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Benedict of Nursia. Monasticism & Benedictine Rule. Monasticism. Monasticism is the practice of living in a state of separation from the world for the purpose of attaining spiritual perfection.

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benedict of nursia

Benedict of Nursia

Monasticism & Benedictine Rule

  • Monasticism is the practice of living in a state of separation from the world for the purpose of attaining spiritual perfection.
  • The word Monk indicates the idea of separation; it is based on the Greek word monoswhich means alone andone who lives alone.
  • The end of martyrdom and the end of the era of persecution created a need for new Christian heroes.
  • Instead of the physical death, Christians can die from the world through a solitary life.
  • These men and women were sought after for religious counsel, and spiritual healing. Most were later recognized as Saints.
  • These men and women became threat threat to the Orthodox Church because of their attainment of sanctity without the benefits of preaching and sacraments from the orthodox church.
early monasticism
Early Monasticism
  • Anthony (251-256)- Egyptian Christian who lived in the deserts lands along the Nile.
  • We know him through Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria who was also his friend. Anthanasius wrote The life of Anthony. Though this book is full of exaggerated views and propaganda it gives insight to Monasticism in Egypt.
  • Simeon the Elder (390-459) also known as Simeon “Stylites.” He separated from the world by living above it. For thirty years he preached to people while living atop a small platform thirty feet in the air. He is the most famous Syrian monk.
  • Beginning of monasticism in Palestine is traced to Hilarion (291-371).
  • Jerome wrote a book about him called Life.
benedict and the west
Benedict and The West
  • Through Athanasius’ book, Monasticism became popular.
  • Early supporters were Roman women.
  • Melanie the Elder built a convent near Jerusalem where she presided over over a community of fifty ascetic women.
  • Paula, a disciple of Jerome, cofounded a double monastery with Jerome for men and women.
  • Earliest monastic institution in the West was founded by Martin of Tours (335-97)
  • The Rule of Benedict of Nursia(480-550) was the foundation of Western monasticism
benedict of nursia1
Benedict of Nursia
  • The founding father of Western monasticism.
  • Born in Nursia in 480.
  • Benedict was the son of a Roman noble.
  • In his teens, he took a solitary life in a cave near Subiaco, Italy.
  • He started to gain disciples because of his ascetic life and miracles.
  • Though he did not like the attention, he decided to be their Abbot.
  • He brought his disciples to Monte Cassino, where he wrote his Rule.
the rule
The Rule
  • The purpose of The Rule was to create a communal environment.
  • In this environment monks can imitate Jesus rather than live in a severe asceticism and detachment of the world.
  • It allowed monks two meals per day and small amount of wine. Monks also had pillows, mattress and blanket for sleeping. This is very luxurious for ascetics prior to Benedict and also to any African Child.
  • Still, Monks were only allowed to speak when necessary and they avoided frivolous behaviors.
the rule continued
The Rule continued
  • Wealth and social classes between monks were ignored; monks did now own any personal possessions
  • A great difference was that According to Benedict, the monastery was to be service of the surrounding population.
  • Guests were to be welcomed.
lives of monk work communal worship and lectio divina
Lives of Monk: Work, Communal Worship and LectioDivina
  • Work involves labor and chores: the attitude used to perform this labor leads to spiritual growth. Idleness is the enemy.
  • Worship was organized by the canonical hours. Monks would gather in their chapel to recite chants, readings, and prayers that made up the Divine office.
  • The communal worship presided over eight hours.
  • Nocturns(2a.m.), matin/lauds(before dawn), prime(6a.m.), terce(9 a.m.), sext(noon), none(3p.m.), vespers (sunset) and compline (before bed).
  • Lectiodivinais a period of reading the bible, the church father, or some other religious texts as well as prayer.
  • A monk’s life was an endless devotion to God.
  • The Benedictine form of monasticism spread quickly throughout the West.
  • Unlike the East it discouraged extreme Asceticism, and this mad it more attractive to people.
  • The life of Benedict is known through Saint Gregory.