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Petronax of Brescia, St.


Refounder and abbot of Monte Cassino; b. Brescia, Italy, c. 670; d. May 6, 750. Petronax went to the tomb of St. benedict in 718 on the advice of Pope gregory ii. Among the ruins of monte cassino, destroyed in 581 by Lombards, he found a few solitaries with whom he remained. They elected him their superior, and their numbers grew. With the assistance of prominent nobles and three popes (among them Pope zachary, who gave him[742] the autograph copy of the benedictine rule), he succeeded in rebuilding Monte Cassino. In 729 St. willibald, an English monk who was afterward bishop of Eichstätt, arrived at Monte Cassino, where he remained for ten years as Petronax's disciple. Willibald's biographer (Acta Sanctorum July 7:509510) credits him, rather than Petronax, with the restoration of genuine Benedictine observance, which he himself had experienced from his childhood in waltham Abbey (Hampshire).

Feast: May 6.

Bibliography: h. leclerq, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, ed. f. cabrol, h. leclercq, and h. i. marrou, 15 v. (Paris 190753) 11.2:246165. j. chapman, "La Restauration du Mont-Chassin par l'abbé Petronax," Revue Bénédictine 21 (1904) 7480.

[c. mcgrath]

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