July 13, Sts Andrew Zorard (Andrzej Świerad) and Benedict (Benedykt)

July 13
Obligatory memorial

Andrew Zorard (Andrzej Świerad) lived at the beginning of the 11th century. By tradition he came from southern Poland. He entered the Benedictine monastery of St Hippolytus on Mount Zobor, near Nitra. After some time he moved to a hermitage near the monastery and became known for his strict life of mortification. He died ca 130-1034.

Benedict, St Andrew’s companion and disciple, monk from the same monastery, remained at the hermitage after his master’s death, living a strict life as well. Three years afterwards he was murdered by brigands. The relics of both are housed in the Nitra Cathedral.

Common of Religious.

[PDF Version]



From the Apostolic Letter by Pope John Paul II
(Letter to J. Ablewicz, Bishop of Tarnów, J. Pasztor, Bishop of Nitra, J. Cserhati, Bishop of Pécs, on the 900th anniversary of St Andrew Zorard’s canonisation)

Zorard was born about 980 in a peasant family in Poland. Called by God to a solitude in order to listen to His voice more attentively, according to prophet Hosea’s words, “I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart,” at the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries he founded a hermitage in the town of Tropie which then belonged to the Diocese of Kraków. He left it about 1022 and entered the Benedictine monastery of St Hippolytus on Mount Zobor in Slovakia. Receiving a name in religion – Andrew – he lived a monastic life. Afterwards, at 40, with the consent of Abbott Philip, he returned to his previous hermitic life in Poland, heading for a cave in a town of Skałka on the bank of the Váh river.

He was known for an extraordinary life of penance: during the day he would fell trees, at night he prayed. In the 40-day-long Lent he was often half-starved. After his death it turned out that for a long time he had worn a cilice made of an iron chain. He died around 1034 and was buried in Nitra, in St Emmeram Cathedral.

St Andrew Zorard has remained in the minds and hearts of the people from Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. They were the ones to experience the benefits of his sainthood. However, he could be a good teacher of all Christians. First of all, he shows modern people, leaned toward pleasures and fading earthly goods, that only God is the Only Good who ought to be desired with all heart, all soul and all strength. He teaches us that we are pilgrims, for here we have not got a permanent place, but we look forward to a future one. Finally, he teaches us that we should serve our neighbours not only in outward works of mercy but also by proclamation of the Gospel, according to our Lord Jesus Christ’s words directed at all his disciples,  “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

St Andrew’s life and testimony have kept their value for all Christians, especially those who have devoted themselves to God in monastic seclusion. They should learn from St Zorard that solitude does not separate them from the body of the entire Church. Through their prayers, penance, virtues and love of God they are to become such members of the Mystical Body from whom descends a life-giving power for the benefit of everyone.

St Andrew, by means of his life, prayer, asceticism and work undertaken for brothers, became one of the roots from which sprouted the millenary strength of the Christian religion in Poland.[1]


I shall show a clean path that will be called the holy way.
 On it the redeemed will walk and enter Zion crowned with everlasting joy.

They will see the glory of the Lord, the splendour of God.
On it the redeemed will walk and enter Zion crowned with everlasting joy.


O kindest God,
you made Saint Andrew and Benedict offer themselves to you in the admirable abstinence and tenacious strictness of life,
grant through their intercession that by consistent penance we may erase sin from our hearts and serve you with cleansed souls.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

[1] Translated by DChojnacki (2016).


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