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A Benedictine monk with a cup
The Benedictine monk's habit
Benedictines at prayer

The Benedictine ( Latin Ordo Sancti Benedicti , abbreviated OSB , German: Order of Saint Benedict ) is a contemplative oriented religious within the Roman Catholic Church. Benedictine monasteries have also been preserved in Anglicanism and occasionally in Lutheranism . The Benedictine order is named after its founder Benedict of Nursia . It is considered to be the oldest order in western religious life.

Significant are the principles of the order, which in addition to the rule of the order Regula Benedicti contain everything that distinguishes the Benedictine order: " Ora et labora et lege " (Latin: " Pray and work and read "). The Benedictine monk takes three vows in the course of his religious life:

  • " Stabilitas loci " (constancy in the community and local ties of the member to a particular monastery )
  • "Conversatio morum suorum" (monastic way of life )
  • “Oboedientia” ( obedience ).

A motto of the Benedictines can be: "Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus - May God be glorified in everything".


Benedict of Nursia , father of the Benedictines; Fresco by Fra Angelico in the Convent of San Marco, Florence

Development of Western monasticism

Due to its special position as the only established order of the western church for a time (from around the early ninth to the late twelfth century) , one can hardly understand the history of Benedictineism without a look at western monasticism as a whole.

This had developed after models from Egypt and the Middle East and found its own expression. While there essentially hermitism was understood as the actual monasticism - the ascetic way of life in which the believer expresses and experiences a special closeness to God - other forms were more prominent in the western Roman cities ( family asceticism , celibate communities of Christian women). Bishop Eusebius († 370) lived in Vercelli in a community with other priests and thus gave the first example of a clerical monastery. Martin of Tours built one of the first monasteries in the West in Ligugé near Poitiers , and the Marmoutier monastery in 375 near Tours . Saint Jerome , who got to know eastern monasticism on his travels, favored the further development of the Roman ideal of the Vita Rusticana into a monastic ideal, in which for him seclusion and study were to be combined. St. Augustine testifies to the city monasteries in Rome in 387, from which the institution of the Basilica monasteries later developed.

The proclamation of Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire in 391 led to parts of the population who received it as Roman citizens. The result was a belief that was not well established in a number of regions, alongside which previous worldviews and religious ideas continued to exist in parallel. This background favored the emergence of communities who wanted to understand their life completely as religious, Christian life.

The Council of Chalcedon decided in 451 to subordinate the monasteries to the episcopal jurisdiction . They were therefore part of the ecclesiastical hierarchy and subordinated to their local bishops. Compared with eastern monasticism, this was definitely a separate path.

Benedict of Nursia and Gregory the Great

Against this background, the figure of Benedict of Nursia (* around 480, † 547) stands out, who wrote the Regula Benedicti (Benedict rule ) named after him for the monastery he founded in 529 near Montecassino , which is based on the Regula Magistri and other monastic rules , hardly emerged. Essential attitudes that the rule requires of the monks are obedience to their abbot, silence, constancy and humility . Most of the day is devoted to common or personal prayer or is spent in silence, with meditation and spiritual reading. Handicraft work, on which the monks were supposed to live, created compensation. The daily routine of the monks is structured by the worship service, to which nothing may be preferred according to the rule. As is customary in monasticism, psalms were prayed, according to the rule every 150 within a week (nowadays often spread over two weeks).

The Regula Benedicti thus differs a little from other monastic rules of the time. When it was drafted, Benedict had no order-like structures in mind - like other rule authors, he wanted to clarify the situation in his own house.

One aspect that could explain the later special status of the rule is the leveling of class differences : apart from exceptions determined by the abbot, the ranking of the monks was based solely on how long they had been a member of the order (so to speak, according to seniority; see also anciency ). This could weaken the elitist character of the monasteries, which had previously been understood more as facilities by and for nobles . Socially low-ranking people saw entering the monastery as an opportunity for social advancement. The relative mildness of the regulations on asceticism and the relative brevity of the Regula Benedicti (non-treatment of otherwise common rule topics) made it easier to adopt them in other monasteries, countries or climatic zones. All of this may have contributed to the rule's later popularity. The rule could never be followed without additional provisions, the so-called consuetudines . However, none of it stands out in such a way that it could have helped Benedict to his title as "Father of the West ". This development only begins with the composition of his biography by Gregory the Great († 604) in the second book of the "Dialogues" .

