Orden de San Benito


The Holy Rule of St. Benedict


   Listen, O my son, to the precepts of thy master, and incline the ear of

   thy heart, and cheerfully receive and faithfully execute the

   admonitions of thy loving Father, that by the toil of obedience thou

   mayest return to Him from whom by the sloth of disobedience thou hast

   gone away.

   To thee, therefore, my speech is now directed, who, giving up thine own

   will, takest up the strong and most excellent arms of obedience, to do

   battle for Christ the Lord, the true King.

   In the first place, beg of Him by most earnest prayer, that He perfect

   whatever good thou dost begin, in order that He who hath been pleased

   to count us in the number of His children, need never be grieved at our

   evil deeds. For we ought at all times so to serve Him with the good

   things which He hath given us, that He may not, like an angry father,

   disinherit his children, nor, like a dread lord, enraged at our evil

   deeds, hand us over to everlasting punishment as most wicked servants,

   who would not follow Him to glory.

   Let us then rise at length, since the Scripture arouseth us, saying:

   “It is now the hour for us to rise from sleep” (Rom 13:11); and having

   opened our eyes to the deifying light, let us hear with awestruck ears

   what the divine voice, crying out daily, doth admonish us, saying:

   “Today, if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps

   94[95]:8). And again: “He that hath ears to hear let him hear what the

   Spirit saith to the churches” (Rev 2:7). And what doth He say?–“Come,

   children, hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (Ps

   33[34]:12). “Run whilst you have the light of life, that the darkness

   of death overtake you not” (Jn 12:35).

   And the Lord seeking His workman in the multitude of the people, to

   whom He proclaimeth these words, saith again: “Who is the man that

   desireth life and loveth to see good days” (Ps 33[34]:13)? If hearing

   this thou answerest, “I am he,” God saith to thee: “If thou wilt have

   true and everlasting life, keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from

   speaking guile; turn away from evil and do good; seek after peace and

   pursue it” (Ps 33[34]:14-15). And when you shall have done these

   things, my eyes shall be upon you, and my ears unto your prayers. And

   before you shall call upon me I will say: “Behold, I am here” (Is


   What, dearest brethren, can be sweeter to us than this voice of the

   Lord inviting us? See, in His loving kindness, the Lord showeth us the

   way of life. Therefore, having our loins girt with faith and the

   performance of good works, let us walk His ways under the guidance of

   the Gospel, that we may be found worthy of seeing Him who hath called

   us to His kingdom (cf 1 Thes 2:12).

   If we desire to dwell in the tabernacle of His kingdom, we cannot reach

   it in any way, unless we run thither by good works. But let us ask the

   Lord with the Prophet, saying to Him: “Lord, who shall dwell in Thy

   tabernacle, or who shall rest in Thy holy hill” (Ps 14[15]:1)?

   After this question, brethren, let us listen to the Lord answering and

   showing us the way to this tabernacle, saying: “He that walketh without

   blemish and worketh justice; he that speaketh truth in his heart; who

   hath not used deceit in his tongue, nor hath done evil to his neighbor,

   nor hath taken up a reproach against his neighbor” (Ps 14[15]:2-3), who

   hath brought to naught the foul demon tempting him, casting him out of

   his heart with his temptation, and hath taken his evil thoughts whilst

   they were yet weak and hath dashed them against Christ (cf Ps 14[15]:4;

   Ps 136[137]:9); who fearing the Lord are not puffed up by their

   goodness of life, but holding that the actual good which is in them

   cannot be done by themselves, but by the Lord, they praise the Lord

   working in them (cf Ps 14[15]:4), saying with the Prophet: “Not to us,

   O Lord, not to us; by to Thy name give glory” (Ps 113[115:1]:9). Thus

   also the Apostle Paul hath not taken to himself any credit for his

   preaching, saying: “By the grace of God, I am what I am” (1 Cor 15:10).

   And again he saith: “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (2

   Cor 10:17).

   Hence, the Lord also saith in the Gospel: “He that heareth these my

   words and doeth them, shall be likened to a wise man who built his

   house upon a rock; the floods came, the winds blew, and they beat upon

   that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock” (Mt

   7:24-25). The Lord fulfilling these words waiteth for us from day to

   day, that we respond to His holy admonitions by our works. Therefore,

   our days are lengthened to a truce for the amendment of the misdeeds of

   our present life; as the Apostle saith: “Knowest thou not that the

   patience of God leadeth thee to penance” (Rom 2:4)? For the good Lord

   saith: “I will not the death of the sinner, but that he be converted

   and live” (Ezek 33:11).

   Now, brethren, that we have asked the Lord who it is that shall dwell

   in His tabernacle, we have heard the conditions for dwelling there; and

   if we fulfil the duties of tenants, we shall be heirs of the kingdom of

   heaven. Our hearts and our bodies must, therefore, be ready to do

   battle under the biddings of holy obedience; and let us ask the Lord

   that He supply by the help of His grace what is impossible to us by

   nature. And if, flying from the pains of hell, we desire to reach life

   everlasting, then, while there is yet time, and we are still in the

   flesh, and are able during the present life to fulfil all these things,

   we must make haste to do now what will profit us forever.

   We are, therefore, about to found a school of the Lord’s service, in

   which we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome. But even if, to

   correct vices or to preserve charity, sound reason dictateth anything

   that turneth out somewhat stringent, do not at once fly in dismay from

   the way of salvation, the beginning of which cannot but be narrow. But

   as we advance in the religious life and faith, we shall run the way of

   God’s commandments with expanded hearts and unspeakable sweetness of

   love; so that never departing from His guidance and persevering in the

   monastery in His doctrine till death, we may by patience share in the

   sufferings of Christ, and be found worthy to be coheirs with Him of His



                                   CHAPTER I

   Of the Kinds or the Life of Monks

   It is well known that there are four kinds of monks. The first kind is

   that of Cenobites, that is, the monastic, who live under a rule and an


   The second kind is that of Anchorites, or Hermits, that is, of those

   who, no longer in the first fervor of their conversion, but taught by

   long monastic practice and the help of many brethren, have already

   learned to fight against the devil; and going forth from the rank of

   their brethren well trained for single combat in the desert, they are

   able, with the help of God, to cope single-handed without the help of

   others, against the vices of the flesh and evil thoughts.

   But a third and most vile class of monks is that of Sarabaites, who

   have been tried by no rule under the hand of a master, as gold is tried

   in the fire (cf Prov 27:21); but, soft as lead, and still keeping faith

   with the world by their works, they are known to belie God by their

   tonsure. Living in two’s and three’s, or even singly, without a

   shepherd, enclosed, not in the Lord’s sheepfold, but in their own, the

   gratification of their desires is law unto them; because what they

   choose to do they call holy, but what they dislike they hold to be


   But the fourth class of monks is that called Landlopers, who keep going

   their whole life long from one province to another, staying three or

   four days at a time in different cells as guests. Always roving and

   never settled, they indulge their passions and the cravings of their

   appetite, and are in every way worse than the Sarabaites. It is better

   to pass all these over in silence than to speak of their most wretched


   Therefore, passing these over, let us go on with the help of God to lay

   down a rule for that most valiant kind of monks, the Cenobites.


                                   CHAPTER II

   What Kind of Man the Abbot Ought to Be

   The Abbot who is worthy to be over a monastery, ought always to be

   mindful of what he is called, and make his works square with his name

   of Superior. For he is believed to hold the place of Christ in the

   monastery, when he is called by his name, according to the saying of

   the Apostle: “You have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby

   we cry Abba (Father)” (Rom 8:15). Therefore, the Abbot should never

   teach, prescribe, or command (which God forbid) anything contrary to

   the laws of the Lord; but his commands and teaching should be instilled

   like a leaven of divine justice into the minds of his disciples.

   Let the Abbot always bear in mind that he must give an account in the

   dread judgment of God of both his own teaching and of the obedience of

   his disciples. And let the Abbot know that whatever lack of profit the

   master of the house shall find in the sheep, will be laid to the blame

   of the shepherd. On the other hand he will be blameless, if he gave all

   a shepherd’s care to his restless and unruly flock, and took all pains

   to correct their corrupt manners; so that their shepherd, acquitted at

   the Lord’s judgment seat, may say to the Lord with the Prophet: “I have

   not hid Thy justice within my heart. I have declared Thy truth and Thy

   salvation” (Ps 39[40]:11). “But they contemning have despised me” (Is

   1:2; Ezek 20:27). Then at length eternal death will be the crushing

   doom of the rebellious sheep under his charge.

   When, therefore, anyone taketh the name of Abbot he should govern his

   disciples by a twofold teaching; namely, he should show them all that

   is good and holy by his deeds more than by his words; explain the

   commandments of God to intelligent disciples by words, but show the

   divine precepts to the dull and simple by his works. And let him show

   by his actions, that whatever he teacheth his disciples as being

   contrary to the law of God must not be done, “lest perhaps when he hath

   preached to others, he himself should become a castaway” (1 Cor 9:27),

   and he himself committing sin, God one day say to him: “Why dost thou

   declare My justices, and take My covenant in thy mouth? But thou hast

   hated discipline, and hast cast My words behind thee” (Ps

   49[50]:16-17). And: “Thou who sawest the mote in thy brother’s eye,

   hast not seen the beam in thine own” (Mt 7:3).

   Let him make no distinction of persons in the monastery. Let him not

   love one more than another, unless it be one whom he findeth more

   exemplary in good works and obedience. Let not a free-born be preferred

   to a freedman, unless there be some other reasonable cause. But if from

   a just reason the Abbot deemeth it proper to make such a distinction,

   he may do so in regard to the rank of anyone whomsoever; otherwise let

   everyone keep his own place; for whether bond or free, we are all one

in Christ (cf Gal 3:28; Eph 6:8), and we all bear an equal burden of

   servitude under one Lord, “for there is no respect of persons with God”

   (Rom 2:11). We are distinguished with Him in this respect alone, if we

   are found to excel others in good works and in humility. Therefore, let

   him have equal charity for all, and impose a uniform discipline for all

   according to merit.

   For in his teaching the Abbot should always observe that principle of

   the Apostle in which he saith: “Reprove, entreat, rebuke” (2 Tm 4:2),

   that is, mingling gentleness with severity, as the occasion may call

   for, let him show the severity of the master and the loving affection

   of a father. He must sternly rebuke the undisciplined and restless; but

   he must exhort the obedient, meek, and patient to advance in virtue.

   But we charge him to rebuke and punish the negligent and haughty. Let

   him not shut his eyes to the sins of evil-doers; but on their first

   appearance let him do his utmost to cut them out from the root at once,

   mindful of the fate of Heli, the priest of Silo (cf 1 Samuel

   2:11-4:18). The well-disposed and those of good understanding, let him

   correct at the first and second admonition only with words; but let him

   chastise the wicked and the hard of heart, and the proud and

   disobedient at the very first offense with stripes and other bodily

   punishments, knowing that it is written: “The fool is not corrected

   with words” (Prov 29:19). And again: “Strike thy son with the rod, and

   thou shalt deliver his soul from death” (Prov 23:14).

   The Abbot ought always to remember what he is and what he is called,

   and to know that to whom much hath been entrusted, from him much will

   be required; and let him understand what a difficult and arduous task

   he assumeth in governing souls and accommodating himself to a variety

   of characters. Let him so adjust and adapt himself to everyone–to one

   gentleness of speech, to another by reproofs, and to still another by

   entreaties, to each one according to his bent and understanding–that

   he not only suffer no loss in his flock, but may rejoice in the

   increase of a worthy fold.

   Above all things, that the Abbot may not neglect or undervalue the

   welfare of the souls entrusted to him, let him not have too great a

   concern about fleeting, earthly, perishable things; but let him always

   consider that he hath undertaken the government of souls, of which he

   must give an account. And that he may not perhaps complain of the want

   of earthly means, let him remember what is written: “Seek ye first the

   kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added

   unto you” (Mt 6:33). And again: “There is no want to them that fear

   Him” (Ps 33[34]:10). And let him know that he who undertaketh the

   government of souls must prepare himself to give an account for them;

   and whatever the number of brethren he hath under his charge, let him

   be sure that on judgment day he will, without doubt, have to give an

   account to the Lord for all these souls, in addition to that of his

   own. And thus, whilst he is in constant fear of the Shepherd’s future

   examination about the sheep entrusted to him, and is watchful of his

   account for others, he is made solicitous also on his own account; and

   whilst by his admonitions he had administered correction to others, he

   is freed from his own failings.


