Camaldolese History

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Camaldolese History Class. Conference #7 (Jan 25, 1984) & Conference #8 (Feb 22, 1984)

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#set-camaldolese-history-1983-84, #monastic-class-series


Now, we were talking last time about the monastic scene, more or less, at the time of Saint Romuald, at the time of his joining the monastery of Closet, and especially during the period in which he was at the monastery of Cuixart, now in southern France, then part of the Duchy of Barcelona, Catalonian territory. But we need to really tell the story of how Saint Romuald got there. So we go back to 975, when Romuald leaves Closet and goes to Venice. And he teams up with this old guy named Marino, who may or may not have been a monk. He was a hermit, but you don't have to be a monk before you become a hermit.


So if he was a Benedictine, we don't know. If he was a Greek monk, that's something I put in a footnote as a possible hypothesis. Maybe he was from Apulia, southern Italy, the area where there was Byzantine domination throughout, until the beginning of the 11th century. And in fact, Saint Peter Damian, who is the only one who talks about Marino, there is no documentation of him whatsoever anywhere else except in the life of Saint Romuald by Peter Damian. But Peter Damian tells us that Marino went back to Apulia, as if this were his home territory, and lived there for a while, and then was killed by Saracen pirates. And we can estimate the date of his death on the basis of records of incursions, pirate


incursions. They were Muslims, they were Arabs or Saracens. Peter Damian calls them Agarenes, which means sons of Hagar. Remember the letter to the Galatians, where Paul makes this kind of allegory of the children, the free wife of Sarah and the children of Hagar. So, one term for the Muslims in those days was Agarenes. But back in Venice with Romuald. Now, Romuald had been with Marino hardly more than a year when a revolution took place in the city. Romuald had gone there partly, I believe, to avoid the political implications of his joining the Monasterio Classe. He wasn't interested in the politics, but he couldn't avoid it.


He was one of the big members, one of the big families. In order to get into Classe, he had gone to then Archbishop Onesto degli Onesti. Very often you had a man with the name that was also the patronymic. So, Onesto was of the Onesti family, and Romuald's family, the Sergi, were related to the Onesti by marriage. So, Romuald gets the Archbishop to tell the abbot to accept this conversus, this candidate who is apparently too old to join the Monasterio. He's 20 years old, but the abbot has to accept him. But part of the problems that Romuald had there was all of the implications behind his joining Monasterio in his own hometown, and one more motivation for him to go to Venice. But he hasn't been there very long until he gets involved, embroiled, in another thing,


and this was the revolution. Peter Damian tells the story of this rebellion, of this revolution, some 70 years after it happened, and his information is sometimes inaccurate. But we can reconstruct most of the event on the basis of documents regarding Peter Orsale I, on account of whom Romuald would soon be living Venice. Now, if you ever go to study the history of Venice, or if you ever go looking up in encyclopedias and history books, in the index, Orsalo or Peter Orsalo, you're going to be confused because there were two of them. There's Peter Orsalo I, who was the father, and then Peter Orsalo the son, who was doge not immediately after his father, but after a couple successors of his father, the end of the 10th and the early 11th century. Now, Peter Orsalo II, the son of Saint Peter Orsalo,


was very important also, we shall see, in the life of Saint Romuald because of the connections that you find with the court of the Ottos, the emperors, the German emperors, the connections with the evangelization of Hungary, which was of interest for one reason to the emperors, Otto and so forth, and for another reason to Romuald. So just keep in mind these acquaintances, these connections that Romuald makes in the course of his early monastic life because then when he becomes a fungic, when he becomes a reformer of monks and hermits, this will be significant and the connections will be important. The Venice of Romuald's time was not exactly as we see it today, but the aura was the same. What is the aura of Venice? Who has been to Venice? You've been? No? No? No? Okay, Brother Steitelmast was in Venice.


But everyone has seen pictures of it. They knew it was a beautiful place and it's fascinating because it's built on canals and instead of buses they have the Vaporetti, which are the little steam-engined successors of the gondola, which serve as buses and taxis. So you can only go by water. And then, well, there are some bridges and there are some foot, you know, sidewalks inside between the buildings, but the whole concept of the city of Venice is something very different, you know, from what we would associate with a city. And the center, as you know, of Venice is St. Mark's Square. Here's a photocopy of the square of St. Mark. And it's a fascinating place. Walt Disney made a plaster of Paris replica, can you believe it, at this place down in Florida. And he put in everything except, of course, the church.


So it's St. Mark's Square without St. Mark. Which is something very close to sacrilege, as far as I'm concerned. Anyway, the Venice of St. Romuald's time already had this aura which you can perceive when you go there. Its commerce with the East had enriched it and its dominion of the sea began to spread over the entire northern Adriatic, down the peninsula of Istria, and along the Dalmatian coast, now western Yugoslavia. It enjoyed a favored position between the two Christian empires, the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, we might use that term anyway, the empire now in the hands of Germanic rulers, the Ottos of this time. It enjoyed a favored position between the two Christian empires, being relatively unexposed to attacks from without, whether by Saracens, who were the great enemies of the Byzantines,


and the pagan Magyars, the ancestors of modern Hungarians, or at least, in part, ancestors of the Hungarians. They were pagans of this time. They were very violent. Both of them, Saracens also. Romuald's ancestors were from Istria. I don't have my map here. I didn't think to bring it. Istria, if you kind of picture the east side of Italy and where it connects with Yugoslavia, there's this kind of triangular-shaped peninsula, which is south of Trieste. So the Italian peninsula is at an angle. It is pointed from northeast to southwest. And then if you go around the gulf there, you come to this peninsula, Istria, which is now part of Yugoslavia. And until a few years ago, not very many years ago,


10, 12 years ago, the territory was kind of disputed between Italy and Yugoslavia. And then they came to very good terms, and Trieste was guaranteed as Italian territory, and the Italian government recognized Yugoslavia's jurisdiction. This was just before Tito died. Yugoslavia's possession of Istria, which still, I think, has a population, some of whom speak Italian. But Romuald's family, his ancestors were from there. He was born in Ravenna, and his father and grandfather probably were born in Ravenna. And somewhere in the past, they were from Istria. They were Lombards, they were Germanic, but they had been Italianized by then. Now, being from Istria, Romuald may have been distinctly related to one or both of the rival Venetian families, the Candiani and the Orseoli. There were three big families that had overlapping dynasties


in the 10th and into the early 11th centuries. The Candiani, the Orseoli, and the Particiachi, I think is the name of the other family, but they don't fit into our story. Because the situation that takes place after Romuald arrives there is between these two families, Candiani and Orseoli. The doge, that's Venice's elected ruler, was a republic, but the doge had total power, you see. So the heads of the families would elect the doge, and then he would really be the top man. The doge was Peter Candiano IV. St. Peter Damian confuses him with Vitale Candiano, his brother, who would not become doge for another couple of years. Peter Candiano was a petty tyrant, hungry for power and unscrupulous to the point of putting his wife in a convent


so that he could marry Waldrada, the daughter of Hubert the Marquess of Tuscany and sister of Hubert's successor, Hugh. All these people. Keep in mind Hugh of Tuscany, the brother of Waldrada, who married Peter Candiano. Why is this important? Because Hugh would later offer support to Romuald when he comes back from Catalonia ten years later, and to Peter Damian. Peter Damian was very fond of Hugh of Tuscany. He wrote an essay about how great a ruler he was. Well, he was a dictator. I mean, we would consider him an abominable person. But he did maintain law and order. And Peter Damian, like it or not, he was a law and order man. Anyway, Waldrada, the daughter of Hubert, the sister of Hugh of Tuscany. Candiano's new bride brought him a rich dowry. This was not a love affair. He put his wife in a convent,