The second volume of the dialogues contains only the biography of Benedict. The intention that moved the Pope , who was enthusiastic about monasticism, to write it down can be worked out relatively clearly: Italy should receive a national saint, a figure that other regions (such as southern Gaul with Martin von Tours ) have long had. Gregor chose the figure of the founder of the monastery, who had died a few decades earlier, which he idealized and enriched with many miracles.

The strong shining through of the ideal type through the representation of Gregory called the historicity of Benedict into question in the research of the 20th century . Today it is assumed that Gregor’s descriptions have a real biography as their core. Even Gregory, who through his teachings strengthened the position of monasticism as part of the church and made it possible for them to do apostolic work - that is, sermons, pastoral care and charitable tasks - probably had no idea of ​​a "religious system". In the understanding of their time, the idea of ​​the individual monastery as an organizationally self-sufficient unit is still far too deeply rooted.

According to his description, Benedict's actual founding history of his monasteries begins with Benedict's turning away from hermitism and turning to community life. Benedict gathers the first students around him and thus lays the foundation for further communities. So he founded about twelve monasteries in the area of Subiaco , including Montecassino , where he wrote his rule of the order.

It is noteworthy that, although Gregor mentions the formulation of the rule and praises it as exemplary, in none of his numerous writings on monasticism uses quotations or ideas from it - in contrast to some other monastic rules. So it seems as if he did not know the wording of the Regula Benedicti , which is particularly astonishing since, according to tradition, the monks brought the rule to Rome after the destruction of Montecassino in 577 by the Lombards . At least this step in the tradition of the Benedictine Rule seems questionable (it is only attested again in 620).

Irish monks and mixed rule ages

In Ireland Christianity and especially monasticism had gained a firm foothold since Patrick († around 490) proselytized. It was represented here mainly by scribes' monasteries, some of which were of considerable size. The Irish Scottish Church was repeatedly in dispute with Rome, be it regarding the church order, the monastic rules or the liturgy. Another specific feature was the ideal of the peregrinatio , which moved the monks to very active wandering and founding monasteries. Usually they were out in groups, and sometimes entire monasteries broke open. One such wandering monk was St. Columban († 612 or 615). He traveled to the mainland and founded the Luxeuil monastery in the Vosges with his brothers in 590 . He moved on several times, he died in Bobbio (Italy). In Roman culture, Christianity was almost exclusively spread in cities, and the believers had not managed to convert the Gallo-Roman rural population for centuries . This changed with Columban's wave of founding monasteries, as a result of which a movement developed - supported by the Frankish nobility - which founded around 300 new monasteries in the 7th century. The Irish Scottish mission to mainland Europe was very successful. Columban had already consistently pursued the entanglement of monasticism with the secular rulers of their area and was himself the author of a monastery rule. This was followed together with the Regula Benedicti in the form of so-called "mixing rules" in most monasteries. But other rules were also used. Only one monastery is known up to 670 that exclusively observed the Regula Benedicti - Altaripa near Albi .

At the Council of Autun it was decided that in future the monasteries should be run according to the Rule of Benedict. This provision is one of the first documented resolutions to make the Benedictine Rule binding. This counteracted Columban's rule of the order . After the Synod of Whitby and the Council of Autun, the Regula Benedicti quickly gained popularity in the British Isles when it was made known by Benedict Biscop and Wilfrid . Mostly in a mixed form, both rules remained in use until the beginning of the 9th century, until the Franconian monasteries were committed to the rule of Benedict by Abbot Benedict von Aniane with the support of Louis the Pious in 817 . Only then did it become the authoritative rule of monks in the West. Another Irish Peregrinatio monk was Pirmin , the first the monasteries founded by him to an association summarized (among other monastery Reichenau , Murbach Abbey and Kloster Hornbach ).

The Carolingians, Benedict von Aniane and the Council of Aachen

In the 8th century the memory of Benedict of Nursia flourished enormously. The monastery of Montecassino was re-founded in 717 under Abbot Petronax . It was considered an ideal of monastic life, so that many influential monks (such as Willibald von Eichstätt or Sturmi , the first abbot of the Fulda monastery) visited it or lived there for a while. Even Karl Mann , formerly Frankish house Meier and actual ruler of the eastern half of the Frankish Empire, entered there.

In 750 Pope Zacharias gave the copy of the Regula Benedicti in Rome , which was considered the original, back to the Montecassino. He also supported the monastery as best he could.

