right|thumb|250px|Benedict of Nursia]]
The '''Rule of Benedict''' is a rule for life in a [[cenobitic]] [[monastery]]. Written in the sixth century by St. [[Benedict of Nursia]], the Rule of St. Benedict proved to be the most influential guide of Western [[monasticism]] until after the Great Schism, perhaps the most influential guide ever in the West. Followed continuously since the time of St. Benedict, this rule is currently used by Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran monasteries. Designed for [[monk]]s sharing the common life, the Rule is renowned for its spiritual riches, gentleness, and balance.
[http://books.google.com/books?id=J6bxIhNMRn0C&pg=PA58&lpg=PA58&dq=athos+monastery+benedictine&source=web&ots=gbRW7eL_-X&sig=_vf05KnEpCU2Lz0-CjytqvpEa7c&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result The Latin Monastery of Amalfi] observed the Rule on [[Mount Athos]] until 1287; in the eleventh century, this ruling Benedictine monastery was ranked fifth in the Holy Mountain's hierarchy. Various other Orthodox have kept the Rule in recent times, including the monks of St. Luke's Priory under the Antiochian [[Western Rite Vicariate]]. Presently, the [[Christ the Savior Monastery (Hamilton, Ontario)|Christ the Savior Monastery]] (ROCOR) in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, (sometimes known as "Christminster") follows the Benedictine monastic rule. Likewise, among the Old Calendarists, the [[The Abbey of the Holy Name (West Milford, New Jersey)|Abbey of the Holy Name ]]and its various dependencies.
The [[saint]] described his rule as "a school of the Lord's service, in which we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome." In its 73 chapters, he prescribes a full way of life for cenobitic monks to "share in the sufferings of Christ, and be found worthy to be coheirs with Him of His kingdom." In addition to the moral and spiritual aspects of common life, he describes the proper attributes of monks and the ruling [[Abbot]], the proper form of Divine Office, and even the appropriate way to greet visitors.
The Abbot of the monastery is to be blameless, one who teaches the righteousness of Christ through his own words and deeds. Since he is a ruler, he must be impartial, not loving one monk above another nor implementing the monastery's rules selectively. He must exhort the righteous to further righteousness and punish those who err, always adapting himself to the peculiar needs and spiritual attainments of each. Above all, he must always remember he will give account for the souls of the monks entrusted to his care on the Judgment Day.
When any decision is to be made, the Abbot is to ask the counsel of all the monastics gathered in a common meeting, but he makes the final decision himself. The monks are to offer their views humbly and in submission.
In the fourth chapter, the saint lists 73 "instruments of good works." Of these, perhaps the most important is the injunction to "prefer nothing to the love of Christ." Silence, humility, hospitality, holy reading, and spiritual discernment (or guarding of the heart) play vital roles in the Rule.
Guarding of the heart occurs when the monks keep "a constant watch over the actions of our life," "hold as certain that God sees us everywhere," "dash at once against Christ the evil thoughts which rise in one's heart," and "disclose them to our spiritual father."
Silence is a pronounced feature of the Rule. Monks were to keep strict silence for several hours a day and great silence after Compline. During meals, the monks were to keep silence while another monk read from a holy book, speaking only through gestures, and then only if absolutely necessary. Monks may speak at other times with the permission of the Abbot, but St. Benedict so values silence and so understands the likelihood of sin that comes with much speaking that he instructs, "let permission to speak be seldom given to perfect disciples even for good and holy and edifying discourse."
The Rule states it is intended for beginners, and recommends monks read the Monastic Rule of [[Basil the Great|St. Basil]], the the ''Institutes'' and ''Conferences'' of [[John Cassian|St. John Cassian]], as well as the Bible and the lives of the saints, as they advance in their asceticism.
The Rule of St. Benedict does not stipulate a particular colour for the monastic habit, and the habit of unbleached, undyed, wool has not been unknown among Benedictines. However, the colour most associated with the Benedictine tradition is black, (hence the name "black monk" used to refer to a Benedictine monk), and that is the colour currently worn by Orthodox Benedictines.
The first layer of the habit is the [[tunic]], which is secured in place by a belt. This is the form of habit worn by oblates during their period of [[novitiate]]. The next layer is the monastic [[scapular]], which is a tabard-like garment worn over the tunic. The tunic, belt, and scapular, (with a head-veil for women), form the complete habit worn by oblates while in the monastic enclosure and by monastics during the
nNovitiate. Outside of the monastery, the oblates simply wear a reduced scapular and the [[Saint Benedict Medal]] under civilian clothing. When the monastic makes his solemn profession, he is tonsured and invested with the [[cowl]].