                                 CHAPTER III

   Of Calling the Brethren for Counsel

   Whenever weighty matters are to be transacted in the monastery, let the

   Abbot call together the whole community, and make known the matter

   which is to be considered. Having heard the brethren’s views, let him

   weigh the matter with himself and do what he thinketh best. It is for

   this reason, however, we said that all should be called for counsel,

   because the Lord often revealeth to the younger what is best. Let the

   brethren, however, give their advice with humble submission, and let

   them not presume stubbornly to defend what seemeth right to them, for

   it must depend rather on the Abbot’s will, so that all obey him in what

   he considereth best. But as it becometh disciples to obey their master,

   so also it becometh the master to dispose all things with prudence and

   justice. Therefore, let all follow the Rule as their guide in

   everything, and let no one rashly depart from it.

   Let no one in the monastery follow the bent of his own heart, and let

   no one dare to dispute insolently with his Abbot, either inside or

   outside the monastery. If any one dare to do so, let him be placed

   under the correction of the Rule. Let the Abbot himself, however, do

   everything in the fear of the Lord and out of reverence for the Rule,

   knowing that, beyond a doubt, he will have to give an account to God,

   the most just Judge, for all his rulings. If, however, matters of less

   importance, having to do with the welfare of the monastery, are to be

   treated of, let him use the counsel of the Seniors only, as it is

   written: “Do all things with counsel, and thou shalt not repent when

   thou hast done” (Sir 32:24).


                                   CHAPTER IV

   The Instruments of Good Works

   (1) In the first place to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the

   whole soul, the whole strength…(2) Then, one’s neighbor as one’s self

   (cf Mt 22:37-39; Mk 12:30-31; Lk 10:27).(3) Then, not to kill…(4) Not

   to commit adultery…(5) Not to steal…(6) Not to covet (cf Rom

   13:9).(7) Not to bear false witness (cf Mt 19:18; Mk 10:19; Lk 18:20).

   (8) To honor all men (cf 1 Pt 2:17).(9) And what one would not have

   done to himself, not to do to another (cf Tob 4:16; Mt 7:12; Lk

   6:31).(10) To deny one’s self in order to follow Christ (cf Mt 16:24;

   Lk 9:23).(11) To chastise the body (cf 1 Cor 9:27).(12) Not to seek

   after pleasures.(13) To love fasting.(14) To relieve the poor.(15) To

   clothe the naked… (16) To visit the sick (cf Mt 25:36).(17) To bury

   the dead.(18) To help in trouble.(19) To console the sorrowing.(20) To

   hold one’s self aloof from worldly ways.(21) To prefer nothing to the

   love of Christ.(22) Not to give way to anger.(23) Not to foster a

   desire for revenge.(24) Not to entertain deceit in the heart.(25) Not

   to make a false peace.(26) Not to forsake charity.(27) Not to swear,

   lest perchance one swear falsely.(28) To speak the truth with heart and

   tongue. (29) Not to return evil for evil (cf 1 Thes 5:15; 1 Pt

   3:9).(30) To do no injury, yea, even patiently to bear the injury done

   us.(31) To love one’s enemies (cf Mt 5:44; Lk 6:27).(32) Not to curse

   them that curse us, but rather to bless them.(33) To bear persecution

   for justice sake (cf Mt 5:10).(34) Not to be proud…(35) Not to be

   given to wine (cf Ti 1:7; 1 Tm 3:3).(36) Not to be a great eater. (37)

   Not to be drowsy.(38) Not to be slothful (cf Rom 12:11).(39) Not to be

   a murmurer. (40) Not to be a detractor.(41) To put one’s trust in

   God.(42) To refer what good one sees in himself, not to self, but to

   God.(43) But as to any evil in himself, let him be convinced that it is

   his own and charge it to himself.(44) To fear the day of judgment.(45)

   To be in dread of hell.(46) To desire eternal life with all spiritual

   longing.(47) To keep death before one’s eyes daily.(48) To keep a

   constant watch over the actions of our life.(49) To hold as certain

   that God sees us everywhere.(50) To dash at once against Christ the

   evil thoughts which rise in one’s heart.(51) And to disclose them to

   our spiritual father.(52) To guard one’s tongue against bad and wicked

   speech.(53) Not to love much speaking.(54) Not to speak useless words

   and such as provoke laughter.(55) Not to love much or boisterous

   laughter.(56) To listen willingly to holy reading.(57) To apply one’s

   self often to prayer.(58) To confess one’s past sins to God daily in

   prayer with sighs and tears, and to amend them for the future.(59) Not

   to fulfil the desires of the flesh (cf Gal 5:16).(60) To hate one’s own

   will.(61) To obey the commands of the Abbot in all things, even though

   he himself (which Heaven forbid) act otherwise, mindful of that precept

   of the Lord: “What they say, do ye; what they do, do ye not” (Mt

   23:3).(62) Not to desire to be called holy before one is; but to be

   holy first, that one may be truly so called.(63) To fulfil daily the

   commandments of God by works.(64) To love chastity.(65) To hate no

   one.(66) Not to be jealous; not to entertain envy.(67) Not to love

   strife.(68) Not to love pride.(69) To honor the aged.(70) To love the

   younger.(71) To pray for one’s enemies in the love of Christ.(72) To

   make peace with an adversary before the setting of the sun.(73) And

   never to despair of God’s mercy.

   Behold, these are the instruments of the spiritual art, which, if they

   have been applied without ceasing day and night and approved on

   judgment day, will merit for us from the Lord that reward which He hath

   promised: “The eye hath not seen, nor the ear heard, neither hath it

   entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them

   that love Him” (1 Cor 2:9). But the workshop in which we perform all

   these works with diligence is the enclosure of the monastery, and

   stability in the community.


                                   CHAPTER V

Of Obedience

   The first degree of humility is obedience without delay. This becometh

   those who, on account of the holy subjection which they have promised,

   or of the fear of hell, or the glory of life everlasting, hold nothing

   dearer than Christ. As soon as anything hath been commanded by the

   Superior they permit no delay in the execution, as if the matter had

   been commanded by God Himself. Of these the Lord saith: “At the hearing

   of the ear he hath obeyed Me” (Ps 17[18]:45). And again He saith to the

   teachers: “He that heareth you heareth Me” (Lk 10:16).

   Such as these, therefore, instantly quitting their own work and giving

   up their own will, with hands disengaged, and leaving unfinished what

   they were doing, follow up, with the ready step of obedience, the work

   of command with deeds; and thus, as if in the same moment, both

   matters–the master’s command and the disciple’s finished work–are, in

   the swiftness of the fear of God, speedily finished together, whereunto

   the desire of advancing to eternal life urgeth them. They, therefore,

   seize upon the narrow way whereof the Lord saith: “Narrow is the way

   which leadeth to life” (Mt 7:14), so that, not living according to

   their own desires and pleasures but walking according to the judgment

   and will of another, they live in monasteries, and desire an Abbot to

   be over them. Such as these truly live up to the maxim of the Lord in

   which He saith: “I came not to do My own will, but the will of Him that

   sent Me” (Jn 6:38).

   This obedience, however, will be acceptable to God and agreeable to men

   then only, if what is commanded is done without hesitation, delay,

   lukewarmness, grumbling or complaint, because the obedience which is

   rendered to Superiors is rendered to God. For He Himself hath said: “He

   that heareth you heareth Me” (Lk 10:16). And it must be rendered by the

   disciples with a good will, “for the Lord loveth a cheerful giver (2

   Cor 9:7). ” For if the disciple obeyeth with an ill will, and

   murmureth, not only with lips but also in his heart, even though he

   fulfil the command, yet it will not be acceptable to God, who regardeth

   the heart of the murmurer. And for such an action he acquireth no

   reward; rather he incurreth the penalty of murmurers, unless he maketh

   satisfactory amendment.


                                   CHAPTER VI

   Of Silence

   Let us do what the Prophet saith: “I said, I will take heed of my ways,

   that I sin not with my tongue: I have set a guard to my mouth, I was

   dumb, and was humbled, and kept silence even from good things” (Ps

   38[39]:2-3). Here the prophet showeth that, if at times we ought to

   refrain from useful speech for the sake of silence, how much more ought

   we to abstain from evil words on account of the punishment due to sin.

   Therefore, because of the importance of silence, let permission to

   speak be seldom given to perfect disciples even for good and holy and

   edifying discourse, for it is written: “In much talk thou shalt not

   escape sin” (Prov 10:19). And elsewhere: “Death and life are in the

   power of the tongue” (Prov 18:21). For it belongeth to the master to

   speak and to teach; it becometh the disciple to be silent and to

   listen. If, therefore, anything must be asked of the Superior, let it

   be asked with all humility and respectful submission. But coarse jests,

   and idle words or speech provoking laughter, we condemn everywhere to

   eternal exclusion; and for such speech we do not permit the disciple to

   open his lips.


                                 CHAPTER VII

   Of Humility

   Brethren, the Holy Scripture crieth to us saying: “Every one that

   exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall

   be exalted” (Lk 14:11; 18:14). Since, therefore, it saith this, it

   showeth us that every exaltation is a kind of pride. The Prophet

   declareth that he guardeth himself against this, saying: “Lord, my

   heart is not puffed up; nor are my eyes haughty. Neither have I walked

   in great matters nor in wonderful things above me” (Ps 130[131]:1).

   What then? “If I was not humbly minded, but exalted my soul; as a child

   that is weaned is towards his mother so shalt Thou reward my soul” (Ps


   Hence, brethren, if we wish to reach the greatest height of humility,

   and speedily to arrive at that heavenly exaltation to which ascent is

   made in the present life by humility, then, mounting by our actions, we

   must erect the ladder which appeared to Jacob in his dream, by means of

   which angels were shown to him ascending and descending (cf Gen 28:12).

   Without a doubt, we understand this ascending and descending to be

   nothing else but that we descend by pride and ascend by humility. The

   erected ladder, however, is our life in the present world, which, if

   the heart is humble, is by the Lord lifted up to heaven. For we say

   that our body and our soul are the two sides of this ladder; and into

   these sides the divine calling hath inserted various degrees of

   humility or discipline which we must mount.

   The first degree of humility, then, is that a man always have the fear

   of God before his eyes (cf Ps 35[36]:2), shunning all forgetfulness and

   that he be ever mindful of all that God hath commanded, that he always

   considereth in his mind how those who despise God will burn in hell for

   their sins, and that life everlasting is prepared for those who fear

   God. And whilst he guardeth himself evermore against sin and vices of

   thought, word, deed, and self-will, let him also hasten to cut off the

   desires of the flesh.

   Let a man consider that God always seeth him from Heaven, that the eye

   of God beholdeth his works everywhere, and that the angels report them

to Him every hour. The Prophet telleth us this when he showeth God thus

   ever present in our thoughts, saying: “The searcher of hearts and reins

   is God” (Ps 7:10). And again: “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of men”

   (Ps 93[94]:11) And he saith: “Thou hast understood my thoughts afar

   off” (Ps 138[139]:3). And: “The thoughts of man shall give praise to

   Thee” (Ps 75[76]:11). Therefore, in order that he may always be on his

   guard against evil thoughts, let the humble brother always say in his

heart: “Then I shall be spotless before Him, if I shall keep myself

   from iniquity” (Ps 17[18]:24).

   We are thus forbidden to do our own will, since the Scripture saith to

   us: “And turn away from thy evil will” (Sir 18:30). And thus, too, we

   ask God in prayer that His will may be done in us (cf Mt 6:10). We are,

   therefore, rightly taught not to do our own will, when we guard against

   what Scripture saith: “There are ways that to men seem right, the end

   whereof plungeth into the depths of hell” (Prov 16:25). And also when

   we are filled with dread at what is said of the negligent: “They are

   corrupted and become abominable in their pleasure” (Ps 13[14]:1). But

   as regards desires of the flesh, let us believe that God is thus ever

   present to us, since the Prophet saith to the Lord: “Before Thee is all

   my desire” (Ps 37[38]:10).

