What are monks


The founder of the order, St. Benedict, was born around 480 in Nursia in central Italy. As a young man he broke off his studies in Rome and lived for some time in an ascetic community in Effide and then for three years as a hermit in the cave of Subiaco. There later students gathered around him who lived in twelve small monasteries under his direction. Around 529 he moved to Montecassino with his monks. Here he completed his famous monastic rule, which Pope Gregory the Great praised for being characterized by wise moderation. St. Benedict died on March 21, 547 and was buried in Montecassino. Benedictines (Latin Ordo Sancti Benedicti, OSB) are monks and nuns who obey the rule of Benedict of Nursia.
The first twelve Benedictine monasteries were founded in Subiaco near Rome in the early 6th century. In 529 Benedict donated the famous monastery of Montecassino, where he wrote the monastic rule by which the entire western monastic life was organized and revived in times of crisis. Measured against the norms of the time, the Benedictine Rule did not require particularly pronounced severity and asceticism. Depending on the season and the celebrations, the Benedictines were given a period of four to eight hours a day for prayers and seven to eight hours for sleep. The rest of the time was devoted equally to work - usually gardening - and religious reading and study. The abbot was given patriarchal powers over the community, and he himself was subject to the rule and had to discuss important decisions with the members of the community.
During Benedict's lifetime, his students spread his teaching in the countries of Central and Western Europe. The order soon became the most important of the Catholic Church. He only lost this primacy with the enforcement of the Augustinian canon in the 11th century and the establishment of the mendicant orders in the 13th century. Gregory I was the fifth of 50 Benedictines to climb the papal seat. The most important of these were Leo IV, Gregory VII, Pius VII and Gregory XVI. In the 14th century the order had 37,000 members, in the 15th century just under half, and during the Reformation the order only had 5,000 members.
Benedictines wear a black, belted tunic, a black scapular with a hood and a black flake. The number of members rose again, the order now comprises around 11,000 men and 25,000 women. In Germany, the Benedictines are still in first place: In 1998, a total of 957 members lived in 37 branches of 28 legally independent abbeys and priories.