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It is in this latter sense that the term is applied in this article to all monasteries professing to observe St. Subiaco was his original foundation and the cradle of the institute. Gregory we learn that twelve other monasteries in the vicinity of Subiaco also owed their origin to him, and that when he was obliged to leave that neighbourhood he founded the celebrated Abbey of Monte Cassino, which eventually become the centre whence his Rule and institute spread. Placid's mission to Sicily in 534, which first gained general credence in the eleventh century, though accepted as genuine by such writers as Mabillon and Ruinart, is now generally admitted to be mere romance.

Benedict Biscop visited Lérins later on in the seventh century he received the Benedictine habit and tonsure from the hands of Abbot Aygulph. Gregory of Tours says that at Ainay, in the sixth century, the monks "followed the rules of Basil, Cassian, Caesarius, and other fathers, taking and using whatever seemed proper to the conditions of time and place", and doubtless the same liberty was taken with the Benedictine Rule when it reached them.

Lérins continued through several centuries to supply from its monks bishops for the chief churches of Southern Gaul, and to them perhaps may be traced the general diffusion of St. There, as also in Switzerland, it had to contend with and supplement the much stricter Irish or Celtic Rule introduced by St. In other monasteries it entirely displaced the earlier codes, and had by the end of the eighth century so completely superseded them throughout France that Charlemagne could gravely doubt whether monks of any kind had been possible before St. The authority of Charlemagne and of his son, Louis the Pious, did much, as we shall presently see, towards propagating the principles of the Father of western monachism. Augustine and his monks established the first English Benedictine monastery at Canterbury soon after their arrival in 597.

Into Lithuania and the Eastern Empire the Benedictine Rule never penetrated in early times, and the great schism between East and West effectually prevented any possibilities of development in that direction.

At any rate, evidences for it are so extremely doubtful that it cannot be seriously regarded as historical.

Other foundations quickly followed as the Benedictine missionaries carried the light of the Gospel with them throughout the length and breadth of the land. Benedict seemed to have taken possession of the country as his own, and the history of his order in England is the history of the English Church.

Nowhere did the order link itself so intimately with people and institutions, secular as well as religious, as in England.

There is reason for believing that it was the third Abbot of Monte Cassino who began to spread a knowledge of the Rule beyond the circle of St. It is at least certain that when Monte Cassino was sacked by the Lombards about the year 580, the monks fled to Rome, where they were housed by Pope Pelagius II in a monastery adjoining the Lateran Basilica.