   We must, therefore, guard thus against evil desires, because death hath

   his station near the entrance of pleasure. Whence the Scripture

   commandeth, saying: “Go no after thy lusts” (Sir 18:30). If, therefore,

   the eyes of the Lord observe the good and the bad (cf Prov 15:3) and

   the Lord always looketh down from heaven on the children of men, to see

   whether there be anyone that understandeth or seeketh God (cf Ps

   13[14]:2); and if our actions are reported to the Lord day and night by

   the angels who are appointed to watch over us daily, we must ever be on

   our guard, brethren, as the Prophet saith in the psalm, that God may at

   no time see us “gone aside to evil and become unprofitable” (Ps

   13[14]:3), and having spared us in the present time, because He is kind

   and waiteth for us to be changed for the better, say to us in the

   future: “These things thou hast done and I was silent” (Ps 49[50]:21).

   The second degree of humility is, when a man loveth not his own will,

   nor is pleased to fulfill his own desires but by his deeds carrieth our

   that word of the Lord which saith: “I came not to do My own will but

   the will of Him that sent Me” (Jn 6:38). It is likewise said:

   “Self-will hath its punishment, but necessity winneth the crown.”

   The third degree of humility is, that for the love of God a man subject

   himself to a Superior in all obedience, imitating the Lord, of whom the

   Apostle saith: “He became obedient unto death” (Phil 2:8).

   The fourth degree of humility is, that, if hard and distasteful things

   are commanded, nay, even though injuries are inflicted, he accept them

   with patience and even temper, and not grow weary or give up, but hold

   out, as the Scripture saith: “He that shall persevere unto the end

   shall be saved” (Mt 10:22). And again: “Let thy heart take courage, and

   wait thou for the Lord” (Ps 26[27]:14). And showing that a faithful man

   ought even to bear every disagreeable thing for the Lord, it saith in

   the person of the suffering: “For Thy sake we suffer death all the day

   long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter” (Rom 8:36; Ps

   43[44]:22). And secure in the hope of the divine reward, they go on

   joyfully, saying: “But in all these things we overcome because of Him

   that hath loved us” (Rom 8:37). And likewise in another place the

   Scripture saith: “Thou, O God, hast proved us; Thou hast tried us by

   fire as silver is tried; Thou hast brought us into a net, Thou hast

   laid afflictions on our back” (Ps 65[66]:10-11). And to show us that we

   ought to be under a Superior, it continueth, saying: “Thou hast set men

   over our heads” (Ps 65[66]:12). And fulfilling the command of the Lord

   by patience also in adversities and injuries, when struck on the one

   cheek they turn also the other; the despoiler of their coat they give

   their cloak also; and when forced to go one mile they go two (cf Mt

   5:39-41); with the Apostle Paul they bear with false brethren and

   “bless those who curse them” (2 Cor 11:26; 1 Cor 4:12).

   The fifth degree of humility is, when one hideth from his Abbot none of

the evil thoughts which rise in his heart or the evils committed by him

   in secret, but humbly confesseth them. Concerning this the Scripture

   exhorts us, saying: “Reveal thy way to the Lord and trust in Him” (Ps

   36[37]:5). And it saith further: “Confess to the Lord, for He is good,

   for His mercy endureth forever” (Ps 105[106]:1; Ps 117[118]:1). And the

   Prophet likewise saith: “I have acknowledged my sin to Thee and my

   injustice I have not concealed. I said I will confess against myself my

   injustice to the Lord; and Thou hast forgiven the wickedness of my

   sins” (Ps 31[32]:5).

   The sixth degree of humility is, when a monk is content with the

   meanest and worst of everything, and in all that is enjoined him

   holdeth himself as a bad and worthless workman, saying with the

   Prophet: “I am brought to nothing and I knew it not; I am become as a

   beast before Thee, and I am always with Thee” (Ps 72[73]:22-23).

   The seventh degree of humility is, when, not only with his tongue he

   declareth, but also in his inmost soul believeth, that he is the lowest

   and vilest of men, humbling himself and saying with the Prophet: “But I

   am a worm and no man, the reproach of men and the outcast of the

   people” (Ps 21[22]:7). “I have been exalted and humbled and confounded”

   (Ps 87[88]:16). And also: “It is good for me that Thou hast humbled me,

   that I may learn Thy commandments” (Ps 118[119]:71,73).

   The eighth degree of humility is, when a monk doeth nothing but what is

   sanctioned by the common rule of the monastery and the example of his


   The ninth degree of humility is, when a monk withholdeth his tongue

   from speaking, and keeping silence doth not speak until he is asked;

   for the Scripture showeth that “in a multitude of words there shall not

   want sin” (Prov 10:19); and that “a man full of tongue is not

   established in the earth” (Ps 139[140]:12).

   The tenth degree of humility is, when a monk is not easily moved and

   quick for laughter, for it is written: “The fool exalteth his voice in

   laughter” (Sir 21:23).

   The eleventh degree of humility is, that, when a monk speaketh, he

   speak gently and without laughter, humbly and with gravity, with few

   and sensible words, and that he be not loud of voice, as it is written:

   “The wise man is known by the fewness of his words.”

   The twelfth degree of humility is, when a monk is not only humble of

   heart, but always letteth it appear also in his whole exterior to all

   that see him; namely, at the Work of God, in the garden, on a journey,

   in the field, or wherever he may be, sitting, walking, or standing, let

   him always have his head bowed down, his eyes fixed on the ground, ever

   holding himself guilty of his sins, thinking that he is already

   standing before the dread judgment seat of God, and always saying to

   himself in his heart what the publican in the Gospel said, with his

   eyes fixed on the ground: “Lord, I am a sinner and not worthy to lift

   up mine eyes to heaven” (Lk 18:13); and again with the Prophet: “I am

   bowed down and humbled exceedingly” (Ps 37[38]:7-9; Ps 118[119]:107).

   Having, therefore, ascended all these degrees of humility, the monk

   will presently arrive at that love of God, which being perfect, casteth

   out fear (1 Jn 4:18). In virtue of this love all things which at first

   he observed not without fear, he will now begin to keep without any

   effort, and as it were, naturally by force of habit, no longer from the

   fear of hell, but from the love of Christ, from the very habit of good

   and the pleasure in virtue. May the Lord be pleased to manifest all

   this by His Holy Spirit in His laborer now cleansed from vice and sin.


                                 CHAPTER VIII

   Of the Divine Office during the Night

   Making due allowance for circumstances, the brethren will rise during

   the winter season, that is, from the calends of November till Easter,

   at the eighth hour of the night; so that, having rested till a little

   after midnight, they may rise refreshed. The time, however, which

   remains over after the night office (Matins) will be employed in study

   by those of the brethren who still have some parts of the psalms and

   the lessons to learn.

   But from Easter to the aforesaid calends, let the hour for celebrating

   the night office (Matins) be so arranged, that after a very short

interval, during which the brethren may go out for the necessities of

   nature, the morning office (Lauds), which is to be said at the break of

   day, may follow presently.


                                  CHAPTER IX

   How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at the Night Office

   During the winter season, having in the first place said the verse:

   Deus, in adjutorium meum intende; Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina,

   there is next to be said three times, Domine, labia mea aperies, et os

   meum annuntiabit laudem tuam (Ps 50[51]:17). To this the third psalm

   and the Gloria are to be added. After this the 94th psalm with its

   antiphon is to be said or chanted. Hereupon let a hymn follow, and

   after that six psalms with antiphons. When these and the verse have

   been said, let the Abbot give the blessing. All being seated on the

   benches, let three lessons be read alternately by the brethren from the

   book on the reading stand, between which let three responsories be

   said. Let two of the responsories be said without the Gloria, but after

   the third lesson, let him who is chanting say the Gloria. When the

   cantor beginneth to sing it, let all rise at once from their seats in

   honor and reverence of the Blessed Trinity.

   Let the inspired books of both the Old and the New Testaments be read

   at the night offices, as also the expositions of them which have been

   made by the most eminent orthodox and Catholic Fathers.

   After these three lessons with their responsories, let six other psalms

   follow, to be sung with Alleluia. After these let the lessons from the

   Apostle follow, to be said by heart, then the verse, the invocation of

   the litany, that is, Kyrie eleison. And thus let the night office come

   to an end.


                                   CHAPTER X

   How the Office Is to Be Said during the Summer Season

   From Easter till the calends of November let the whole psalmody, as

   explained above, be said, except that on account of the shortness of

   the nights, no lessons are read from the book; but instead of these

   three lessons, let one from the Old Testament be said from memory. Let

   a short responsory follow this, and let all the rest be performed as

   was said; namely, that never fewer than twelve psalms be said at the

   night office, exclusive of the third and the 94th psalm.


                                   CHAPTER XI

   How the Night Office Is to Be Said on Sundays

   For the night office on Sunday the monks should rise earlier. At this

   office let the following regulations be observed, namely: after six

   psalms and the verse have been sung, as we arranged above, and all have

   been properly seated on the benches in their order, let four lessons

   with their responsories be read from the book, as we said above. In the

   fourth responsory only, let the Gloria be said by the chanter, and as

   soon as he beginneth it let all presently rise with reverence.

   After these lessons let six other psalms with antiphons and the verse

   follow in order as before. After these let there be said three

   canticles from the Prophets, selected by the Abbot, and chanted with

   Alleluia. When the verse also hath been said and the Abbot hath given

   the blessing, let four other lessons from the New Testament be read in

   the order above mentioned. But after the fourth responsory let the

   Abbot intone the hymn Te Deum laudamus. When this hath been said, let

   the Abbot read the lesson from the Gospel, all standing with reverence

   and awe. When the Gospel hath been read let all answer Amen, and

   immediately the Abbot will follow up with the hymn Te decet laus, and

   when he hath given the blessing Lauds will begin.

   Let this order of the night office be observed on Sunday the same way

   in all seasons, in summer as well as in winter, unless perchance (which

   God forbid) the brethren should rise too late and part of the lessons

   or the responsories would have to be shortened. Let every precaution be

   taken that this does not occur. If it should happen, let him through

   whose neglect it came about make due satisfaction for it to God in the



                                 CHAPTER XII

   How Lauds Are to Be Said

   At Lauds on Sunday, let the 66th psalm be said first simply, without an

   antiphon. After that let the 50th psalm be said with Alleluia; after

   this let the 117th and the 62d be said; then the blessing and the

   praises, one lesson from the Apocalypse, said by heart, a responsory,

   the Ambrosian hymn, the verse and the canticle from the Gospel, the

   litany, and it is finished.


                                CHAPTER XIII

   How Lauds Are to Be Said on Week Days

   On week days let Lauds be celebrated in the following manner, to wit:

   Let the 66th psalm be said without an antiphon, drawing it out a little

   as on Sunday, that all may arriver for the 50th, which is to be said

   with an antiphon. After this let two other psalms be said according to

   custom; namely, the 5th and the 35th on the second day, the 42d and the

   56th on the third day, the 63rd and the 64th on the fourth day, the

   87th and the 89th on the fifth day, the 75th and the 91st on the sixth

   day, and on Saturday the 142d and the canticle of Deuteronomy, which

   should be divided into two Glorias. On the other days, however, let the

   canticle from the Prophets, each for its proper day, be said as the

   Roman Church singeth it. After these let the psalms of praise follow;

   then one lesson from the Apostle, to be said from memory, the

   responsory, the Ambrosian hymn, the verse, the canticle from the

   Gospel, the litany, and it is finished.

   Owing to the scandals which are wont to spring up, the morning and the

   evening office should, plainly, never end unless the Lord’s Prayer is

   said in the hearing of all by the Superior in its place at the end; so

   that in virtue of the promise which the brethren make when they say,

   “Forgive us as we forgive” (Mt 6:12), they may cleanse themselves of

   failings of this kind.

   At the other hours which are to be said, however, let only the last

   part of this prayer be said aloud, so that all may answer, “But deliver

   us from evil” (Mt 6:13).


                                 CHAPTER XIV

   How the Night Office Is to Be Said on the Feasts of the Saints

   On the feasts of the saints and on all solemn festivals let the night

   office be performed as we said it should be done on Sunday; except that

   the psalms, the antiphons, and the lessons proper for that day be said;

   but let the number above mentioned be maintained.


                                   CHAPTER XV

   At What Times the Alleluia Is to Be Said

   From holy Easter until Pentecost let the Alleluia be said without

   intermission, both with the psalms and with the responsories; but from

   Pentecost until the beginning of Lent let it be said every night at the

   nocturns with the six latter psalms only. However, on all Sundays

   outside of Lent, let the canticles, Lauds, Prime, Tierce, Sext, and

   None be said with Alleluia. Let Vespers, however, be said with the

   antiphon; but let the responsories never be said with Alleluia, except

   from Easter to Pentecost.