In the north too, respect for Benedict grew. Pippin the Younger and his son Charlemagne - and with them the spiritual dignitaries - strove for the support of the Roman Church, and since Benedict was considered a "Roman abbot" his rule was given special attention. In 744 Bonifatius (* 673; † 754), the "Apostle of the Germans" - an Anglo-Saxon in the distant tradition of the Irish Peregrinatio monks - founded the Fulda Monastery , in which the Regula Benedicti was expressly supposed to apply.

In 787 Charlemagne had a copy of the rule made on the Montecassino and brought to Aachen . A copy of this copy made for the St. Gallen Monastery is the text that is still used today. Karl had concrete ideas of what role the imperial church, whose spiritual director he saw himself, should play in the Frankish empire - and also monasticism in it. He subordinated the monasteries to the competent sovereigns. But the standardization of monasticism also seemed to him a necessary intermediate goal. Through them he hoped to keep the goods and income of the monasteries within the reach of the royal or imperial arm and to ensure the prayer service, which in his eyes was of vital importance to the state.

In addition, the monks were supposed to perform a civilizing task: monasteries were often built in areas that were not yet fully pacified and cultivated, where they helped to spread the idea of ​​imperialism and Christianity, but also to provide "development aid" and cultural work. In 789, for example, Karl ordered that all monasteries should maintain monastery schools. The idea of ​​the large monastery libraries, which in no way required the monastic way of life, but which prevented the complete loss of ancient literature in the following centuries, gradually gained acceptance. It is largely thanks to the monks that the cultural heritage of antiquity was preserved in Western Europe through the centuries of the early Middle Ages.

The project of standardizing monasticism was only completed by Charles' son Ludwig the Pious . He had previously been sub-king in Aquitaine , where he had already made the acquaintance of the bustling abbot Benedict of Aniane . Shortly after Ludwig had succeeded his father, he called Benedict near Aachen, where he organized the standardization in the following years, which was finally brought to completion in the Council of Aachen 816–819. Ludwig passed the resolutions there as capitularies .

The Benedictine Rule was declared there as the only monastery rule binding for all monasteries in the Franconian Empire and supplemented with binding consuetudines. It is worth mentioning a new dress code (which is still valid today), the conscious decision in favor of the large monastery and the commitment to Karl's idea of ​​a “cultural monastery ”, which was not allowed to exist as a purely contemplative community away from the world, but rather pursue pastoral care, school service and mission had to. Because the prayer service was seen as so important, the liturgy was given just as much space. For centuries it became a specialty of the Benedictines.

It was important to Benedict von Aniane to make a clear distinction between monks and clerics. For the latter, for example, there was no poverty claim as laid down in the Regula Benedicti . However, many monasteries protested against the enforcement of the rule and dissolved or declared themselves canons .

Only from this point on is it historically accurate to speak of "Benedictines". However, they still did not see themselves as orders, but as individual monasteries that shared the same way of life.

Gaining power, reforms, new orders

The strong integration into the imperial administration led to a gradual increase in power and wealth of the large monasteries, which undermined the ideal of poverty. The gradual decline of Carolingian imperial unity did not affect this.

Entrance to Cluny Abbey (drawing 18th century or earlier)

The founding of Cluny Abbey on September 11, 910 by William of Aquitaine under Abbot Berno marked the beginning of a monastery reform that wanted to remedy this situation. In the founding charter, the abbey was guaranteed free election and independence from the bishop and secular rulers. The idea of ​​reform - supported by a strong emphasis on the liturgy - spread rapidly in the west, while in the Saxon Empire the Anianic Gorz monasticism prevailed. Many monasteries joined Cluny and within a century the Cluny monastery association comprised over 1,000 monasteries. This was the first actual order in the history of Western monasticism.

The way of life of the monks of Cluny also attracted criticism. The balance between prayer and handicraft provided for in the Rule of Benedict was weakened in favor of prayer. The abbey lived on mass grants and prayer foundations. In its heyday during the 11th century, 400 monks in Cluny prayed over 200 psalms daily. Their masses and processions were the most magnificent thing there was within the church. In the Hirsau Monastery, which is part of the association , Abbot Wilhelm († 1091) invented the status of conversations , which freed the monks even more from the need for manual labor.

