Primitive Romualdian Spirituality / Applications

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.



Suggested Keywords:


Part of "Romualdian/Camaldolese/Benedictine Spirituality"

1. Primitive Romualdian Spirituality / Applications

Archival Photo





Before we begin, first of all, I'd certainly like to welcome you all on behalf of Prior Roberts and the whole community for this workshop, slant retreat. I've been calling it a workshop, I've given it twice already, at the Epiphany Monastery in New Hampshire and at our sister's Transfiguration Monastery in New York. I call it that because there's so many dates and historical facts and information, input that's involved with just getting to what our spirituality really is that it becomes as much a workshop as it is a retreat, with the exception of the fourth part on Sunday, which is basically a meditation and certainly more of a retreat nature than a workshop. There are handouts, in case you missed it. There are handouts at the front. There will always be handouts. I've got handouts for every session. Are we out? No, we're still


out. That gives you the general outline of where we're topically going this weekend. Also, I wanted to mention to you, I wanted to mention three books that we have. You may have noticed, some of you may have already read Thomas Mosse's translations of the two main primary sources of the Camalgui tradition. We saw this in the bookstore. We're finally getting some things into English. It's rather exciting for us all. Until now, if you read French or Italian or Latin, you could read it, but we didn't have anything in English. For a week now, we've had the second volume of what we hope will be a Camalgui series, and this is a translation of A History of Camalgui, by Don Lino Vigelucci, the former prior of Forte Avalana, the monastery on the left there. This will give you a good basic understanding


of our history, I believe. Also, it will give you a helpful glossary in the back of monastic terms. If you find yourself saying, what is he talking about? You'll find some pieces of monastic jargon that you don't quite understand. You'll probably find it in here, although I'm going to be explaining much of it as I go along. But an unpaid collection of the economic announcement here. This here is a real breakthrough for us, also. This book by De Tovato. It's in Italian. We don't sell it or anything, but it's just so exciting to have this. It's Camalgui and its congregation, from its origins until 1184, gives you all the original documents, the history. It's just wonderful, and we're very, very fortunate, finally, to have this in print. If you read Italian, it's a marvelous, marvelous tool. I have been studying our history for the last year and a half to two years, and


I've compiled a working library of Camalgui studies, out of which this comes, and hopefully a number of other events and the course down the line in our history. I'm going to leave this here, for anyone who's interested. I'll leave it here all week. Everything on here is available. Granted, most of the stuff is in Italian, French, some German, Latin, but I've found about 50 or 60 English items now, regarding some aspect of our history. If you're really interested in doing some research, or even doing a little browsing, just see me about any given item. I'll just leave it here on the desk the entire weekend. I learned from experience at Epiphany and Transfiguration that in his setting, I had better keep questions


and discussion until the end, because this session, for instance, went two and a half hours at Epiphany. It won't go that tonight. Don't worry. You'll notice that I mentioned the historical session on Saturday afternoon will go two to three hours, probably closer to two hours, because we'll hold off the questions and discussions until that evening. I didn't sit there, and it went almost four hours at Epiphany. It's a very exciting session. It's an amazing history, and it was great fun. We had a lot of good laughs, too. We want to keep some order here, and we have another liturgical schedule to deal with and everything. I would ask that if you have questions, that you write them down, and just see me after any given session or outside of a presentation, or hold them for Saturday evening. Saturday evening, 7.30 on, I'll just be here and look through what happens, if anybody wants to


discuss anything or have any questions. We'll just work it that way. I put it on Saturday evening, because I would think most of the questions and discussions would arise out of the historical presentation. That's why I thought it would be a good idea to follow it and write rather closely. Also, notice that I put the spellings on the board. I'll do that for each session. Whenever I think there's something that you might not be familiar with, or a name that you want to know the spelling of, it should be up there. That way we don't have to interrupt that way, or you don't have to say, how do you spell that? Okay, let's begin with the prayer. Almighty ever-loving God, give us all the grace to sense the mystery which so enlivened


and spirited our holy father Romulan, that he inflamed countless followers to live lives of union with your heart. Help us always to build on love, express to us most eloquently in Jesus Christ, your son and our Lord, who reigns and lives with you in the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. You will notice that the first two sessions, that is the session this evening and the session tomorrow morning, are looking at our basic primary sources. That is, we're dealing with the history or the story, the life of Blessed Romeo by Peter Damian, and also the lives of the five brothers written by Bruno Boniface of Corford, both of which are in the first


volume, translated by Mattis, that I mentioned. It seems to me that we have to get a good scope on the original world that surrounded Romuald and his inspiration. We call that world the Romualdian world. It's what encompasses his own lifetime and the century following upon his lifetime. This is not Kamaldali's world. This is Romualdian. We have to get a grasp of that before we can really look at how Kamaldali's spirituality grew out of Kamaldali and its history as a congregation, as well as Fonte Avalona and the Avalonita congregation, and how they came together. And then, in the third session, look at what history did to us and what we did to history, and try to understand all the various levels