                                 CHAPTER XVI

   How the Work of God Is to Be Performed during the Day

   As the Prophet saith: “Seven times a day I have given praise to Thee”

   (Ps 118[119]:164), this sacred sevenfold number will be fulfilled by us

   in this wise if we perform the duties of our service at the time of

   Lauds, Prime, Tierce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Complin; because it was

   of these day hours that he hath said: “Seven times a day I have given

   praise to Thee” (Ps 118[119]:164). For the same Prophet saith of the

   night watches: “At midnight I arose to confess to Thee” (Ps

   118[119]:62). At these times, therefore, let us offer praise to our

   Creator “for the judgments of His justice;” namely, at Lauds, Prime,

   Tierce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Complin; and let us rise at night to

   praise Him (cf Ps 118[119]:164, 62).


                                 CHAPTER XVII

   How Many Psalms Are to Be Sung at These Hours

   We have now arranged the order of the psalmody for the night and the

   morning office; let us next arrange for the succeeding Hours. At the

   first Hour let three psalms be said separately, and not under one

   Gloria. Let the hymn for the same Hour be said after the verse Deus, in

   adjutorium (Ps 69[70]:2), before the psalms are begun. Then, after the

   completion of three psalms, let one lesson be said, a verse, the Kyrie

   eleison, and the collects.

   At the third, the sixth, and the ninth Hours, the prayer will be said

   in the same order; namely, the verse, the hymn proper to each Hour, the

   three psalms, the lesson, the verse, the Kyrie eleison, and the

   collects. If the brotherhood is large, let these Hours be sung with

   antiphons; but if small, let them be said without a break.

   Let the office of Vespers be ended with four psalms and antiphons;

   after these psalms a lesson is to be recited, next a responsory, the

   Ambrosian hymn, a verse, the canticle from the Gospel, the litany, the

   Lord’s Prayer, and the collects.

   Let Complin end with the saying of three psalms, which are to be said

   straight on without an antiphon, and after these the hymn for the same

   Hour, one lesson, the verse, Kyrie eleison, the blessing, and the



                                CHAPTER XVIII

   In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said

   In the beginning let there be said the verse, Deus, in adjutorium meum

   intende; Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina (Ps 69[70]:2), and the

   Gloria, followed by the hymn for each Hour. At Prime on Sunday, then,

   there are to be said four sections of the 118th psalm. At the other

   Hours, however, namely Tierce, Sext, and None, let three sections of

   the same psalm be said. But at Prime on Monday let three psalms be

   said, namely, the first, the second, and the sixth; and thus each day

   at Prime until Sunday, let three psalms be said each time in

   consecutive order up to the 19th psalm, yet so that the ninth psalm and

   the 17th be each divided into two Glorias; and thus it will come about

   that at the night office on Sundays we always begin with the 20th


   At Tierce, Sext, and None, on Monday, however, let the nine sections

   which remain over the 118th psalm be said, three sections at each of

   these Hours. The 118th psalm having thus been parceled out for two

   days, namely, Sunday and Monday, let there be sung on Tuesday for

   Tierce, Sext, and None, three psalms each, from the 119th to the 127th,

   that is, nine psalms. These psalms will always be repeated at the same

   Hours in just the same way until Sunday, observing also for all these

   days a regular succession of the hymns, the lessons, and the verses,

   so, namely, that on Sunday the beginning is always made with the 118th


   Let Vespers be sung daily with the singing of four psalms. Let these

   psalms begin with the 109th to the 147th, excepting those which are set

   aside for the other Hours; namely, from the 117th to the 127th, and the

   133d, and the 142d. All the rest are to be said at Vespers; and as the

   psalms fall three short, those of the aforesaide psalms which are found

   to be longer, are to be divided; namely, the 138th, the 143d, and the

   144th. But because the 116th is short, let it be joined to the 115th.

   The order of the psalms for Vespers having thus been arranged let the

   rest, namely, the lessons, the responsories, the hymns, the verses, and

   the canticles, be said as we have directed above.

   At Complin, however, let the same psalms be repeated every day; namely,

   the 4th, the 90th, and the 133d.

   Having arranged the order of the office, let all the rest of the psalms

   which remain over, be divided equally into seven night offices, by so

   dividing such of them as are of greater length that twelve fall to each

   night. We especially impress this, that, if this distribution of the

   psalms should perchance displease anyone, he arrange them if he

   thinketh another better, by all means seeing to it that the whole

   Psalter of one hundred and fifty psalms be said every week, and that it

   always start again from the beginning at Matins on Sunday; because

   those monks show too lax a service in their devotion who in the course

   of a week chant less than the whole Psalter with is customary

   canticles; since we read, that our holy forefathers promptly fulfilled

   in one day what we lukewarm monks should, please God, perform at least

   in a week.


                                 CHAPTER XIX

   Of the Manner of Reciting the Psalter

   We believe that God is present everywhere and that the eyes of the Lord

   behold the good and the bad in every place (cf Prov 15:3). Let us

   firmly believe this, especially when we take part in the Work of God.

   Let us, therefore, always be mindful of what the Prophet saith, “Serve

   ye the Lord with fear” (Ps 2:11). And again, “Sing ye wisely” (Ps

   46[47]:8). And, “I will sing praise to Thee in the sight of the angels”

   (Ps 137[138]:1). Therefore, let us consider how it becometh us to

   behave in the sight of God and His angels, and let us so stand to sing,

   that our mind may be in harmony with our voice.


                                   CHAPTER XX

   Of Reverence at Prayer

   If we do not venture to approach men who are in power, except with

   humility and reverence, when we wish to ask a favor, how much must we

   beseech the Lord God of all things with all humility and purity of

   devotion? And let us be assured that it is not in many words, but in

   the purity of heart and tears of compunction that we are heard. For

   this reason prayer ought to be short and pure, unless, perhaps it is

   lengthened by the inspiration of divine grace. At the community

   exercises, however, let the prayer always be short, and the sign having

   been given by the Superior, let all rise together.


                                 CHAPTER XXI

   Of the Deans of the Monastery

   If the brotherhood is large, let brethren of good repute and holy life

   be chosen from among them and be appointed Deans; and let them take

   care of their deaneries in everything according to the commandments of

   God and the directions of their Abbot. Let such be chosen Deans as the

   Abbot may safely trust to share his burden. Let them not be chosen for

   their rank, but for the merit of their life and their wisdom and

   knowledge; and if any of them, puffed up with pride, should be found

   blameworthy and, after having been corrected once and again and even a

   third time, refuseth to amend, let him be deposed, and one who is

   worthy be placed in his stead. We make the same regulation with

   reference to the Prior.


                                  CHAPTER XXII

   How the Monks Are to Sleep

   Let the brethren sleep singly, each in a separate bed. Let them receive

   the bedding befitting their mode of life, according to the direction of

   their Abbot. If it can be done, let all sleep in one apartment; but if

   the number doth not allow it, let them sleep in tens or twenties with

   the seniors who have charge of them. Let a light be kept burning

   constantly in the cell till morning.

   Let them sleep clothed and girded with cinctures or cords, that they

   may be always ready; but let them not have knives at their sides whilst

   they sleep, lest perchance the sleeping be wounded in their dreams; and

   the sign having been given, rising without delay, let them hasten to

   outstrip each other to the Work of God, yet with all gravity and

   decorum. Let the younger brethren not have their beds beside each

   other, but intermingled with the older ones; and rising to the Work of

   God, let them gently encourage one another on account of the excuses of

   the drowsy.


                                 CHAPTER XXIII

   Of Excommunication for Faults

   If a brother is found stubborn or disobedient or proud or murmuring, or

   opposed to anything in the Holy Rule and a contemner of the

   commandments of his Superiors, let him be admonished by his Superiors

   once and again in secret, according to the command of our Lord (cf Mt

   18:15-16). If he doth not amend let him be taken to task publicly

   before all. But if he doth not reform even then, and he understandeth

   what a penalty it is, let him be placed under excommunication; but if

   even then he remaineth obstinate let him undergo corporal punishment.


                                 CHAPTER XXIV

   What the Manner of Excommunication Should Be

   The degree of excommunication or punishment ought to be meted out

   according to the gravity of the offense, and to determine that is left

   to the judgment of the Abbot. If, however, anyone of the brethren is

   detected in smaller faults, let him be debarred from eating at the

   common table.

   The following shall be the practice respecting one who is excluded from

   the common table: that he does not intone a psalm or an antiphon nor

   read a lesson in the oratory until he hath made satisfaction; let him

   take his meal alone, after the refection of the brethren; thus: if, for

   instance, the brethren take their meal at the sixth hour that brother

   will take his at the ninth, and if the brethren take theirs at the

   ninth, he will take his in the evening, until by due satisfaction he

   obtaineth pardon.


                                 CHAPTER XXV

   Of Graver Faults

   But let the brother who is found guilty of a graver fault be excluded

   from both the table and the oratory. Let none of the brethren join his

   company or speak with him. Let him be alone at the work enjoined on

   him, persevering in penitential sorrow, mindful of the terrible

   sentence of the Apostle who saith, that “such a man is delivered over

   for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the

   day of the Lord” (1 Cor 5:5). Let him get his food alone in such

   quantity and at such a time as the Abbot shall deem fit; and let him

   not be blessed by anyone passing by, nor the food that is given him.


                                 CHAPTER XXVI

   Of Those Who without the Command of the Abbot Associate with the


   If any brother presume to associate with an excommunicated brother in

   any way, or to speak with him, or to send him a message, without the

   command of the Abbot, let him incur the same penalty of



                                 CHAPTER XXVII

   How Concerned the Abbot Should Be about the Excommunicated

   Let the Abbot show all care and concern towards offending brethren

   because “they that are in health need not a physician, but they that

   are sick” (Mt 9:12). Therefore, like a prudent physician he ought to

   use every opportunity to send consolers, namely, discreet elderly

   brethren, to console the wavering brother, as it were, in secret, and

   induce him to make humble satisfaction; and let them cheer him up “lest

   he be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow” (2 Cor 2:7); but, as the same

   Apostle saith, “confirm your charity towards him” (2 Cor 2:8); and let

   prayer be said for him by all.

   The Abbot must take the utmost pains, and strive with all prudence and

   zeal, that none of the flock entrusted to him perish. For the Abbot

   must know that he has taken upon himself the care of infirm souls, not

   a despotism over the strong; and let him fear the threat of the Prophet

   wherein the Lord saith: “What ye saw to be fat, that ye took to

   yourselves, and what was diseased you threw away” (Ezek 34:3-4). And

   let him follow the loving example of the Good Shepherd, who, leaving

   the ninety-nine sheep on the mountains, went to seek the one that had

   gone astray, on whose weakness He had such pity, that He was pleased to

   lay it on His sacred shoulders and thus carry it back to the fold (cf

   Lk 15:5).


                                 CHAPTER XXVIII

   Of Those Who Having Often Been Corrected Do Not Amend

   If a brother hath often been corrected and hath even been

   excommunicated for a fault and doth not amend, let a more severe

   correction be applied to him, namely, proceed against him with corporal


   But if even then he doth not reform, or puffed up with pride, should

   perhaps, which God forbid, even defend his actions, then let the Abbot

   act like a prudent physician. After he hath applied soothing lotions,

   ointments of admonitions, medicaments of the Holy Scriptures, and if,

   as a last resource, he hath employed the caustic of excommunication and

   the blows of the lash, and seeth that even then his pains are of no

   avail, let him apply for that brother also what is more potent than all

   these measures: his own prayer and that of the brethren, that the Lord

   who is all-powerful may work a cure in that brother.

   But if he is not healed even in this way, then finally let the Abbot

   dismiss him from the community, as the Apostle saith: “Put away the

   evil one from among you” (1 Cor 5:13); and again: “If the faithless

   depart, let him depart” (1 Cor 7:15); lest one diseased sheep infect

   the whole flock.


                                 CHAPTER XXIX

   Whether Brethren Who Leave the Monastery Ought to Be Received Again

   If a brother, who through his own fault leaveth the monastery or is

   expelled, desireth to return, let him first promise full amendment of

   the fault for which he left; and thus let him be received in the last

   place, that by this means his humility may be tried. If he should leave

   again, let him be received even a third time, knowing that after this

   every means of return will be denied him.


                                 CHAPTER XXX

   How Young Boys Are to Be Corrected

   Every age and understanding should have its proper discipline.