The criticism of Cluny's way of life for not being in compliance with the rules increased. Robert von Molesme founded a Reform Abbey in Molesme , in which the monks lived true to the Rule of Benedict and were supposed to earn their living through manual labor instead of through grants and foundations. His attempt failed; He succeeded in a second: In Cîteaux , Robert built a reform monastery from 1098, which he headed as abbot and which, under his successors Alberich von Cîteaux and Stephan Harding, became the mother monastery of the Cistercian order .

The Cistercians opposed solitude, poverty and physical labor to the prayer life of the Benedictines, which was celebrated with high public impact. They consciously returned to a simple liturgy.

Until the High Middle Ages, the Benedictines were the most important order; they lost this position to the Cistercians as well as to the begging orders that emerged in the 13th century . The Benedictines were integrated into the feudal system and natural economy ; their work focused on agriculture and pastoral care. The Benedictines could only slowly integrate the newly emerging cities and the developing financial economy into their way of life. The Benedictines enjoyed education and imparted it in local monastery schools. The universities that emerged in the 12th century and required a sedentary life for teachers and students were alien to the Benedictines.

Benedict medal by Desiderius Lenz, monk in the Beuron monastery, created for the 1400th anniversary of the birth of Benedict in 1880, commissioned by Archabbot Nikolaus d'Orgement of Montecassino - today the most widespread form of the Benedict medal.

Pope Benedict XII took a first step towards the formation of congregations in 1336 . : in his Summa magistri he decreed the amalgamation of abbeys into provinces and the establishment of provincial chapters. In fact, in the 15th century, numerous monasteries joined together in the Bursfeld Congregation , the aim of which was to reform monastic life. Reform movements also started from other monasteries in the 15th century, such as the Melk monastery reform .

Reformation, Enlightenment and Secularization

The Benedictines, like all great orders, were hard hit by the Reformation . Numerous monasteries went under - initially through self-dissolution, because the monks followed the teachings of Luther , who rejected monasticism as unchristian, and later through the edicts of Protestant princes.

In the 17th century, based on the reform of Verdun by Dom Didier de la Cour, the Benedictines in France were renewed following the Trident framework law . Benedictines were mainly used in school service and pastoral care. High education was seen as essential.

The Trappist order emerged from reforms within the Cistercian order . In 1617 the important Salzburg Benedictine University was founded.

Although efforts were made to restore the ecclesiastical possessions with the Peace of Westphalia , the status quo remained . The ideas of the Bursfeld Congregation prevailed within the order: for example individual monasteries, election of the abbot for life. Where the Benedictines could not regain their possessions, they were mostly ceded to the Jesuits .

In the 18th century, the baroque monastery culture flourished. In the monastery schools, great importance was attached to the natural sciences. Towards the end of the century, however, hostility towards the state and the church increased again. In 1780 the Regulatory Commission in France closed 426 monasteries. In Spain and Austria, the independence of the monasteries was severely curtailed. The Elector of Mainz and Archbishop Friedrich Karl Joseph von Erthal dissolved three wealthy monasteries in 1784 in order to finance his university reform. In the Synod of Pistoja in 1786 the general anti-religious social mood became apparent. They ordered the unification of all orders, banned them from pastoral care, allowed only annual vows and placed them under episcopal supervision.

In 1790 monasticism was banned in France. Numerous monasteries, including Cluny, were razed. State intervention also occurred in Spain, Italy and Brazil. In Spain, the monasteries were finally abolished in 1809. Montecassino in Italy served as the state archive. Germany lost many monasteries in the course of secularization in the course of the annexation of the areas on the left bank of the Rhine in 1803 (104 abbeys, plus 38 houses). The "Josephinische Klostersturm" in Austria marked the decline for many Benedictine monasteries, which in Austria could look back on a very old age.

Restoration and Kulturkampf

In the course of the subsequent restoration , new foundations were established. Above all in Bavaria (but also in other states of the German Confederation, compare, for example, Beuron Monastery in Prussia ), new religious settlements were formed.

In the Bavarian Concordat of 1817, the founding of new monasteries was agreed upon, for which Ludwig I mainly recruited Benedictines from 1825. In 1830 the Metten Monastery was rebuilt as the first Benedictine abbey .

Today there are 34 male and 27 female monasteries in Germany, 16 male and 4 female monasteries in Austria and 9 male and 12 female Benedictine monasteries in Switzerland. The Austrian Benedictine Congregation also maintains the St. Benedict College in Salzburg , the study house for German-speaking Benedictine monks.

