This week marks the feast day of the monk St. Aelred of Rievaulx…
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This week’s FREE ebook download is the biography:
St. Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx
(Lives of the English Saints Series)
Aelred of Rievaulx (1110 – 12 January 1167) was an English Cistercian monk, abbot of Rievaulx from 1147 until his death, and known as a writer. He is regarded by Anglicans and Catholics as a saint. De spirituali amicitia (Spiritual Friendship), considered to be his greatest work, is a Christian counterpart of Cicero’s De amicitia and designates Christ as the source and ultimate impetus of spiritual friendship. Friendship was a recurring theme in Christian monasticism. Gregory of Nazianzus, echoing Aristotle, describes his friendship with Basil the Great as “two bodies with a single spirit”.
It was likely at Durham that Aelred first encountered Cicero’s Laelius de Amicitia. In Roman terminology amicitia means “friendship” and could be between states or individuals. It suggested an equality of status and in practice it might only be an alliance to pursue mutual interests. For Cicero, amicitia involved genuine trust and affection. “But I must at the very beginning lay down this principle —friendship can only exist between good men. We mean then by the ‘good’ those whose actions and lives leave no question as to their honour, purity, equity, and liberality; who are free from greed, lust, and violence; and who have the courage of their convictions.” (via Wikipedia)