St. Augustine and his rule
The Augustinian rule is the oldest handed-down monastic rule in the western world. Augustine wrote it around the year 397 after he had been elevated to Bishop of Hippo Regius in 395/396 AD.
In just a few pages, with this rule Augustine wishes to impart to his monastic community his basic principles of a religious life led in a community. The biblical foundation of his message is constantly palpable in the text. He brings to life the ideal of the early Christian community in Jerusalem as exemplary for the fundamental spiritual values of love and the community. Augustine is less concerned about the minutiae of everyday life, but rather the basic tenor of Christian love from which a successful community emerges.
In all, three rules which, in their turn exist in various versions, have over time been attributed to St. Augustine. They are the ‘Rule for Women’(Regularis informatio), the `Rule for Men` (Praeceptum) and the `Basic Order for a Monastery`(Ordo monasterii). In recent decades extensive critical text research has revealed that Augustine was the true author of only the Praeceptum with a version for women and another for men.