   Whenever, therefore, boys or immature youths or such as can not

   understand how grave a penalty excommunication is, are guilty of a

   serious fault, let them undergo severe fasting or be disciplined with

   corporal punishment, that they may be corrected.


                                 CHAPTER XXXI

   The Kind of Man the Cellarer of the Monastery Ought to Be

   Let there be chosen from the brotherhood as Cellarer of the monastery a

   wise man, of settled habits, temperate and frugal, not conceited,

   irritable, resentful, sluggish, or wasteful, but fearing God, who may

   be as a father to the whole brotherhood.

   Let him have the charge of everything, let him do nothing without the

   command of the Abbot, let him do what hath been ordered him and not

   grieve the brethren. If a brother should perchance request anything of

   him unreasonably let him not sadden the brother with a cold refusal,

   but politely and with humility refuse him who asketh amiss. Let him be

   watchful of his own soul, always mindful of the saying of the Apostle:

   “For they that have ministered well, shall purchase to themselves a

   good degree” (1 Tm 3:13). Let him provide for the sick, the children,

   the guests, and the poor, with all care, knowing that, without doubt,

   he will have to give an account of all these things on judgment day.

   Let him regard all the vessels of the monastery and all its substance,

   as if they were sacred vessels of the altar. Let him neglect nothing

   and let him not give way to avarice, nor let him be wasteful and a

   squanderer of the goods of the monastery; but let him do all things in

   due measure and according to the bidding of his Abbot.

   Above all things, let him be humble; and if he hath not the things to

   give, let him answer with a kind word, because it is written: “A good

   word is above the best gift” (Sir 18:17). Let him have under his charge

   everything that the Abbot hath entrusted to him, and not presume to

   meddle with matters forbidden him. Let him give the brethren their

   apportioned allowance without a ruffle or delay, that they may not be

   scandalized, mindful of what the Divine Word declareth that he

   deserveth who shall scandalize one of these little ones: “It were

   better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he

   were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Mt 18:6).

   If the community is large, let assistants be given him, that, with

   their help, he too may fulfil the office entrusted to him with an even

   temper. Let the things that are to be given be distributed, and the

   things that are to be gotten asked for at the proper times, so that

   nobody may be disturbed or grieved in the house of God.


                                 CHAPTER XXXII

   Of the Tools and Goods of the Monastery

   Let the Abbot appoint brethren on whose life and character he can rely,

   over the property of the monastery in tools, clothing, and things

   generally, and let him assign to them, as he shall deem proper, all the

   articles which must be collected after use and stored away. Let the

   Abbot keep a list of these articles, so that, when the brethren in turn

   succeed each other in these trusts, he may know what he giveth and what

   he receiveth back. If anyone, however, handleth the goods of the

   monastery slovenly or carelessly let him be reprimanded and if he doth

   not amend let him come under the discipline of the Rule.


                                 CHAPTER XXXIII

   Whether Monks Ought to Have Anything of Their Own

   The vice of personal ownership must by all means be cut out in the

   monastery by the very root, so that no one may presume to give or

   receive anything without the command of the Abbot; nor to have anything

   whatever as his own, neither a book, nor a writing tablet, nor a pen,

   nor anything else whatsoever, since monks are allowed to have neither

   their bodies nor their wills in their own power. Everything that is

   necessary, however, they must look for from the Father of the

   monastery; and let it not be allowed for anyone to have anything which

   the Abbot did not give or permit him to have. Let all things be common

   to all, as it is written. And let no one call or take to himself

anything as his own (cf Acts 4:32). But if anyone should be found to

   indulge this most baneful vice, and, having been admonished once and

   again, doth not amend, let him be subjected to punishment.


                                 CHAPTER XXXIV

   Whether All Should Receive in Equal Measure What Is Necessary

   It is written, “Distribution was made to everyone according as he had

   need” (Acts 4:35). We do not say by this that respect should be had for

   persons (God forbid), but regard for infirmities. Let him who hath need

   of less thank God and not give way to sadness, but let him who hath

   need of more, humble himself for his infirmity, and not be elated for

   the indulgence shown him; and thus all the members will be at peace.

   Above all, let not the evil of murmuring appear in the least word or

   sign for any reason whatever. If anyone be found guilty herein, let him

   be placed under very severe discipline.


                                 CHAPTER XXXV

   Of the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen

   Let the brethren serve each other so that no one be excused from the

   work in the kitchen, except on account of sickness or more necessary

   work, because greater merit and more charity is thereby acquired. Let

   help be given to the weak, however, that they may not do this work with

   sadness; but let all have help according to the size of the community

   and the circumstances of the place. If the community is large, let the

   Cellarer be excused from the kitchen, or if, as we have said, any are

   engaged in more urgent work; let the rest serve each other in charity.

   Let him who is to go out of the weekly service, do the cleaning on

   Saturday. Let him wash the towels with which the brethren wipe their

   hands and feet. Let him who goeth out, as well as him who is to come

   in, wash the feet of all. Let him return the utensils of his department

   to the Cellarer clean and whole. Let the Cellarer give the same to the

   one who cometh in, so that he may know what he giveth and what he

   receiveth back.

   An hour before meal time let the weekly servers receive each a cup of

   drink and a piece of bread over the prescribed portion, that they may

   serve their brethren at the time time of refection without murmuring

   and undue strain. On solemn feast days, however, let them abstain till

   after Mass.

   As soon as the morning office on Sunday is ended, let the weekly

   servers who come in and who go out, cast themselves upon their knees in

   the oratory before all, asking their prayers. Let him who goeth out of

   the weekly service, say the following verse: Benedictus es, Domine

   Deus, qui adjuvisti me et consolatus se me (Dan 3:52; Ps 85[86]:17).

   The one going out having said this three times and received the

   blessing, let the one who cometh in follow and say: Deus in adjutorium

   meum intende; Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina (Ps 69[70]:2). And let

   this also be repeated three times by all, and having received the

   blessing let him enter upon his weekly service.


                                 CHAPTER XXXVI

   Of the Sick Brethren

   Before and above all things, care must be taken of the sick, that they

   be served in very truth as Christ is served; because He hath said, “I

   was sick and you visited Me” (Mt 25:36). And “As long as you did it to

   one of these My least brethren, you did it to Me” (Mt 25:40). But let

   the sick themselves also consider that they are served for the honor of

   God, and let them not grieve their brethren who serve them by

   unnecessary demands. These must, however, be patiently borne with,

   because from such as these a more bountiful reward is gained. Let the

   Abbot’s greatest concern, therefore, be that they suffer no neglect.

   Let a cell be set apart for the sick brethren, and a God-fearing,

   diligent, and careful attendant be appointed to serve them. Let the use

   of the bath be offered to the sick as often as it is useful, but let it

   be granted more rarely to the healthy and especially the young. Thus

   also let the use of meat be granted to the sick and to the very weak

   for their recovery. But when they have been restored let them all

   abstain from meat in the usual manner.

   But let the Abbot exercise the utmost care that the sick are not

   neglected by the Cellarer or the attendants, because whatever his

   disciples do amiss falleth back on him.


                                CHAPTER XXXVII

   Of the Aged and Children

   Although human nature is of itself drawn to feel compassion for these

   life-periods, namely, old age and childhood, still, let the decree of

   the Rule make provision also for them. Let their natural weakness be

   always taken into account and let the strictness of the Rule not be

   kept with them in respect to food, but let there be a tender regard in

   their behalf and let them eat before regular hours.


                               CHAPTER XXXVIII

   Of the Weekly Reader

   Reading must not be wanting at the table of the brethren when they are

   eating. Neither let anyone who may chance to take up the book venture

   to read there; but let him who is to read for the whole week enter upon

   that office on Sunday. After Mass and Communion let him ask all to pray

   for him that God may ward off from him the spirit of pride. And let the

   following verse be said three times by all in the oratory, he beginning

   it: Domine, labia mea aperies, et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam (Ps

   50[51]:17), and thus having received the blessing let him enter upon

   the reading.

   Let the deepest silence be maintained that no whispering or voice be

   heard except that of the reader alone. But let the brethren so help

   each other to what is needed for eating and drinking, that no one need

   ask for anything. If, however, anything should be wanted, let it be

   asked for by means of a sign of any kind rather than a sound. And let

   no one presume to ask any questions there, either about the book or

   anything else, in order that no cause to speak be given [to the devil]

   (Eph 4:27; 1 Tm 5:14), unless, perchance, the Superior wisheth to say a

   few words for edification.

   Let the brother who is reader for the week take a little bread and wine

   before he beginneth to read, on account of Holy Communion, and lest it

   should be too hard for him to fast so long. Afterward, however, let him

   take his meal in the kitchen with the weekly servers and the waiters.

   The brethren, however, will not read or sing in order, but only those

   who edify their hearers.


                                 CHAPTER XXXIX

   Of the Quantity of Food

   Making allowance for the infirmities of different persons, we believe

   that for the daily meal, both at the sixth and the ninth hour, two

   kinds of cooked food are sufficient at all meals; so that he who

   perchance cannot eat of one, may make his meal of the other. Let two

   kinds of cooked food, therefore, be sufficient for all the brethren.

   And if there be fruit or fresh vegetables, a third may be added. Let a

   pound of bread be sufficient for the day, whether there be only one

   meal or both dinner and supper. If they are to eat supper, let a third

   part of the pound be reserved by the Cellarer and be given at supper.

   If, however, the work hath been especially hard, it is left to the

   discretion and power of the Abbot to add something, if he think fit,

   barring above all things every excess, that a monk be not overtaken by

   indigestion. For nothing is so contrary to Christians as excess, as our

   Lord saith: “See that your hearts be not overcharged with surfeiting”

   (Lk 21:34).

   Let the same quantity of food, however, not be served out to young

   children but less than to older ones, observing measure in all things.

   But let all except the very weak and the sick abstain altogether from

   eating the flesh of four-footed animals.


                                   CHAPTER XL

   Of the Quantity of Drink

   “Every one hath his proper gift from God, one after this manner and

   another after that” (1 Cor 7:7). It is with some hesitation, therefore,

   that we determine the measure of nourishment for others. However,

   making allowance for the weakness of the infirm, we think one hemina of

   wine a day is sufficient for each one. But to whom God granteth the

endurance of abstinence, let them know that they will have their

   special reward. If the circumstances of the place, or the work, or the

   summer’s heat should require more, let that depend on the judgment of

   the Superior, who must above all things see to it, that excess or

   drunkenness do not creep in.

   Although we read that wine is not at all proper for monks, yet, because

   monks in our times cannot be persuaded of this, let us agree to this,

   at least, that we do not drink to satiety, but sparingly; because “wine

   maketh even wise men fall off” (Sir 19:2). But where the poverty of the

   place will not permit the aforesaid measure to be had, but much less,

   or none at all, let those who live there bless God and murmur not. This

   we charge above all things, that they live without murmuring.


                                 CHAPTER XLI

   At What Times the Brethren Should Take Their Refection

   From holy Easter till Pentecost let the brethren dine at the sixth hour

   and take supper in the evening. From Pentecost on, however, during the

   whole summer, if the monks have no work in the fields and the excess of

   the heat doth not interfere, let them fast on Wednesday and Friday

   until the ninth hour; but on the other days let them dine at the sixth

   hour. This sixth hour for dinner is to be continued, if they have work

   in the fields or the heat of the summer is great. Let the Abbot provide

   for this; and so let him manage and adapt everything that souls may be

   saved, and that what the brethren do, they may do without having a

   reasonable cause to murmur. From the ides of September until the

   beginning of Lent let them always dine at the ninth hour. During Lent,

   however, until Easter, let them dine in the evening. But let this

   evening hour be so arranged that they will not need lamp-light during

   their meal; but let everything be finished whilst it is still day. But

   at all times let the hour of meals, whether for dinner or for supper,

   be so arranged that everything is done by daylight.


                                 CHAPTER XLII

   That No One Speak after Complin

   Monks should always be given to silence, especially, however, during

   the hours of the night. Therefore, on every day, whether of fast or of

   a mid-day meal, as soon as they have risen from their evening meal, let

   all sit together in one place, and let one read the Conferences or the

   Lives of the Fathers, or something else that will edify the hearers;

   not, however, the Heptateuch or the Books of the Kings, because it

   would not be wholesome for weak minds to hear this part of the

   Scripture at that hour; they should, however, be read at other times.

