Camaldolese History

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Camaldolese History Class. Conference #11 (Mar 29, 1984) & Conference #12 (Apr 4, 1984)

AI Summary: 



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


The point that I was just mentioning before I turned the tape on, I think it's important to repeat here. We're trying to see the life of Saint Romulus within its cultural and religious context, which is rather difficult. This is kind of breaking new ground, although I am not doing any of the original work we did, because depending a great deal upon our two Kamalvalis historians of recent times, Father Pagnani, who died a few years ago, almost at the age of 100, and Father Giuseppe Cacciamani, who is still living, thanks be to God, their work is of different types and they have very different opinions, but I depend a great deal on the information they give me. But I'm also trying to help us to understand, to interpret the life of Saint Romulus.


And to interpret anything means to place it within its context. To interpret a verse from Holy Scripture means to read what comes before it, what comes after, what is the wider context of that particular biblical theme, and so forth. The same with the life of Saint Romulus. It has to be understood against the backdrop of medieval monasticism in all of its various forms and currents. And it has meaning as part of that whole. Saint Romulus is sometimes seen as very distinct from the monasticism of his time, in a certain sense that's true. He is distinct from everything, because he is a very, very special kind of saint. Very hard to categorize, classify. Even in his own lifetime he puzzled people, and he still puzzles us, and that's all right. But on the other hand, we can justifiably insist upon the continuity between the monasticism


which grew out of Romuol's life and activity, that is, Camaldoli and its congregation, Fonte Vallana and its congregation. We can insist on the continuity of this monasticism with the Cluniac reform, with the series of Eastern influences that were coming into the Western Church right during the lifetime of Saint Romulus. Now, we left Saint Romulus at Pucha, and he was there for a number of years. There are problems of chronology, but I have settled upon the chronology of this German historian, Farnke, who wrote a book in the early years of the century about Saint Romulus, which paints a rather dreary picture of him. But it seems that the best chronology is ten years of Saint Romulus living in Catalonia


at Pucha. And we have a few bits of information which are in the life of Saint Romulus by Saint Peter Damian which are very important, one of which we have already looked at, the practice of manual labor. This is mentioned rather in passing, but it is indicative of perhaps a more Oriental lifestyle which Romuold and the hermits there, the little hermit colony next to the abbey, adopted. They worked with their hands. But it does say that Romuold and John Gradinigo, presumably the two youngest of the group, certainly Marino was older than the others. Peter Orseo, though we know, was fifty when he went there. So the two younger men, more strong and healthy, went to work in the garden, and for three years they worked in the garden.


But then Saint Romuold no longer worked in the garden. Why was that? Well, I think that it's probably because the abbot came along and said, now see here, Romuold, you should become a priest. And so Romuold set aside the hoe and spade and went to work with the books and studied and read. Again, I've already said this, Saint Romuold was not an intellectual, but he was a lover of books, and he read books and profited from them, and then experienced in his life and bore witness through his actions to the teaching and values that he learned from books. But without being an intellectual, he certainly wasn't an anti-intellectual. The period that might have transpired between the beginning of Saint Romuold's preparation for the priesthood and his actual ordination is rather vague in my own mind.


There are certain intervals prescribed by the laws of the Church between the reception of the various orders. We might say, how about a year? That would be a reasonable lapse of time, plenty of time to receive minor orders and subdiaconate and diaconate—or four minor orders and subdiaconate and then the diaconate and then the priesthood. Probably Saint Romuold went to the Cathedral of Girona to be ordained by the bishop there, who was the nearest bishop, or perhaps the bishop came to the attic, we don't know. But in any case, Romuold was ordained, and what did this mean? It meant that there was another work that he would do which would no longer be that of working in the garden. I don't say he never worked in the garden again, but we do find him doing things that are appropriate to the priesthood. We find him giving spiritual advice, spiritual direction.


Perhaps he would even hear confessions. The practice of what we call the Sacrament of Penance, or today more commonly Sacrament of Reconciliation, is rather obscure until we get into later periods, such as the scholastic period and then the Council of Trent, and it becomes quite close to what we regard as proper and normal practice today. But it is true that around the lifetime of Saint Romuold we find more and more on the continent, in Europe, the practice of private confession, going to the priest and telling your sins, including secret sins or those sins which were doubtful, for instance, being a bystander at a duel, for which Saint Romuold did the maximum penance, remember. His father was the one who killed the man, but he himself, being a bystander, felt that he had a share in the responsibility and the guilt of that murder, so he himself did the penance for a murder, which was forty days in a monastery.


But at the time of Saint Romuold on the continent, and certainly in the eleventh century it becomes more clearly a practice, there were priests, especially monastic priests, who heard confessions, so spiritual direction became united more and more to the practice of absolution. Absolution was then given before the penance was done. But that isn't necessarily the order that it has to be. Why not do your penance before you come to confession? Sometimes I find myself saying to our retreatants, you know, just simply to suggest, well, you have come here on a retreat, especially when they had to go around by Way of Nascimento road, that's a penance. You have done your penance by coming and by making a retreat, by being in silence for a day or two or three, and that is your sacramental penance, you don't have to add to that. A good penance in the sacrament of reconciliation is something that is meaningful to the person,


not necessarily something that is an irritant to the person's spiritual life. That's not what it should be. A penance can be irritating, but it doesn't have to be an irritant in the sense of something annoying you want to get done with. But anyway, we find here the practice, beginning of confession, auricular confession in private to the priest, who was also a spiritual director, and then the priest would prescribe the penance to be done after he had given absolution, and naturally the penance must be done for the integrity of the sacrament. I was just checking on this in the Catholic Encyclopedia, and it said in the 11th century this sort of thing began. The origins of this practice was perhaps in Ireland, where penance was often administered by the abbot of monasteries and by the priest monks under him, and it is said that this was the beginning of the monastic uniting, joining of spiritual guidance, of counselling


of spiritual direction, and the sacramental absolution from sins, and then this spread later to the continent through the Irish monks who came down to the continent, and St Columbanus and so forth, and others also from England too. Yes, Father, you were going to make a comment? I think I'm sure that they generalised this, I think Columbanus was extremely important in that development, but there is the extraordinary interesting monastic exception in the Gregory of Glasgow talk of the 10th century, where in fact monks had to go to prison every day, which must be extremely unusual. This is typical of the Carolingian type of people, and I think they must have got it from Northern France, done something like that. Would this be necessarily, in other words, is it certain that this is sacramental? It's not certain. It seems to me, I've looked at that text several times, and I'm not sure whether it really is that. It may very well be much more an extension to other people in the monastery, or at least


for manifesting one's thoughts to whatever it provides for, which is obviously not the conventional sense of the word. Right. I think it might be a conflation of two texts from the Holy Rule, the one regarding manifestation of conscience to the abbot, and the other in chapter 4, one of the instruments of good works, which is dealing with tears and sighs to confess your sins and failings to Almighty God. To do this to a fellow Christian is even better. The presumption, of course, in patristic tradition is that anything done together is better than what is done by oneself. That's why the Church, I think, over and beyond the purely legalistic aspect, encourages that even venial sins be confessed auricularly, so that there's no divine law that says that our everyday peccadilloes have to be brought to the sacrament.


Absolutely not. We should repent of them. I mean, that is God's call, to repent, and as St. Benedict says, daily with tears and sighs. But the Church, of course, makes a law of it. But over and beyond this, the real value that is inculcated there is that we do not live alone, we do not die alone, we are not saved alone, we are not lost alone. And therefore, the development of this identification of the direction and guidance, the manifestation of conscience looking at it from the penitent's standpoint, or direction and guidance looking at it from the confessor's standpoint, the uniting of this with the actual sacramental penance, or the sacrament of absolution, is a very natural development, very good. It brought great blessings to the Church. Although, again, it's not an essential.


