The Rev. Anselm Strittmatter, 83, a Benedictine monk who devoted his life to the study of ancient and medieval history and theology, died Saturday at Providence Hospital in Washington. He had been suffering from Leukemia.
Father Strittmatter, a resident of what is now St. Anselm's Abbey here since 1927, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He entered the Brooklyn Diocesan seminary in 1910. For the next 15 years, he studied Greek and Latin and history at the North American College in Rome, at Columbia University in New York, from which he graduated with a bachelor's degree, at the University of Chicago and at Harvard University.
During the 1922-23 school year, when he was teaching at the New School in Lakewood, N.J., while still pursuing his own studies, Father Strittmatter met the Rev. Thomas Verner Moore and other priests who were teaching at Catholic University here and who wished to establish a Benedictine monastery in Washington.
In 1925, after two years of teaching Greek and Latin at Columbia, Father Strittmatter entered the novitiate at the Benedictine monastery at Fort Augustus, Scotland. He made his first profession as a monk in 1926 and joined what was then St. Anselm's Priory in Washington in 1927. He was ordained into the priesthood in 1930.
Father Strittmatter was one of the first editors of "Traditio," a journal devoted to ancient and medleval scholarship. He published numerous articles in it as well as in other publications, including "The New Catholic Encyclopedia." Although he remained a member of St. Anselm's, he continued his studies during extended periods in Rome and at Harvard and Princeton universities.
While St. Anselm's was still a priory, Father Strittmatter served as subprior. When it became an abbey, he served as prior under Abbot Alban Boultwood. He was master of novices from 1939 to 1942 and again from 1955 to 1965.
On the 50th anniversary of his profession as a monk, he was given the honorary title of Cathedral Prior of Canterbury by the Abbot President of the English Benedictine Congregation, of which St. Anselm's is part.
Father Strittmatter is survived by a brother, William, of St. Louis.