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Benedict of Nursia










Like Augustine, Benedict of Nursia lived at a time when the western Roman Empire was in decline, and going through its transition into the Dark Ages. He was born in 480 CE, fifty years after the death of Augustine. His is recognized for his writing of the ‘Rule’ for organizing monastic communities. It was these communities that held the civilization of the old western empire together for the next 500 years or so. While Augustine and the other church fathers provided the theoretical foundations for the medieval church Benedict developed practical guidance for the day-to-day life of that church.


It has been suggested that, during periods of decline, that societies see a revival of their monastic ideals. If so, it is possible that we will be seeing more instances where the Benedictine rule will apply as society experiences the effects of resource decline and climate change. The phrase that he used — ora et labora (prayer and work) — formed the foundation of his rule  and can be seen as a theological statement.

Although Benedict's work was to to was to do with those who lived the religious/monastic life, his discipline and general approach has been used by non-monastic communities. One example is described in the book The Benedict Option, written by Rod Dreher, and published in the year 2017.

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