Even the old law, which I understand is still in force, about yearly confession, is always conditional. In other words, the law is yearly communion, and then naturally one must be absolved from any mortal sins in order to receive communion worthily. Yes, so not even in that yearly thing was there a law which required venial sin to be confessed. Well, St. Romuald then began this. We have one reference to the exercise of spiritual counseling as a priest, and that is with regard to the Count Olibanus, or Oliba Cabreta, the father of a more famous Oliba, who became abbot of Ripoll, one of the other Catalonian monasteries, and bishop of where?


Wasn't it of Rome? Bishop of Barcelona? Or was it Bishop of Girona? I'm not certain. At all events, this is the elder. This is the old man. Now, the old man is in need of doing penance for his sins, and so Romuald counsels him to enter a monastery. He says, the only thing for you is to go to Monte Cassino, so you're making a pilgrimage as well, and enter the monastery of St. Benedict. So, this probably took place in 988. The death of Peter Asello at that time, having retired to the hermitage after a bit more than four years in the monastery in the Cenobium, took place probably in 987.


So we are in the early months of 988. There is a document which places this Count Oliba, or Olibanus, still in Catalonia in 988, February, and then later he enters Monte Cassino. Romuald sends with the abbot, of course the abbot goes, and the count, and Romuald also sends John Gradenigo. I was wondering, and there's nothing said about it, whether John Gradenigo was also ordained a priest, or whether he simply remained with Romuald as, you might say, Romuald's acolyte. Remember this, Romuald was an aristocrat, and the stratified society of this time would see him as something perfectly normal for us, you know, in a democratic age, rather repugnant, but normal, you know, here is a monk, he's a priest, and he should have his converses, he should have his acolyte.


So it may have been that John Gradenigo assumed this role of service to Romuald, even though Romuald probably was, maybe, we don't know, a little bit younger than John Gradenigo. John Gradenigo was a cousin of Pietro Salo, which would make perhaps his age a little closer to that of the 50, 59, of Pietro Salo. At all events, that's one example where Romuald is giving counsel. In the meantime, something else happened. Romuald's father, Sergio, also enters a monastery to do penance in his old age, or to retire simply. Sergio, violent man. He was probably put in the monastery, and this was often done. The old man started to get senile, and he needs to be taken care of, he needs someone to lead him around by the hand.


He was probably a little bit addled in his old age. There's a funny story told about him. But first of all, let us stay with the point in time where we are right now. This is in 988, and Romuald hears that Sergio has been sent to the monastery of San Severo, which was a bit more important, it seems, than Santa Polinaria in Plasse, even though now it no longer exists. But at that time, it was very important because, remember, I mentioned about the synod in 967, which Romuald probably was present at, at least saw some of the ceremonies, which had the And it was in the basilica of San Severo that the synod was held. The monastery then was, it was more in the city than Plasse, and was very important. So, Sergio enters San Severo.


But he doesn't want to stay there. He wanders out the gate. They catch him, try to bring him back. He says, I don't want to stay in the monastery. I don't want to be a monk. So Romuald hears about this, and he is very upset. So, he hurries back to Italy. And then, we will leave the Count Olimano, and Abbot Cari, and Giangradinico to another reference. They also go off on their journey to Monte Cassino. But before Romuald can leave, the people around there hear that he is going to go back to Italy. And they become very upset. Why would they become upset? Now, we picture Romuald as having been completely isolated from any human concourse, except maybe, you know, Giangradinico and Pietro Salem, and Marino. But, on the contrary, it seems that he had achieved a certain amount of fame. Probably, after his ordination, he really became a spiritual father to the people thereabout.


So, they didn't want to see him leave. So, what did they decide to do? They decided to kill him, so that they would have his relics. If they couldn't have his spiritual direction, at least they would have his bones to venerate. So, this is a delightful story in St. Peter Damon, chapter 13, the life of St. Romuald. So, they get together and come to the cell of Romuald. So, what does he do? He sits down on the floor with a big plate of beans, and with his habit all messed up, you know. And as they come in, he's shoving food into his mouth and gobbling down all the bread and all the beans and everything that he had in his cell. Oh, they're shocked. Terrible. So, he feigns madness. Of course, these are kind of typical stories, but it's also in keeping with the character of Romuald.


We find also Bruno Quirford insisting on the fact that Romuald really was a man without any kind of human respect. Human respect in the traditional sense of piety, which means kind of a conformism or seeking to go along with the crowd or to favor, you know, not to be afraid always of people thinking ill of one. In other words, trying to fulfill other people's expectation rather than trying to fulfill the will of God or fulfill your own sincere needs of your heart. Romuald had nothing of this. He was not afraid to put people off. He never put people down, but he was not afraid to put them off. He was not afraid to be put down. He was not afraid to be thought ill of. That, for me, is a great virtue, which I find that I am lacking in, but I'm very impressed with that. So it also does make me think about Mr. Goliath.


I know the exact model paradigm of him. My very first friend, who is now dead, was a monk of Clareau, only now he is living in his vantage. And his helping hand was a doctor. He was due to have to leave, and people got to hear about this. And I found that every fall I visited him on my summer visit. The last time he was there, everybody said it was a choosy year to go, but for him to do it, to stop him, it was extraordinarily important for all the department people around the hermitage, which had actually been back to the 14th century. And this, I think, fits in very well with the medieval context, that people were all around being concerned about this. I must never think of the medieval land as being kind of shut up, especially when he was a priest. Especially when he was a priest. Now, this is one more step ahead. I'm talking about St. Romuald's priesthood,


but I want to make you aware of the fact that I'm not going to be saying these things to make Father Albert happy, but in fact, as best I can make it out, until Romuald had a group around him, he was living a life very, very much like the life you lived in Norway. Because it is not absolutely clear that he had a kind of a parish, but it is very likely, at least at one point, that he would be saying Mass fairly regularly for the people who would come. But certainly the counseling spiritual direction, absolution from those sins that an individual priest was entitled to absolve from, that was very much a part of what Romuald became. The kind of hermit he was, was always an available hermit. Because his priority was charity. His priority was love. Love of God and love of me.


He was not afraid to put people off. He was not seeking their approval. He did not do anything to live up to their expectations, but on the other hand he was available, hospitable, a truly loving person. And that's not only from this chapter, it's also from the whole picture that we can get from Bruno Querfurt and from Peter Dehme. The kind of man he was and the kind of life that he lived. But the kind of life that he lived was part of a general pattern of life which was very common in the Middle Ages, especially among the hermits. The idea of the available hermit. Now, what does Romuald do? When he gets to the Monastery of San Severo, he puts Sergio in the stalks, his feet in the stalks, and whips him until he comes to his senses.


This sounds terrible, it sounds awfully violent. It even sounds a bit out of keeping with St. Romuald, because St. Romuald was not a violent man. There's not the least shadow, in my opinion, the least shadow of sadomasochism in him or in his life. Which is always somewhat of a danger in monasticism, perhaps more in our own day, we are so wounded. The tendency of depression to turn into something violent, the attempt to get out of a depressive state sometimes can manifest itself in acts of violence, lashing out. And that is not sacred. But I think what we have here is simply a description of the ordinary kind of sentences that they administered to fugitives from monasteries. This old guy, they had got him to make a promise to be a monk until he died, and then he just wandered out of the gate one day.