somehow arranged for an annulment or a divorce or whatever, and got this new alliance through marrying her. And above all, he married her dowry. You know, lands, goods, and servants. And so, with all of these possessions, these were territories, you see, these were farms, these were lands. And with all of these possessions, he needed an army. So he raised a private army of mercenaries. Anybody could join his army except a Venetian. You see, this is the technique of the dictator. You can see this now, you know, in the small countries, you know, that have these kind of people running them. Their bodyguards, their own private army, is always somebody from the outside, like mercenaries. And so, this naturally was quite disgusting to the Venetians. They didn't like this at all. So, rebellion had been seething in the lagoon


for some time now. But no one succeeded in breaking through the lines of Candiano's Tuscan bodyguards. Finally, his enemies hit upon a plan which would involve, in some way, the rival Orseoli. So, Peter was a Candiano. And so, well, let's get the Orseoli in on a plot here and try to organize ourselves and see if we can get rid of this guy. The revolt was to begin with a fire started in the Orseolo Palace, which, if my guess is right, is probably like on this side. This is the Doge's Palace, you see, this horseshoe-shaped building here. And then there's the Bridge of Sighs. Everyone heard of the Bridge of Sighs? You can see it in the photo here. This little bridge. And next to it is the prison. Well, this is the later centuries when it became the prison. But I would bet that this was probably the location of the Orseolo Palace. Next to the Palace of the Doge. How old is Venice? How old is Venice?


It goes back to the early centuries of the Middle Ages. It's not too old because there were fishermen. They'd go out there and... These were sandbars. And they really didn't have much... It's oozy mud. It's sand and ooze and grass. And the water would come up and cover it and then with the low tide it would be exposed. You'd have a little land there. The fishermen would go out there, pull up their boats in low tide. When the tide started coming in, they'd go get in their boat and float off. And people actually lived on this lagoon, up and down and in and out. And then they started bringing in boatloads of sand and dredging channels and then planting more of the grass, bunching the grass up. So it would then gather the debris and the flotsam and jetsam of the rivers


that flow into the lagoon. And gradually they'd build it up. And this was a very nice place to live because no one would want to invade you there. It was very safe. And so it was really in the... I would guess around the 7th, 8th century that it started to get very important and then it became more and more important. And then at this time, in the 10th century, it was really becoming important. It was really becoming a rival of Byzantium and became a sea-going power. They had a time there, a period of a hundred or more years, where they were pretty much free of interference from everybody. Inaccessible. They could defend themselves from the sea. No one was invading them from the land. And they were able to really organize themselves and build. If I remember correctly, one main interface was found when Manus was here, when Achillea was destroyed. The initial history of Achillea was between Manus and Achilles.


And I think it was the Huns who destroyed Achillea. The cathedral is still there, and the road looks very much like the road in the Cathedral of Venice. Also, they were making gas there, and the gas goes to Antiquity and they started to extract from the city. So I don't know what happened afterwards, but somebody, as you say, probably in the 6th century, they had to close it. Oh, Achillea. Yeah, Achillea. But that's on the mainland. By the way, all that area used to be part of Austria. So that connects, of course, with your childhood history education,


I'm sure. Exactly, I'm sure you learned that. And, of course, the Camargolesi there were glad to be under the Austrian Empire. They felt that they were defended by good Catholic princes, and then the Poland came along. So it was unlucky that they were so closely connected with the Austrians. But that we're getting way out of our time frame. Yes, there was the influx from Achillea, but there had been people living there. I mean, these were the fishermen who had begun to kind of build something like land. Normal tides are about two feet, so that it was able, they were able to build on these very low islands, almost right floating in the water. And then, of course, you get the five-foot tides, and that fills everything up, and that's their problem since the land's sinking, problem of Venice. So they're going to put up inflatable dikes, rubber dikes.


Can you believe it? Yes, I think that's... Well, yes, actually, it's been improving in the last few years. They've been trying to get the pollution under control. But let's keep in the late 10th century, last quarter of the 10th century, 975, 976, remember the date. Finally, here we are at the crucial point. They find, they plan this revolt. The revolt was to begin with a fire started in the Orseolo Palace, which was situated next to that of the doge. The fire, you see, they couldn't get into the doge's palace, so they went into the next door building, started a fire there, and it spread. The fire soon spread to the surrounding buildings and began to eat away at the Basilica of St. Mark, built in the early 9th century to house the evangelist's relics, which had been stolen from Alexandria by Venetian pirates. The stealing of the relics


and the building of St. Mark's marks, excuse me, the verb, to mark, is the focal point of the establishment of Venice as an important city. Why would somebody's bones be important for a city? Because of the mentality of those days. They were built on the foundations of apostles and evangelists, so they had also a place of pilgrimage. Pilgrimage and commerce were very closely linked. The historians who are in some way related to the Marxist train of thought, I don't mean Marxism as communism, Soviet Union sort of thing, there's also what they call the Marxist line in historiography, which is worthy of much more attention that is given to it in this country,


because in Europe you find people who have nothing whatever to do with communism, even conservative people politically, do espouse some of the Marxist idea of history and the importance of economics. It's just a matter of emphasis for many of them, and they identified with Marx because he was the one, Marx and Engels were the ones who insisted on the economic mechanism as the driving force of many historical events. And that's true in many ways. It's something, of course, that most everyone admits today, because it wasn't attended to very much. But we have to, I think, as Christian historians always correct this by realizing that there was a spiritual value involved that had nothing to do or, shall we say, was in itself, in its nature, distinct from and autonomous with regard to the economic mechanism. But they were closely linked. So relics, commerce, the establishment of a city were very important.


It was very important, by the way, in the monastic renewal, revival in those days, those centuries, establishment of monasteries. You got the relics first, and then you built your church, and then you built your monastery, and you reset. So the fire burned the basilica, and it started to burn the palace. And so Candiano rushes out of the flaming palace, holding his infant son in front of him as a human shield. The mob seizes the child, butchers him before his father's eyes, and slays the daughter. Very dramatic. That's what is described in the story. Those were violent days. Now, contrary to what Peter Damian tells us, Peter Orsalo I was probably not directly involved in the rebellion. The other lives of Peter Orsalo do not present us


with the kind of man that would get involved in that sort of thing. But the fact that he was immediately elected doge obviously implicated him, at least in the minds of the Candiani, the other family. Orsalo was an admiral in the Venetian navy, and his successful battles at sea against Slavic peoples from across the Adriatic, the information about this is a little hazy, we're not exactly sure, because his son also had some naval battles against the Slavs, but that's, I think we can say that he did do this, and this had made him a popular hero, and it helped to assure Venice's position as the great commercial rival of Byzantium. So the people liked him. He was about 50 years old when he became ruler of all Venice. Orsalo's chief concern as doge was to cancel all visible effects, and as far as possible,


cancel all memory of the revolution. Reconciliation, pacification. The two years of his rule, 976 to 978, were a time of feverish building activity in which St. Mark's Square began to assume the aspect it has today. The Campanile was built. So Peter Orsalo built that beautiful Campanile. And Byzantine architects and craftsmen were commissioned to create a new cathedral modeled on Constantinople's Basilica of the Holy Apostles. Now the façade was the... You can see part of the brick façade, by the way, behind the Gothic and Victorian gingerbread façade you have. The façade of St. Mark's was finished in the last century. So the mosaics there are really 19th century stuff vaguely imitating the Byzantine style. But if you can kind of