Monastics and oblates alike, upon their repose, are buried in the habit proper to their order.
The Benedictine tradition was largely lost to the Orthodox Church until the 20th century, when a revival was seen, encouraged by the efforts to restore the [[Western Rite]] to Orthodoxy which began in the 19th century.
In 1962, under the leadership of its abbot, Dom Augustine (Whitfield), the Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Royal, which had been an Old Catholic monastic community since its foundation in 1910, was received into the Moscow Patriarchal [[Russian Orthodox Church]] by Bishop Dositheus (Ivanchenko) of New York. It was later received into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, in 1975, by Archbishop Nikon (Rkitzsky). Mount Royal continued up until 2010, finally ceasing with the repose of Abbot Augustine.
In 1993, Bishop Hilarion (Kapral) of Manhattan (now Metropolitan Hilarion, First [[Hierarch]] of the [[Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia]]) blessed the founding of a new Benedictine monastery under its abbot, Dom James (Deschene), the former Prior of Mount Royal. Christ the Saviour Monastery (Christminster) today runs an oblate programme and seeks to make modest provision for the formation of clergy within the [[
Western Rite Orthodoxy|Western Rite]] of the Orthodox Church, a provision lacking in most Orthodox seminaries. It also publishes music and [[liturgical book]]s to enhance the offering of the Western Rite Orthodox [[liturgy]].
In 1997, Hilarion (Kapral), then Archbishop of Sydney, received into the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia the monastery of Saint Petroc in Tasmania, Australia. This monastic community had been formed as a
[[Continuing Anglican ]] monastery in 1992 under its superior, Hieromonk Michael (Mansbridge-Wood). While it is not a Benedictine foundation it did have a Benedictine presence attached to it in the form of the Holyrood hermitage in Florida, which has since become an independent monastic hermitage under Abbot David (Pierce).
There are currently at least five Benedictine monastic houses within the Orthodox Church, namely Our Lady of Mount Royal, under Abbot Augustine (Whitfield); the [[Christ the Savior Monastery (Hamilton, Ontario)|Christ the Saviour Monastery]] (or Christminster) is a Benedictine monastery of the
[[Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia ]] and is currently under Abbot James (Deschene); and the Abbey of the Holy Name with its daughter house of St John the Theologian. In addition, an oblate programme exists at [http://www.russianorthodoxoklahoma.org Saint Benedict Russian Orthodox Church] in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. All of these houses and the parish in Oklahoma City are either under the jurisdiction of the [[Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia ]] or the [http://www.orthodoxchristians.eu/ Holy Synod of Milan]. Within the United States of America, the [[Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America]], while having no monastic houses, does have a number of parishes that run an oblate programme.
There are currently no female Benedictine monastic houses in the Orthodox Church.
The word ''oblate'' derives from the Latin ''oblatus'', which means "one offered".
[[Oblates of Saint Benedict ]] offer themselves to God in much the same way that monks and nuns do, except that they do not take monastic vows or necessarily live within the monastic enclosure. Rather, they make a commitment to God, in the presence of the monastic community (or the parish community, depending on circumstances) to strive to live according to the Rule of St Benedict as adapted to suit their own life situations. Usually, the rule is adapted according to the individual spiritual and practical needs of each oblate by the abbot or oblate master of the monastery to which he or she is to retain a bond of practical support and spiritual obedience.
Oblates may be male or female, celibate or married. They are not [[tonsure]]d as monastics, and, unlike monastic vows, their oblation may be revoked at any time. Out of necessity, Antiochian oblates are not usually attached to a monastery, (except for those who are under the direction of Christminster), as there are currently no Benedictine monasteries in that jurisdiction. However, the oblature operates on the parish level.
*[http://www.theorthodoxchurch.org/documents/The%20Western%20Orthodox%20Liturgy%20-%20Order%20for%20the%20Celebration%20-%20Restored.pdf The Mass of St Gregory the Great (.pdf)] - The Benedictine Use of Mount Royal
*[http://www.theorthodoxchurch.org/documents/Western%20Orthodox%20Liturgy%20-%20Restored.pdf Directions for the Mass of St Gregory (.pdf)] - for use in conjunction with the above
[[category: Orthodox spirituality series]]
[[category: Western Rite]]