   But if it was a fast-day, then, when Vespers have been said, and after

   a short interval, let them next come together for the reading of the

   Conferences, as we have said; and when the four or five pages have been

   read, or as much as the hour will permit, and all have assembled in one

   place during the time of the reading, let him also come who was

   perchance engaged in work enjoined on him. All, therefore, having

   assembled in one place, let them say Complin, and after going out from

   Complin, let there be no more permission from that time on for anyone

   to say anything.

   If, however, anyone is found to break this rule, let him undergo heavy

   punishment, unless the needs of guests should arise, or the Abbot

   should perhaps give a command to anyone. But let even this be done with

   the utmost gravity and moderation.


                                 CHAPTER XLIII

   Of Those Who Are Tardy in Coming to the Work of God or to Table

   As soon as the signal for the time of the divine office is heard, let

   everyone, leaving whatever he hath in his hands, hasten with all speed,

   yet with gravity, that there may be no cause for levity. Therefore, let

   nothing be preferred to the Work of God. If at Matins anyone cometh

   after the Gloria of the 94th psalm, which on that account we wish to be

   much drawn out and said slowly, let him not stand in his place in the

   choir; but let him stand last of all, or in a place which the Abbot

   hath set apart for such careless ones, that he may be seen by him and

   by all, until, the Work of God being ended, he maketh satisfaction by

   public penance. The reason, however, why we think they should stand in

   the last place, or apart from the rest, is this, that seen by all they

   may amend for very shame. For if they stayed outside the oratory, there

   might be one who would go back to sleep, or anyhow would seat himself

   outside, indulge in vain gossip, and give a “chance to the devil” (Eph

   4:27; 1 Tm 5:14). Let him go inside, therefore, that he may not lose

   the whole, and may amend for the future.

   At the day hours, however, whoever doth not arrive for the Work of God

   after the verse and the Gloria of the first psalm, which is said after

   the verse, let him stand in the last place, according to the rule which

   we stated above; and let him not attempt to join the choir of the

   chanters until he hath made satisfaction, unless, perchance, the

   Abbot’s permission hath given him leave to do so, with the

   understanding that he atone the fault afterwards.

   If anyone doth not come to table before the verse, so that all may say

   the verse and pray together and sit down to table at the same time, let

   him be twice corrected for this, if he failed to come through his own

   fault and negligence. If he doth not amend after this, let him not be

   permitted to eat at the common table; but separated from the company of

   all, let him eat alone, his portion of wine being taken from him, until

   he hath made satisfaction and hath amended. In like manner let him

   suffer who is not present also at the verse which is said after the


   And let no one presume to take food or drink before or after the

   appointed time. But if anything should be offered to a brother by the

   Superior and he refuseth to accept it, and afterwards desireth what at

   first he refused or anything else, let him receive nothing at all,

   until he maketh due satisfaction.


                                 CHAPTER XLIV

   Of Those Who Are Excommunicated–How They Make Satisfaction

   Whoever is excommunicated for graver faults from the oratory and the

   table, let him, at the time that the Work of God is celebrated in the

   oratory, lie stretched, face down in silence before the door of the

   oratory at the feet of all who pass out. And let him do this until the

   Abbot judgeth that it is enough. When he then cometh at the Abbot’s

   bidding, let him cast himself at the Abbot’s feet, then at the feet of

   all, that they may pray for him. If then the Abbot ordereth it, let him

   be received back into the choir in the place which the Abbot shall

   direct; yet so that he doth not presume to intone a psalm or a lesson

   or anything else in the oratory, unless the Abbot again biddeth him to

   do so. Then, at all the Hours, when the Work of God is ended, let him

   cast himself on the ground in the place where he standeth, and thus let

   him make satisfaction, until the Abbot again biddeth him finally to

   cease from this penance.

   But let those who are excommunicated for lighter faults from the table

   only make satisfaction in the oratory, as long as the Abbot commandeth,

   and let them perform this until he giveth his blessing and saith, “It

   is enough.”


                                 CHAPTER XLV

   Of Those Who Commit a Fault in the Oratory

   If anyone whilst he reciteth a psalm, a responsory, an antiphon, or a

   lesson, maketh a mistake, and doth not humble himself there before all

   by making satisfaction, let him undergo a greater punishment, because

   he would not correct by humility what he did amiss through negligence.

   But let children be beaten for such a fault.


                                 CHAPTER XLVI

Of Those Who Fail in Any Other Matters

   If anyone whilst engaged in any work, in the kitchen, in the cellar, in

   serving, in the bakery, in the garden, at any art or work in any place

   whatever, committeth a fault, or breaketh or loseth anything, or

   transgresseth in any way whatever, and he doth not forthwith come

   before the Abbot and the community, and of his own accord confess his

   offense and make satisfaction, and it becometh known through another,

   let him be subjected to a greater correction.

   If, however, the cause of the offense is secret, let him disclose it to

   the Abbot alone, or to his spiritual Superiors, who know how to heal

   their own wounds, and not expose and make public those of others.


                                 CHAPTER XLVII

   Of Giving the Signal for the Time of the Work of God

   Let it be the Abbot’s care that the time for the Work of God be

   announced both by day and by night; either to announce it himself, or

   to entrust this charge to a careful brother that everything may be done

   at the proper time.

   Let those who have been ordered, intone the psalms or the antiphons in

   their turn after the Abbot. No one, however, should presume to sing or

   read unless he is able so to perform this office that the hearers may

   be edified; and let it be done with humility, gravity, and reverence by

   him whom the Abbot hath ordered.


                                 CHAPTER XLVIII

   Of the Daily Work

   Idleness is the enemy of the soul; and therefore the brethren ought to

   be employed in manual labor at certain times, at others, in devout

   reading. Hence, we believe that the time for each will be properly

   ordered by the following arrangement; namely, that from Easter till the

   calends of October, they go out in the morning from the first till

   about the fourth hour, to do the necessary work, but that from the

   fourth till about the sixth hour they devote to reading. After the

   sixth hour, however, when they have risen from table, let them rest in

   their beds in complete silence; or if, perhaps, anyone desireth to read

   for himself, let him so read that he doth not disturb others. Let None

   be said somewhat earlier, about the middle of the eighth hour; and then

   let them work again at what is necessary until Vespers.

   If, however, the needs of the place, or poverty should require that

   they do the work of gathering the harvest themselves, let them not be

   downcast, for then are they monks in truth, if they live by the work of

   their hands, as did also our forefathers and the Apostles. However, on

   account of the faint-hearted let all things be done with moderation.

   From the calends of October till the beginning of Lent, let them apply

   themselves to reading until the second hour complete. At the second

   hour let Tierce be said, and then let all be employed in the work which

   hath been assigned to them till the ninth hour. When, however, the

   first signal for the hour of None hath been given, let each one leave

   off from work and be ready when the second signal shall strike. But

   after their repast let them devote themselves to reading or the psalms.

   During the Lenten season let them be employed in reading from morning

   until the third hour, and till the tenth hour let them do the work

   which is imposed on them. During these days of Lent let all receive

   books from the library, and let them read them through in order. These

   books are to be given out at the beginning of the Lenten season.

   Above all, let one or two of the seniors be appointed to go about the

   monastery during the time that the brethren devote to reading and take

   notice, lest perhaps a slothful brother be found who giveth himself up

   to idleness or vain talk, and doth not attend to his reading, and is

   unprofitable, not only to himself, but disturbeth also others. If such

   a one be found (which God forbid), let him be punished once and again.

   If he doth not amend, let him come under the correction of the Rule in

   such a way that others may fear. And let not brother join brother at

   undue times.

   On Sunday also let all devote themselves to reading, except those who

   are appointed to the various functions. But if anyone should be so

   careless and slothful that he will not or cannot meditate or read, let

   some work be given him to do, that he may not be idle.

   Let such work or charge be given to the weak and the sickly brethren,

   that they are neither idle, nor so wearied with the strain of work that

   they are driven away. Their weakness must be taken into account by the



                                 CHAPTER XLIX

   On the Keeping of Lent

   The life of a monk ought always to be a Lenten observance. However,

   since such virtue is that of few, we advise that during these days of

   Lent he guard his life with all purity and at the same time wash away

   during these holy days all the shortcomings of other times. This will

   then be worthily done, if we restrain ourselves from all vices. Let us

   devote ourselves to tearful prayers, to reading and compunction of

   heart, and to abstinence.

   During these days, therefore, let us add something to the usual amount

   of our service, special prayers, abstinence from food and drink, that

   each one offer to God “with the joy of the Holy Ghost” (1 Thes 1:6), of

   his own accord, something above his prescribed measure; namely, let him

   withdraw from his body somewhat of food, drink, sleep, speech,

   merriment, and with the gladness of spiritual desire await holy Easter.

   Let each one, however, make known to his Abbot what he offereth and let

   it be done with his approval and blessing; because what is done without

   permission of the spiritual father will be imputed to presumption and

   vain glory, and not to merit. Therefore, let all be done with the

   approval of the Abbot.


                                   CHAPTER L

   Of Brethren Who Work a Long Distance from the Oratory or Are on a


   The brethren who are at work too far away, and cannot come to the

   oratory at the appointed time, and the Abbot hath assured himself that

   such is the case–let them perform the Work of God in the fear of God

   and on bended knees where they are working. In like manner let those

   who are sent on a journey not permit the appointed hours to pass by;

   but let them say the office by themselves as best they can, and not

   neglect to fulfil the obligation of divine service.


                                  CHAPTER LI

   Of the Brethren Who Do Not Go Very Far Away

   A brother who is sent out on any business and is expected to return to

   the monastery the same day, may not presume to eat outside, even though

   he be urgently requested to do so, unless, indeed, it is commanded him

   by his Abbot. If he act otherwise, let him be excommunicated.


                                 CHAPTER LII

   Of the Oratory of the Monastery

   Let the oratory be what it is called, and let nothing else be done or

   stored there. When the Work of God is finished, let all go out with the

   deepest silence, and let reverence be shown to God; that a brother who

   perhaps desireth to pray especially by himself is not prevented by

   another’s misconduct. But if perhaps another desireth to pray alone in

   private, let him enter with simplicity and pray, not with a loud voice,

   but with tears and fervor of heart. Therefore, let him who doth not say

   his prayers in this way, not be permitted to stay in the oratory after

   the Work of God is finished, as we said, that another may not be



                                 CHAPTER LIII

   Of the Reception of Guests

   Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ, because He will say:

   “I was a stranger and you took Me in” (Mt 25:35). And let due honor be

   shown to all, especially to those “of the household of the faith” (Gal

   6:10) and to wayfarers.

   When, therefore, a guest is announced, let him be met by the Superior

   and the brethren with every mark of charity. And let them first pray

   together, and then let them associate with one another in peace. This

   kiss of peace should not be given before a prayer hath first been said,

   on account of satanic deception. In the greeting let all humility be

   shown to the guests, whether coming or going; with the head bowed down

   or the whole body prostrate on the ground, let Christ be adored in them

   as He is also received.

   When the guests have been received, let them be accompanied to prayer,

   and after that let the Superior, or whom he shall bid, sit down with

   them. Let the divine law be read to the guest that he may be edified,

   after which let every kindness be shown him. Let the fast be broken by

   the Superior in deference to the guest, unless, perchance, it be a day

   of solemn fast, which cannot be broken. Let the brethren, however, keep

   the customary fast. Let the Abbot pour the water on the guest’s hands,

   and let both the Abbot and the whole brotherhood wash the feet of all

   the guests. When they have been washed, let them say this verse: “We

   have received Thy mercy, O God, in the midst of Thy temple” (Ps

   47[48]:10). Let the greatest care be taken, especially in the reception

   of the poor and travelers, because Christ is received more specially in

   them; whereas regard for the wealthy itself procureth them respect.

   Let the kitchen of the Abbot and the guests be apart, that the brethren

   may not be disturbed by the guests who arrive at uncertain times and

   who are never wanting in the monastery. Let two brothers who are able

   to fulfil this office well go into the kitchen for a year. Let help be

   given them as they need it, that they may serve without murmuring; and

   when they have not enough to do, let them go out again for work where

   it is commanded them. Let this course be followed, not only in this

   office, but in all the offices of the monastery–that whenever the

   brethren need help, it be given them, and that when they have nothing

   to do, they again obey orders. Moreover, let also a God-fearing brother

   have assigned to him the apartment of the guests, where there should be

   sufficient number of beds made up; and let the house of God be wisely

   managed by the wise.