present, you know, from that façade, you can see behind it the very plain arches and the brickwork. Well, that was the original structure that was begun at the time of Peter Orsalo. And then the other, the Doge's Palace and all of these other buildings. So he gave a St. Mark's Square in many ways. And the architects and the craftsmen were from Constantinople. This Byzantine influence was continually present in the construction and beautification of Venice. Marvelous blendings you have, this overlapping of the Gothic, you know, which is very Western European and the Byzantine sometimes marvelous effects. Now the Candiani, that's the predecessor of Orselo, Peter Candiani. The Candiani family had nurtured close ties with the Saxon emperors, Otto I, Otto II, as well as with the Marquis of Tuscany,


you know, the father of Waldrada, the wife, second wife, Peter Candiani. Peter Orselo made it his policy to keep these same alliances, bipartisan foreign policy, just like in our country, to keep these same alliances, especially the latter with the Marquis of Tuscany. And for this reason he treated Waldrada with the greatest deference, restoring to her the dowry which her father had bestowed on Peter Candiano. Now there's this other nasty legend that Peter Orselo became her lover. I don't think that's true. I really don't think that's true because he was already, if not quite a saint, he was pretty close to it. He was a very holy man. And his attention to her was out of a sense of compassion. She had gotten involved, first of all, in a marriage where she was simply the pawn.


It was her dowry and the alliance that was important, not her person. And then, you know, her husband gets killed. So he was very kind to her and her child, of course. That was their only child. And, of course, this was also in view of the peaceful relations with Tuscany. But anyway, Orselo's cousin and friend, John Gradinego, organized a state funeral for the murdered doge and his son. But it was Orselo's own meekness and gentleness of character that calmed the wrath of the rival clan, and finally there was peace in Venice. He was a very meek and gentle man. We see this in his life there at Cusa. But already this was part of his character. However, the emperor Otto II at this time, this emperor, could not have ignored the political implications of the overthrow of his ally Cantiano. It is quite possible


that he sent word to Abadgari of Cusa, then on his way back from the Holy Land, instructing him to examine the situation and report back. This is a possibility. But whether it happened that way or not is of no great importance, because anyway, the problem resolves itself very quickly. Gari arrived in Venice during the summer of 978. Peter Orselo welcomed the abbot and listened eagerly to the story of his pilgrimage to Jerusalem and to Bethlehem, where he had succeeded in obtaining what was believed to be the wood of the manger in which the infant Jesus had lain. So he takes it back to Cusa, and Cusa comes to be called the monastery of the Lord's crib. Monasterio presepidum. In the course of their conversation, Peter Orselo surprised Gari with a riddle. Can a shipwrecked man


be saved if he does not come to shore? The abbot replied, Certainly not. Peter continued, Then tell me, what shore must I head for? Gari understood what he was hinting at and was pleased to find that the doge had felt the attraction of monastic life for some time now, and especially since he became doge. His marriage, his own marriage, had been a political affair, and they always were anyway. And after the birth of a son and heir, he and his wife Felicia had lived apart. The biographer said that he was celibate after that, and I think probably that's not unlikely that he really did observe celibate chastity, but maybe not. But that's not important. But pleased that the whole political question had so easily found its solution, Abbot Gari immediately accepted his unexpected postulant


and agreed to accompany the doge to the abbey in Catalonia just as soon as he had returned from the final stage of his pilgrimage in Rome. The pilgrimage had to conclude in Rome. Gari left Venice and headed south by land, crossing the Mandrioli Pass and following the mountain road along which 50 years later to the day, to the evening, Camaldoli would be built. Camaldoli was on one of the pilgrimage roads, the one that led from Venice Ravenna down to Rome. People who would come back from the Holy Land and would stop off in either Venice or Ravenna would then take this road. Pope Benedict VII, a man fond of Byzantine culture and Greek monasticism, received Gari with honor,


happy to meet an abbot who shared his interests. Then the pope gave Gari the relics of St. Valentine and sent him back to Venice. So one of the other treasures that he took back to his monastery were the relics of St. Valentine. The doge's plan had in the meantime remained a well-guarded secret and Gari's second visit aroused no suspicions, not even on the part of the doge's wife Felicia. Nor did she suspect anything strange when he sent her off to the mainland to make preparations for the patronal feast of a chapel on one of the doge's farms. Peter promised to follow her the next day. At sundown on August 31, 978, the dates are absolutely correct because we have, we have, they have, the records of the chroniclers of Venice. So here was the top guy, naturally they made a note when he left. There was one surprise. We know it was August 31, 978. It was the day before he left.


Everything was ready. A ship loaded with church ornaments and other precious gifts for the abbey lay at anchor in the lagoon. Shortly after midnight, Gari, the doge, and, to use the expression of the Poussin chronicler, three noblemen of his duchy, John Morosini, John Gradinego, and Romuald, there is no mention of Morino, embark and sail south to Ciocia. Ciocia is on the bottom, southernmost point on the lagoon. There they transfer their goods to wagons, mount horses, and set off on the overland route by way of Verona and Milan. It's curious that Romuald is spoken of as one of the optimates, one of the noblemen. And why does he not have the second name Because both of the others are named John. And Romuald, that was a Ravenna name, so that no one else probably around there was named Romuald. And why did they first go by ship?


Oh, they just went by ship so that they would reach the mainland. Yes, they didn't cross directly over the lagoon. They went south, perhaps to avoid the obvious roads to cover their tracks. So they went south to Ciocia and then followed the Adice River up to Verona and then from Verona they went on into Lombardy and crossed the Alps. Felicia began to worry when Peter was not there for the vigil of the feast, the first vespers. He didn't turn up. But she knew something was amiss when he was not even at mass the next day. In the city they discovered what had happened and the great council met that morning to decide what was to be done. They sent messengers by every possible route westward and finally they found the abbot and his party. But Peter Orseovo, realizing they probably would have tried to follow him, had shaved his beard and put on monk's garb


and with the hood pulled low over his head he was unrecognizable. That's the chronicler's state. So Gutti and his companions continued their journey and in a few weeks arrived at the foot of snow-covered Mount Canigou, or Canigou as it's pronounced in French today. As they approached the abbey of St. Michael, the bells were rung and the monks came out in festive procession to welcome their abbot with his cargo of relics, vestments, and other treasures, the crib of the Lord, the relics of St. Valentine, and so forth. All those bones and sticks and bones that were so important for their life. Well, we shouldn't be too critical or too sarcastic about it. There was just a kind of a network of significance around relics and it's hard for us to unravel it all, and so we just have to accept that was the way people thought


and they had that feeling about it. But when they begin to approach the monastery, the former doge dismounts and walks the rest of the way barefoot. Pagnani says he went on hands and feet on his knees. Maybe, they do that, you know, penitential exercise of the last hundred meters or whatever up the hill to the abbey gate. He may very well have gone on his knees as a gesture of humility, penitence. And he enters the monastery, which was now his home and where he would end his days about ten years later, about nine years later really, nine years. Now, Romul had so far spent his life in the plains and wetlands of northeastern Italy. Has anyone ever seen a swamp? Yeah? Would you like to live in a swamp? There were lots of swamps in Italy even up until the Second World War. You'd be surprised. Lots of wetlands there.


