FRUCTUOSUS OF BRAGA: Archbishop of Braga and apostle to the Suevi and Lusitani; d. about 665. He was of royal stock, but retired to monastic life at an early age. After completing his education at a school founded by the bishop of Palencia, he sold his estates and devoted the proceeds partly to the poor and partly to the establishment of cloisters. By 647 he had founded seven monasteries in Lusitania, Asturia, Galicia, and the island of Gades, but, instead of assuming the direction he retired to solitude, where his scholars from Complutum (not the well-known town of that name, the modern Alcala, but a place apparently in northwestern Leon, or, according to others, in Asturia), sought him out and induced him to take charge of their monastery. Such was the growth of the cloister that the king forbade any except women to join it, fearing that the number of men available for military service would be depleted, whereupon Fructuosus built a nunnery for about eighty virgins who chose him for their spiritual head. He is best known, however, through the two rules which he drew up for his monks. The first of these, based in part on the Benedictine rule and designed for the cloister of Complutum (whence it is known as the Regula Complutensis), is divided into twenty-five sections and inculcates the most implicit and detailed obedience on the part of the monks. In the second rule (Regula communis) the problem of double monastic life is considered, so that husbands might live with their wives and children in monastic purity. Here again absolute submission to the abbot was required, family ties were completely dissolved, and the sexes were rigidly separated, although a few aged monks of proved morality were permitted to reside in nunneries at a distance from the cells of the sisters, to exercise supervision over them. No one was permitted to enter a monastery, moreover, unless he first renounced all his wealth in favor of the poor.
Despite the asceticism of Fructuosus, he was obliged to enter upon high ecclesiastical office. He was planning to make a pilgrimage to the East when he was consecrated bishop of Dumio in Galicia, and in 656 the Synod of Toledo elevated him to the archbishopric of Braccara (Braga). Throughout his life he was unwearied in the erection of monasteries and churches, and after his death many miracles were ascribed to his body, which was buried at Santiago de Compostella.
He is still honored as the patron saint of many churches, especially in Spain.