The Benedictine Confederation

The Benedictine Confederation is the body into which the Benedictine Congregations and monasteries of the Catholic Church are gathered. It was established in 1893 by Pope Leo XIII with his brief Summum Semper.


The Congregations of monks are the ordinary members of the Benedictine Confederation. A few single monasteries that for particular reasons have remained outside a Congregation have been admitted as extraordinary members.

Monasteries and Institutes of Benedictine Women are associated with the Benedictine Confederation and constitute the Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum (CIB).

Abbot Primate

The Abbot Primate is the head of the Benedictine Confederation. He is elected by the Congress of Abbots.

Abbot Primate Gregory Polan OSB
born in January 1950
prof. 28 August 1971
ord. 26 May 1977
elected Abbot of Conception Abbey 6 November 1996; blessed 9 December 1996
elected Abbot Primate and Abbot of Sant’Anselmo, 10 September 2016

Curia Abbatis Primatis (General Secretariat)
Tel: +39 06 5791.267;
Fax: +39 06 5791.374

Abbot Primate Gregory Polan OSB


The Benedictine Confederation is governed by a Proper Law (Lex Propria, Latin version) and other regulations. Every four years a Congress of Abbots is held, bringing together all major superiors of monasteries of monks and representatives of other organizations. The Congress elects the abbot primate. Every year, the Abbots President of the 19 Congregations of men meet for a Synod where they discuss current matters affecting the Confederation.


The abbot primate resides at Sant’Anselmo in Rome. Sant’Anselmo hosts the Curia of the abbot primate, a Pontifical Athenaeum and the Collegio, a residential community of monks who teach, study or work in the institutions of the Confederation or elsewhere in Rome.

Sant’Anselmo Contacts

Sant’Anselmo General Information Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta 5
00153 Rome, Italy
Tel +39 06 5791 1
Fax +39 06 5746 863
Curia of the Abbot Primate
+39 06 5791 267
Pontifical Athenaeum Sant’Anselmo
+39 06 5791 1
more Athenaeum contacts here
Collegio Sant’Anselmo
+39 06 5791 1
more Collegio contacts here

Curia Contacts

Abbot Primate Rmus P. Gregory Polan, OSB
+39 06 5791 267
Procurator General P. Mauritius Wilde OSB
+39 06 5791 252
Secretary to the Abbot Primate Sig. Walter del Gaiso
+39 06 5791 319
Treasurer P. Geraldo Gonzalez y Lima OSB
+39 06 5791 336
Archivist P. Edmund Power OSB +39 06 5791 266

International Organizations

The Benedictine Confederation maintains international monastic organisations to foster certain goals. These organisations also involve the Cistercian Order and the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, whose way of life is also based on the Rule of St Benedict.

The Alliance for International Monasticism (AIM) promotes the human, cultural, and religious development of monasteries throughout the world, and of their surrounding populations. It facilitates reflection amongst communities living under the Rule of St. Benedict.

Dialogue Interreligieux Monastique / Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIMMID) promotes and supports dialogue between Christian monastic men and women and followers of other religions, especially dialogue at the level of religious experience and practice.

The International Commission on Benedictine Education (ICBE) promotes schools in the Benedictine tradition around the world.

Regional Cooperation

In order to foster cooperation on a regional level, monastic communities have formed numerous associations, differing widely in scope and institutional depth.

ABECCA – Asociacion Benedictino-Cisterciense del Caribe y de los Andes

BEAOA – Benedictines of East Asia, Oceania and Australia

BECAN – Benedictine and Cistercian Association of Nigeria

BECOSA – Benedictine Communities of South Africa

BUANZ – The Benedictine Union of Australia and New Zealand

BUT – Benedictine Union of Tanzania

CIMBRA – Conferencia de Intercambio Monastico do Brasil (Brasil – Benedictine and Cistercian men and women)

CMF – Conférence Monastique de France

ISBF – Indian and Sri Lankan Benedictine Federation

SÄK – Salzburger Äbtekonferenz (Germany, Switzerland, Austria – Benedictine men)

SURCO – Conferencia de Comunidades Monasticas del Cono Sur (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay – Benedictine and  Cistercian men and women)

VBD – Vereinigung Benediktinischer Frauenklöster im deutschen Sprachgebiet. (Germany, Switzerland, Austria – Benedictine women)