And a lot of them were cleaned up. I mean, you've got to give the devil his due, so Mussolini has credit for cleaning up some of the swamps here and there. But the swamps were a constant problem. Where you have a swamp, you have the mosquito. Where you have the mosquito, you have malaria. So they weren't terribly healthy places to live. Romul was born there and he was used to it. But then when he gets to Crixa, he discovers the beauty of the green valley beneath the white and rocky Pyrenees. And this would be the kind of scenery he preferred when, after his return to Italy, he would begin founding hermitages and monasteries. But now he would be spending ten years at Crixa, his longest period in any one place. I think that's important. You look at the dates and he might have spent seven years at Citria or a little more, but his ten years at Crixa were very important for him. A period of his formation,


his ordination to priesthood, the discovery, not yet really, it was only when he returns to Italy that he discovers that maybe he does have a vocation to be a founder. But he was very happy there. He loved the place. Garry loved Romul, and Romul loved Garry, and it was a very happy period. We know it must have been a very happy period of his life. How did they live there? What happened when they got there? Well, first of all, you had these noblemen of Venice and they had to make their novitiate. So three of them made their novitiate. Romul was already a monk, he didn't have to make a novitiate. And he and Marino, says Peter Damian, very soon after, what, a couple months or something, retired to a hermitage,


that is a little skete, a little cell, a few minutes walking distance from the monastery, from the abbey. And there was a little garden there, and they had a little chapel. I've seen a photograph of it, which is dedicated to St. Romul. Not very far away from the monastery. The name that we have in the life of St. Romul is Longadera, which doesn't seem to be recorded anywhere else, but that may very well have been the name that they gave to their little skete there, the name of the farm, or whatever it was, where the little cell was. So Romul, and probably Marino, I think we can believe that Marino was there. He's just not mentioned, perhaps because he was not a nobleman, he was just a commoner. A nobody, not even a holy man, but they weren't interested, the chroniclers of Venice and of the monastery were not terribly interested in this guy, so they didn't mention him. And then, after the novitiate,


that's one year, John Gradinigo, John Morosini, and Peter of Salo make their vows. John Gradinigo, we are told by Bruno Quirford, immediately after his novitiate, after he'd been there a year, was given permission to go live with Romul. And he does so. And it seems that Peter of Salo and John Morosini remained there in the abbey. We hear that Peter of Salo dedicated himself to many simple, humble, menial tasks. When the chapter of obedience came along, after his profession, he offered to be sacristan. Now, sacristan in some monasteries was a very important office. I guess it was more the guy in charge of cleaning the church or making things ready


for the altars. So he offers himself for this job, but it is said that he swept out the cloister guard and did all of these menial services. He wasn't standing on his status as a nobleman. A man of great gentleness, humility, meekness. All of the people who wrote upon him admire this and underline this quality. John Morosini is not mentioned very much. The dates there. In the different chronicles and lives of Peter of Salo, we have these Roman numerals. Roman numerals, because they have these x's and l's and v's and i's, they're very easy to mix up. They're very easy to confuse people, especially when one Emanuensis is copying another manuscript, he takes out an i and puts in an x or something like that. So we have all of these


different numbers. We don't really know how to sort them out, but it seems that the story of the rest of Peter of Salo's life is more or less like this. There is the mention in the life given in a document at Camaldoli. Now, this is supposed to refer to his death. However, it would seem more likely that this refers to the time when he left the abbey, the cloister, and moved in with Romuald, because the other documents do suggest that he did live for a while in the semi-hermetical life that Romuald and Marino and Gratinigo were living. So he went out and joined them. This would be in 982. He'd been there a little over four years. It was the fifth year of his monastic life. And then, the date is important, 982, because at that time we find John Morosini back in Venice.


So I get the picture that the two of them were left there in the monastery because they perhaps had not been religious because John Gratinigo perhaps had somewhat of a religious formation. We don't know, but there was some reason why the abbot gave him permission to go and be a hermit, whereas the other two stayed in the monastery. I think that's probably the way it happened. John Morosini, however, does not feel the call to the mesquite there in Longodera, and in fact, he returns to Venice and finds a monastery. He finds the monastery of San Giorgio. San Giorgio is the Benedictine monastery right across from St. Mark's Square. So when you stand with your back to the Campanile, you see San Giorgio. San Giorgio has a beautiful façade based on the designs of Palladio, the great late Renaissance architect of Venice and of that region of Italy. Palladian architecture is a great school. And so it's interesting


that the one monastery left within Venice is still somehow related to Romuald or related to, you know, the history we're talking about, because it was founded by John Morosini. Now, 982, we know he is there, we know he found San Giorgio, and then he disappears. But then somebody else turns up in Ravenna, turns up as Archbishop of Ravenna, but his name is Vincenzo. And yet there's reason to believe that John Morosini and Vincenzo, Archbishop of Ravenna, were one and the same person. It may very well have been, although this was rather rare, but there may have been some reason for him to take a monastic name. People usually didn't, but sometimes they did, especially if they had a Christian saint for their baptism. They usually kept it. This was, at Camaldoli, this was the rule until, well, 15th, 16th century. Why did it change


custom? Other orders were doing it, Carmelites were doing it, so they got the idea of doing it in Camaldoli. That is why, of course, in the necrologies of these medieval monasteries, you find everyone with the same name. I think I mentioned that before. One's named Peter, Peter John Benedict, and one or two others. You know, you have a hundred people and they all have the same Christian name. You have to distinguish them by where they're from or who their father's name was. Romuald himself was Romuald III or IV or something like that because they alternated. Romuald and Sergio were the favorite names in his family. Anyway, it may be that John Morosini is the same guy as Vincenzo, Archbishop of Ravenna, whom we find there in the years following the founding of San Giorgio, St. George's Monastery in Venice. Excuse me. You mentioned Marino. I think he's the one with the name. Yeah. Is his hat


the same as yours or are you sure he was there? I don't see any reason to deny this. I don't see any reason to deny this. And I think because it's in sync, Peter David's like Romuald. You see, this is Marino, whom he teams up with there in the Venetian lagoon. But Romuald's, I mean, Peter David says that he was nullo magisterio in vita eremitica. In other words, he had no training in the hermetic life, which means he probably was a monk. But we don't know. It may have been that the picture people got of Romuald with Marino was not of Romuald disciple, Marino master, but of Romuald monk and nobleman and Marino commoner and servant. Monks had their servants, when they were noble people. And in fact, Peter Damian tells us that as soon as they get to Quicksand and they move back to the hermitage, the relationship is reversed


and Marino delights in obeying Romuald. And in fact, I do feel that what Peter Damian says is not simply the piety of a hagiographer, but does represent what happened there in the little semi-hermetical colony on the farm of the Abbey, that the youngest among them, Romuald was 28 when they went there, probably, or 26. But anyway, he was beginning to be mature in the fullest sense of the word. People didn't live that long, so I've mentioned that before, that a man of 26, 28 was probably pretty mature, much more than he would be considered today in our own society. And then, a few years more, a couple, three years, four years more, the idea of putting the youngest among them in charge of that was something that also corresponded to a certain monastic ideology of the child will lead them,


from the prophecy in Isaiah. Also, Saint Benedict's reference to listening to the youngest member in the community, Byzantine liturgy, and today we are going to talk about the Greek spiritual and monastic influence at Saint Romuald's time and consequently upon Saint Romuald himself. It's not necessary that there be any statement in any doctrine about Saint Romuald that there was some Greek influence upon him. We simply know that there was this convergence or confluence flowing together of monastic experiences during the late 10th, early 11th century. Romuald was there where this was happening. And also, we see from the style


of his own life and from the places that he lived that there is obviously this Greco-Byzantine influence. It is not necessary either that we suppose Romuald's having read something of the Greek fathers in Greek. He may have known Greek. It's not impossible. It's not impossible that he picked up a little bit along the way and really did have contact with some Greek sources. But a lot of what we would regard as Eastern monastic spirituality, Eastern Christian monastic spirituality, was available to him through the good old books that were being read then and were being re-read, shall we say. There was a reawakening of interest not only in the rules of Saint Benedict but also in the sources of the rules of Saint Benedict. And therefore those texts


which are mentioned in the last chapter of the rule, Saint Basil in Latin translation, the institutes and conferences that is of Cassian, and the lives and sayings of the Desert Fathers in various collections. And we are told that Romuald read those and recommended the reading of them and that to do otherwise than to base his own life and his own monastic teaching, in other words, whoever would base life and teaching upon what he makes up in his own mind or what he dreams up on his own would be presumptuous. And so Romuald bases himself upon this tradition which was something very much alive for him. I'm simply quoting


