Benedict of Nursia was a monk and abbot who lived in the 5th and 6th century AD. He founded several monasteries and wrote a rule for monasteries which became fundamental for Western Monasticism. The Catholic Church venerates him as Patron of Europe.
The principal source for Benedict’s life are the Four Books of Dialogues which Pope Gregory the Great wrote in 593/594 AD. Book Two is entirely devoted to Benedict, showing his personal spiritual journey and portraying him as a great ascetic, a prophetic leader of monks and founder of monasteries, as author of a rule and miracle-worker. The text stands in a tradition of hagiographic writings and is more interested in spiritual facts than in in biographical detail. A special emphasis is placed on scenes which echo those of great biblical figures, especially of the prophets Elija and Elisha.