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Catholic Dictionary




A rule of life drawn up, from 358 to 364, by St. Basil the Great (329-79). It is still the basis for monasticism in the Eastern Church. There are two forms of the rule, in question and answer form, with 55 and 313 items respectively. Although austere, it consciously avoids some of the extremes of Eastern monasticism before Basil's time. Hours of liturgical prayer were prescribed. Manual and other work were required. Children were to be trained in classes attached to the monastery and given an opportunity to test their vocation to the religious life. The monasteries were to care for the poor. The present rule owes its form to the revision of St. Theodore of Studion (759-826).