Bruno of Querfurt and the Life of the Five Brothers. This is one of the statements in praise of Saint Romuald by Bruno of Querfurt, mentioning and putting these words in the mouth of John Gradinigo. Romuald is the greatest teacher of hermits of our day because he does not presume to know on his own this way of life, this beautiful way of life, but learns it from fathers and it is their teaching that he transmits to us. So this sense of renewal as a transmission of a living tradition. We have to, I think, pay attention, be careful about our own kind of tendency to see or to hear the word tradition or to see tradition in a somewhat negative sense, that which forbids us from doing something that is meaningful


for our own time. The opposite of relevant, almost, in current jargon would be traditional. But tradition is best described. Now you have to remind me, Father, who was it who said that we are dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants? John of Saul. John of Saul. A very beautiful image. We are dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants. We see a little bit farther than they did, but because we are standing so high. And yet how often we think of tradition, history, as a weight upon our shoulders, some heavy yoke we must bear. But anyway, these are our 20th century hang-ups. We can get over them easily enough if we simply pay attention to the liveliness,


the vitality of St. Romuald and of these monks of his time who were really looking to renew this great way of life in the Church. Now, in order to understand these Greek, Byzantine, monastic, spiritual influences in the West, we have to keep in mind two important events which took place in the 9th century, the 800s, the middle of the 800s, the third quarter of the 800s. And they were two events very closely connected. The events associated with the brothers Cyril and Methodius, the two co-patrons of Europe along with St. Benedict, and the events associated with Phocis, the patriarch of Constantinople, who had a hard time getting himself accepted by the Bishop of Rome, and he was accepted and then unaccepted and then in and then out.


And recent historical studies have tended in the direction of rehabilitating Phocis, insisting on the fact that he died in full consciousness and full conviction of communion in the one church and therefore communion with the Bishop of Rome. He did not die in any sense in what we might call an impenitent schismatic. It was not this. Now, some of his polemics, as the polemics that took place in the West around his character and around the Byzantine church, some of these did lead, of course, to the breakdown of communion, which reached a fever point in the middle of the 11th century and then kept getting worse until it became a situation of two churches, sister churches, but estranged sisters. But this all took place


at one and the same time because Cyril and Methodius were close friends of Phocis. Now, Cyril's name really is Constantine, so you sometimes see the names Constantine and Methodius. His name Cyril is his monastic name, which he took a few weeks before he died in Rome. He is buried in Rome in the church of St. Clement in the basement there down underneath. Anyone who goes to Rome and doesn't go to St. Clement's and go down beneath the different levels of that church has missed the whole beauty of Rome. Even a simple devout Catholic woman like my cousin Hannah, after she returned from her one trip to Rome with my mother, said that was the thing she remembered the most. It meant the most to her. And she went to St. Peter's and St. John Lateran's and all the other things that you're supposed to see. But she said, gee, that was fascinating, fantastic.


And it is. And it's remarkable because you go down to the lowest level and you see this crypt of the cult of Mithra, the great competing religion, competitor of Christianity in the first century in Rome. And then you go up to the next level, which is the church of the ninth century in which you find the tomb of St. Cyril. Methodius was the older of the two brothers. Methodius became a monk at a rather young age. He entered the monastery on Mount Olympus in Bessinia, Mount Olympus, which was a great monastic center at that time, second only to Constantinople itself. They were born in Thessalonica or Saloniki in modern Greek, which at that time was a bilingual city. There were a lot of people who spoke Slavonic in that city.


And the brothers grew up hearing both languages, Greek and Slavonic, and that's very important that they had this bilingual type of background. Methodius became a monk and a priest. Constantine became a professor, having studied under Phocis. He was a lawyer. But, of course, he also studied Holy Scripture and also he was a saint, or at least he was on the way to becoming a great saint and a great man of the Church. But he was more carried towards the Church as involved in social life and political affairs and so forth. And he was a diplomat. He was sent as a diplomat to the Arabs and to the Khazars, these various tribes that were always a threat to the Eastern Empire. And in 861 we have Phocis, the Patriarch of Constantinople. In 862 there was a request


for missionaries from Moravia. The ruler of Moravia was a prince called Rastislav. And he was interested in gaining independence from Louis Ludwig, the German of Bavaria, who was trying to move in on Moravia. That's part of present-day Czechoslovakia. Now this has nothing to do with independence from Rome. This is not a problem of divided Church. This is simply a problem of politics. He didn't want the Germans and he felt more comfortable with the Greeks. So he went to them. He said, I want missionaries. I want people to come and teach and preach. And so the emperor, what was his name, I didn't put it down here, Michael III or something like that, asks the two brothers, Constantine and Methodius, to go and prepare for a mission to these Slavic peoples


in Moravia. So Constantine, the scholar, sat down and invented an alphabet because at that time there was no written Slavonic language. And that is what we know as the Glagolitic alphabet. Now there's another alphabet which is used today in Russian and in, what, Serbian and Bulgarian, which is called Cyrillic. And that's the name given it in honor of Saint Cyril. It was really developed by disciples of Saint Methodius who outlived his younger brother. Cyril then invented what is called the Glagolitic alphabet and translated. He headed the translation committee to translate, first of all, the Gospels. And the first word they translated was the first word, in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, the Word was with God, and so forth. A series of readings


from the Gospel, beginning with the Gospel of Easter, you see. That really is significant that the mission, the preaching, the teaching, the writing, even the educational ministry, begins with the proclamation of the risen Lord who is God from eternity. The Christian message all summed up in that. But the Christian message now incarnates in another culture. They also translated the liturgy. The Byzantine liturgy, which was their own, and also the Roman liturgy, from a Greek translation of the Roman liturgy, which was called the Mass of Saint Peter. It was a little Byzantine-ized. Then in the early 20th century, a great composer, Czech composer, called Leoš Janáček,


wrote his Missa Glagolitica, Glagolitic Mass, which was based on the text, the Slavonic text, of the Roman rite as translated by Jean Searle. It's an opera piece. It's a concert piece. It's not liturgy. He wasn't very much a practicing Christian as far as I know, but it was part of his culture and folklore, so he did write a musical setting of this Glagolitic Mass. And it's still celebrated, or at least it was up until the Second Vatican Council in certain chapels. A special privilege of the celebration of the Slavonic-translated Latin rite. Anyway, we find that this mission to the Moravians also began to extend towards Bulgaria. And in Bulgaria it became very important. Bulgaria became really a Byzantine nation, you might say. In 865, the ruler of Bulgaria, Boris, was baptized.