Benedictine abbeys are independent communities; there is no overarching religious organization in the true sense of the word. Most of the monasteries are united in congregations , the congregations in turn form the Benedictine Confederation , which is presided over by the Abbot Primate . This has no management function, only representative tasks.

There are currently around 40,000 monks and nuns or sisters around the world who belong to the Benedictine religious family.


An essential quality that a monk must have according to the Rule of Benedict is the search for God. Life in the monastery should create the appropriate framework for this. Benedict himself describes the monastery as a school for the service of the Lord. Obedience in the sense of sensitive listening to God and people is mentioned as a further important quality of a monk in the Benedictine Rule. The Benedictines value discretio , keeping the right measure, living wisely in the right center without too much or too little.

The monastic life of the Benedictines is shaped by prayer. The focus is not on the prayer of the individual, but on prayer in community, which is characterized by the Benedictine slogan " Ora et labora et lege " (Latin: " Pray and work and read "). The work takes place alongside the service and a large part of the day is devoted to communal choral prayer and reading. The work offers the necessary balance, since, according to Benedict, " doing nothing is the enemy of the soul ", and at the same time secures the livelihood of the community. As a result, the daily routine of the monks is structured through the service, to which nothing may be preferred according to the rule, but all activities must be stopped in order to rush to the service. In addition to the daily mass, the prayer of the hour is essential for the Benedictines. The rule itself prescribes eight times of prayer ( Vigil , Laudes , Prim , Third , Sixth , Non , Vespers and Compline ). All 150 psalms of the Old Testament should be prayed or sung within a week . In the Middle Ages, the Benedictine prayer of psalms continued to expand. In Cluny z. B. In the 11th century, over 150 psalms were prayed daily. Since the reconsideration in the orientation of the religious communities in the course of the Second Vatican Council , the prayer times have been limited to seven; the prim was abolished. Today the psalms prayer of the Benedictines is designed in such a way that the 150 psalms can be prayed either within one week or over two weeks. Especially in the Bavarian and Austrian abbeys, the seven times of prayer are sometimes combined due to the activities of the monks in school and pastoral care. For example, third, sixth and non are combined to form a so-called day hour or midday shore.

Activities of the Benedictines

The Abbey Ettal operates a known human High School with boarding


The teaching activity of the Benedictine monasteries has a long tradition. During the lifetime of Saint Benedict , children were accepted into the monastery to provide them with an education. Over the centuries, the Benedictine monasteries became centers of culture and education, and it was not uncommon for them to raise children from noble houses as well as the common people. Schools with modern curricula have emerged from this tradition. Many Benedictine monasteries still maintain schools and boarding schools today. One of the most famous Benedictine schools in Germany is maintained by the Ettal Abbey with a school and boarding tradition that goes back to the Baroque period; Formerly founded as a knight academy for young boys from the nobility during one of the monastery's heyday in the 18th century, the school tradition around 1900 (after almost a hundred years of interruption due to secularization) continued to this day in the sense of classical humanistic education. The famous Benedictine schools in Austria that the pen of St. Paul in the Lavant Valley , the Schottengymnasium in Vienna, the collegiate schools of Melk , Admont , Kremsmünster Abbey , Abbey Seckau and Seitenstetten . The Einsiedeln monastery , the monastery Engelberg and Disentis Abbey in Switzerland also maintain a school.

Youth work and adult education

The Disentis Abbey is very active in the field of youth and adult education.

In addition to these facilities designed for permanent visits, various youth meeting centers and youth education centers of the Benedictine monasteries invite you to visit their open offers. The work of many Benedictine monasteries today also extends to the field of adult education, for example seminars for managers and entrepreneurs are organized.


Agriculture as a whole (forestry, arable farming, cattle breeding, orchards, viticulture, liqueurs and herbs) is still an important part of Benedictine monasteries.

In the 12th century the Benedictine nun Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1179) wrote books on medicinal plants. With the author there is a fusion of ancient knowledge, Christian belief and Germanic worldview. Although she wrote her books in Latin , she uses the popular names of her homeland for the medicinal plants. Thus her books become, among other things, a testimony to the folk medicine of her time.

