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Posts Tagged ‘abbey’


Around 100 km far from Rome dirction Noth-East along the Benedictine Way take the chance to immerse yourselves in an latmosphere of emotions, art and culture by visiting the Carthusian Monastery of Trisulti in Collepardo in the province of Frosinone. The Carthusian Monastery or Certosa rises up at an altitude of 825 metres, immersed in the secular oak woods of the Hernici Hills, bordering the National Park of Abruzzo. This wonderful complex of buildings is the perfect place to regenerate and find serenity. The construction of the monastery dates back to 1204 when it was built on the remains of the ancient Benedictine abbey dating back to the year 1000, of which some ruins can still be seen today. The building, despite a series of works carried out over time, including restoration in 1958, has kept its original Romanesque-Gothic style. Originally inhabited by Benedictines for around two centuries, in 1204 it was handed over to the Carthusians who constructed the building we can still see today and kept it until 1947, when it was entrusted to the Cistercian Congregation of Casamari.

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The Abbey of Casamari is situated in the territoryof Veroli(Frosinone), on the Via Maria, mid-way between Frosinone and Sora, and lies on a rocky hill sloping down to the torrent Amaseno, at about 300 metresabove sea-level. It was built on the ruins of an ancient Roman municipium named Cereatae, being dedicated to the goddess Ceres, at Marianae, for it was the birthplace, or at least a residence, of Caius Marius, from whom the abbey later derived its name. The documents witness the presence of a Benedectine monastic community in the 11th century, under the name of Casamari.
The monastery soon showed a strong vitality both spiritual as well as social and economical, but, in the early 12th century it was affected by a rather long crisis due to a sort of ungovernability (which is witnessed by the frequent resignation of its abbots) caused by both a decline of the Curtis system and the political and religious confusion of that period. During the schism of Anaclet II (1130-1138), when Bernard of Clairvaux, by his persistant work of mediation, became the leading promoter of the Church’s unity through the recognition of Innocent II as pope, Italy became acquainted with the Cistercians. She appreciated their spirituality and requested their presence, while all Europe watched and supported the Order’s astonishing, miraculous expansion.
The Cistercians started the construction of the monastery which we can still admire today, following the Order’s typical planimetry. In 1203, Pope Innocent III blessed the first stone of the church, the construction of which went on under the management of Fra’ Guglielmo of Casamari until 1217. On September 15th of that year; the basilica was consecrated and dedicated to Our Lady Received into Heaven, according to the Order’s custom, and to the Roman martyrs, John and Paul.
Casamari suffered heavy damages in the early 15th century when Ladislaus of Anjou, after storming Veroli, besieged and plundered the monastery. During Napoleon’s first campaign in Italy some French soldiers, on their way back, plundered the monastery and desecrated the Eucharist, although they had been received with open arms by Prior Simon Cardon. In 1833 the monks of Casamari reacquired the monastery of San Domenico of Sora and in 1873, owing to the laws of suppression, the abbey was deprived of its possessions and the following year; was declared a national monument.
In spite of endless change, Casamari is still one of the Cistercian monasteries in which monastic life has had no interruptions since its foundation, except for the short period 1811-1814. The revival of religious life has been made possible by the institution of seminaries (1916) which have in a short time set many young men on the way to the Cistercian ideal. Thus the abbey, together with its dependent houses, was declared a monastic Congregation by the Holy See in 1929. Its Constitutions were approved provisionally in the same year and permanently on June 13th, 1943 by Pope Pius XII. They were approved again in 1979, after a revision according to the instructions of Vatican II. According to the latest statistics, the Congregation of Casamari now consists of sixteen monasteries and three residences, with 220 monks.