So we have these new mission countries opening up, and especially to be served by the missionaries from Constantinople. Now there was some debate, there was some conflict here whether they were doing the right thing. In 867, the two brothers went to Rome. Now, Rome was having a fight with Phocius. So this was a real diplomatic problem, because they knew these two brothers were close friends of Phocius, and Phocius was the one who really promoted their mission to Moravia and Bulgaria, and yet they were also recognized for what they were, great saints, and great men of the Church, and great, with a great sense of communion, and of the gospel above all, petty squabbles that have sometimes betrayed the unity of Christ's gospel. Excuse me, Paul. Could you tell me what Phocius' position was again? You said, Patriarch of Constantinople,


but not recognized by Rome, who recognized a man called Ignatius at that time. But recent studies have shown that finally the thing worked out so that Phocius, when he himself went to his eternal rest, he was in full communion with the Bishop of Rome and so forth. There was a lot of bickering and a lot of conflict going on. So I don't want to go into that. That's another question. I'm just mentioning that this is important because of the relationship between Phocius and these two brothers, these two saints. They also had with them, when they went to Rome, they had with them what was believed to be the relics of St. Clement. That's why he went to St. Clement. That's why he was buried there. They brought with them the relics of St. Clement from Constantinople, wherever they were. And so Pope Hadrian II gave them his support. Then you found another pope who said, Oh no, we can't do this. We can't permit this. Latin is the language of the Church.


And then you have another pope again who's saying, Oh no, that's right. God can be worshipped in any language and so forth and so on. In 869, Constantine becomes ill. He makes his monastic vows on his deathbed. A few weeks later, he dies and is buried. 869, buried in the church of St. Clement. His brother goes on to the mission. Okay. Oh, that's a cute joke. I'm reading. This is a note somebody stuck into my notes. And I think the man who did this is named Father Robert Hale. So I will read what he says, giving equal time to the opposing party. Focius had the chutzpah. Chutzpah. That's Yiddish for the Gaul. To hold that his holiness was heretical. Ah, dramatic alliteration. And seduced Eastern Catholics


into schism and heresy. Not true at all. God punished him by dumping him off his high horse throne and the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople condemned him. 870, Note of Bennett that the council was held in his own city. So he couldn't even much, most of the votes in his own city, let alone the upstate vote. Kind of a ninth century John Glenn. Okay, later he repented and so his holiness let him get back on his throne. Everyone having noted for the upteenth time that his throne didn't even come up to the footstool of the chair of Peter. Summing up, he wasn't a very nice man. But what can you expect of someone named Focius? Would you name your son Focius? Can you imagine Prince Charles and Diane naming their coming second child Focius? Okay, comic relief. Now let's get back to the business here. Byzantine monasticism. Byzantine monasticism. Methodius was a monk. Cyril became a monk. The two great spiritual ideals of the early Christians,


which remain very much the two great models of holiness for the Byzantine church are that of the monk and the martyr. Now in the eighth century, this is going back a little before Cyril and Methodius. In the eighth century there was the iconoclastic controversy. The emperors wanted to eliminate the images from the churches. I won't go into the details explaining why they wanted to do this. I don't think really that there was too much a question of Islamic influence upon them because there was something, there was an undercurrent always present in Christianity, a kind of, you know, the literal interpretation of the second commandment according to the Greek numbering. That they would refuse to accept images. But this was very much the tradition of the people, the common people and of the monks. They loved their icons, loved their images. Therefore they were willing to die for them in the eighth century. So there were saints


recognized, of course, by Rome who gave shelter to many refugees from the persecution. And that's important that there was a wave of refugees from the iconoclast persecutions who in the eighth century and times thereafter also fleeing from Saracen invasions, the Muslims. A lot of these came to Italy, southern Italy, and to Rome itself. A group of them came to San Gregorio Alcelio which then became Carmel de Lis many centuries later. Now, the monks of the east followed what are called the rules of Saint Basil which are really a series of texts, ascetical teachings, the long rules and the short rules, as the spiritual guide for their way of life. And then the actual day-to-day ordering of the monastic life was done according to what were called the tipica. A tipicon is a series


of rules which govern the daily schedule, especially the performance of the liturgy, the liturgy of the hours and so forth. The important tipica of the eastern church are those of Saint Saba, the monastery of Studios, and of the Magistri Lavra, the great Lavra on Mount Athos. One of the great stars of eastern monastic life is Saint Theodore of Studios, a great monastic reformer in the city of Constantinople. Studios is the name of a nobleman who donated the land, built the buildings for the monastery. Saint Theodore was a great confessor of the faith against the iconoclastic emperors, appealed very often to Rome, referred to the bishop of Rome as very much the primate in the church. He was a contemporary of Saint Benedict of Ania, the great Carolingian monastic reformer. So you had kind of a parallel moment there in the church. And then you have


Saint Athanasius of Athos, who formed the community of the great Lavra, Grand Lavra on Mount Athos in 963. Then, born within three or four years of, three years perhaps, of Saint Romuald, three years before him, Saint Simeon the New Theologian, also a Studite monk, had a smaller monastery of Saint Mamas in Constantinople, on the seaport. Saint Simeon, of course, you know, was great for spiritual direction and also for the enthusiastic popular piety that his own devotion to his own teacher, his own elder, aroused. He was an abbot who canonized his spiritual father. Slightly irregular, but really the rules were not all that clear and ultimately he was never really,


you know, condemned for doing this, although they didn't like it because he had the icon painted and the relics put in a box and people would flock to Saint Mamas for the great feast of Saint Simeon of Studios, Saint Simeon the Studite. That's his spiritual father's name. It's also Simeon. Saint Simeon the New Theologian, I could go on talking about him. He was a great mystic of light and therefore also, in many ways, a parallel figure to Saint Romuald. Different in some things. Simeon was a writer, but not for all of that, what you would call an intellectual, a very brilliant man, a very intelligent man, but a poet, you see. A man of great affective piety and really a great, powerful preacher, powerful poet and mystic. One of the greatest mystics of all times, of all the Church. And Saint Romuald,


who didn't write very much, he wrote a couple of books, but that wasn't his thing. Yet also very much a man of affective piety, Christocentric piety, a mystic of light. Mysticism centered on the Transfiguration and the Resurrection. In the Eastern tradition, you often hear the complaint raised that the emperors had too much power over the Church. Of course, the emperors, interestingly enough, the emperors of Constantinople were granted the power of presidency over the Church by whom? Pope Saint Leo the Great. The famous statement of Leo addressing the emperor, saying, not only are you supposed to be in charge of the civil society, but also your responsibility of the Presidium Sanctae Ecclesiae. So they said,


all right, that's fine, I'll do that. And they went ahead and made a lot of trouble. At best, you had what would be called, and what was called, a kind of harmony between emperor and patriarch. And in this harmony, in this C major chord, you often had a dissonant note, and that was the monks. Often they sang off key. When the emperor and patriarch were in full agreement, especially in iconoclastic controversy, you had the monks singing to another tune, marching to a different drummer, and so forth. The monks were very important in the life of the Church, the life of the people. Now, let's move back to Saint Romuald. Saint Romuald was a Lombard, an Italianized Lombard. Ravenna was dominated by Lombards until Otto II came and gave it back to the Pope.