of that complex. And then, after all of that, as givens, to try to bring together what we are talking about when we talk about Kamaldali's spirituality today, knowing what we've gone through, knowing the primitive inspiration and life, as well as our course throughout history, and Vatican II, etc., everything together. So it seems to me that an important question for any discussion of Romualdian spirituality is going to be, who is Romuald? And I want to name the people I'm relying on most clearly, in case any of you wish to ask questions. I'm not going to do any research. The prime scholar of Romuald is Giovanni Tabacco. This is not a monk. This is a professor, Giovanni Tabacco. I have a number of items on the bibliography,


all wonderful stuff, and really, really keen historical, as well as philosophical and theological observations. Also, Jean Leclerc. Jean Leclerc has gone parallel with Tabacco throughout the years, studying Peter Damian and Romuald and our sources. We also have a young monk who's still not in the solemn vows. He's living at the Sacred Hermitage. That is, by the way, at the Sacred Hermitage on the right, at the Commandoli. Roberto Forniciari. He just finished another one of his advanced degrees, and his thesis for this one concerns our own Saint Bernhard Boniface. And it's really a marvelous, a marvelous little thesis, and I hope someday to translate that into English as well. The other three I mentioned, they're


not primary sources for me, but I have used some of their observations. So we need to look at Peter Damian's Life of Romuald. When reading Peter Damian, we have to remember that scholars feel that there's more of Peter Damian's polemics and his slants and ideology than Romuald's in the Life of Romuald. That is, Peter Damian wants to answer the question regarding his own reforming activities, what is real hermit life? What is real eremiticism? And so he uses Romuald as his vehicle, which does not say that Romuald would disagree with Peter Damian at all, but it's Peter Damian we're reading there. Peter Damian shows that true eremiticism is a combination of Saint Benedict and Saint Anthony of the Church. That is, the hermit is not selfish, but really lives a love of neighbor and is


able to live to the fullest the asceticism and the relationship with Christ within the hermitage cell itself. Putting those two together, Benedict and Anthony. And so the true eremitical life is the group dynamic hermitage from Peter Damian's point of view. That is, hermits living together. That's his point. To quote Tabacco, Romuald represents the creative and visibly dynamic moment of an experience, an experience which Peter Damian wants to prolong. This quote, by the way, is out of context, but I'm not doing damage to it. As Bruno Boniface also points out in his Life of the Five Brothers, Romuald is the father of reasonable hermits. What does he mean by that, father of reasonable hermits? Well, the hermits who are living


under a rule, and that is the rule of Benedict. As we shall see later, Bruno Boniface also comes to his Life of the Five Brothers with his own polemical slant and much earlier than Peter Damian ever did vis-a-vis Romuald, but we'll see that later. So what do we know about Romuald? Much of what we do know has been pieced together and hashed out over the centuries, as well as what has been gleaned from our own primary sources, the Life of Romuald, Life of the Five Brothers, and Blessed Rudolf's Constitutions, 1085 particularly, the shorter version. We know that Romuald was of the Lombard noble family, that his father was a duke, Duke Sergio. We know that he was born in the mid-10th century in Ravenna, and that he was


a monk. They traditionally give the date 952 as his birth date. We know that he later became a Benedictine monk, a monk of St. Apollinare in Classe at Ravenna, or around 972, 973, so when he was about 20 years old. We know that Classe was a house of Cluny at this time, that is, the Cluniac movement, which had spread vastly throughout Europe of that age, had also taken over Classe. So Classe was a Cluniac house, but not a very successful one, because the monks didn't want to be Cluniac. But they had been under Cluny during Myol's abbecy for only one year by the time Romuald got there, one or two years at the most, and there wasn't anything Cluniac about them at this point. The Classe monks were very stubborn,


as Romuald, much to his own chagrin, was to find out in short order, and they didn't want to be reformed. We know that he lived there a few years, and then we know that he left with permission, and probably with a sigh of relief, from his abbot. If you've read his life, you know what I mean. There probably was a great sigh of relief from the abbot and brethren of Classe. And this is often the case in hagiography, often the case with the lives of founders, the lives of those early or medieval monastic founders who tried out in the normal way, and it doesn't work, because nobody's really living what they're supposed to be living, unless you have the founder at a loss for words and action. So we know that he lived for a while then, under an old codger who was living in the


woods, named Marino, who was evidently a very holy man, a rather unlearned, a very brusque and rustic fellow, but with a very good heart, and who in the long run was very, very good for Romulan. And the relationship they lived together, as hermits, was sort of an eastern model, that is, an abbot-disciple relationship, like you would have in the Egyptian deserts of the fourth century, at the beginnings of what monasticism became. We know Romulus was strongly influenced by the East, by the Eastern Church, by Greek monasticism, through his contacts in Ravenna and Venice. Both cities were under the influence of Byzantium at this time. We know that through his later contact with the monks of St. Nilo