Archabbey of St. Ottilien , mother monastery of the Mission Benedictines


In addition, the Benedictine order operates numerous mission stations , especially in Africa and Asia , such as Peramiho in Tanzania . The Missionary Benedictines of the Benedictine Congregation of St. Ottilien ( Archabbey Sankt Ottilien , Abbey Schweiklberg , Abbey Münsterschwarzach , Abbey Königsmünster , Abbey St. Otmarsberg ) were founded in the 19th century with the aim of mission. It was a novelty at the time that a contemplative order pursued specific missions. In 2009 the Cuban government allowed the Benedictines to establish a new monastery in Jaruco . However, the establishment in Jaruco failed in 2010 because the allocated land turned out to be unsuitable, so that the community continues to live in a makeshift house in Havana (as of 2012). The Missionary Benedictine Institute of St. Bonifatius also operates mission stations in Rwanda and the Congo as well as in Guatemala in addition to many apostolic tasks in Europe . By living Benedictine spirituality in the middle of the world, the women belonging to this secular institute try to share the “joy and hope, sadness and fear of the people of today” (see pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes ).

"Heritage and Mission"

The Beuron Benedictine Congregation, represented by the Archabbey of St. Martin, has been publishing the quarterly magazine Erbe und Einsatz since 1959 . Benedictine Journal - Monastic World . The editor is Abbot President Albert Schmidt .


Numerous abbeys run important museums and are patrons of modern and classical art. In general, the Benedictines have significant art treasures and famous libraries. Well known is the one in Admont Abbey , which is considered the largest monastery library in the world. The most important book and art collection of the Benedictine order is in the Carinthian monastery St. Paul in Lavanttal .

The following liqueur recipes with cultural value were significantly developed by Benedictine monks:

Well-known Benedictines

  • Gregory the Great (540–604), Pope, biographer Benedict von Nursias
  • Willibrord (≈658–739), Anglo-Saxon missionary, Abbot of Echternach and Bishop of Utrecht
  • Bonifatius (* 672 / 73–754), saint, missionary ("Apostle of the Germans") and church reformer
  • Beda Venerabilis (≈672 / 73–735) theologian and historian
  • Burkard , saint (683 / 85-755), founded the first monastery in Neustadt am Main with Bonifatius around 738 and was consecrated by Bonifatius as the first bishop of Würzburg in 741 (741-54)
  • Otmar von St. Gallen (≈689–759), saint, first abbot of St. Gallen
  • Willibald von Eichstätt (≈700–787 / 88), Bishop of Eichstätt
  • Wunibald (701–761), abbot in Heidenheim monastery
  • Walburga (≈710–779), missionary and abbess
  • Megingaud von Würzburg (710–783), saint, was after Burkard the second abbot in the Neustadt monastery and also the second bishop of Würzburg (754–69)
  • Gumbert von Ansbach (8th century), Benedictine abbot and saint
  • Guido von Pomposa (≈970-1046), saint and abbot
  • Guido von Arezzo , also (Guido) Aretinus (≈992-1050), Italian Benedictine monk, music theorist and teacher, among other things the inventor of solmization
  • Walter von Pontoise (≈1030-1099), abbot and saint
  • Anselm von Canterbury (≈1033–1109), abbot, theologian and philosopher, saint, doctor of the church, founder of scholasticism
  • Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1179), saint, first abbess of the Rupertsberg Monastery, mystic, poet, composer, important universal scholar and, since 2012, doctor of the church (Doctor Ecclesiae universalis)
  • Wilhelm von Selling († 1494), English abbot of Christ Church in Canterbury
  • Nikolaus Basellius (≈ 1470–1532), humanist, writer and chronicler in Hirsau Monastery
  • Vincent Marsolle († 1682), French Benedictine monk, Superior General of the Congregation of Saint-Maur
  • Simon Bougis (1630–1714) French Benedictine monk, abbot and superior general of the Congregation of Saint-Maur
  • Jean Mabillon (1632–1707), scholar and founder of the auxiliary historical sciences
  • Dom Pérignon (1638–1715), founder of the sparkling wine production process
  • Rupert Neß (1670–1740), co-builder of the Ottobeuren monastery, abbot of the Ottobeuren monastery
  • Dom Bédos (1709–1779), organist, organ builder, author of L'Art du facteur d'orgues (The Art of the Organ Builder)
  • Martin Gerbert (1720–1793), Prince Abbot of St. Blasien in the Black Forest, theologian, music historian, historian, collector
  • Berthold Rottler (1748–1826), Prince Abbot of St. Blasien in the Black Forest and St. Paul in Carinthia, professor, historian, numismatist
  • Beda Schroll (1823–1891), historian, manuscript expert, monk of the St. Paul monastery in Carinthia
  • Anselm Schott (1843–1896), editor of the Schott missal book
  • Johannes Leo von Mergel (1847–1932), 75th Bishop of Eichstätt
  • Willibrord Benzler (1853–1921), Abbot of Maria Laach, then Bishop of Metz
  • Fidelis von Stotzingen (1871–1947), Abbot of Maria Laach, then from 1913 to 1947 Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation
  • Lambert Beauduin (1873-1960), liturgist
  • Ildefons Herwegen (1874–1946), Abbot of Maria Laach, liturgical scholar
  • Odo Casel (1886–1948), liturgical scholar
  • Urbanus Bomm (1901–1982), Abbot of Maria Laach, choral scholar
  • Paul Augustin Cardinal Mayer (1911-2010), Cardinal of the Curia
  • Hans Hermann Groër (1919–2003) Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal, resigned on suspicion of abuse
  • Willigis Jäger (1925–2020), mystic and Zen master
  • Anno Schoenen (1925–2016), Abbot of Maria Laach, then from 1995 to 2008 Abbot Praeses of the Beuron Congregation
  • David Steindl-Rast (* 1926), mystic
  • Rembert Weakland (* 1927), former Abbot Primate and Archbishop Emeritus of Milwaukee
  • Bernhard Stoeckle (1927–2009), fundamental theologian, rector of the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg from 1977 to 1983
  • Viktor Josef Dammertz (1929–2020), Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Order, Bishop of Augsburg
  • Maximilian Aichern (* 1932), bishop emeritus of Linz
  • Notker Wolf (* 1940), ninth Abbot Primate (2000-2016) of the Benedictine Confederation
  • Anselm Grün (* 1945), writer
  • Imre Asztrik Várszegi (* 1946), retired Archabbot of the Hungarian Benedictine Territorial Abbey of Pannonhalma
  • Wolfgang Maria Hagl (* 1953), the longest-serving abbot of the Bavarian Benedictine Congregation
  • Gregor Maria Hanke (* 1954), 82nd Bishop of Eichstätt
  • Clementia Killewald (1954–2016), Abbess of Rupertsberg and Eibingen, 39th successor to Hildegard von Bingens
  • Karl Schauer (* 1956), former Superior of Mariazell , Episcopal Vicar of the Diocese of Eisenstadt
  • Benedikt Lindemann (* 1958), former abbot of the Dormitio Beatae Mariae Virginis abbey in Jerusalem
  • Dominicus Meier (* 1959), former abbot of Königsmünster (Meschede), auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Paderborn
  • Jeremias Schröder (* 1964), former archabbot of the St. Ottilien monastery, current abbot president of the Congregation of the Benedictine Missionaries

