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Rule of St Benedict

The Rule in a fourteenth century ordinal
© British Library
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The Rule in a fourteenth century ordinal

This monastic rule was compiled by Benedict of Nursia, the patriarch of monasticism in the West, c. 480-550, to regulate the life of his monks at Monte Cassino in Italy. Benedict’s ‘little rule for beginners’ became the cornerstone for monastic observance in the West. It stressed stability, chastity and obedience and underlined the supremacy of the abbot’s powers.