Romuald was 15 years old at that time. There was a synod, Pope John VIII, and Emperor Otto I, Otto the Great, in 967, held the synod in Ravenna, and the emperor declared that Ravenna and all the lands around it now belonged to the states, belonged to the Pope. But, of course, the important local families didn't terribly like this. I suppose Romuald's family also was a bit disgruntled at this. And then one of Romuald's disciples, we'll see him a little later on, Benedict of Benevento, one of the five brothers who went up to Benevento. Benevento was also a Lombardy kingdom. Now, these Lombard princes, especially the princes of Benevento, Benevento Capua, which was kind of a kingdom, an odd section of the map of Italy,


maybe around the center, kind of pushing up towards Ravenna and going down under Rome, the princes of the duchy, Benevento Capua, the Lombards, sought alliances often with Constantinople. Why? As a kind of a counterbalance to the influence of the German emperors. Let's see. And Rome was in the middle. Rome's papacy was dominated by these Roman families. And the Pope would always be somebody's son or grandson or nephew. Sometimes the next Pope was the former Pope's son or grandson or nephew. So this family business in Rome was a real mess. A lot of the Third broke the stranglehold of these families. Later on, we will see that he appointed the first German Pope and the first French Pope in succession.


Anyway, in the duchy of Benevento, we find Monte Cassino. Now, one of the very important saints in this area, not from Benevento, but from Calabria, a town called Rossano, was Saint Nilos. He was born at the beginning of the 10th century and lived a very long life. He died in 1004 and therefore was for a part of his life a contemporary of Saint Romulus. They're very close in many ways, and it's very strange that there is no mention of Saint Romulus in the life of Saint Nilos, and there's no mention of Saint Nilos in the life of Saint Romulus or the life of the five brothers by Bruno of Prague, because Otto III had dealings with both of these saints. Well, it just so happened that their paths did not really cross at the same time, although they were often there near with the emperor at close intervals. Nilos arrives in the duchy of Benevento


around 975-980. Pandolfo I, who was the duke, the prince, welcomed him. He was glad to have Greeks around, because Greeks were always useful as diplomats. They gave him a monastery called Valleluce. Well, first of all, Nilos went to Monte Cassino. This is an important thing here. There's a good article here in this book on the centennial millenary of Montatos. It was published in 1963. It commemorates 1,000 years of the Grand Lavra. It's an article by two, well, British scholars, Patricia McNulty of the University of North Wales and Bernard Hamilton of the University of Nottingham. Do you know these people? Well, there's an article that was produced in the same book called The Translations of Peter Danes. Aha! Oh, yes, that's right. McNulty, of course. Yeah, yeah, that's right. Now I remember. Yes, indeed.


But anyway, this article is called Greek Influences on Western Monasticism. And so I will read you a few little passages here which are very interesting. First of all, about Nilos. Nilos came to Monte Cassino, first of all, and the abbot welcomed him with open arms and had a great liturgy celebrated. And they held a special conference there discussing the different monastic observances of East and West. And so this abbot, his name was Aligernos, he died in 1984, was the re-founder of Monte Cassino, which had been abandoned, had been empty for a number of years, and he brought the community back to Monte Cassino and rebuilt the buildings. He was very interested in the Christian East, very interested in Greek monasticism, so he welcomed St. Nilos. Now, his successor, Abbot Manso, in 1984, was a rather princely-style abbot


and therefore scandalized the more austere members of the community. He was rather un-Greek in this respect, more in the type of the feudal abbot, but being a man, perhaps, of not the spiritual depths of either his personal life predecessor or his successor, he has a bad reputation. But at all events, there was not really any sense of rejecting the influences of the East. Valle Luce was the small monastery given to St. Nilo by Pandolfo, and that's quite near Monte Cassino. While he was living, says McNulty and Hamilton, while Nilos was living at Valle Luce, he succeeded in creating among the Castanese community an awareness of the spirituality of the Christian East, and this survived his departure. When he left Valle Luce, he went to Serperi near Gaeta,


which is not far from Naples. This had a profound effect on the lives of certain members of the house. The future Abbot John III, who had entered Monte Cassino during the lifetime of the devout and Grecophile, Ali Gernus, and who found Manso's princely ways hard to tolerate, departed for Jerusalem, Horatio, and he was caught up in the sake of prayer in the company of two other monks. In the East, he spent six years as a member of the Mount Sinai community, St. Catherine's and Mount Sinai, and afterwards stayed for a time at the Maleficent Monastery on the holy mountain, Mount Athos. He was recalled to Monte Cassino by means of a vision, and on his return was elected Abbot of the community. Interesting. Abbot Monte Cassino was a monk on Mount Sinai and Mount Athos. Which monastery on Athos? The Amalfitan Monastery. This was a monastery of Latin rite founded by monks from Amalfi, which is also near Naples. Monte Cassino remained in touch


with Eastern Christians throughout the 11th century. Valle Luce, that's Nilo's monastery nearby, remained, even after Nilo left, remained a Greek house until 1014 when it returned to Latin use. And Monte Cassino had six abbots during this period who had relations of one kind or another with Constantinople, Athos, or Asia Minor. At the same time you had this going on at Monte Cassino, you had the same thing going on at Cluny, although being rather farther off, it had less direct contact with the Greeks, and then also you have Abbot Gari who was traveling back and forth between East and West very often, and of course, you know, it was on his return trip from one of his pilgrimages in 978 that St. Romuald and St. Peter of Salo and the others from Venice went with him to Pisa. This was another indication


of the Greek influence. Abbot Gari was a friend of Pope Benedict VII, and Pope Benedict VII, this is in the late 970s, granted the monastery of St. Boniface on the Aventine to Sergius, the Archbishop of Damascus, who came to Rome in 977 with a small group of Greek monks. The Archbishop of Damascus and a group of monks came to Rome, and so they went to this monastery which had already a small Latin-Rite community, probably Germanic origins since the saint is St. Boniface who essentially, two centuries before, evangelized parts of Germany and modern-day Holland. And they named the monastery Sant'Alessio, which is the name of St. Alexios, an oriental saint, and it is that name


by which the Church is called today, which has a lovely icon of the Mother of God dating back to those times. So you had this unusual monastery, a bi-ritual community with Greek monks following their Greek office and Latin monks following their Latin office, under one abbot who happened to be a Greek. First of all, Abbot Sergius, Archbishop Sergius, formerly Archbishop of Damascus. And he was followed by Leo. Now, Abbot Leo, in 999, became Archbishop of Ravenna when Gerbert became Pope of Rome in Sylvester II. All of these connections. But before we get to Leo, we have St. Adalbert of Prague. In 992, he was forced from his seat of Prague and came with his brother Radim. Radim took the name, it's a frightening name, he took the name Gaudensius, a nice-sounding name, when he became a monk. They both became monks at the Abbey of St. Alessio and St. Bonifacio on the Aventine.


They made their novitiate there. Then they returned to Prague. And then in 999, what happens then? Romuald resigns the abbacy. Gerbert is elected Pope. And so, to fill the sea of Ravenna, Otto moves around his ponds and he moves Leo, the abbot of St. Alessio, to Ravenna. Leo's successor, John Canaparios, obviously his surname is Greek, another Greek abbot. And that was the year that Romuald comes to Rome and there he meets Bruno Querfurt, who was a priest and a chaplain in the court of Otto III, and the military man, Tom Mo took the monastic name of Thomas, and Bruno took the monastic name of Boniface, and they made their novitiate at St. Alessio. Then they followed Romuald outside the city. We don't know where exactly, where they had a little hermitage. This was before.


