Benedictine refers to the spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 and consecrated life
Consecrated life
The consecrated life in the Christian tradition, especially the Roman Catholic Church, but also the Anglican Church and to some extent other Christian denominations, is, as the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law states: "a stable form of living by which faithful, following Christ more closely under...

 in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict
Rule of St Benedict
The Rule of Saint Benedict is a book of precepts written by St. Benedict of Nursia for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot. Since about the 7th century it has also been adopted by communities of women...

, written by Benedict of Nursia
Benedict of Nursia
Saint Benedict of Nursia is a Christian saint, honored by the Roman Catholic Church as the patron saint of Europe and students.Benedict founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, about to the east of Rome, before moving to Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy. There is no...

 in the sixth century for the cenobitic
Cenobitic monasticism is a monastic tradition that stresses community life. Often in the West, the community belongs to a religious order and the life of the cenobitic monk is regulated by a religious rule, a collection of precepts...

 communities he founded in central Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino is a rocky hill about southeast of Rome, Italy, c. to the west of the town of Cassino and altitude. St. Benedict of Nursia established his first monastery, the source of the Benedictine Order, here around 529. It was the site of Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944...

, the first monastery founded by Benedict around 529.

Used as a noun, the term Benedictine denotes membership in the order. By extension it is sometimes applied to other adherents of the Benedictine spirituality.

During the subsequent centuries many more Benedictine communities were founded, not only for monks but also for nuns, first throughout Europe and eventually also other areas of the world. This led to the formation in modern times of the Order of St Benedict. In addition to those autonomous Benedictine communities, a number of independent monastic orders were founded on the rule of St Benedict, and so are also Benedictines in that sense. Such orders include the Congregation of Cluny, the Cistercians, and the Trappists
The Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance , or Trappists, is a Roman Catholic religious order of cloistered contemplative monks who follow the Rule of St. Benedict...

. Benedictine communities are primarily found in the Catholic Church but several Benedictine communities exist within other Christian communities, though small in number.

The current Abbot
The word abbot, meaning father, is a title given to the head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not actually the head of a monastery...

Primate (religion)
Primate is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority or ceremonial precedence ....

 of the global Benedictine Confederation
Benedictine Confederation
The Benedictine Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict is the international governing body of the Order of Saint Benedict.-Origin:...

 of the Order of St. Benedict is a German Benedictine, Notker Wolf
Notker Wolf
Notker Wolf OSB is the current Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict. He was elected to his position as Abbot Primate in 2000, succeeding Marcel Rooney. He lives at the Confederation's headquarters at Sant'Anselmo in Rome. The position is largely honorary...

. The center of the Confederation is Sant'Anselmo
Sant'Anselmo, named after the Italian saint and theologian, Anselm of Canterbury, is the home of the Abbot Primate of the Benedictines, seat of the Benedictine Confederation, and also hosts an Athenaeum, including the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, and the Philosophy and Theology faculties...

 in Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 where every four years the abbots of the Benedictine order from around the world meet for a Confederation Congress. In 2000, there were 8,182 Benedictine monks, 7,179 nuns, and 10,000 "Active Benedictine Sisters."


In the English Reformation
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

 all monasteries were dissolved
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...

 and their lands confiscated by the Crown, forcing their Catholic members to flee into exile on the Continent, although during the 19th century they were able to return to England, including to Selby Abbey
Selby Abbey
Selby Abbey is an Anglican parish church in the town of Selby, North Yorkshire.-Background:It is one of the relatively few surviving abbey churches of the medieval period, and, although not a cathedral, is one of the biggest...

 in Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

, one of the few great monastic churches to survive the Dissolution. Noteworthy, too, is St. Mildred's Priory, Isle of Thanet
Isle of Thanet
The Isle of Thanet lies at the most easterly point of Kent, England. While in the past it was separated from the mainland by the nearly -wide River Wantsum, it is no longer an island ....

, Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, built in 1027 on the site of an Abbey founded in 670 by the daughter of the first Christian King of Kent. Currently the Priory is home to a community of Benedictine nuns. Four of the most notable English Abbeys are the Basilica of St Gregory the Great at Downside, commonly known as Downside Abbey
Downside Abbey
The Basilica of St Gregory the Great at Downside, commonly known as Downside Abbey, is a Roman Catholic Benedictine monastery and the Senior House of the English Benedictine Congregation. One of its main apostolates is a school for children aged nine to eighteen...

, Ealing Abbey
Ealing Abbey
Ealing Abbey is a Roman Catholic Benedictine monastic foundation in West London, England, and part of the English Benedictine Congregation.-History:...

 in Ealing, West London and St. Lawrence's in Yorkshire (Ampleforth Abbey
Ampleforth Abbey
Ampleforth Abbey is a monastery of Benedictine Monks in North Yorkshire, England, part of the English Benedictine Congregation. It claims descent from the pre-Reformation community at Westminster Abbey through the last surviving monk from Westminster Sigebert Buckley.The current Abbot is Fr...

)and Worth Abbey
Worth Abbey
The Abbey of Our Lady, Help of Christians, commonly known as Worth Abbey, is a community of Roman Catholic monks who follow the Rule of St Benedict near Turners Hill village, in West Sussex, England....

 which has appeared in two BBC2 TV programmes; 'The Monastery (BBC TV series)
The Monastery (BBC TV series)
The Monastery was a documentary television series made by Tiger Aspect Productions for BBC Two which aired in the UK in May 2005. The programme follows five modern lay men as they embark on a 40 day and night introduction to Roman Catholic monastic life at Worth Abbey, West Sussex, England under...