   On no account let anyone who is not ordered to do so, associate or

   speak with guests; but if he meet or see them, having saluted them

   humbly, as we have said, and asked a blessing, let him pass on saying

   that he is not allowed to speak with a guest.


                                 CHAPTER LIV

   Whether a Monk Should Receive Letters or Anything Else

   Let it not be allowed at all for a monk to give or to receive letters,

   tokens, or gifts of any kind, either from parents or any other person,

   nor from each other, without the permission of the Abbot. But even if

   anything is sent him by his parents, let him not presume to accept it

   before it hath been make known to the Abbot. And if he order it to be

   accepted, let it be in the Abbot’s power to give it to whom he

   pleaseth. And let not the brother to whom perchance it was sent, become

   sad, that “no chance be given to the devil” (Eph 4:27; 1 Tm 5:14). But

   whosoever shall presume to act otherwise, let him fall under the

   discipline of the Rule.


                                   CHAPTER LV

   Of the Clothing and the Footgear of the Brethren

   Let clothing be given to the brethren according to the circumstances of

   the place and the nature of the climate in which they live, because in

   cold regions more is needed, while in warm regions less. This

   consideration, therefore, resteth with the Abbot. We believe, however,

   that for a temperate climate a cowl and a tunic for each monk are

   sufficient,–a woolen cowl for winter and a thin or worn one for

   summer, and a scapular for work, and stockings and shoes as covering

   for the feet. Let the monks not worry about the color or the texture of

   all these things, but let them be such as can be bought more cheaply.

   Let the Abbot, however, look to the size, that these garments are not

   too small, but fitted for those who are to wear them.

   Let those who receive new clothes always return the old ones, to be put

   away in the wardrobe for the poor. For it is sufficient for a monk to

   have two tunics and two cowls, for wearing at night and for washing.

   Hence, what is over and above is superfluous and must be taken away.

   So, too, let them return stockings and whatever is old, when they

   receive anything new. Let those who are sent out on a journey receive

   trousers from the wardrobe, which, on their return, they will replace

   there, washed. The cowls and the tunics should also be a little better

   than the ones they usually wear, which they received from the wardrobe

   when they set out on a journey, and give back when they return.

   For their bedding, let a straw mattress, a blanket, a coverlet, and a

   pillow be sufficient. These beds must, however, be frequently examined

   by the Abbot, to prevent personal goods from being found. And if

   anything should be found with anyone that he did not receive from the

   Abbot, let him fall under the severest discipline. And that this vice

   of private ownership may be cut off by the root, let everything

   necessary be given by the Abbot; namely, cowl, tunic, stockings, shoes,

   girdle, knife, pen, needle, towel, writing tablet; that all pretence of

   want may be removed. In this connection, however, let the following

   sentence from the Acts of the Apostles always be kept in mind by the

   Abbot: “And distribution was made to every man according as he had

   need” (Acts 4:35). In this manner, therefore, let the Abbot also have

   regard for the infirmities of the needy, not for the bad will of the

   envious. Yet in all his decisions, let the Abbot think of God’s



                                 CHAPTER LVI

   Of the Abbot’s Table

   Let the Abbot’s table always be with the guests and travelers. When,

   however, there are no guests, let it be in his power to invite any of

   the brethren he desireth. Let him provide, however, that one or two of

   the seniors always remain with the brethren for the sake of discipline.


                                 CHAPTER LVII

   Of the Artists of the Monastery

   If there be skilled workmen in the monastery, let them work at their

   art in all humility, if the Abbot giveth his permission. But if anyone

   of them should grow proud by reason of his art, in that he seemeth to

   confer a benefit on the monastery, let him be removed from that work

   and not return to it, unless after he hath humbled himself, the Abbot

   again ordereth him to do so. But if any of the work of the artists is

   to be sold, let them, through whose hands the transaction must pass,

   see to it, that they do not presume to practice any fraud on the

   monastery. Let them always be mindful of Ananias and Saphira, lest,

   perhaps, the death which these suffered in the body (cf Acts 5:1-11),

   they and all who practice any fraud in things belonging to the

   monastery suffer in the soul. On the other hand, as regards the prices

   of these things, let not the vice of avarice creep in, but let it

   always be given a little cheaper than it can be given by seculars, That

   God May Be Glorified in All Things (1 Pt 4:11).


                                 CHAPTER LVIII

   Of the Manner of Admitting Brethren

   Let easy admission not be given to one who newly cometh to change his

   life; but, as the Apostle saith, “Try the spirits, whether they be of

   God” (1 Jn 4:1). If, therefore, the newcomer keepeth on knocking, and

   after four or five days it is seen that he patiently beareth the harsh

   treatment offered him and the difficulty of admission, and that he

   persevereth in his request, let admission be granted him, and let him

   live for a few days in the apartment of the guests.

   But afterward let him live in the apartment of novices, and there let

   him meditate, eat, and sleep. Let a senior also be appointed for him,

   who is qualified to win souls, who will observe him with great care and

   see whether he really seeketh God, whether he is eager for the Work of

   God, obedience and humiliations. Let him be shown all the hard and

   rugged things through which we pass on to God.

   If he promiseth to remain steadfast, let this Rule be read to him in

   order after the lapse of two months, and let it be said to him: Behold

   the law under which thou desirest to combat. If thou canst keep it,

   enter; if, however, thou canst not, depart freely. If he still

   persevereth, then let him be taken back to the aforesaid apartment of

   the novices, and let him be tried again in all patience. And after the

   lapse of six months let the Rule be read over to him, that he may know

   for what purpose he entereth. And if he still remaineth firm, let the

   same Rule be read to him again after four months. And if, after having

   weighed the matter with himself he promiseth to keep everything, and to

   do everything that is commanded him, then let him be received into the

   community, knowing that he is now placed under the law of the Rule, and

   that from that day forward it is no longer permitted to him to wrest

   his neck from under the yoke of the Rule, which after so long a

   deliberation he was at liberty either to refuse or to accept.

   Let him who is received promise in the oratory, in the presence of all,

   before God and His saints, stability, the conversion of morals, and

   obedience, in order that, if he should ever do otherwise, he may know

   that he will be condemned by God “Whom he mocketh.” Let him make a

   written statement of his promise in the name of the saints whose relics

   are there, and of the Abbot there present. Let him write this document

   with his own hand; or at least, if he doth not know how to write, let

   another write it at his request, and let the novice make his mark, and

   with his own hand place it on the altar. When he hath placed it there,

   let the novice next begin the verse: “Uphold me, O Lord, according to

   Thy word and I shall live; and let me not be confounded in my

   expectations” (Ps 118[119]:116). Then let all the brotherhood repeat

   this verse three times, adding the Gloria Patri.

   The let that novice brother cast himself down at the feet of all, that

   they may pray for him; and from that day let him be counted in the

   brotherhood. If he hath any property, let him first either dispose of

   it to the poor or bestow it on the monastery by a formal donation,

   reserving nothing for himself as indeed he should know that from that

   day onward he will no longer have power even over his own body.

   Let him, therefore, be divested at once in the oratory of the garments

   with which he is clothed, and be vested in the garb of the monastery.

   But let the clothes of which he was divested by laid by in the wardrobe

   to be preserved, that, if on the devil’s suasion he should ever consent

   to leave the monastery (which God forbid) he be then stripped of his

   monastic habit and cast out. But let him not receive the document of

   his profession which the Abbot took from the altar, but let it be

   preserved in the monastery.


                                 CHAPTER LIX

   Of the Children of the Noble and of the Poor Who Are Offered

   If it happen that a nobleman offereth his son to God in the monastery

   and the boy is of tender age, let his parents execute the written

   promise which we have mentioned above; and with the oblation let them

   wrap that document and the boy’s hand in the altar cloth and thus offer


   As to their property, let them bind themselves under oath in the same

   document that they will never give him anything themselves nor through

   any other person, nor in any way whatever, nor leave a chance for his

   owning anything; or else, if they refuse to do this and want to make an

   offering to the monastery as an alms for their own benefit, let them

   make a donation to the monastery of whatever goods they wish to give,

   reserving to themselves the income of it, if they so desire. And let

   everything be so barred that the boy remain in no uncertainty, which

   might deceive and ruin him (which God forbid)–a pass we have learned

   by experience.

   Let those who are poor act in like manner. But as to those who have

   nothing at all, let them simply make the declaration, and with the

   oblation offer their son in the presence of witnesses.


                                   CHAPTER LX

   Of Priests Who May Wish to Live in the Monastery

   If a priest asketh to be received into the monastery, let consent not

   be granted too readily; still, if he urgently persisteth in his

   request, let him know that he must keep the whole discipline of the

   Rule, and that nothing will be relaxed in his favor, that it may be as

   it is written: “Friend, whereunto art thou come” (Mt 26:25)?

   It may be granted him, however, to stand next after the Abbot, and to

   give the blessing, or to celebrate Mass, but only if the Abbot ordereth

   him to do so; but if he doth not bid him, let him not presume to do

   anything under whatever consideration, knowing that he is under the

   discipline of the Rule, and let him rather give examples of humility to

   all. But if there is a question of an appointment in the monastery, or

   any other matter, let him be ranked by the time of his entry into the

   monastery, and not by the place granted him in consideration of the


   But if a cleric, moved by the same desire, wisheth to join the

   monastery, let him too have a middle place, provided he promiseth to

   keep the Rule and personal stability.


                                 CHAPTER LXI

   How Stranger Monks Are to Be Received

   If a monk who is a stranger, arriveth from a distant place and desireth

   to live in the monastery as a guest, and is satisfied with the customs

   he findeth there, and doth not trouble the monastery with superfluous

   wants, but is satisfied with what he findeth, let him be received for

   as long a time as he desireth. Still, if he should reasonably, with

   humility and charity, censure or point out anything, let the Abbot

   consider discreetly whether the Lord did not perhaps send him for that

   very purpose. If later on he desireth to declare his stability let his

   wish not be denied, and especially since his life could be known during

   his stay as a guest.

   But if during the time that he was a guest he was found to be

   troublesome and disorderly, he must not only not associate with the

   monastic body but should even be politely requested to leave, that

   others may not be infected by his evil life. But if he hath not been

   such as deserveth to be cast forth, he should not only be admitted to

   join the brotherhood, if he apply, but he should even be urged to

   remain, that others may be taught by his example, because we serve one

   Lord and fight under one King everywhere. If the Abbot recognize him to

   be such a one he may also place him in a somewhat higher rank.

   The Abbot may, however, place not only a monk, but also those of the

   aforesaid grades of priests and clerics, in a higher place than that of

   their entry, if he seeth their lives to be such as to deserve it. But

   let the Abbot take care never to admit a monk of any other known

   monastery to residence, without the consent of his Abbot or

   commendatory letters, because it is written: “What thou wilt not have

   done to thyself, do not to another” (Tb 4:16).


                                 CHAPTER LXII

   Of the Priests of the Monastery

   If the Abbot desireth to have a priest or a deacon ordained, let him

   select from among his monks one who is worthy to discharge the priestly


   But let the one who hath been ordained be on his guard against

   arrogance and pride, and let him not attempt to do anything but what is

   commanded him by the Abbot, knowing that he is now all the more subject

   to the discipline of the Rule; and in consequence of the priesthood let

   him not forget the obedience and discipline of the Rule, but advance

   more and more in godliness.

   Let him, however, always keep the place which he had when he entered

   the monastery, except when he is engaged in sacred functions, unless

   the choice of the community and the wish of the Abbot have promoted him

   in acknowledgment of the merit of his life. Let him know, however, that

   he must observe the Rule prescribed by the Deans and the Superiors.

   If he should otherwise, let him be judged, not as a priest, but as a

   rebel; and if after frequent warnings he doth not amend, and his guilt

   is clearly shown, let him be cast forth from the monastery, provided

   his obstinacy is such that he will neither submit nor obey the Rule.


                                 CHAPTER LXIII

   Of the Order in the Monastery

   Let all keep their order in the monastery in such wise, that the time

   of their conversion and the merit of their life distinguish it, or as

   the Abbot hath directed. Let the Abbot not disorder the flock committed

   to him, nor by an arbitrary use of his power dispose of anything

   unjustly; but let him always bear in mind that he will have to give an

   account to God of all his judgments and works. Hence in the order that

   he hath established, or that the brethren had, let them approach for

   the kiss of peace, for Communion, intone the psalms, and stand in


   And in no place whatever let age determine the order or be a

   disadvantage; because Samuel and Daniel when mere boys judged the

   priests (cf 1 Sam. 3; Dan 13:44-62). Excepting those, therefore, whom,

   as we have said, the Abbot from higher motives hath advanced, or, for

   certain reasons, hath lowered, let all the rest take their place as

   they are converted: thus, for instance, let him who came into the

   monastery at the second hour of the day, know that he is younger than

   he who came at the first hour, whatever his age or dignity may be.