Then they went to Ravenna, and so forth and so on. After the abbot John Canaparios, who died in 1004, he was the last Greek abbot. Eventually the house became Pluniac. And, you know, the Greek monks kind of were very few, so eventually they just made a Pluniac monastery out of it. That's an important connection there. Where do we find that, the Greek connection with Romuald? First of all, we find it in Ravenna in general. It was always around there. We find it at Quixot, Gari. We don't know exactly what this would have meant for the daily life, what it would have meant necessarily for the liturgy. There are two interesting clues in the way of life of Romuald and the other hermits there in Quixot. Two little clues that indicate a certain amount of Greek influence on their way of life, whether by second hand or by first hand, we don't know, but it doesn't matter. The first thing, the way they fasted. They fasted five days a week,


but they fasted from Monday through Friday. Then they broke their fast on Saturday and Sunday. It doesn't sound like anything, but that's very important because this was the Greek way of ordering the fast. Whereas the Western, in the time of St. Sylvester I, was to interrupt the weekday fast on Thursday and then fast again on Friday and Saturday, and then Sunday, of course, being a non-fast day. But St. Romuald adopted this custom and followed it for 15 years. One other thing. They tilled a little field there in the little hermitage. He and John Gradimigo went out and cultivated their fava beans and whatever else they did. Manual labor, something of little importance, relatively little importance for the Cluniac type of monastery. Let us, however, be cautious about bad-mouthing the Cluniac reform because they didn't do all this manual labor. It isn't really terribly clear


in the Rule of St. Benedict exactly whether monks are bad if they don't work with their hands. It says it's all right if you have to work with your hands. Well, the fathers did this, so don't worry about it. You're being good monks. I understand. But it doesn't say that you'd be a bad monk if you did other things. They had a certain amount of work in the prescriptorium and so forth. But things began to be dominated by the liturgy, this concept of contemplative life, very much a contemplative ideal, but contemplative through the signs and symbols of liturgy and so forth. So a lot of the monks today was taken up by liturgy. We've already mentioned that. And therefore manual labor was kind of set aside. But here we find Romuald and John Gradimigo doing manual labor. That doesn't sound like anything. And yet it's important because whenever we find the mention of Greek monks or the mention of Greek lifestyle, we always find an emphasis placed upon and they also work with their hands. Bruno Quirford wrote The Life of St. Adalbert, Prague. And in The Life of St. Adalbert


he mentions very emphatically that he simply was the most perfect monk, the most perfect archbishop because he forgot he was a bishop and worked in the kitchen, washed the pots and pans, took his turns doing dishes, took his turns maybe cooking and working in the garden. This for him was a sign of his monasticity of life and also of his humility. Any question about this at this point? Does this sound a bit scattered, a bit confusing, or does it seem to point to things? What I'm trying to suggest is that Romuald, whatever we find written about him, was exposed on every side to influences from Greek monasticism. And this was very important for him just as it was important for the life of piety, devotion and monastic asceticism


for just about everyone in the West, at least in the late 10th and early 11th centuries. Father, you have something on the tip of your tongue or something? No, I haven't. Something goes wrong that you haven't mentioned which comes a bit earlier. There was a Greek archbishop in Canterbury too, Theodore. Aha. And I've never tried to look into his Bible. We know about him but it's a very interesting fact that he comes into the picture just a little bit before, about a century before the time of his being here. Yes. As early as after, only about just after when there was still budgeting. Just after World War II. I'm not sure. Something like that. Aha. It's so vague. I think it's a very interesting list of things. I say it could obviously be extended a bit further because if Theodore got to Canterbury, there's so much problem one can pile up this list of things.


Which is what McNulty and Hamilton do. They pile up a list of contacts. It's kind of scattered. But the main thing is that wherever we find Romuel, there also we find Greek influences. Wherever we find him. I certainly think the coincidences you pointed to, they probably aren't just coincidences. I think I agree with that. They must have got something to do with what was in there. And what would be the forces that would be promoting this research and Greek influence? Saracen activity? Pressure in the East? Driving people West? This is one thing that was just mentioned. There were refugees in Saracen. Actually more in the 8th century. Yes. In the 9th century. And then in the 10th century, however, we find the Muslim rulers became rather weak and this made it possible for all of these pilgrimages


from the West to take place. And so you had people flocking to the East to visit the Holy Land. You found Gari and others making trips there. You found the future Abbot of Monte Cassino spending six years in the Near East. No? More than six years. Actually six years on Mount Sinai. Then a number of years visited Jerusalem and a number of years in Mount Athos. So it was a moment there in the second half of the 10th century when there was a... And pilgrimages always, you know, been a lively thing, an attractive thing for devout Christians. Pilgrimages. One pilgrimage place which was in Italy and yet was also very much a Greek sanctuary is that of St. Michael on Monte Gargano. If you look at the Italian boot, you see a little bulge above the heel, like the spur on the boot. And that spur is Mount Gargano. And there is this


ancient sanctuary of St. Michael. It may even have originally been a pagan shrine of some sort then rededicated to St. Michael the Archangel. And there were Greek monks there in the grottoes, hermits, monks who attended the sanctuary. It was a place where a lot of people liked to make pilgrimage although the third at one time made a pilgrimage there, a penitential pilgrimage to St. Michael. Something about these, these pilgrimages. What do they say here? St. John of Gours. Gours was in Lorraine, right? Gours was a great center of monastic reform. Very often talked about monastic reform in the 10th, 11th century. You talk about Cluny and Gours. It used to be that historians turned all reformed monasteries into Cluniac monasteries, what they call


pan-Cluniacism. But now, of course, they're more cautious. For instance, Santa Polinare in Classe was influenced by Cluny. The abbot St. Mayolo, came to Ravenna and urged the monks to adopt the rule of St. Benedict and adopt the usages of Cluny and so forth. But he didn't assume authority like an abbot general over Santa Polinare. This was not too long before Romulus entered. His complaints about the monks there perhaps can be put this way. He was displeased. He was scandalized because they were not properly Cluniac. They were not doing what the rule said. And then the monastery of Cuixin was founded again with this great Cluniac spirit, but not part of the Cluniac,


real Cluniac authority, the authority of the Abbot of Cluny. As the dust settles after the bombing raid, now we return to the nasty performance. St. Bruno singling out Romulus as being special because he based his own teaching on that which had gone before in the tradition whereas other people apparently seemed to be setting up doing their own thing more or less. My impression was that the Cluniac reform was pretty well underway by that time and that everyone was harking back to some kind of Benedictine rule or way of life. Yes, let me make that more clear. What Bruno Quirford says is a positive praise of St. Romulus. He does not mention other people who did not do this. He said that St. Romulus did not presume to teach this from his own noggin, but rather on the basis of what he learned from the teachings


of the fathers, the lives and conferences of the fathers. I don't have it right in front of me, but that is his expression. It is a positive praise of St. Romulus. You might say that it's simply saying that he was part of this return to the sources, which was taking place at this time. I thought he was singling him out. I thought he seemed to be kind of unique that way, apparently. Yes. Let me not look... No, he was unique in many ways, of course, but I think the meaning of it is that he was part of this great tradition and he represented this great tradition with great authenticity, the lived experience, and yet not something as if he invented it himself or thought it up arbitrarily or with presumption, as the expression used by Bruno Koerner. Anyway, that's just one detail. Interesting how reformers are always returned to the sources. Of course they are. And yet they are life-givers. In fact, reformer is not really


a word that I'm terribly fond of. It sounds... I don't know It doesn't sound exactly like what I really feel Rommel was. I would see him more as an animator, as a life-giver, as a father in the spirit. And therefore, his return to tradition was also a return to wellsprings of a dynamic spiritual life, something very, very charismatic in the best sense of the word. Now, I did start to say something about Gors. Of course you had these... And Gors was another one, another one that was important in another center of monastic reform. St. John of Gors, Abbot of Gors, for example, who visited Mount Gargano in about 933, discovered that the opus manuum, annual labor, formed a vital part of the tradition of the Greek communities in Benevento. When he returned to Lorraine, he tried to persuade some of his acquaintances to accompany him to South Italy as foundation members of a new community.