You can't do that. Bring him back in, put him in the jail. Monasteries always have jails, especially the big ones. They had to have jails. There's a jail at Fontevillana. It's wonderful, and you find the graffiti of the mugs that were kept there on the walls. You must almost go and see the jail at Fontevillana one of these days, the dungeon. Meeting of the sorts, the way they treated the... Yes, yes. And in a way, provided, you know, it doesn't do any real physical damage, it could really be a valid treatment today. It's something that no professional psychotherapist would admit. But on the other hand, they used that awful shock treatment. And that's even worse. That's even worse. I mean, use the what then? If you're going to do that, if you're going to run high-voltage current through their bodies, I mean, what are you doing to them?


You're burning out cells of their brain. All that, you know, all the stick does, you know, the Willow Switch, is shake them up a little bit, maybe stimulate a little peripheral circulation of the blood, bring a little more blood to the brain. It might really be an effective remedy. And I think also that's part of it. Thank you for reminding me. I was going to note that also, that this thing of whipping him was something that we find before our more enlightened days was what was done to the mentally ill. It's not a nice thing to do. I'm not approving this or suggesting that it be reintroduced, introduced in our psychiatric clinics, but just to put this in the right frame. So, finally, he settles down. Shock? No, it's still today. I mean, they still use it. Some doctors still use it. Oh, the whipping here, the whipping. Well, they did that in the 19th century. Sure, sure. I mean, it was the psychoanalytic movement


that really tended to stop that. In other words, Freud, you know, and others, and that's good. I mean, you have to admit, you know, it is an advance because it paid more attention to the subjective causes and tried to get at the root of it in traumatic experiences in the past of the individual and whatnot. Now, Sergio, you know, he's settled down. And so, one day, it says, Saint Peter Damian says, he is praying before an image of the Savior. Now, that sounds like an icon of the Transfiguration because the Holy Savior is the, you know, the title of the Feast of Transfiguration, the Feast of our Savior. It could have just been an icon of the Pantocrator. This sounds very much, you know, like a kind of a very Byzantine kind of prayer. Well, why not?


This was a very Byzantine area and people would make their prayers before the icon. The devotion to the icon was just as common, I'm sure, in Ravenna, even among Latin-right people like Sergio, as it would be among Greek people, as we still see it in the Eastern Church today. He is standing there and he has a vision of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit appears to him. And Peter Damon says, I don't know what it looked like to him, but in any way it says, anyway, this was an amazing thing that didn't often take place. The Holy Spirit appears to him. Now, in the hagiographical tradition of Ravenna, the apparition of the Holy Spirit, but usually in the form of the dove, it has an important place. It is connected often with the election of the early bishops of Ravenna. So this apparition of the Holy Spirit, apparition of a dove. Maybe a dove just flew in through an open window


and he thought he saw the Holy Spirit. But he was sure he saw the Holy Spirit. So he started running around the cloister of the monastery, running around the corridors saying, have you seen the, where did the Holy Spirit go? Have you seen the Holy Spirit? Where's the Holy Spirit? And so finally, well, anyway, finally he gets over that too, that little bit of madness. And then he settles down. And so very, very shortly after this, he dies. And so Peter Damien concludes, well, after all, the Bible does say you cannot see God without dying. So you can't see God, it's still there. So since he saw the Holy Spirit, he couldn't survive very long after that. I really think Peter Damien here is narrating these couple of chapters, you know, with a chuckle. They're very amusing in their own way. Now, Olivano. Okay, Olivano with Gary and John Gradenigo set out for Monte Cassino.


And Romuald told Giovanni Gradenigo to stay with Olivano and make sure that he stayed in the monastery, lest the same thing happen with Olivano as was happening with Sergio. But when they get to Monte Cassino, Gary says, all right, men, I'm going on to the Holy Land. And he was always making these trips to the Holy Land, or to Greece, or to Constantinople. And Giovanni says, gee, I'd like to go along. And so they start out. And Olivano says, but Romuald told you to stay with me. But that doesn't quite convince him. And so Giovanni Gradenigo starts out with Abbot Gary. But they haven't gone very far, and they're watering their horses or something. And Abbot Gary's horse gives a very sound kick to Giovanni Gradenigo and breaks his leg. And so there he is, stuck.


And he takes this as the sign of God, that he should do what Romuald told him to do. And he goes back to Monte Cassino. And that's where we find him at the beginning of the life of the five brothers. So that's, what is it, third chapter, or second chapter, where it says Benedict finds his teacher there. It begins speaking of a certain Father John. Father John. Well, he was called Father. Whether he was a priest or not, it may have been the case, but it's not necessarily that he was a priest just because he's, that Bruno Kierkegaard calls him Pater Johannes. Because a monk, in the fullness of his years, and especially one who was kind of a spiritual father, would be called Father anyway, as of course in the Eastern Church they do, even though those are not priests. Even if that's in the rule of the other monks,


which are called the Elder Monks' Fathers. Sure. That's also very true. And Bruno Kierkegaard has many, many allusions to the Holy Rule, so that might be even a better explanation of the application of the epithet Father to Giovanni Gratinico. At Monte Cassino. But now, we're still with St. Ronville. There's a series of events here which are rather difficult to place in the order of time, but I'm going to call more or less Peter Damian, and I think that's just as well. Yes. No, no, no. That is the original Western practice. There is... Let me see if I...


I hope I don't mix things up here. It's interesting when you compare the rule of St. Benedict with the rule of the Master. The rule of the Master always refers to the brethren in the monastery, the fratres, and also as pilii magistri, as the sons of the Master. It's a very verticalistic concept of the direction of the monastery. Everyone relates to this guy at the top, and God speaks to the Master, speaks to the abbot only. St. Benedict uses more the term monachus. He also uses fratres, but he also speaks of the monks as monachii, which is, of course, it's an oriental term. It's the term most common in the Latin of St. Basil, right? Also fratres. But the use of the term monachus in St. Benedict might be indicative of a certain tendency to give value to spiritual growth


in the monastery and recognize that more than one person in the monastery might be worthy of the title father and have a spiritual role in the life of the monastery. There are deans in the rule of St. Benedict, and he does speak of the elders of the monastery in the plural, the seniores, and these are called father. So the abbot is not an absolute. He's not the only father figure in the rule of Benedict, whereas the Master in the rule of the Master is the one. But on the other hand, in the medieval practice, we find that all monks refer to themselves as fratres so and so, fratres joandes. St. Peter Damian, you know, fratres taters. In modern English speaking, it's confusing subject, because no priest would automatically call a fratres. It isn't still in France or Germany. No, no, of course not. Necessarily addressed as mister.


Yes, monsieur l'abbé. Yeah, right. The secular priesthood was addressed as mister until the 19th century, even among Roman Catholics in England. And then the father thing was brought in by all of those people from the continent, all those Italians. Yes, and some of this was all Father Faber's doing, wasn't it? Yes. These fervent souls who changed the terminology. But aside from that, Ambrose Traversari, the abbot general, always signed his documents fratres ambrosius abbas canadolensis, fratres. But I see no particular reason to return to these terminological things.