' and 'The Big Silence' . In 1928, Prinknash Abbey
Prinknash Abbey
Prinknash Abbey is a Roman Catholic Benedictine monastery situated in the Vale of Gloucester in the Diocese of Clifton, near the village of Cranham....

 was officially returned to the Benedictines after four hundred years. Henry VIII had used the site as a hunting lodge. During the next few years, Prinknash Park, so called, was used as a home, until it was returned to the order. Since the Oxford Movement
Oxford Movement
The Oxford Movement was a movement of High Church Anglicans, eventually developing into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement, whose members were often associated with the University of Oxford, argued for the reinstatement of lost Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican liturgy...

 there has also been a modest flourishing of Benedictine monasticism in the Anglican Church
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

 and Protestant Churches. Anglican Benedictine Abbots are invited guests of the Benedictine Abbot Primate in Rome at Abbatial gatherings at Sant'Anselmo. There are an estimated 2,400 celibate Anglican Religious (1080 men and 1320 women) in the Anglican Communion as a whole, some of whom have adopted the Rule of St. Benedict. For a full list of all historic Benedictine houses in England & Wales see below.


In the late 19th century, laws were enacted preventing religious teaching. The original intent was to allow secular schools.
In 1880 and 1882, Benedictine teaching monks were effectively exiled; this was not completed until 1901.

Benedictine's rules

Communities of the Benedictine order are governed by the 73 chapters of the Rule of St. Benedict.

Usage in popular culture

The Benedictine order has been brought to public attention by the Brother Cadfael novels, a series of murder mysteries by Edith Pargeter
Edith Pargeter
Edith Mary Pargeter, OBE, BEM , also known by her nom de plume Ellis Peters, was a British author of works in many categories, especially history and historical fiction, and was also honoured for her translations of Czech classics; she is probably best known for her murder mysteries, both...

 writing under the name Ellis Peters. The stories were also made into a television series starring Derek Jacobi
Derek Jacobi
Sir Derek George Jacobi, CBE is an English actor and film director.A "forceful, commanding stage presence", Jacobi has enjoyed a highly successful stage career, appearing in such stage productions as Hamlet, Uncle Vanya, and Oedipus the King. He received a Tony Award for his performance in...

. The protagonist, Brother Cadfael, is a Benedictine monk living at Shrewsbury Abbey
Shrewsbury Abbey
The Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, commonly known as Shrewsbury Abbey, was a Benedictine monastery founded in 1083 by the Norman Earl of Shrewsbury, Roger de Montgomery, in Shrewsbury, the county town of Shropshire, England.-Background:...

 during the 12th century. The novels contain many details about the Benedictine order and lifestyle. A Benedictine abbey provides the setting for a murder mystery in medieval Europe in the book The Name of the Rose
The Name of the Rose
The Name of the Rose is the first novel by Italian author Umberto Eco. It is a historical murder mystery set in an Italian monastery in the year 1327, an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory...

by Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco Knight Grand Cross is an Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose , an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory...


List of historic Benedictine houses in England & Wales

See also

  • Saint Benedict Medal
    Saint Benedict Medal
    The Saint Benedict Medal is a Catholic sacramental medal containing symbols and text related to the life of Saint Benedict of Nursia. In use since at least the seventeenth century, it is used to ward off spiritual and physical dangers, especially those related to witchcraft, poison, and temptation...

  • Benedictine Confederation
    Benedictine Confederation
    The Benedictine Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict is the international governing body of the Order of Saint Benedict.-Origin:...

  • Oblates of Saint Benedict
  • Oblates
    Oblate (religion)
    An oblate in Christian monasticism is a person who is specifically dedicated to God or to God's service. Currently, oblate has two meanings:...

  • Order of Saint Benedict
    Order of Saint Benedict
    The Order of Saint Benedict is a Roman Catholic religious order of independent monastic communities that observe the Rule of St. Benedict. Within the order, each individual community maintains its own autonomy, while the organization as a whole exists to represent their mutual interests...

  • Order of Saint Benedict (Orthodox)
    Order of Saint Benedict (Orthodox)
    The Order of Saint Benedict is a loose affiliation of monastics of the Orthodox Church who strive to live according to the Rule of St Benedict. While there is no actual incorporated body known as the "Order of Saint Benedict", Orthodox Benedictines enjoy good relations with each other, which...

  • Order of St. Benedict (Anglican)
    Order of St. Benedict (Anglican)
    There are a number of Benedictine Anglican religious orders, some of them using the name Order of St. Benedict . Just like their Roman Catholic counterparts, each abbey / priory / convent is independent of each other...

  • Order of Cistercians
  • Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists)
  • Pontifical Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of the Reparation of the Holy Face
  • Mechitarist Order of the Armenian Catholic Church
    Armenian Catholic Church
    |- |The Armenian Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic Church sui juris in union with the other Eastern Rite, Oriental Rite and Latin Rite Catholics who accept the Bishop of Rome as spiritual leader of the Church. It is regulated by Eastern canon law...


External links

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