BENEDICT OF ANIANE: The reformer of the Benedictine order in the Frankish empire. He was born about 750 in his father's county of Maguelone in Languedoc; d. at Inden (13 m. n.e. of Aix-la-Chapelle) Feb. 11, 821. His youth was spent at the court of Pepin and of Charlemagne, where, as a page, he had opportunity to distinguish himself in feats of arms. During Charles's first Lombard campaign, Benedict rescued his brother from drowning at the risk of his-own life, and the shock brought to a head the resolve which had been slowly forming in him, to renounce the world and give himself to the service of God in the monastic life. This he entered in 773 at SaintSeine in the diocese of Langres. Returning home in 779, he built a small monastery on his own land near the little river Aniane (where the town of Aniane, 16 m. w.n.w. of Montpellier, later grew up), which was replaced by a larger one lower down when the number of his disciples increased, and by a third still larger about 792. This became the center of Benedict's efforts for the reformation of the monastic life in the south and southwest of France. King Louis of Aquitaine, who had favored him from the outset, entrusted him with the oversight of all the monasteries within his territory, and the greatest churchmen, such as Alcuin and Leidrad of Lyons, sought his counsel. He had a wide knowledge of patristic literature, and forwarded the cause of education with zeal. He stood out as a champion of the orthodox faith against Adoptionism, and wrote two treatises against it, the first of which is specially interesting as showing how close was the practical connection between Adoptionism and Arianism. His influence became still wider with the accession of Louis the Pious, who first brought him up to the Alsatian abbey of Maurmünster, and then, to have him nearer at hand, founded another for him at Inden, giving him the general oversight of all the monasteries in the empire. He could now hope to accomplish his great purpose of restoring the primitive strictness of the monastic observance wherever it had been relaxed or exchanged for the less exacting canonical life. This purpose was clearly seen in the capitularies drawn up by an assembly of abbots and monks at Aix-la-Chapelle in 817, and enforced by Louis's order throughout the empire.

Benedict's chief works are compilations of the older ascetic literature. The first of them is called by his biographer, Ardo, Liber ex regulis diversorum patrum collectus; an enlarged edition of this was prepared by Lucas Holsten (published at Rome only after Holsten's death, in 1661, with the title Codex regularum). The other work, called Concordia regularum by Benedict himself, is based on the first; in it the 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. The Concordia was first published in 1638 by H. Menard of the Congregation of St. Maur, with valuable notes (reprinted in MPL, ciii). A third collection of homilies, to be read daily in the monasteries, has not been definitely identified. Benedict's place is in the second rank of the men who made the reigns of Charles and Louis glorious. He had not the breadth of view possessed by Charlemagne himself or by Adalhard nor the lofty endeavor for a fusion of secular and spiritual learning of Paulus Diaconus and Alcuin. He was primarily an ecclesiastic, who zealously placed his not inconsiderable theological learning at the service of orthodoxy, but gave the best thing he had, the loving fervor of an upright Christian soul, to the cause of Benedictine monasticism.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Vita by Ardo Smaragdus, his successor as abbot, with preface by Henschen, is in ASB, 12 Feb., ii, 608-620, in MPL, ciii, and is edited by Waitz in MGH, Script., xv, 198-220, Hanover, 1887. There is a Fr. transl., Montpellier, 1876. P. A. J. Paulinier, St. Benoît d'Aniane et la fondation du monastère de ce nom, Montpellier, 1871; P. J. Nicolai, Der heilige Benedict, Gründer von Aniane, Cologne, 1865; R. Foss, Benadikt von Aniane, Berlin, 1884; O. Seebass, in ZKG, xv (1895), 244-260; Hauck, KD, ii. 528-545.


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