I think that the practice of calling everyone brother at Christ in the Desert is okay. I have no objection to it, but I find it a little bit cute. I don't see any reason to do such... It is? Yes. Yes, yes. I was afraid of that. I was afraid of that. So, why not simply call each other by our names? Even though the rule of Benedict does explicitly prefer that this not be done, that there be an expression of deference. But in 20th century America, even in 20th century Italy, you can show respect and deference and this kind of loving attitude which is inherent in any use of titles in the rule of Benedict by the way you speak the name. In other words, I can call you Isaiah. You know that I'm addressing


his brother. And I can call you Isaiah. And you know that there's something else underneath there. So, Potter was the title for those who were the elders and worthy of respect and also exercised some kind of spiritual fatherhood. We also find that Bruno Quirford insists on the fact that John Gradanigo did not ascribe anything of his own teaching to himself. He always insisted, well, St. Romuald, I mean, they didn't call him saint. He said, Father Romuald or Magister Romualdus, said this and said that. I learned this from Magister Romualdus. By the way, Romualdus is probably the way he called himself. He probably called himself Romaldo, which is the way they still do in Tuscany. It's not Romaldo or Mardo. They roll the L and it becomes almost like an R. And Romualdus


is a more sophisticated, reflecting more the Germanic origin of the name, Romvald, Romvald. You find that name. There's an abbot Romvald who was connected with Otto I. But anyway, Peter Damian has a Romualdus because Peter Damian is a learned man. But Bruno Quirford calls him Romaldus, which, since St. Romuald was living, he used the way they pronounced the name. And that, of course, is my explanation for Maldolo, simply a diminutive of Romaldo. Ca Maldoli. It's Romuald's house. Okay, but to stay where we are. Now, after Romuald had taken care of his father's wavering vocation and after his father's death, he retires to a place near Classe. Now, Romuald was


and remained a monk of Classe. He took his vow of stability seriously, and he took it with a grain of salt. He took it in a way that was acceptable. Everything was done under obedience. He had permission to go off to Venice, and he had the blessing of Abbot Garry to leave there and go to the Abbey of Couchat. And afterwards, he had the blessing to return to Sant'Avero, and I'm sure he went and got another blessing from his Abbot of Classe, whoever it was at that time, to set himself up in a cell on a bit of property belonging to the Abbey in a place which is called Punzpetri. Now, the name here, given a bridge of Peter, it means, might be a kind of a Latinization of what would probably


be something like a bridge of rock, Ponte di Pietra. We find this in Italian documents, or Ponte del Fosso Vecchio, the bridge over the old canal. So Saint Romuald had a cell near a bridge, which means he had a cell near the road, and that also seems to indicate that he was rather an available hermit, that perhaps he did exercise some... It's not said here, but I'm just suggesting this as one hypothesis. You may discard it if you wish. But it certainly is in keeping with his concept of monastic life, it's in keeping with the rule of Benedict, that this cell would have also the facilities for taking care of some traveler along the way, who had to spend the night and to find a place to spend the night. Otherwise, why would you live near a bridge? You can imagine him as a troll living under the bridge or something, or maybe he collected...


Maybe it was a toll bridge, and he collected the money for travelers. I'm kidding. That's probably not the case. It's certainly not the case. But it is likely, it's not unlikely, that being near a bridge meant that he was offering a certain hospitality and the corporal work of charity, keeping silence, keeping prayer, keeping fasting, keeping stability in his cell, and all of the things which he taught were proper to the life of the hermit, but also exercising hospitality, receiving the people who would come to cross that bridge as if they were Christ himself. Likely in terms of the models of hermitism we find in that time, likely in terms of the rules of St. Benedict, likely in terms of the character of Romuald himself, his own very loving, very available nature, his smiling face, even when he held up his finger to his lips. There's a wonderful painting, by the way. It's early 17th century


in the refectory at Camaldoli, and it's up behind the pulpit. The pulpit is built into the wall over the door of the refectory. The acoustics, by the way, in the refectory at Camaldoli are marvelous. It's a big room, bigger than this. I would say maybe not quite twice as long as this, but big. But you can hear a pin drop. Wonderful acoustics, and from the pulpit up there you just read as quietly as I'm reading, and people would hear it all the way down to the, even the abbot could hear it at the other end. And inside, there's a fresco of St. Romuald, you know, in his robes, and he has his finger to his lips. You're not supposed to speak in the refectory, but there's a smile on his lips. He's saying, shh, but he's smiling. And I just love that painting. I think that's him. That's very much, that's he. That's very much his character. So he lives by the bridge, but he doesn't stay there very long. He doesn't stay there


very long because this is in the swamp area. Now, most of the area there around Ravenna was turning into swamps. It used to, Clasa used to be a seaport and got silted up, so you had swamps all over the place, swamps all around Venice. It's only really been in the 20th century that all the swamps in Italy have been cleared. It was pretty swampy land. And remember that in the 10th century the climate was much warmer. And I'm not going to say that the climate there was something like Central Florida, but maybe it wasn't very different from Central Florida. So you had all the flies and the fleas and the buzzing and crawling things that would make life miserable, and you had malaria. St. Romuald would occasionally get sick, and very sick, and that would indicate that he had malaria. You know, because if you survived everything else, you ended up with lifetime malaria in those days and in those places.


But after he had been living in the mountains and that wonderful climate, you know, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, he couldn't stand it very long back down in the swampy lowlands. So he did move up to somewhat higher ground to a place called St. Martin's in the Woods, where there was, perhaps it was just an extension of the famous Pineda, or Pine Grove, about which Lord Byron went into ecstasy in the other romantics, Pine Grove around Ravenna. There's still a little bit of it left, you know, with modern industrialization and development and the expanding of farmlands and then the expanding of factories. The pines are kind of shrinking into little gardens, but they were pretty extensive. So it might have been part of this Pineda, and there was a cemetery there. And so St. Romuald had his cell with the cemetery chapel, and there certainly


he did have a chapel. And so in the meantime, while we're talking about cemeteries, St. Peter Damian says, we might as well go into the thing about diabolical temptations. And so he has a couple chapters here about all of the torments that St. Romuald went through. And if you compare it, of course, with the Latin translation of the Life of Anthony, you find that he's copping out a great deal of this. I'm not saying, of course, that demons do not exist, and I'm not saying that St. Romuald did not battle with them. But we are not wrong in saying that in addition to this, of course, there was also the inner struggle of any person still looking for his direction in life. There had been a lot of ups and downs so far in the 15 or so years of his monastic life. He entered, rather impulsively, the monastery of Classe, and didn't find


what he was looking for. He went to Venice and was there for a couple years. And then he went to Catalonia, and he liked it there, and he was happy. But then he got the itch again, and he goes back to Italy. So he's still searching, he's still struggling within himself over the meaning of his call and how exactly he is to fulfill God's plan for his life. We do not make him less than a saint by seeing him in this light. We make him more, and we make him more meaningful for ourselves. So I'm not saying that we should entirely demythologize the chapters about the demons, but we should certainly see them as only part of the picture, as a literary expression suitable to the 11th century, of a reality which today we would observe more on its psychological side. Why not? Well, that is our way of looking at life, looking at our own lives. It says that he felt as if he would, he suffered from insomnia and felt sometimes


as if there was a heavy weight on his feet while he was lying on his mat at night. Some people feel that when they suffer from insomnia, and they don't identify with the demons, but of course there may always be a demon. Now, where he is in the geography there, near Ravenna, this is near the east coast of Italy, it's near the mouth of the river called the Savio, Savio. And probably the bridge was down near the mouth of the river, so we'd have estuaries and a little bit of delta sort of thing, and that would be the old port of St. Romuald. After he returns to Italy, we remember the succession of events. He returned to make sure that his father would follow through


on the intention of being a monk, of ending his life in a monastery, and so Romuald goes to San Severo in Ravenna, where his father Sergio was, and disciplines him, and then Romuald himself returns to the abbey of Santa Polinare in Classe, which was his monastery, and builds himself a little hermit cell on property of the monastery. So not within the enclosure, but on lands belonging to the monastery. The first cell he built was near a bridge. It's called either Peter's Bridge or Stone Bridge. Now Peter, Petrus, Stone, Petra. The Italian name is Stone Bridge, Ponte di Pietra. Then from there he moved, since this was swamp land and perhaps a bit infected with malaria, from which he suffered repeatedly