Existing Benedictine monasteries in German-speaking countries

For a list of existing and former monasteries worldwide, see List of Benedictine Monasteries or List of Benedictine Monasteries .


Bavarian Benedictine Congregation / Federation of Bavarian Benedictine Sisters

See: Bavarian Benedictine Congregation and Federation of Bavarian Benedictine Abbeys

Male monasteries


Beuron Benedictine Congregation

See the Congregation of Beuron

Male monasteries


Benedictine Congregation of St. Ottilien

See: Benedictine Congregation of St. Ottilien

Congregation of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing

Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of St. Alban

Congregation of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Congregatio Annuntiationis BMV)

See: Congregation for the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Male monasteries

Sublacese Benedictine Congregation

Male monasteries

Benedictine Sisters of Adoration

See: Benedictine Sisters of Adoration

Benedictine Sisters of St. Lioba

see: Benedictine Sisters of St. Lioba

Benedictine Sisters of the Most Holy Sacrament

see: Benedictine Sisters of the Most Holy Sacrament

Swiss Benedictine Federation

Convents outside of congregations

Evangelical Benedictine Sisters (part of the Evangelical Regional Churches)

Ecumenical Benedictine male monastery

Orthodox Benedictines


Austrian Benedictine Congregation

see: Austrian Benedictine Congregation

Male monasteries

Federation of Bavarian Benedictine Sisters

Beuron Benedictine Congregation

Men's monastery

Benedictine Congregation of St. Ottilien

Men's monastery

Benedictine Sisters of Eternal Adoration

  • Adoration Monastery, Vienna

Benedictine Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Benedictine Sisters of Saint Lioba


