Benedict of Aniane, St.
BENEDICT OF ANIANE, ST.
Benedictine reformer; b. Witiza, Lat. Euticius, c. 750; d. at the monastery of Kornelimünster near Aachen, Feb. 11, 821. He came from a Visigothic noble family of
Aquitaine and entered court service under pepin iii, but left to become a monk in 773 at the monastery of Saint-Seine near Dijon. In 779 he founded a monastery on his parental inheritance at Aniane (Diocese of Montpellier) and became its abbot. At first inspired by the ideals of ancient monasticism, he led a severe penitential life but gradually he changed and began to fight for a new interpretation of the benedictine rule. Numerous monasteries in western France joined with him in observing the new rule that he introduced at Aniane. Benedict enjoyed the confidence of louis the pious and became his advisor on monastic affairs. In 814, at the emperor's behest, Benedict became abbot of Marmoutier in Alsace, then at Inden (Kornelimünster), established in the vicinity of Aachen. He strove for recognition of a uniform rule for all monasteries and for a close federation of monasteries united under a superimposed jurisdiction. Louis made him superior over all the monasteries of his kingdom, which he likewise wished to observe the same customs (una consuetudo ) as well as the same (Benedictine) rule.
Toward that end the emperor convoked a meeting of abbots at Aachen in July 817, which was primarily the work of Benedict and issued in the Capitulare institutum, the first general code for all the monasteries of one area. Louis supported the capitulary by appointing royal missi as inspectors of monastic observance, a provision that guaranteed the ultimate unification in rule and custom observed by the monasteries of France.
Louis the Pious was generous in assessing the obligations of the monks but extremely cautious about according them any rights. Benedict secured—for some monasteries only—the right of free election of an abbot from within the monastic community. Even so, for each abbatial election permission had to be secured—and could, of course, be withheld.
Benedict has been adversely criticized for his prohibition against educating externs in the monastic schools. He aimed thereby to strengthen the contemplative character of the monasteries thus paving the way for Cluniac emphasis (overemphasis?) on the recitation of the Divine Office. Benedict is certainly responsible for the addition of 15 Psalms before the night Office and probably also for the daily recitation of the Office of the Dead. Benedict was a highly educated man and collected ancient monastic rules, which he harmonized in his Concordia regularum. He is possibly the author of a collection of homilies and of several works on doctrine. Some of his letters also are extant.
Feast: Feb. 11.
Bibliography: Sources. Patrologia Latina, ed. j. migne (Paris 1878–90) 103:393–664, 703–1420, works. Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Epistolae (Berlin 1826–) 4:561–563, letters. j. leclercq, "Les Munimenta fidei de S. Benoit d'Aniane," Analecta monastica 1 (1948) 21–74. Conclusions from Abbots' conference of 817, ed. j. semmler in k. hallinger, ed., Corpus consuetudinum monasticarum 1 (Siegburg 1963) 453–481; also the socalled Regula Benedicti Aniani, 503–536 and Modus poenitentiarum, 565–582. j. semmler, "Zur Überlieferung der monastischen Gesetzgebung Ludwigs des Frommen," Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters 16 (1960) 309–388. Vita, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 15.1:200–220. Literature. a. hauck, Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands (Berlin-Leipzig 1958) 2:588–614. a. m. zimmermann, Kalendarium Benedictinum, (Metten 1933–38) 1:199–202. ardo, The emperor's monk: Contemporary life of Benedict of Aniane, tr. a. cabaniss (Ilfracombe, Devon 1979). l. barthÈs, L'abbaye et la cité d'Aniane de Saint-Benoît à la Révolution (Aniane 1992). a. mercati and a. pelzer, Dizionario ecclesiastico (Turin 1954–58) 1:338–339. j. semmler, Lexicon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 2:179–180. e. bishop, Liturgica historica (Oxford 1918; repr. 1962) 211–218. s. dulcy, La Règle de saint Benoit d'Aniane et la réforme monastique à l'époque carolingienne (Nîmes 1935). p. schmitz, Histoire de l'ordre de Saint Benoît, 7v. (Maredsous 1942–56) v.1; Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 8:177–188; "L'Influence de S. Benoît d'Aniane dans l'histoire de l'ordre de St. Benoit," Il monachesimo nell' alto medioevo (Spoleto 1957) 401–415. k. hallinger, Gorze-Kluny, 2 v. (Rome 1950–51) v.2. j. winandy, "L'Oeuvre monastique de Saint Benoît d'Aniane," Mélanges bénédictins (Saint-Wandrille 1947) 235–258.