throughout his life. He would have relapses of his malaria several times. We can see this in his life. He moved into a wooded area, into the Pineda, near a cemetery. Now obviously there was a little chapel there, dedicated to St. Martin of Tours, and St. Martin in the Woods, it was called. And there he also dwells. His life, I suggested last time, was that of what you might call an available hermit. He was dwelling alone and yet accessible enough to the people so that he might offer them guidance and direction. He did this when he was in Catalonia, especially after his ordination to the priesthood, but not that that was necessary for him. But we do know that towards the end of his stay there in Catalonia he was guiding the people,


giving them spiritual direction. So he must have continued the same tenor of life when he moved back to Italy. Dwelling near the bridge had the disadvantage not only of the swampy land, but perhaps also an excessive number of people who would be coming along the road and crossing the bridge, and this naturally was a source of disturbance. So I'm just suggesting this. It's not stated explicitly, but this is reasonable and logical within the setting which we know existed for the hermitical life in Italy at this time. So when he moved back into the woods he also remained somewhat accessible since he dwelt near the cemetery, and as he prayed in the cemetery chapel he would offer his prayers in a special way for the dead who were buried there in the cemetery. This prayer for the dead was very important, as you know, for Cluny itself. It was at Cluny that we first find


the Office of the Dead as a special liturgy added to the normal liturgical cycle of the day in the monastery. This devotion to the Holy Souls was also continued, and it was very important, really, at Camaldoli and for the whole Camaldoli's history. You should remember this. Saint Romuald is dwelling near a cemetery, and what do people associate with cemetery? Cemetery is, well, ghosts, you know, spirits. Saint Peter Damian tells us the story of one evening when Saint Romuald is singing Compline, I mean, singing. He is using the verb canere, dum complitorium canere. Saint Romuald must have had a fairly good voice, and even when he was alone he would sing the psalms. But he begins to feel a chill


coming up his spine, and he began to think the fact that this is a cemetery, isn't it, and who knows what spirits are moving about here. And he was filled with this terrible fear and trembling, and then, Saint Peter Damian says, the devils came in through the open window and to the attack, beat him and whipped him and threw him to the ground, and Saint Romuald cries out, Dear Jesus, my beloved Jesus, why have you abandoned me? Like the cry of Jesus himself upon the cross. Have you completely abandoned me into the hands of my enemies? And at this moment all of the evil spirits by divine power were chased away, says Saint Peter Damian. These are all typical accounts of the temptation of the holy man,


which we find in monastic literature, beginning, of course, with the life of Saint Anthony by Saint Athanasius. The following chapter, what I just mentioned, was from chapter 16, and the life of Blessed Romuald by Saint Peter Damian, chapter 17, another example of the diabolical temptations. And then chapter 18, and this is where we ended our talk last time with Saint Romuald leaving the lands near the monastery and moving up the river, up the Savio River. The stone bridge, or Peter's bridge, was right near the delta. So it's a small river, but it's all swamp land and it spreads out at that point as it reaches the Adriatic Sea. So he keeps following the river onto higher ground, up into the foothills of the Apennines. And he comes to a city named Balneum, or Bath. And as in England, Bath, of course, refers to the hot springs,


the hot water baths that were there from early Roman times. It's called in modern Italian Bagno, Bagno di Romagna. There's still a town there and still hot springs. He, of course, avoids going into the baths and then goes straight up the hill. We have a geography here which is similar to that of Big Sur. Not quite as near the ocean, of course, near the sea. And he climbs into the hills up above Bagno, and there it says he built a monastery. This is Saint Romuald's first foundation. It says he built a monastery dedicated to Saint Michael, the archangel. Saint Michael. This was a very important monastic devotion, especially for the eastern monks. The sanctuary of Saint Michael of Gargano, which is that kind of spur


on the hill, just above the hill of the Italian boot, if you have the image of the geography of the Italian peninsula in mind. Farther down the Adriatic. So this spur is the high cliff mountain where there was a very ancient, first of all, pagan sanctuary, without question, and then a monastery and shrine dedicated to Saint Michael, the archangel. It was still, at the time of Saint Romuald, a Byzantine shrine. The monks were Greek monks there, but there were also Latin monks nearby. This devotion to Saint Michael, the archangel, is very common in monastic circles. So this is where he builds his first monastery. I tried to picture exactly what happened here. Should we consider him like the abbot, the superior? In other words, first of all, he goes and gathers vocations and calls them together


and gives them instruction, receives their profession, and he's their abbot. Then they set about building. I'm not quite certain that it would be exactly that way. When it says he built the monastery, it may be that he worked rather with an existing group of monks who wanted a larger monastery, a church, and so forth, and then he might very well have gone and obtained the funds and had the monastery built. Where did the money come from? Where did the funds come from? The money came from Hugh of Tuscany, Hugh the Marquess of Tuscany. And from the year 990, let me see now, 986, he was also, extended his domain over most of central Italy, a kind of a strip across the center of the Italian peninsula. And Hugh of Tuscany


is very, very important in the history of St. Romuald's activity and also very important for St. Peter Damian. St. Peter Damian writes a eulogy of Hugh of Tuscany as a kind of an ideal ruler. He was a bit dictatorial. It was a rather severe regime at that time. One other thing about Hugh the Marquess of Tuscany. His sister was Waldrata. Where have we heard of Waldrata? Who was Waldrata? Do you remember? Remember back in Venice? That's right. She married Peter Candiano IV, who was the predecessor of Peter Orseo I. Peter Orseo being the doge who then left and escaped from Venice and went with Romuald and Abbot Garry to the monastery in the Pyrenees. Waldrata. She and Hugh, brother and sister


and son and daughter of Hubert, Uberto of Tuscany. So Romuald goes to Hugh of Tuscany and he obtains money from him. Perhaps a sign of gratitude because, you see, the departure of Peter Orseo from Venice reestablished the Candiano family in the power, in the domination of the city of Venice. And since now Waldrata, although a widow, was also, as an in-law, a member of the Candiano family, it was as it were, in other words, the presence of St. Romuald, his cooperation with the conversion, you might say, of Peter Orseo, helping Peter Orseo


to get out of the picture, was something that made Hugh very happy. And so when Romuald comes back into the neighborhood, Hugh hears about this and says, I will give you money if you want to build a monastery. And the rulers of that day, the nobility and the princes and marquises and so forth, were very interested in having monasteries. Monasteries were very important not only for the spiritual life of their people, but also as a part of the government of their realm. A center of pilgrimage, a center, therefore, also of, you might say, income for the church. It became also a moral force. Monasteries would become a moral force within a duchy or a kingdom. They would contribute to the spiritual service of the people, providing them with the sacraments, also providing them with education and so forth. So there were many advantages


for a ruler to have monasteries, and even many monasteries, in his realm at that time. So Hugh of Tuscany is happy to see Romuald again, happy to give him money for the building of this monastery. The monastery is built, dedicated to St. Michael. St. Romuald moves off and builds himself a cell nearby and lives as a hermit. He may have also served as superior of this community, but I think it's unlikely. It is not said explicitly by Peter Damian, and it seems to be indicated that St. Romuald never was a superior, except for that one brief year when he was the superior of classe, when the emperor made him abbot of classe. There was something in Romuald that simply resisted any exercise of the usual form of ecclesiastical authority. As we read in The Life of the Five Brothers,