in just south of Rome, Greek monks, that he had influence, or that he was influenced. We know that with his later relationship, which was very formative for him, his relationship with the emperor Otto III, a young man who died at what, maybe the age of 23, 22, 23, had a powerful effect on Romulan. And his court was basically an Indian court. It was an eastern model of court life. And we know also that during his years in Istria, he was, to a great extent, again, within an eastern orb, an eastern influence. So we know that from all these angles, Romulus is going to have a strong influence of the East, of the Eastern Church on him. You can see this, if you go around and see some of the ruins.


I'm thinking of San Urbano, especially, and a couple others nearby, which are just, what's left is maybe a church that functions for weddings once in a while, because it's quaint. But the architecture is strongly of eastern, almost startlingly so, at points. And you realize that this was Romulus' foundation. But these were our early forebears. This was their church and their monastery. Strong eastern influence. We know that he later went to Cuxa, to St. Michael de Cuxa, over in southern France. We know he went there with the Doge of Venice, who slipped away with him, Peter Orseo I, who became a Romualdian follower. And a few others. We know Gradinico went with him, and Marino. And some feel that Morosini also went with him. Giovanni Morosini, who tradition


holds after Cuxa actually founded a Black Benedictine house in Venice, San Giorgio Maggiore. We know that he lived there for a number of years with his little band, and they lived near the monastery as a group of hermits, up in the mountainside. We know that he later lived in the marshes near Classe, back at his old abbey. And he started making foundations in the 980s and the early 990s. Then in 998 we find him back at Classe as the abbot at the behest of the emperor. It doesn't last very long. It lasts one year, and ends rather dramatically. We then know that this was followed by an amazing period for the Romualdian world


in its relationship with the court of the emperor. And the whole mission to the east, the mission to Poland comes into play there. The foundations of the Istrian period come into that point. Why Istria? That's a question that scholars have. Why did he go to Istria? This is Dalmatia, over on the Yugoslavian, what is now Yugoslavia, what is now what, Croatia? Drasko, help me. Always was Croatia. Why? Why did they go there? Well, there was one scholar, a German, who did early research on Romuald, and Bruno Bonaparte, named Voigt. His hypothesis is that either Romuald's family owned lands in Istria, or his mother at least was Istrian. Thomas Mattis also assumes that in one way or another, Istria was an ancestral land for Romuald. And there


are other scholars who agree, but most scholars don't even touch it, because there's no proof one way or another. We know that Istria was important. He spent a number of years there, at least three years as a recluse, and he also founded foundations there, building the monastery especially of St. Michael Aleno. So it was an important period for him. It was also a healing period for him. Romuald, then, is brought to the fore in our documents as a true wisdom figure at this point. From this point on, he is a wisdom figure for everyone. We are told that he has the gift of tears, in his rapt, ecstatic comprehension of who God is, and what the mystery of life is all about. Not as a mere sentimentality, but the true theological gift of tears, the


whole mystical element of the gift of tears. If we accept the tradition, that's what they're talking about. There is a tender side to Romuald, but it isn't his strongest side, and it certainly isn't sentimental. The humanity, the tenderness, comes through Romuald in other ways. This gift we're talking about here comes through the mystical tradition, that is, the gift of tears we find in Origen, in Evagrius, Ponticus, and John Cashion, that gift of tears. As well as the gift of tears we find in perhaps the greatest theologian of the Eastern Church, who is almost an exact contemporary of Romuald himself, and that is Simeon the New Theologian. The dates for Simeon are 949 to 1022. For Romuald, 952 to 1027. Almost exactly. And if you study Simeon


the New Theologian, and you look at Romuald's gift of tears, and then the tradition of the gift of tears in mysticism, and align that with his gifts of prophecy, the comprehension of the sacred scriptures, which he elucidates for others around him, you see what they're pointing at. They're pointing at Romuald, the sapiential figure, Romuald the mystic. This is followed by another period of foundation-making. Romuald goes off occasionally on these tramps out in the country, and founds monasteries, and hermitages, and little cells, and he reorganizes groups of priests, groups of nuns, and these become part of what is known as the Romualdian movement. We know that he spent seven years at his foundation at Citria, right around the year 1015, if you want to date it. We know that he stayed four times at Valdicastro


that we know of, and four times at Citria during his last years. Four times at each of those places. He died at Valdicastro. If any of you want the eight chapters or nine chapters where you can look all this up, see me later. We know that he made more foundations, particularly some near Orvieto, that were very important in his life. Then we know that he made a foundation, his last foundation, of Camaldoli, which you can date in the early 20s, 1023, 1022, 1023, 1024. Mentioned in Rudolf's constitution of 1085, that is, Romuald's foundation of Camaldoli. As well as in Bishop Teodaldo of Arezzo's document of 1027, which dates the church over to the monks whom Romuald left


