Basilica

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 100179656 LCCN: n79034826 ISNI: 0000 0001 0928 5514 GND: 118508911 SELIBR: 176384 SUDOC: 027281264 BNF: cb118911827 (data) BIBSYS: 90358236 NLA: 35017288 NDL: 00620349 NKC: jn19990000660 ICCU: ITICCUCFIV24830 BNE: XX1719

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