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In the heart of the Sabina region, in a mystic atmosphere of silence stands the Abbey of Farfa. Approaching the Abbey, which is surrounded by fascinating verdant nature.
The Abbey of Farfa is a very fascinating place, full of peacefulness as the Benedectine monks who live there.  In 1928 the Abbey was declared national monument for its architectural and artistic beauty. With its thousand-year history, through periods of splendour and decadence, the Abbey has remained a cultural and spiritual centre thanks to the founders S. Lorenzo Siro and S. Tommaso da Moriana and the Blessed Placido Riccardi and Ildefonso Schuster.
Several kings, emperors and Popes have visited the Abbey throughout the centuries.
Today thousands of visitors admire the cultural and artistic heritage, spending some time or even days in this peaceful place in order to rest their mind and soul. Refreshments are provided.
Walking through the park and the gardens visitors can also admire the small old quaint village of Farfa, property of the Filippo Cremonesi founding, which includes the pretty houses and the workshops run by skilled craftsmen.

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The MONTECASSINO Monastery, was founded by St. Benedict about 529 of the Christian Era on the remnants of a preexisting Roman fortification of the municipium Casinum.
The heathen cult was still practised on this mountain site in the temple of Apollo and in a nearby holy grove to which a sacrifice area was adjoining. Montecassino became famous for the prodigious life and the Sepulchre of its Founder.
Through the ages, the abbey was looked upon as a place of holiness, culture and art for which it became renowned on world-wide level. Around 577, the monastery was destroyed by the Longobards of Zotone, Duke of Beneventum, but early in the eighth century Pope Gregory II commissioned the Brescian Petronace to rebuild the monastery.
For the Cassinese abbey this was the beginning of a period of great splendour: the Saxon Monk Villibald, the Monk Sturmius disciple of S. Boniface, Founder of Fulda and of German monasticism, Gisulf II Duke of Beneventum, Carlomanno brother of Pippin, Ratchis king of the Longobards, Anselm future abbot of Nonantola all flocked to Montecassino.
In 787 Charlemagne came to visit the Abbey and granted it vast privileges. The Abbey before last destruction In 883, the Saracens invaded and sacked the Monastery and burnt it down, causing the death of Bertarius its saint Abbot, Founder of mediaeval Cassino.
The surviving monks first fled to Teano and later to Capua. Monastic life was only fully resumed towards the middle of the tenth century, thanks to Abbot Aligerno. Various great Abbots governed Montecassino in the eleventh century, such as Theobald, Richerius, Frederick of Lorraine who later will become Pope under the name of Stephen IX.
They restored Montecassino to its former political and ecclesiastic height, culminating under Abbot Desiderius, a truly outstanding personality. He was a friend to Pope Gregory VII whom he assisted in his struggle for independence of the Church, later to become his successor under the name Victor III.
The Basilica was rebuilt under his abbotship and the monastery was enriched with numerous beautifully miniated manuscripts, mosaics, enamels, oriented liturgic goldsmithery. The third destruction, caused by an earthquake, occurred in 1349. Nothing but a few walls remained of Abbot Desiderius’ splendid building. Photo n. 2 Many additions and embellishments were made during reconstruction so that the abbey acquired the greatness and imposingness it conserved until February 15, 1944, during the final stage of world war II when Montecassino happened to be on the firing line between two armies: this place of prayer and study which had become in these exceptional circumstances a peaceful shelter for hundreds of defenceless civilians, in only three hours was reduced to a heap of debris under which many of the refuges met their death (photo n.2).
The Abbey was rebuilt according to the ancient architectural pattern and to the “where and as was” program of Abbot Ildefonso Rea, its reconstructor. Reconstruction and decoration works took more than a decade and where exclusively financed by the Italian State. After so many historical events, Montecassino may truly be simbolized by a many centuries-old oak, which although broken by the storm, always becomes green and alive again, stronger than ever: “succisa virescit”.

The high number of pilgrims that every day come to the Abbey, by hundreds and thousands, keeps the Fathers from granting the requests submitted to them, first of all to guide the visitors through the Monastery.
Visitors are demanded to respect the sacrality of the place they are in (they don’t have to consider it as a pleasure-ground) and they have to mantain a severe and intent behaviour, avoiding to speak aloud or make noise inside the cloisters.
On behalf of visitors is particularly requested to keep silent in the Church.

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