he wanted not to be the abbot of bodies, but the abbot of souls. He wanted to guide people in the spiritual path, give them a good example, and then retire to his prayer. He didn't want to bother with the running of a community, and especially with the economic side of it. But here, perhaps, he does get a bit involved in the economic questions. But as a man of pure heart, not interested in power, not interested in wealth, he acts according to the law of charity, which always gets people in trouble. What happens? Hugh gives him a large sum of money. So Romuald has this sum of money, and he's going to use it in charity. He's going to use it for the poor. He is notified of a monastery near Ravenna, which most likely he had visited, whose monks perhaps he knew very well. Perhaps he was a friend


of the abbot there. Their monastery burnt down. St. Mary of Palazzolo is the name of the monastery. So he sends part of the money, 60% of the money, to rebuild that monastery over there. Now the monks of this monastery have seen, Michael, here at Bagno, find out about this. You sent all that money away? I mean, that money was supposed to go for us, wasn't it? So what do they do? They get sticks and clubs, and they come into his cell and beat him up and chase him out of town. And then St. Peter Damian goes on with a story, and he talks about how the divine justice then punishes these evil monks, because after Romuald leaves, they want to put on a big feast. And so they go and get special food. It's wintertime, you know. It's hard to find all of the good things that they want. So one of the monks goes off to get some honey to make some...


with the wine and the honey, and then they would heat it, and it would make a very intoxicating drink, you know, to enjoy with their meat and vegetables and whatever else they were eating. And so he goes off, and as he crosses the bridge over the river, he stumbles and trips over one of the boards and falls into the river and is drowned. Divine justice. And that night, as the monks are sleeping in their dormitory, it snows, and the weight of the snow breaks down the roof, and the roof crashes in on the monks, and one of them gets his head bashed in, and the other one gets his leg broken, and the third gets his eye knocked out. Divine justice is done. All of these are very typical stories. They're charming stories. They're partly true and partly, what we would say, fictional, but that is not the point. People wrote according to patterns and models and examples. But the point that C. Peter Damian makes here, and which he develops further on in the lives of St. Brongfield, and we find the same thing also in Bruno Quirford, of course, writing


much before this, during the lifetime of St. Brongfield, the sense that the justice of men always fails, but the justice of God always reaches its mark, sometimes in this life, always, of course, in the end. So we find in other places where there's a thief who breaks into the monastery and steals sacred objects from the monastery, and St. Romuald catches him, and what does he do? Does he pluck out his right eye, cut off his right hand, put him in jail? No. He sits him down, serves him food, makes him eat, gives him a little pep talk, and sends him off on his way, repentant, of course. Human justice is of no avail. A couple other occasions here, and also in Bruno Quirford, where we find a very


definitely strong and explicit polemic against the death penalty. Since human justice is always fallible, there can be no, in other words, it is not right that there be an irreversible punishment. So this is something that is woven in through the stories that we find in many of these medieval monastic texts. And it's interesting for us because it shows a certain social consciousness alongside a deep conviction of spiritual values. Of course, divine justice does not always work to the satisfaction of society or of our own feelings and consciences. And so, therefore, we do have to have some kind of penal system and civil code and all of that. We have to be practical. We have to be realistic. But you see, the mentality that it reveals here, I think is in many ways


very inspiring. But in all events, this story of St. Romuald being chased away has a... an oral tradition that is witness to 500 years after these events, more than 500 years, 560, 70 years after these events, in this place which came to be called Verghereto. Verghereto is the current Italian name of the place where the monastery was. An oral tradition whereby the local villagers would, on a certain... either the Feast of St. Romuald or some other day in the church year, put on a kind of a penitential ceremony, and some of them would go with sticks and kind of whip themselves on the back, you know, as penitents for this whipping of St. Romuald. So that seemed to indicate that not only the monks but also the townsfolk


kind of lynched Romuald. They ganged up on him to chase him out of the territory. So Romuald goes off. Romuald leaves there. He goes to the Valley of the Tiber and hikes over to the other side of the Apennines to Catria, Mount Catria. Mount Catria is the mountain that rises just above Fonte Avellana. And it says that Romuald at that time, after he left Verghereto, the monastery of St. Michael, dwelt for a time near Mount Catria. It does not say that St. Romuald founded Fonte Avellana. Interesting. Peter Damian, prior to Fonte Avellana, writing 15 years after the death of St. Romuald, calling Romuald his holy father, never speaks about the founding of Fonte Avellana. And there are other indications in oral and written tradition that Fonte Avellana


was an existing community that Romuald probably visited and inspired the monks there to live somewhat the way he did, follow the rule of St. Benedict and celebrate the office in common and yet also live a very strict solitary life. It may be at this time that he came upon the monks, the small group of hermits that would eventually become the community that Peter Damian joined. We do not know, and Peter Damian doesn't say this. But what he does say is very important. As he leaves the territory near Bagno, his spirits are afflicted, he is disgusted with the whole thing, and he decides that never again will he do anything for anyone else except for his own soul. He will be dedicated only now to the salvation of his own soul


and ignore everyone else and all of the rest of the world. And St. Peter Damian says at that moment such a terrible fear came upon him and chilled his bones that he realized that to do so would put him in danger of the loss of his own immortal soul. I think this is very significant. We do not live for ourselves, we do not die for ourselves. Not even a hermit is permitted to look to his own private, even spiritual, private good. He must be aware of his life as having meaning and significance insofar as it is connected with the salvation of the whole world, which is the plan of God. If his life was to be truly Christian, it had to be somehow a collaboration with a participation in the plan of God,


which is salvation of all souls, of all humanity. Yes, the question was just asked where Bagnu is. It is on the other side of the mountain from Komalzale. So you have Bagnu in Romagna. Romagna is the region along the east coast, where Ravenna also is. And then if you just continue to climb on the road behind Bagnu, you will come over the mountain, over the Mondrioli Pass, that is if you go by way of Cesena, you go over the Mondrioli Pass, and you come down, and at that time the road led right by Komalzale. It was the pilgrimage road that went from the northeastern, from the northern Adriatic across the Apennines down to Rome. Okay, Richard, you had a question. Yes, just that, in reference to Romulus' realization


that he could not seek his salvation in isolation from others, who is the father who is noted for the phrase, something to the effect of salvation is in my brother's hand? Mm-hmm. I just don't know the answer to that. Maybe Father Aylward does? Well, I can't answer it directly. It's quite early, isn't it? Mm-hmm. Is it one of the Oedipida? It certainly does, I think. It sounds like it, yeah. I think it probably appears in the mind of a certain sect connected with Abbot Pieman, doesn't it? Almost certainly. Could be, could be Abbot Pieman. He's the most likely person, I think, in the Oedipida. Mm-hmm. It certainly is very early. I'm afraid I can't just exactly put it. There are, of course, much similar expressions in Basil. Yes. The famous rhetorical question, if you are alone, whose feet will you wash? This is not,


we should not, of course, this is something aside from this. I don't want to get into the whole problem of the misunderstanding of Basil's sense of communion. And, of course, we should include Romulus here as part of this great mainstream of monasticism beginning from the earliest phase of monasticism. Understand this profound sense of communion and of solidarity of Christians in the body of Christ with kind of an anti-hermetical, a polemic nonsense. There was nothing of this sort. Naturally, Basil himself organized communities to live together. But, of course, Romulus did too, in a way. He was not totally isolated at any point, really, in his life, at least what the documents tell us. What it does mean, what it meant, for instance, in the East, is that whenever there was a revival of the hermetical life, I underline that, hermetical life, there was always a very conscious return to Basil. In other words,


