Order of Saint Benedict

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File:San Benito de Nursia.jpg
San Benito de Nursia

The Order of St. Benedict and the Benedictines were founded by St. Benedict of Nursia (480-547) in the monastery of Monte Cassino in the year 529. San Benito devised a rule that monks should follow that outlined in the famous "Ora et labora "ie pray and work. The monks respected three vows: chastity, poverty and obedience and divided their time between prayer and work, farming or copying texts in the scriptorium. After the fall of Roman Empire monasteries were the only remaining cultural centers in Europe and served to somehow keep a small part of the Roman legacy.

The Order of St. Benedict underwent several reforms that tried to counter the relaxation of the rule in the monasteries. It was the Cluniac reform carried out in the tenth century by Odon of Cluny in the Monastery of Cluny and Cistercian reform that began in the twelfth century.

Today the Benedictines are one of the most widespread religious orders abbeys and monasteries scattered around the world.

The importance of the monasteries during the Middle Ages

During medieval monasteries functioned as fiefdoms and made several important tasks:

  • They had a great economic importance to cultivate their lands.
  • They exercised a work of evangelization in rural areas.
  • They kept libraries have made copies of many of the books.