Swiss Benedictine Congregation

see: Swiss Benedictine Congregation

Male monasteries


Benedictine Congregation of St. Ottilien

Men's monastery

Federation of Benedictine monasteries in Switzerland

  • Melchtal Monastery
  • Benedictine Sisters Maria-Rickenbach
  • Marienburg Monastery
  • Wikon Monastery

Monasteries outside of congregations

Men's monastery

  • Le Bouveret Abbey

Benedictine Congregation of Monte Oliveto Maggiore (Olivetans)

See Benedictine Congregation of Monte Oliveto Maggiore (Olivetans)


  • Heiligkreuz Monastery


Swiss Benedictine Congregation

Male monasteries

Beuron Benedictine Congregation



  • The Benedictine Rule (Latin - German) , ed. on behalf of the Salzburg Abbots' Conference . Beuroner Kunstverlag, Beuron 1992. ISBN 3-87071-061-6 .
  • Catalogus Monasteriorum OSB, SS. Patriarchae Benedicti Familiae Confoederatae. Editio XIX 2000 . Centro Studi S. Anselmo, Rome 2000.
  • Jean-Pierre Müller OSB: Atlas OSB Benedictinorum per orbem praesentia . Editiones Anselmianae, Rome 1973 (2 volumes: Atlas and Index).


  • Christoph Dartmann : The Benedictines. From the beginning to the end of the Middle Ages. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2018, ISBN 3-17-021419-5 .
  • Mariano Dell'Omo : Storia del monachesimo occidentale dal medioevo all'età contemporanea. Il carisma di san Benedetto tra VI e XX secolo. Jaca Book, Milano 2011. ISBN 978-88-16-30493-2 .
  • Peter Dinzelbacher , James Lester Hogg (ed.): Cultural history of the Christian orders in individual representations (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 450). Kröner, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-520-45001-1 .
  • Karl Suso Frank : History of Christian Monasticism. 6th, bibliographically supplemented edition. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2010, ISBN 978-3-89678-687-6 . It contains the chapter The Dominance of the Rule of Benedict , pp. 51–65.
  • Tino Licht: The oldest testimonies to Benedict and Benedictine monasticism . In: Erbe und Einsatz, Vol. 89 (2013), pp. 434–441.
  • Philibert Schmitz: History of the Benedictine order. Translated into German and edited by Ludwig Räber. 2 volumes. Zurich 1948.
  • Christian Schütz, Philippa Rath (ed.): The Benedictine order. Seeking God in prayer and work. 4th, updated reprint. Matthias Grünewald Verlag, Ostfildern 2009, ISBN 978-3-8367-0506-6 .
  • Gerfried Sitar; Martin Kroker (ed.): Power of the word. Benedictine monasticism in the mirror of Europe, 2 volumes, Regensburg 2009.
  • Alfried Wieczorek; Gerfried Sitar (Ed.): Benedikt and the world of the early monasteries, exhibition catalog Mannheim, Regensburg 2012.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Benedictines  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Benedictine  collection of images
Commons : Benedictine monasteries  - collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Elmar Salmann : Conversatio morum . In: Letters from Gerleve Abbey , 2016, issue 1, pp. 10-13.
  2. Life and Miracles of St. Benedict in: Gregory the Great: Four Books Dialogues. Translated from Latin by Joseph Funk. Library of the Church Fathers , 2nd row, volume 3. Kempten, Munich 1933.
  3. Peter Müller: Columbans Revolution , 2008, p. 39 ff.
  4. ^ JN Hillgarth: Modes of evangelization of Western Europe in the seventh century , in Proinseas NiChathain and Michael Richter (editors): "Ireland and Christianity. Bible studies and missions. ”, Klett Verlag, 1987, p. 322.
  5. ^ Arnold Angenendt: The early Middle Ages. Western Christianity from 400 to 900 , Kohlhammer, 1990, p. 216.
  6. Friedrich Prinz: Early monasticism in the Franconian Empire. Culture and society in Gaul, the Rhineland and Bavaria using the example of monastic development (4th – 8th centuries). Darmstadt 1988, p. 147 f.
  7. ^ WAZ of February 27, 2009
  8. ^ Church and Life, Münster Germany: Last Sunday mass with Benedictines in Damme. Retrieved November 28, 2019 .
  9. ^ Superiorat Mariazell - Austria (Austria). Retrieved June 22, 2019 .