it was seen that in order truly to live this way of life as a Christian, not as a Buddhist, not as a Pythagorean or something like that, but as a Christian, you needed Basil. And you might say of Saint Romuald, in order to live his life, he needed Benedict. Basil's rule. Basil's rule, yeah. And, of course, Benedict does, the rule of Benedict in the last chapter does refer to Basil's rule. Everyone should read The Rule of Our Holy Father Basil. So we're dealing here with this integral monasticism where the different forms and expressions of monastic asceticism are all deeply imbued with this profound ecclesial sense, sense of communion, sense of co-responsibility of all the members of the body of Christ. This also does refer to the... This also refers to


the vocation of Saint Romuald to become a reformer and founder and a leader of monks, even though not as a superior. So we find in chapter 19 of The Life of Saint Romuald, after the chapter that speaks about his flight from his persecutors, the monks there near Bagno, chapter 19 says, where he's dwelling near Catria, one time Saint Apollinaris appeared to him and ordered him that he immediately leave there and go to his monastery, return to the monastery of Classe. And the holy man, that is, Romuald, did not hesitate for an instant but immediately returned to his abbey in order to fulfill the will of Saint Apollinaris. When did this happen? I think I can date this


exactly to the year. And I think it was in the year 993. And why do I say 993? We have to flip back in The Life of Saint Romuald to chapter 8. Where are we? Here we are. Chapter 8 and then chapter 9. The chapter 8 refers to the practice of fasting, which Romuald adopted immediately after he went to Catalonia, immediately after he went to the abbey of Saint Michael of Cusha. Saint Michael again, of course. Saint Michael of Cusha in Catalonia. It says he was reading in the Book of the Fathers, The Life of the Fathers, and he came upon the passage which said that they would fast on every day of the week and then break their fast


on Saturday and Sunday. This, by the way, is the Oriental custom, the custom of the Eastern monks in the practice of fasting. Monday through Friday and then no fast on Saturday and Sunday when they would gather together for prayer, vigil, and liturgy. We know that Saint Romuald, when he was with Marino near Venice, followed the fast, they fasted on three days in the week, probably Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but we don't know for sure. Three days a week. So this began, this practice of fasting began, fasting five days straight, Monday through Friday, began in the year 978 and Saint Peter Damian says that Romuald followed this practice of fasting for 15 years or perhaps a little more. 78 plus 15 is 93, am I right? So here at this point, at the return to classe, I believe,


is where we do find a phase of reflection not only upon the deepest monastic values which he had imbibed and already borne abundant witness to, but also to certain practices that were characteristic of the Western monasticism of his time. Again, flipping back now to chapter 9 in the life of Saint Romuald, we find Romuald again reading in the writings of Saint Sylvester, Pope Saint Sylvester I of Rome, that the proper way to fast was to fast Monday through Wednesday and then to break the fast on Thursday and then to resume it on Friday and Saturday, the Saturday fast, which was something that Saint Peter Damian wrote a book about and it became also at that time, at the time of Saint Peter Damian, a bone of contention between the Eastern and Western Church. The Eastern monks


simply couldn't understand now how can anyone fast on Saturday, it's against the tradition of the fathers, and then on the contrary, thank you gentlemen, on the contrary, the practice of the Eastern Church was never to fast on Saturday. There's one exception during the church year and that is Holy Saturday itself, when fasting is practiced also in the Eastern Church. But in this chapter 9, where he speaks about Romuald's adoption of the Western practice, there are also a few other items and I think Peter Damian is just linking them all together here in order to demonstrate the prudence and discretion of Saint Romuald, his practice of that virtue which monastic tradition associates especially with the rule of Benedict. And it's said here, even though he would often abstain totally from,


yes, you want to shut that off? So what was I saying? Yes, Saint Romuald often fasted totally, it says. He would eat nothing at all during the day, or perhaps it means during daylight hours. He would fast until after sundown and then take a little food before he retired for the night. But he forbade his followers to do this, and taught them that it is much better to eat a little bit every day, and always have a little bit of hunger, so that the flesh would, through this practice, become accustomed to the regular form of fast. And that what is difficult at the beginning of one's novitiate might then gradually become easier as one grows in the monastic way of life. A reflection, of course, of that passage


in the Rule of Benedict, where it says that what appears at first harsh and burdensome, then becomes, through daily practice, light and easy, and we run in the way of God's commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love. And he said that also it was better that, no, it said that it wasn't so important to him if somebody started something big, because he would most likely not be able to keep it up. But it was rather better to start something small and persevere with it throughout one's life. Same thing, with regard to vigils, he said that they should be practiced with great temperance and discretion. Maxime Suadebot, he insisted on this very, very strongly with his disciples. The reason being, he did not want them


to fall asleep at the office. Get a full night's sleep, and then when you get up, stay awake. And in fact, he was so contrary to the practice of breaking one's sleep for vigils and then going back to bed, that whenever anyone would do this and admit it, in confession, he would forbid that priest, that was a priest, that day forbid him to celebrate the Eucharist. So you see that the practice, which later became rather identified with the reform of commodity, this getting up at 1.30 and then going back to bed and getting up again for prime, was something very contrary to the will and practice of St. Romuald. I don't think we should get upset about that. I mean, that sort of thing happens, doesn't it, in the history of the Church? It's just one interesting point, though, that St. Romuald here is simply prescribing what is in the Rule of Benedict, because the Rule of Benedict assumes, you know, that the monks will go to bed,


you know, at sundown, and when they are fully, when they have fully digested, says St. Benedict, in other words, when they've finished their digestion, because they eat, you know, they eat rather late and they take their full meal at the end of the day, especially on fast days, and then they go to bed and when they've digested their food and they're ready to satisfy the needs of nature, then they're awake, they're clear, they're ready to perform properly the vigils. So they would get up at dependent seasons of the year, whether they'd get up, you know, like 2 o'clock or 3.30, you know, it would vary according to the length of the night. And that was what St. Romuald prescribed. And then also, he insisted that the important thing in psalmody, and he's talking here about private psalmody, the important thing in psalmody was to sing with compunction and from the heart.


Melius esse, si possibile, sit unum psalmum excorde et cum compunzione cantare, that means to sing, it doesn't mean anything else, quam centum cum mentis fabulazione percurrere. Let me translate that, but I like that phrase. He said it was better, if possible, to sing one psalm from the heart, it's not singing it by heart, it's by memory, but from the heart and with compunction, than to run through, percurrere, a hundred psalms with a distracted mind, with a mind that is chattering away about something else. It's very, very important, it's very, you know, desert father type of counsel. And I think it applies more, in more areas than simply the practice of vocal prayer. I think that is also indicative of what singing meant for Romuald,


because it was a way of bringing the psalm out of the heart, rather than running through it cha-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta, rushing through it, or just reading with the eyes, people didn't read with the eyes in those days. What else here? All of this is in chapter 9, you see, we're talking about, it's out of its place, because this is obviously 15 years after 978, St. Peter Damian says it, but he puts it all here together, you know, to give you kind of at the beginning of Romuald's career, to give you kind of a model of discretion and prudence and wisdom that then would be manifested through the concrete example of his monastic practice and teaching throughout the rest of the story. So I would situate this, in other words, 15 years, 993, I would situate it at the time here, after his second vision of St. Apollinares, when he returned to Klosset.


