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Saint Maurus

saint maurus, saint maurus and saint benedict
Saint Maurus, OSB or Maur, was the first disciple of St Benedict of Nursia 512-584 He is mentioned in St Gregory the Great's biography of the latter as the first oblate; offered to the monastery by his noble Roman parents as a young boy to be brought up in the monastic life Four stories involving Maurus recounted by Gregory formed a pattern for the ideal formation of a Benedictine monk The most famous of these involved St Maurus's rescue of Saint Placidus, a younger boy offered to St Benedict at the same time as St Maurus The incident has been reproduced in many medieval and Renaissance paintings

Saints Maurus and Placidus are venerated together on 5 October1


  • 1 The Legendary Life of St Maurus
  • 2 References
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links

The Legendary Life of St Maurusedit

A long Life of St Maurus appeared in the late 9th century, supposedly composed by one of St Maurus's 6th-century contemporaries According to this account, the bishop of Le Mans, in western France, sent a delegation asking Benedict for a group of monks to travel from Benedict's new abbey of Monte Cassino to establish monastic life in France according to the Rule of St Benedict The Life recounts the long journey of St Maurus and his companions from Italy to France, accompanied by many adventures and miracles as St Maurus is transformed from the youthful disciple of Benedict into a powerful, miracle-working holy man in his own right According to this account, after the great pilgrimage to Francia, St Maurus founded Glanfeuil Abbey as the first Benedictine monastery in Gaul It was located on the south bank of the Loire river, a few miles east of Angers The nave of its thirteenth-century church and some vineyards remain today according to tradition, the chenin grape was first cultivated at this monastery

Scholars now believe that this Life of Maurus is a forgery by the late-9th-century abbot of Glanfeuil, Odo It was composed, as were many such saints' lives in Carolingian France, to popularize local saints' cults The bones of St Maurus were 'discovered' at Glanfeuil by one of Abbot Odo's immediate predecessors, Abbot Gauzlin, in 845 Gauzlin likely invented or at least strongly promoted the cult of Benedict's disciple, taking advantage of Glanfeuil's proximity to two famous and prosperous Benedictine culture centers of the Loire region: the cult of St Benedict's bones at Fleury and that of St Scholastica's relics at Le Mans

In 862, Odo and the monks of Glanfeuil were obliged to flee to Paris in the face of Vikings maurauding along the Loire There the cult of St Maurus was revived at the suburban Parisian abbey of Saint-Pierre-des-Fossés, later renamed Saint-Maur-des-Fossés The cult of St Maurus slowly spread to monasteries throughout France and by the 11th century had been adopted by Monte Cassino in Italy, along with a revived cult of St Placidus the fellow pupil of St Benedict at Monte Cassino along with St Maurus, according to Pope Gregory the Great's Life of St Benedict By the late Middle Ages, the cult of St Maurus, often associated with that St Placidus, had spread to all Benedictine monasteries

The Congregation of St Maur took its name from him

In the 18th century, after the decline of the abbey of Fosses, the cult of St Maurus was moved to the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés where it remained a popular center until the relics were dispersed by a Parisian mob during the French Revolution St Maurus is still venerated by Benedictine congregations today, many monks adopting his name and dedicating monasteries to his patronage

In art, he is depicted as a young man in the garb of a monk, usually holding an abbot's cross or sometimes with a spade an allusion to the monastery of Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, literally "Saint Maurus of the Ditches"

Another of St Maurus' attributes is a crutch, in reference to his patronage of cripples He was invoked especially against fever, and also against rheumatism, epilepsy, and gout He is also sometimes depicted with a scale, a reference to the implement used to measure a monk's daily ration of bread, given to him by Benedict when he left Montecassino for France The monks of Fossés near Paris whence the community of Glanfeuil had fled from the Vikings in 868 exhibited this implement throughout the Middle Ages


  1. ^ Martyrologium Romanum Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7


  • Gardner, Edmund G editor 1911 Reprinted 2010 The Dialogues of Saint Gregory the Great Merchantville, NJ: Evolution Publishing ISBN 978-1-889758-94-7  Check date values in: |date= help
  • Rosa Giorgi; Stefano Zuffi ed, Saints in Art Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2003, 272
  • John B Wickstrom: "Text and Image in the Making of a Holy Man: An Illustrated Life of Saint Maurus of Glanfeuil MS Vat Lat 1202," Studies in Iconography 141994, 53-85
  • Ibid The Life and Miracles of St Maurus: Disciple of Benedict, Apostle to France Kalamazoo, Cistercian Publications, 2008

External linksedit

  • St Maurus - Biography at Catholic Online
  • St Benedict's Abbey - Benedictine Brothers and Fathers in America's Heartland
  • The Holy Rule of St Benedict - Online translation by Rev Boniface Verheyen, OSB, of St Benedict's Abbey
  • Benedictine College - Dynamically Catholic, Benedictine, Liberal Arts, and Residential

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed 1913 "St Maurus" Catholic Encyclopedia New York: Robert Appleton 

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