Benedict of Aniane

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Saint Benedict of Aniane
Benedikt von Aniane.jpg
Born 747
Died(821-02-12)12 February 821
Venerated in Eastern Orthodox Church [1]
Roman Catholic Church
Feast 12 February

Saint Benedict of Aniane (Latin : Benedictus Anianensis; German : Benedikt von Aniane; c. 747 12 February 821 AD), born Witiza and called the Second Benedict, was a Benedictine monk and monastic reformer, who left a large imprint on the religious practice of the Carolingian Empire. His feast day is February 12.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Carolingian Empire final stage in the history of the early medieval realm of the Franks, ruled by the Carolingian dynasty

The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large empire in western and central Europe during the early Middle Ages. It was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty, which had ruled as kings of the Franks since 751 and as kings of the Lombards of Italy from 774. In 800, the Frankish king Charlemagne was crowned emperor in Rome by Pope Leo III in an effort to revive the Roman Empire in the west during a vacancy in the throne of the eastern Roman Empire. After a civil war (840–43) following the death of Emperor Louis the Pious, the empire was divided into autonomous kingdoms, with one king still recognised as emperor, but with little authority outside his own kingdom. The unity of the empire and the hereditary right of the Carolingians continued to be acknowledged.



According to Ardo, Benedict's biographer, the saint was the son of a Visigoth, Aigulf, Count of Maguelonne (Magalonensis comes). Originally given the Gothic name Witiza, he was educated at the Frankish court of Pippin the Younger, and entered the royal service as a page. He served at the court of Charlemagne, and took part in the Italian campaign of Charlemagne in 773 where he almost drowned in the Ticino near Pavia while attempting to save his brother. The experience led him to act on a resolve which had been slowly forming in him, to renounce the world and live the monastic life. He later left the court and was received into the monastery of Saint Sequanus, the Abbey of Saint-Seine. [2]

Ardo Smaragdus was a hagiographer. He entered the monastery of Aniane in Hérault as a boy and was brought up by Saint Benedict of Aniane. He was ordained a priest and made head of the monastery school.

Gothic language language

Gothic is an extinct East Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable text corpus. All others, including Burgundian and Vandalic, are known, if at all, only from proper names that survived in historical accounts, and from loanwords in other languages such as Portuguese, Spanish, and French.

Charlemagne King of the Franks, King of Italy, and Holy Roman Emperor

Charlemagne or Charles the Great, numbered Charles I, was King of the Franks from 768, King of the Lombards from 774, and Holy Roman Emperor from 800. He united much of western and central Europe during the Early Middle Ages. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonized by Antipope Paschal III.

At Saint-Seine, Benedict was made cellerar, and then elected abbot, but realizing the monks would never conform to his strict practices he left and returned to his father's estates in Languedoc, where he built a hermitage. [3] Around 780, he founded a monastic community based on Eastern asceticism at Aniane in Languedoc. This community did not develop as he had intended. In 782, he founded another monastery based on Benedictine Rule, at the same location. His success there gave him considerable influence, which he used to found and reform a number of other monasteries, and eventually becoming the effective abbot of all the monasteries of Charlemagne's empire. [4]

Aniane Commune in Occitanie, France

Aniane is a commune in the Hérault department in the Occitanie region in southern France.

In 781 Louis the Pious became King of Aquitaine and asked Benedict to reform the monasteries in his territory. Later as Emperor, he entrusted him with the coordination of practices and communication among the monasteries within his domains. [3] He had a wide knowledge of patristic literature, and churchmen, such as Alcuin sought his counsel.

Louis the Pious King of Aquitaine

Louis the Pious, also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813. He was also King of Aquitaine from 781.

Alcuin English scholar and abbot

Alcuin of York – also called Ealhwine, Alhwin or Alchoin – was an English scholar, clergyman, poet and teacher from York, Northumbria. He was born around 735 and became the student of Archbishop Ecgbert at York. At the invitation of Charlemagne, he became a leading scholar and teacher at the Carolingian court, where he remained a figure in the 780s and '90s.

In 814, Louis, now emperor, had Benedict found a monastery on the river Inde near the court at Aachen. The monastery was at first called the "Monastery of the Redeemer on the Inde", but came to be known as Kornelimünster Abbey. [5]

Kornelimünster Abbey abbey

Kornelimünster Abbey, also known as Abbey of the Abbot Saint Benedict of Aniane and Pope Cornelius, is a Benedictine monastery that has been integrated since 1972. The abbey is located in Aachen in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany.

He was the head of a council of abbots which in 817 at Aachen created a code of regulations, or "Codex regularum", which would be binding on all their houses. [2] Benedict sought to restore the primitive strictness of the monastic observance wherever it had been relaxed or exchanged for the less exacting canonical life. Shortly thereafter, he compiled a "Concordia regularum". Sections of the Benedictine rule (except ix-xvi) are given in their order, with parallel passages from the other rules included in the Liber regularum, so as to show the agreement of principles and thus to enhance the respect due to the Benedictine. He was primarily an ecclesiastic, who zealously placed his not inconsiderable theological learning at the service of orthodoxy, and the cause of Benedictine monasticism. [6] Although these new codes fell into disuse shortly after the deaths of Benedict and his patron, Emperor Louis the Pious, they did have lasting effects on Western monasticism.

Aachen Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Aachen, also known as Bad Aachen, and in French and traditional English as Aix-la-Chapelle, is a spa and border city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen developed from a Roman settlement and spa, subsequently becoming the preferred medieval Imperial residence of Charlemagne, and, from 936 to 1531, the place where 31 Holy Roman Emperors were crowned Kings of the Germans.

Benedict died at Kornelimünster Abbey, the monastery Louis had built for him to serve as the base for Benedict's supervisory work.


Other treatises (PL103:1381ff) ascribed to him are probably not authentic.

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  1. Phillips, Fr Andrew. "Latin Saints of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Rome". Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  2. 1 2 Kirsch, Johann Peter. "St. Benedict of Aniane." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 11 Feb. 2015
  3. 1 2 "Benedict of Aniane", Cistercian Studies, No. 220, Kalamazoo, Michigan, Cistercian Publications, 1979 ISBN   978-0-87907-320-6
  4. Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN   0-14-051312-4.
  5. Ghezzi, Bert. Voices of the Saints, Loyola Press. ISBN   978-0-8294-2806-3
  6. Seebass, Otto. "Benedict of Aniane", The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. II, (Philip Schaff, ed.)