Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

A minor monastic order or, strictly speaking, congregation following in general the Rule of St. Benedict but distinct from the Black monks and not forming a part of the confederation of Benedictine congregations. The Sylvestrines were founded by St. Sylvester Gozzolini on Monte Fano near Fabriano in 1231. The Rule of St. Benedict was observed in its primitive form, but in many points the founder went considerably beyond it in point of austerity, laying special stress on the strictest observance of poverty. At the death of St. Sylvester in 1267 eleven monasteries were under his leadership of which some had been founded by him, while others, though of older foundation, had adopted his institute. The congregation had been formally sanctioned by Innocent IV twenty years before the founder's death. Except for a few houses in Portugal and Brazil and the Ceylon foundation mentioned below, there have been no Sylvestrine monasteries outside Italy. Under St. Sylvester's immediate successors in the generalship, Giuseppe della Serra Quirico (d. 1258), Blessed Bartolomeo di Cingoli (d. 1298), and Andrea Giacomo di Fabriano, the biographer of the founder, a number of houses were founded in the Tuscany, and Umbria. Since 1568 the congregation has possessed at Rome the Church of San Stefano del Cacco in the neighbourhood of the Pantheon; the first possession of the Sylvestrines in Rome was the Church of San Giacomo in Settimania (or alla Lungara), granted to St. Sylvester himself by the Chapter of St. Peter's.

At the present day, besides the Roman monastery at San Stefano, which is the residence of the abbot-general and counts as the mother-house of the order, the Sylvestrines have monasteries at Fabriano, Sasso Ferrato, Perugia, Osimo, Serra San Quirico, and Matelica. Since 1855 they have also had a large mission in Ceylon with its headquarters in the Abbey of Saint Antony at Kandy. At the present day (1911) the congregation numbers some 100 members, of whom about 70 are choir monks ; of the total about 40 are in Ceylon. The chief Sylvestrine saints are: the founder, St. Bonfilius, Bl. Giovanni del Bastonne, and the Bl. Giuseppe and Ugo di Serra San Quirico. The congregation is governed by an abbot-general assisted by a vicar ; the head of each monastery is a prior or titular abbot. These officials were formerly elected for life, they were made triennial by Paul II in 1543, but since 1690 have been elected every four years. The Constitutions are still those which were confirmed by Alexander VIII in 1690 after the severance of the short-lived union between the Sylvestrine and Vallombrosan orders (1662-80). The Sylvestrine habit is similar in form to that of the Cassinese Benedictines but blue in colour; fasts are strictly observed and flesh meat is never eaten except in case of illness. A convent of Sylvestrine nuns was founded at Serra San Quirico during the lifetime of the founder, but the only convent now under Sylvestrine rule is that of San Benedetto in Perugia. The arms of the order are three green hills on a blue ground, surmounted by a golden crozier with two rose branches in flower at its side.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:31-35
31 Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 30th, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
October 30: Confessor and Jay brother, also called Alonso. He was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter