Author Topic: Is "Medal/Cross of Saint Benedict" orthodox?  (Read 5826 times)

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Offline Elpidophoros

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Is "Medal/Cross of Saint Benedict" orthodox?
« on: March 03, 2009, 03:24:52 PM »
Is "Medal/Cross of Saint Benedict" orthodox?
Can we use it?

Offline Thomas

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Re: Is "Medal/Cross of Saint Benedict" orthodox?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2009, 03:39:25 PM »
The Cross of St Benedict was issued by the Roman Catholic Church.

The explaination from  the website  is:

The Cross of Eternal Salvation

On the face of the medal is the image of Saint Benedict. In his right hand he holds the cross, the Christian's symbol of salvation. The cross reminds us of the zealous work of evangelizing and civilizing England and Europe carried out mainly by the Benedictine monks and nuns, especially for the sixth to the ninth/tenth centuries.

Rule and Raven
In St. Benedict's left hand is his Rule for Monasteries that could well be summed up in the words of the Prolog exhorting us to "walk in God's ways, with the Gospel as our guide."

On a pedestal to the right of St. Benedict is the poisoned cup, shattered when he made the sign of the cross over it. On a pedestal to the left is a raven about to carry away a loaf of poisoned bread that a jealous enemy had sent to St. Benedict.

C. S. P. B.
Above the cup and the raven are the Latin words: Crux s. patris Benedicti (The Cross of our holy father Benedict). On the margin of the medal, encircling the figure of Benedict, are the Latin words: Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur! (May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death!). Benedictines have always regarded St. Benedict as a special patron of a happy death. He himself died in the chapel at Montecassino while standing with his arms raised up to heaven, supported by the brothers of the monastery, shortly after St. Benedict had received Holy Communion.

Monte Cassino
Below Benedict we read: ex SM Casino MDCCCLXXX (from holy Monte Cassino, 1880). This is the medal struck to commemorate the 1400th anniversary of the birth of Saint Benedict.

Reverse Side of the Medal
Crux mihi lux
On the back of the medal, the cross is dominant. On the arms of the cross are the initial letters of a rhythmic Latin prayer: Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Nunquam draco sit mihi dux! (May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon never be my guide!).

In the angles of the cross, the letters C S P B stand for Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (The cross of our holy father Benedict).

Above the cross is the word pax (peace), that has been a Benedictine motto for centuries. Around the margin of the back of the medal, the letters V R S N S M V - S M Q L I V B are the initial letters, as mentioned above, of a Latin prayer of exorcism against Satan: Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! (Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!)

None of these are non-orthodox sentiments so it could be used by an Orthodox Christian as a Saint's medal.  The medal was designed for use by Roman Catholics who are in the third Order of St Benedict  known as Oblates of St Benedict.  While an Orthodox Christian  should not be a member of that Roman Catholic Order, there is an Oblates of St Benedict in the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate I believe.

Your brother in Christ ,

Online Fr. George

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Re: Is "Medal/Cross of Saint Benedict" orthodox?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2009, 12:06:42 PM »
I received one of those as a gift from a teacher in High School when I graduated.  I never bothered to look up the significance.  Thank you, Thomas!  Now that I've found it again (buried in a box) I think I'll have it out at my prayer corner...
« Last Edit: March 04, 2009, 12:07:33 PM by cleveland »
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Offline lubeltri

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Re: Is "Medal/Cross of Saint Benedict" orthodox?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2009, 05:43:30 PM »
I'm glad you folks like it. It's a wonderful medal! I have it around my neck. You'll find the medal also embedded in the center of crosses and even attached to rosaries and scapulars

I'm glad that we can share each others' sacramentals when they are not in conflict with our respective teachings. The origins of the medal are unknown--they may be pre-schism, though various things have been added to it over the centuries.

Holy Father St. Benedict of Nursia, pray for us!


If you decide to wear or keep one, have it blessed by a willing Orthodox priest. It need not be by a Benedictine (though I know there are EO Western-rite Benedictines). This is the approved prayer, though I'm sure your priest can adapt it as he wishes:

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.

In the name of God the Father + almighty, who made heaven and earth, the seas and all that is in them, I exorcise these medals against the power and attacks of the evil one. May all who use these medals devoutly be blessed with health of soul and body. In the name of the Father + almighty, of the Son + Jesus Christ our Lord, and of the Holy + Spirit the Paraclete, and in the love of the same Lord Jesus Christ who will come on the last day to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.

Let us pray. Almighty God, the boundless source of all good things, we humbly ask that, through the intercession of Saint Benedict, you pour out your blessings + upon these medals. May those who use them devoutly and earnestly strive to perform good works be blessed by you with health of soul and body, the grace of a holy life, and remission of the temporal punishment due to sin.

May they also with the help of your merciful love, resist the temptation of the evil one and strive to exercise true charity and justice toward all, so that one day they may appear sinless and holy in your sight. This we ask though Christ our Lord.

The medals are then sprinkled with holy water.