And I'm supposing, of course, that he did not go and live in the abbey. He was a hermit, and he probably had to sell near the abbey or on one of these, you know, one of the properties, one of the farms or whatever. Continued his hermitical life. But he began then, in other words, God began then to form him as a true father, as a true life-giver, generator of monastic experience. Exactly, exactly. Setting aside, of course, the peculiarities of his liturgiology, which is not of interest to us, but his ecclesiology is an essential doctrine there for Peter Damian. And certainly he is projecting


to a certain extent his own monastic convictions upon St. Romuald, but I have no doubt that St. Romuald had the identical convictions. Because they are expressed, if not in words, if they were not expressed in words, they were certainly expressed in his way of life, which was a life of deep communion and of love for souls, zeal for souls, desire to see everyone saved. And saved not only by entering the monastery at the end of one's day, repenting for all the wicked things, but saved wherever they are, in whatever situation. He wasn't concerned if they didn't become monks. If they were priests, he organized them, put them into rectories and made them live a common life as, you know, canons. Or if they were laypeople, he encouraged them to live their life the way, you know, in their state of life, but to live it with purity of heart, love of God and neighbor. And, of course, if he found anyone who wanted to follow him, he was more than happy to lead them into his experience of the solitary life,


but as an available hermit, as a hermit in communion, and often, as we find in a number of places, in both the Life of the Five Brothers and the Life of St. Romuald, in a two-by-two arrangement. You know, Romuald often did have a companion. He and Giovanni Gradinigo were together there when they were in Catalonia. We find Romuald, after leaving Classe, you know, after renouncing the abbacy there, going and spending some more time with Giovanni Gradinigo there near Monte Cassino, and another time where he is in the, just north of Ravenna, near where he would found Pereo, the monastery, Hermitage and Monastery of Pereo, where he's living with a certain William monk by the name of William, who might have been the former abbot of Pomposa. There's a William of Pomposa, Guglielmo di Pomposa. Let me see now. Okay. The thing also, there was one other point here


added to his insistence on the fact that it was better to sing from the heart one psalm than run through, rush through a hundred, but he also said that the material quantity was also important during the phase of formation, in order that one might develop the taste for prayer, and then learn to focus one's mind upon God, that the incense might arise to him, you know, and the pleasing prayer. Did, brother, did you have a question? Well, then you said several things about how he lived together with others, and what to do, and so on. You mentioned earlier that you just said he lived a hermitically life. Do we have some clear notion what that meant, that he went into hermitage? Did he stay there all the time? Did he come out? What did he do while he was there? Do we have some reports of that?


Or is it all guesswork? It's not all guesswork. Yeah, it's not all guesswork, but I think there are indications, number one, that the divine office, according to the rules of St. Benedict, did serve as his daily framework. He learned this at classe. He perhaps dropped it when he went up to Venice, because there was the... Marino had this practice of taking his psalter, you know, and just going around from tree to tree, and then a hundred here, and fifty there, and forty over across the way, more in the Oriental style. But it would seem that when he did, when he was there on the grounds of the Abbey of Cushaw, that he kind of reintegrated his Benedictine experience and readopted, especially after his ordination, readopted the practice of the Benedictine office. We can assume this from the passage which says that while he was singing Copland, and of course,


how does Copland begin? Fratere sobri, estote et vigilate, adversarius, veste diabolus, tanquam leo, rugiens circuit, and so forth and so on. What does that say? Of 2 Peter, you know, Brothers, be sober and watchful, your adversary, the devil, goes around like a lion. So, you know, as he says these words, as he sings these words, you know, probably the chill starts coming up his spine, and he thinks about all the devils that are swarming around the cemetery. These are clues, but I think, you know, it's reasonable to conclude to that. We can conclude also from the fact that the divine office, according to the rule of Benedict, was practiced from the very start at Camaldoli. That's the end of Romulus' life. That's his last foundation, and all of his other foundations seem to be built around that framework. So the life in the cell, how did it begin? Vespers in the evening, compliment sundown. He went right to bed


and then got up two o'clock, three o'clock in the morning, according to the time of the season of the day. In other words, while it was still dark, the first crow of the rooster, or according to some inner, certainly had an inner clock, you know, that would get him up. And then he would make his vigil, the 12 Psalms. It says there, where did I just see it? Yes, in this chapter 9, where he talks about discretion and where he says that he severely forbade anyone to go to bed after the 12 Psalms of vigils. That's the office of St. Benedict, isn't it? It's also, I mean, there's the desert father, they count the lives of the fathers about the angel who comes and what is that? You know, he sings, when they were singing a lot of psalms and they were arguing about which is better, you know, how much, the angel came and he sang 12 psalms and then left. Was that it? Something like that. Something like that. But I think here we have simply the office of the rule of Benedict. Vigils of the 12 Psalms, which means Lodz


was at the first light in the sky, prime at sun up, yam lucis ortus idere, so when the sun peaks over the horizon, then he would sing prime. And the other hours, I would assume, at their proper time. And in between, any indication what he did in between? I don't think, I don't think necessarily he did do a great deal of manual labor. Perhaps the money that he received from Hugh is indicative of his, in other words, he accepts the money and the money also provides for his needs or the needs of any of his companions. Although he did, you know, and manual labor was practiced there for a period, for three years, at Cushaw. It says only three years. In other words, it was interrupted at a certain point and then,


which means he didn't engage in manual labor, other things, you know. So it's not entirely clear that Romuald stuck to the practice of cultivating a garden everywhere he lived as a hermit. And it's not clear at Kamaldwy, it's not clear at Ponte Bellano that this was given great importance. Do you think they would go out on hikes or walks? I mean, you know. Well, St. Romuald certainly went on a lot of walks. But he didn't work the garden. Yeah, so physical activity, it's probable. But of course, you see, they practiced what are called prostrations, metonies. And that's, you know, down on your knees, down on your elbows, touching the floor with your forehead, then back on your elbows, back on your knees, stand up again, make the sign of the cross, say the other part of the Miserere, whatever psalms, you know, the prayer that established the rhythm for this kind of


ascetical gymnastic. But certainly they burned off a lot of calories doing that. And that was, you know, done by the hundreds, as in the Eastern Church. I mean, this was a common monastic penitential practice, you know, of kneeling down and prostrating and then coming back, standing back up and saying another psalm or something like that. What is it called again? Prostration or, prostrations or metonies. Metonies. Metonies from Metania, Metania, the repentance. What else? Well, did he have his mass every day? Not this time. Now, that's a good question, and I really have never quite been able to decide that. Later we do hear about his building an oratory and his not wanting a large number of people to assist at his mass because of his gift of tears.


Now, whether this reflects more of the practice of Peter Damian and the monks of Fontevillana or whether this is an accurate description of how St. Romuald lived, we do not know. The idea of his celebrating without an acolyte, I don't think would have come to his mind. It was not considered permissible. The low mass sort of thing simply didn't exist for Romuald, I'm quite sure. Which doesn't mean, you know, that he was terribly concerned about having a great assembly. It is not impossible that, not only as a hermit, but also as a nobleman hermit, that he did have a servant there. Or a companion. Yeah, okay. That might be very likely. Again, another, a little sign of communion. You know, there was a man, Romuald probably, kept very severe silence even when he did have a companion in his cell for most of the day. But also, he felt free to talk


when this was appropriate for love and charity and friendship. He was a very, very loving person and a very friendly man. So, yes. One thing that occurs to me in relation to the Thursday cropping up in the nation with the fasting, is of course that the Roman Missal, at least until the recent revision, was mocked by the fact that there was no mass provided for a Thursday. Fairly mocked, I mean, the idea of a daily mass is a relatively modern idea. Yes, that's true. That's true. Yes, that's true.