   Children are to be kept under discipline at all times and by everyone.

   Therefore, let the younger honor their elders, and the older love the


   In naming each other let no one be allowed to address another by his

   simple name; but let the older style the younger brethren, brothers;

   let the younger, however, call their elders, fathers, by which is

   implied the reverence due to a father. But because the Abbot is

   believed to hold the place of Christ, let him be styled Lord and Abbot,

   not only by assumption on his part, but out of love and reverence for

   Christ. Let him think of this and so show himself, that he be worthy of

   such an honor. Wherever, then, the brethren meet each other, let the

   younger ask the blessing from the older; and when the older passeth by,

   let the younger rise and give him place to sit; and let the younger not

   presume to sit down with him unless his elder biddeth him to do so,

   that it may be done as it is written: “In honor preventing one another”

   (Rom 12:10).

   Let children and boys take their places in the oratory and at table

   with all due discipline; outdoors, however, or wherever they may be,

   let them be under custody and discipline until they reach the age of



                                 CHAPTER LXIV

   Of the Election of the Abbot

   In the election of an Abbot let this always be observed as a rule, that

   he be placed in the position whom the whole community with one consent,

   in the fear of God, or even a small part, with sounder judgment, shall

   elect. But let him who is to be elected be chosen for the merit of his

   life and the wisdom of his doctrine, though he be the last in the


   But even if the whole community should by mutual consent elect a man

   who agreeth to connive at their evil ways (which God forbid) and these

   irregularities in some come to the knowledge of the Bishop to whose

   diocese the place belongeth, or to neighboring Abbots, or Christian

   people, let them not permit the intrigue of the wicked to succeed, but

   let them appoint a worthy steward over the house of God, knowing that

   they shall receive a bountiful reward for this action, if they do it

   with a pure intention and godly zeal; whereas, on the other hand, they

   commit a sin if they neglect it.

   But when the Abbot hath been elected let him bear in mind how great a

   burden he hath taken upon himself, and to whom he must give an account

   of his stewardship (cf Lk 16:2); and let him be convinced that it

   becometh him better to serve than to rule. He must, therefore, be

   versed in the divine law, that he may know whence “to bring forth new

   things and old” (Mt 13:52). Let him be chaste, sober, and merciful, and

   let him always exalt “mercy above judgment” (Jas 2:13), that he also

   may obtain mercy.

   Let him hate vice, but love the brethren. And even in his corrections,

   let him act with prudence and not go to extremes, lest, while he aimeth

   to remove the rust too thoroughly, the vessel be broken. Let him always

   keep his own frailty in mind, and remember that “the bruised reed must

   not be broken” (Is 42:3). In this we are not saying that he should

   allow evils to take root, but that he cut them off with prudence and

   charity, as he shall see it is best for each one, as we have already

   said; and let him aim to be loved rather than feared.

   Let him not be fussy or over-anxious, exacting, or headstrong; let him

   not be jealous or suspicious, because he will never have rest. In all

   his commands, whether they refer to things spiritual or temporal, let

   him be cautious and considerate. Let him be discerning and temperate in

   the tasks which he enjoineth, recalling the discretion of holy Jacob

   who saith: “If I should cause my flocks to be overdriven, they would

   all die in one day” (Gen 33:13). Keeping in view these and other

   dictates of discretion, the mother of virtues, let him so temper

   everything that the strong may still have something to desire and the

   weak may not draw back. Above all, let him take heed that he keep this

   Rule in all its detail; that when he hath served well he may hear from

   the Lord what the good servant heard who gave his fellow-servants bread

   in season: “Amen, I say to you,” He saith,”he shall set him over all

   his goods” (Mt 24:47).


                                 CHAPTER LXV

   Of the Prior of the Monastery

   It often happeneth indeed, that grave scandals arise in monasteries out

   of the appointment of the Prior; since there are some who, puffed up

   with the wicked spirit of pride and thinking themselves to be second

   Abbots, set up a despotic rule, foster scandals, and excite quarrels in

   the community, and especially in those places where also the Prior is

   appointed by the same Bishop or the same Abbots who appointeth his

   Abbot. How foolish this is can easily be seen; because, from the very

   beginning of his appointment, matter for pride is furnished him, when

   his thoughts suggest to him that now he is exempt from the authority of

   the Abbot, because “thou too hast been appointed by those by whom the

   Abbot was appointed.” From this source arise envy, discord, slander,

   quarrels, jealousy, and disorders. While the Abbot and the Prior are

   thus at variance with each other, it must follow that their souls are

   endangered by this discord and that those who are under them, as long

as they humor the parties, go to ruin. The fault of this evil resteth

   on the heads of those who were the authors of such disorders.

   We foresee, therefore, that for the preservation of peace and charity

   it is best that the government of the monastery should depend on the

   will of the Abbot; and if it can be done, let the affairs of the

   monastery (as we have explained before) be attended to by deans, as the

   Abbot shall dispose; so that, the same office being shared by many, no

   one may become proud.

   If, however, the place require it, or the brotherhood reasonably and

   with humility make the request, and the Abbot shall deem it advisable,

   let the Abbot himself appoint as Prior whomever, with the advice of

   God-fearing brethren, he shall select. But let the Prior reverently do

   what his Abbot hath enjoined on him, doing nothing against the will or

   the direction of the Abbot; for the higher he is placed above others,

   the more careful should he be to obey the precepts of the Rule.

   If the Prior be found disorderly or blinded by vainglory, or hath been

   proved to be a contemner of the Holy Rule, let him be admonished up to

   the fourth time; if he doth not amend, let the correction of the

   regular discipline be applied to him. But if he doth not amend even

   then, let him be deposed from the office of priorship, and another who

   is worthy be appointed in his stead. But if even afterward he be not

   quiet and submissive in the brotherhood, let him also be expelled from

   the monastery. Still, let the Abbot reflect that he must give an

   account to God for all his judgments, lest perhaps envy or jealousy

   should sear his conscience.


                                 CHAPTER LXVI

   Of the Porter of the Monastery

   Let a wise old man be placed at the door of the monastery, one who

   knoweth how to take and give an answer, and whose mature age doth not

   permit him to stray about.

   The porter should have a cell near the door, that they who come may

   always find one present from whom they may obtain an answer. As soon as

   anyone knocketh or a poor person calleth, let him answer, “Thanks be to

   God,” or invoke a blessing, and with the meekness of the fear of God

   let him return an answer speedily in the fervor of charity. If the

   porter hath need of assistance, let him have a younger brother.

   If it can be done, the monastery should be so situated that all the

   necessaries, such as water, the mill, the garden, are enclosed, and the

   various arts may be plied inside of the monastery, so that there may be

   no need for the monks to go about outside, because it is not good for

   their souls. But we desire that this Rule be read quite often in the

   community, that none of the brethren may excuse himself of ignorance.


                                 CHAPTER LXVII

   Of the Brethren Who Are Sent on a Journey

   Let the brethren who are to be sent on a journey recommend themselves

   to the prayers of all the brotherhood and of the Abbot. And after the

   last prayer at the Work of God, let a commemoration always be made for

   the absent brethren.

   On the day that the brethren return from the journey, let them lie

   prostrate on the floor of the oratory at all the Canonical Hours, when

   the Work of God is finished, and ask the prayers of all on account of

   failings, for fear that the sight of evil or the sound of frivolous

   speech should have surprised them on the way.

   And let no one presume to relate to another what he hath seen or heard

   outside of the monastery, because it is most hurtful. But if anyone

   presume to do so, let him undergo the penalty of the Rule. In like

   manner let him be punished who shall presume to go beyond the enclosure

   of the monastery, or anywhere else, or to do anything, however little,

   without the order of the Abbot.


                                 CHAPTER LXVIII

   If a Brother Is Commanded to Do Impossible Things

   If, perchance, any difficult or impossible tasks be enjoined on a

   brother, let him nevertheless receive the order of him who commandeth

   with all meekness and obedience. If, however, he see that the gravity

   of the task is altogether beyond his strength, let him quietly and

   seasonably submit the reasons for his inability to his Superior,

   without pride, protest, or dissent. If, however, after his explanation

   the Superior still insisteth on his command, let the younger be

   convinced that so it is good for him; and let him obey from love,

   relying on the help of God.


                                 CHAPTER LXIX

   That in the Monastery No One Presume to Defend Another

   Care must be taken that on no occasion one monk try to defend another

   in the monastery, or to take his part, even though they be closely

   related by ties of blood. Let it not be attempted by the monks in any

   way; because such conduct may give rise to very grave scandal. If

   anyone overstep this rule, let him be severely punished.


                                 CHAPTER LXX

   That No One Presume to Strike Another

   Let every occasion for presumption be avoided in the monastery. We

   decree that no one be permitted to excommunicate or to strike any one

   of his brethren, unless the Abbot hath given him the authority. But let

   those who transgress be taken to task in the presence of all, that the

   others may fear (cf 1 Tm 5:20).

   Let all, however, exercise diligent and watchful care over the

   discipline of children, until the age of fifteen; but even that, within

   due limits and with discretion. For if anyone should presume to

   chastise those of more advanced years, without the command of the

   Abbot, or should be unduly provoked with children, let him be subject

   to the discipline of the Rule; because it is written: “What thou dost

   not wish to be done to thee, do not thou to another” (Tb 4:16).


                                 CHAPTER LXXI

   That the Brethren Be Obedient to One Another

   The brethren must render the service of obedience not only to the

   Abbot, but they must thus also obey one another, knowing that they

   shall go to God by this path of obedience. Hence, granted the command

   of the Abbot and of the Superiors who are appointed by him (to which we

   do not permit private commands to be preferred), in other respects let

   the younger brethren obey their elders with all charity and zeal. But

   if anyone is found to be obstinate, let him be punished.

   And if a brother be punished in any way by the Abbot or by any of his

   Superiors for even a slight reason or if he perceive that the temper of

   any of his Superiors is but slightly ruffled or excited against him in

   the least, let him without delay cast himself down on the ground at his

   feet making satisfaction, until the agitation is quieted by a blessing.

   If anyone scorn to do this, either let him undergo corporal punishment,

   or, if he be obstinate, let him be expelled from the monastery.


                                 CHAPTER LXXII

   Of the Virtuous Zeal Which the Monks Ought to Have

   As there is a harsh and evil zeal which separateth from God and leadeth

   to hell, so there is a virtuous zeal which separateth from vice and

   leadeth to God and life everlasting.

   Let the monks, therefore, practice this zeal with most ardent love;

   namely, that in honor they forerun one another (cf Rom 12:10). Let them

   bear their infirmities, whether of body or mind, with the utmost

   patience; let them vie with one another in obedience. Let no one follow

   what he thinketh useful to himself, but rather to another. Let them

   practice fraternal charity with a chaste love.

   Let them fear God and love their Abbot with sincere and humble

   affection; let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may He lead

   us all together to life everlasting.


                                 CHAPTER LXXIII

   Of This, that Not the Whole Observance of Righteousness Is Laid Down in

   this Rule

   Now, we have written this Rule that, observing it in monasteries, we

   may show that we have acquired at least some moral righteousness, or a

   beginning of the monastic life.

   On the other hand, he that hasteneth on to the perfection of the

   religious life, hath at hand the teachings of the holy Fathers, the

   observance of which leadeth a man to the height of perfection. For what

   page or what utterance of the divinely inspired books of the Old and

   the New Testament is not a most exact rule of human life? Or, what book

   of the holy Catholic Fathers doth not loudly proclaim how we may go

   straight to our Creator? So, too, the collations of the Fathers, and

   their institutes and lives, and the rule of our holy Father,

   Basil–what are they but the monuments of the virtues of exemplary and

   obedient monks? But for us slothful, disedifying, and negligent monks

   they are a source for shame and confusion.

   Thou, therefore, who hastenest to the heavenly home, with the help of

   Christ fulfil this least rule written for a beginning; and then thou

   shalt with God’s help attain at last to the greater heights of

   knowledge and virtue which we have mentioned above.