Rule of Augustine

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Beginning of the Rule of Augustine; Printed around 1504
Augustine presents his rule to Norbert von Xanten , around 1140
Portal tympanum of the convent building of S. Stefano, Venice : St. Augustine, surrounded by Augustinian hermits, in his hand a book with the first sentence of the Rule of Augustine (15th century)

The rule of Augustine goes back to the church father Augustine of Hippo . Especially since the 11th century, this short rule has become the basis for the coexistence of a large number of religious orders . Today there are several hundred Augustinian orders and congregations  - on the one hand communities that bear the name of their patron, i.e. Augustinians (until 1963 "Augustinian hermits"), Augustinian discalceates , Augustinian recollects and Augustinian canons , on the other hand, numerous orders, the Augustinus do not carry in the name, among the mendicant orders for example the Dominicans , Mercedarians and Trinitarians , among the regular canons for example the regular canons of the Holy Cross and the Premonstratensians . Social-charitable religious orders such as the Alexians , the Brothers of Mercy of Maria-Hilf or the Hospital Orders also live according to the Augustine Rule.

It is misleading to start from a single rule of Augustine, as there are different versions, which Lukas Verheijen OSA in 1967 differentiated as follows:

“The core of the rule exists both in a version for men, called Praeceptum , and in one for women, Regularis informatio . A shorter text with instructions for the external order of everyday monastic life, called Ordo monasterii , precedes the Praeceptum, the version for men, in many manuscripts, and in some cases also the version for women. The current form of the rule in the male and female orders, the Regula recepta, consists of an introductory sentence of the Ordo monasterii, this short text with the instructions for everyday monastic life, and the praeceptum - of course adapted accordingly for women "

In essence, the rules prescribe the following:

  • Life marked by love and unity in the religious community
  • mutual reminders and mutual "control"
  • Waiver of personal property (private property must be bequeathed to the order upon entry)
  • Abstinence (fasting, no sensual or material desire)
  • Submission to the community and the authority of the superior
  • regular prayer

So it differs from the also widespread Benedictine rule (Regula Benedicti) for monastic communities.


  • Gert Melville , Müller (Ed.): Regula Sancti Augustini. Normative basis of different associations in the Middle Ages. Conference of the Academy of the Augustinian Canons of Windesheim and the Collaborative Research Center 537, Project C "Institutional Structures of Religious Orders in the Middle Ages" from December 14 to 16, 2000 in Dresden (= publications of the Academy of the Augustinian Canons of Windesheim 3). Paring 2002, ISBN 3-9805469-8-5 .
  • Luc Verheijen: La règle de saint Augustin. 2 volumes. Études augustiniennes, Paris 1967.
    • I. Tradition manuscrite.
    • II. Recherches historiques.

Web links

Commons : Rule of Augustine  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Lucas Verheijen: Tradition of the Augustine Rule. Quoted after: C. Mayer u. KH Chelius (Ed.): Homo Spiritalis. Celebration for Luc Verheijen on his 70th birthday. Augustinus, Würzburg 1987.