Almost 1500 hundred years have passed away since the founder and father of western monachism gave to the world, (about A.D. 535) from the solitude of Monte Cassino, the code of religious life which the consensus of Christian centuries has stamped with the distinctive title of the Holy Rule.Forming as it did for so many ages one of the most powerful instruments of the civilisation of Europe, the Rule of St. Benedict possesses - apart from its intrinsic merits, or its value as a literary monument of the early Church - an interest which is not limited to the Benedictine family alone, but which cannot but be shared by every thoughtful student of history.The English version here presented, which has been undertaken in compliance with the demand for a new translation of the Holy Rule, will be found, it is hoped, to have at least the merit of faithfully rendering the original text. It has been the translator’s aim, at the same time, to preserve as far as possible the simplicity of style which, next to the supernatural wisdom that illuminates every page, is perhaps the most striking characteristic of the Holy Rule.The Latin text adopted, which will be found to differ slightly from that of recent English editions, was first printed in 1659 by D. Augustine de Ferrariis, a monk of Monte Cassino, from the most ancient and authentic manuscripts in the archives of that venerable monastery. The text in question (since reprinted in the Florilegium Bibliothecae Casinensis) has been carefully collated throughout with an MS. copy of the Rule, and commentary of Bernard of M. Cassino, dating from the 13th century, and in the possession of Fort Augustus Abbey.The Dates in small type indicate the portion of the Holy Rule to be read daily in monasteries, usually at the end of Prime.An index has been added for convenience of reference. The explanatory notes are chiefly based upon the most ancient and approved commentaries on the Holy Rule; and it is hoped that they will be found of service in the elucidation of various passages whose meaning is not apparent from a mere verbal rendering of the original text. It has been thought best to place the notes in an appendix, rather than at the foot of the page, in order not to interfere with the use of the Holy Rule for purposes of devotion or meditation, for which it is so admirably adapted.May this little work go forth bearing with it the blessing of our dear Holy Father Saint Benedict; and may it be the means, under God, of making his name more widely known, and more abundantly honoured, in the land that was once his by a hundred ties.