Monasteries of Great Britain and Ireland – Basilians

main article for the BasiliansArticle

Active. Under Simple Vows. Founded 1800 – 1822.

In 1800, when the Reign of Terror had decimated the number of priests in France, when the Church had no legal existence there, ecclesiastical establishments had no right to exist, and the churches were closed, Mgr. d’Aviau, Archbishop of Vienne, conceived the idea of opening in the mountains of the Haut-Vivarais an institution for the education of subjects for the priesthood.

Three priests adopted his idea, and began at Saint Symphorien to teach the elements of Latin to some poor peasants drawn from the plough; this was the cradle of the Institute of Saint Basil. It numbered no less than 100 pupils in the second year of its foundation, and received a grant from the Government as a secondary school. In 1802 the ecclesiastical and civil authorities combined to get it moved from this inaccessible situation among the mountains to Annonay, the first town in the Vivarais, where the same Fathers took up their abode in the old convent of the Cordeliers (Franciscans), and here their pupils soon increased to 400. This convent became the now celebrated College of Annonay and the mother-house of the Congregation. In 1822 the members of the professional body at the college united themselves into a pious association, and engaged themselves by a simple promise to consecrate their lives to the instruction of the young. Teaching in colleges and, above all, in little seminaries was to be their work; they were to fulfil all the duties of the priesthood compatible with community life, and they were to be under the jurisdiction of the Bishops, with one of their members as Superior.

With certain variations the association thus founded remains the same to the present day. It received the Lauda in 1837; in 1852 the members agreed to take simple vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and stability – the vow of poverty is much mitigated with the approbation of the Holy See. In 1853 Pius IX issued a decree of approbation of the Institute of Saint Basil. Many eminent men have been educated in the colleges of the Institute, among whom may be mentioned Cardinal Donnet, Archbishop of Bordeaux, and the Bishops of Marseilles, Nice, Gap, and Blois; besides, many distinguished men have been given to the Trappists, Capuchins, Lazarists, Oblates, Marists, Sulpicians, and Jesuits from the Basilian colleges.

The Congregation is governed by a Superior-General.

There was one Basilian college in England, at Beaconsfield, near Plymouth, but it is now closed.

In America they have forty-one Fathers in Canada and nine in the United States.

The Order was suppressed in France in March, 1903.

MLA Citation

  • Francesca M Steele. “Basilians”. Monasteries of Great Britain and Ireland, 1903. CatholicSaints.Info. 28 November 2018. Web. 18 April 2021. <>