What do the Inscriptions on a St. Benedict medal mean?
A visually striking religious medal, a St. Benedict medal is complex and detailed. It is also, at first, a little mysterious. The first question that comes to mind is what do the various letters, symbols and words on the St. Benedict medal mean? This article will walk you though the details of the medal.
The St. Benedict medal is believed to be a very powerful medal, as it declares the wearer’s trust in God’s authority over evil and His ability to protect His children.
St. Benedict Medal Front
One one side of the medal there is an image of St. Benedict holding a book, “The Rule of St. Benedict” in his left hand, and a cross in his right hand. To one side of him is a raven, and on the other side of him there is a cup. Encircling the medal are the Latin words, “Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur,” which means, “May we, at our death, be fortified by His presence.”
St. Benedict Medal Back
The back of the medal has a cross.
- Along the vertical bar of the cross are the initials “CSSML,” standing for “Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux,” or, “May the Holy Cross be my light.”
- On the horizontal bar of the cross are the initials, “NDSMD,” or “Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux,” or “Let not the dragon be my overlord.”
- In the interior angles of the cross are the initials, “CSPB,” standing for “Crux Sancti Patri Benedicti,” or “The Cross of our Holy Father Benedict.”
- In most cases, there is an additional inscription at the top of the cross, usually the word “Pax,” or “Peace,” or sometimes “IHS,” which is a symbol for the name of Jesus Christ.
Encircling the medal on this side is an abbreviation: “VRSNSMV,” meaning “Vade Retro Satana, Nonquam Suade Mihi Vana,” or “Begone Satan, do not suggest to me thy vanities.” Following these words is another abbreviation: “SMQLIVB,” meaning “Sunt Mala Quae Libas, Ipse Venena Bibas” or “Evil are the things thou proferrest, drink thou thy own poison.”
The medal was first struck in 1880 in commemoration of the 14th century since the birth of St. Benedict, though earlier versions were made throughout Europe. The first official approval of the medal was made by Pope Benedict XIV in 1741. The medal is often worn as a necklace, but can also be carried in one’s pocket, attached to a rosary, placed in the home, or placed in the center of a cross/crucifix.
Learn more about St. Benedict