Our Father Among the Saints, Benedict of Nursia, Father of Monks

Troparion Tone 1

By thine ascetical struggles, O Godbearing Benedict,/ thou didst prove true to thy name./ For thou wast the son of benediction, and didst become a model and rule/ to all who emulate thy life and cry:/ Glory to Him Who has strengthened thee; glory to Him Who has crowned thee;/ glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Kontakion Tone 8

Like a sun of the Dayspring from on high/ thou didst enlighten the monks of the West and instruct them by word and deed./ By the sweat of thine ascetical achievements/ purge from the filth of passions us who honour thee and cry:/ Rejoice, O Father Benedict.

Prayer to St. Benedict of Nursia

O holy Father, St. Benedict, blessed by God both in grace and in name, who, while standing in prayer, with hands raised to heaven, didst most happily yield thy angelic spirit into the hands of thy Creator, and hast promised zealously to defend against all the snares of the enemy in the last struggle of death, those who shall daily remind thee of thy glorious departure and heavenly joys; protect me, I beseech thee, O glorious Father, this day and every day, by thy holy blessings, that I may never be separated from our dear Lord, from the society of thyself, and of all the blessed. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

[Note: In the West, St. Benedict’s death is celebrated 21 March, and his feast day is celebrated 11 July]

St. Gregory the Great’s Life of St. Benedict

An account of the uncovering of St. Benedict’s relics

The Rule of St. Benedict (in English)

Regula Sancti Benedicti

About the Rule of St. Benedict

About the medal of St. Benedict

About St. Scholastica, St. Benedict’s twin sister

A brief account of St. Benedict, his life and influence (Roman Catholic Order of St. Benedict website)

From the OCA Website:

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 of life.

At first St. 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 St. Benedict for instruction.

The strict monastic Rule St. Benedict established for the monks was not accepted by everyone, and more than once he was criticized and abused by dissenters.

Finally he 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. St. Benedict wrote his Rule, based on the experience of life of the Eastern desert-dwellers and the precepts of St. John Cassian the Roman (February 29).

The Rule of St. 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.

St. 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 St. Gregory.

St. Benedict’s sister, St. Scholastica (February 10), also became famous for her strict ascetic life and was numbered among the saints.

One thought on “Our Father Among the Saints, Benedict of Nursia, Father of Monks

  1. A worthy presentation of our father amongst the saints, Benedict of Nursia! Well done!

    I invite you and your Orthodox readers to our [feeble efforts] blog entitled, “Oblation: Orthodox Christian Oblates of St Benedict” being a companion to “Orthodox Oblates” at Yahoo! Groups.

    Their urls are, respectively:
    http://orthodoxoblates.wordpress.com/

    and

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OrthodoxOblates/

    the unworthy monk,
    Fr Symeon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s