The postulancy usually lasted one month, the novitiate one year, at the end which simple vows were taken. The solemn vows of the Medieval monks were taken four years later. But having once joined he remained a Benedictine monk for the rest of his life. The Benedictine monks lived under strict discipline. They could not own any property; they could not go beyond the monastery walls without the abbot's consent; they could not even receive letters from home; and they were sent to bed early. A violation of the regulations by a Benedictine monk brought punishment in the shape of private admonitions, exclusion from common prayer, and, in extreme cases, expulsion.
The Vows of the Benedictine Monks
These vows were the basis of the rule of St. Benedict and the life of the Benedictine monks. By the tenth century the Benedictine Rule prevailed everywhere in western Europe including England.
The word monk (monos) means single, and both celibacy and poverty went without saying. The Benedictine rule specified that monks should own nothing (if that is what poverty is) but this was not incorporated as a vow. In the modern understanding of Benedictine monks, poverty and celibacy are included in the vow of obedience as Benedictine monks are obedient to the rules and regulations of the order and of particular congregations and monasteries. The vows of Poverty and Celibacy were a much later addition to the thinking and rule making of the church. These are required of the later religious institutions such as Franciscans, Dominicans and Jesuits. The Benedictine Rule was already in place for 500 years before these other orders were established.
Benedictine Monks - the Monastic community
The Role of the Benedictine Monks in Medieval times
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