behind on that mountain top of Camaldoli. This document, by the way, is in direct contrast and the logic that flows from the facts nowadays is in direct contrast to what the tradition had been holding. But that was basically due to a deposition that one of our priors made, Prior Raniero of Arezzo, when he lied under oath to the papal legates in order to protect Camaldoli from the incursions of the bishop of Arezzo and future bishops of Arezzo, taking away the freedom that Camaldoli had and the authenticity. The exemption, in other words. It was an exemption event. And so that's the whole business about Count


Maudolo and giving the property to Romuald in the year, what, 1012 or something like that, 1010. It didn't happen. Thank goodness for Raniero of Arezzo, because Camaldoli's history, I'm afraid, would not have been nearly as important had Raniero not lied. We know that Romuald then died at Val di Castro in the year 1027. So that is the bare outline we have of what we know about Romuald. What do we see about his personality? If one studies the primary sources, one sees that he's certainly sensitive. He's a very humble man. From early years, from his early monastic experience, you just remember his experience with Marino, the classic experience


of Marino cuffing him across the ear and causing a deafness in one of his ears. And Romuald's reaction was a very humble reaction. That's the classic one people point to. But there's also the one that's much later in his life, at Sitria, when he's an old man, the old founder, and he's put into prison at Sitria. I've seen the prison. I've seen the prison months, because he was unjustly accused of homosexual acts with a monk named Romero, and he wouldn't come to his own defense. And for some reason, the monks all decided to believe Romero, and Romuald went to prison, imprisoned by his own fellow monk. Well, it takes some humility to go through something like that, especially for a member of monks. He probably enjoyed the solitude, actually, too. That's just another side of Romuald that's


very strong. We know that he's very, very radical, very prophetically radical, and radically prophetic. In his ministry to others, in the foundations he made, in the ways he acted, he was very eccentric. There's charming stories of some of his cures and some of his little miracles he worked, and just how he woke people up to awareness of God's presence in their lives. He was certainly a very charismatic individual, and very free person. He was always, and he maintained the stance of always being open to the Holy Spirit, and realizing and stating that divine providence was running the show, always. We know also that he was word-centered, like our tradition, like the monastic tradition. Especially the psalms were so important to him, again, with Peter Daniel also, if you


read Peter Daniel's writings. We know that his life at Classe was word-centered, that is, Classe Frantipollinari, where he started as a young monk. We know that his life with Marino was word-centered. We know that he got cuffed across the ear because he was reading the word to Marino, not in the correct way. We know that his own personal praxis was strongly aligned with the word of God. What teachings we have given in the primary sources, spiritual teachings to the brethren, are often regarding simple things like, read the psalms, pray the psalms, be with God, be quiet. His centering presence and his centering ministry within the Romualdian world made it what it was, made it last.


We know that he was a man of solitude. I'll be saying much more about this. He was a man of solitude who cared very much about, quote, saving others' souls, unquote. But Romuald means something else by that than what is normally thought of. Romuald felt that his way of saving souls was to, on the one hand, reform the Church, wherever it needed it, that's fine. But on the other hand, more specifically, bring people into aramidical life, an aramidical life that was structured under a superior and the rule of Ben. In other words, here he is again, the father of reasonable humans. But for him, this was saving souls. He is concerned with an aramidical salvation of souls. It's unusual. We know that he was a healer. We know that he was a mystic. I've already mentioned the


gift of tears. We know that he was ecstatic at times. We know that he was prophetic, that he had incredible understanding of the scriptures braced on him at points in his life. We can see him as an authentic wisdom figure. If you read Jean Leclerc, he uses the title, The Mysterious Master. And of course, Thomas Manz picks up on that in his book. Well, this Mysterious Master is a wisdom figure. That title flows from that. The Mysterious Master of Ramuel is a mystery of wisdom. So what are some of the characteristics, then, seeing Ramuel for who he was and what he did? What are some of the characteristics we can see about the type of spirituality or the


type of monastic environs that were created or that arose in his world through his mediation? First of all, I feel that the small scale of everything that he did is very, very important and is intricately part of the Romualdin picture. That is, whatever he founded was small. His hermitages were small. His monasteries were small. Looking at the sources, both primary and secondary, regarding what givens the Romualdin reformed, which was very famous, by the way, in its own day, we can discern those givens. The list might read something like this. The rule of Benedict, solitude, and by the way, the union of the aramidical and the cenobitical


at times, under a hermit superior, that was also part of it, but the rule of Benedict, the aramidical accent, solitude, silence, fasting, prayer. That's basically it in the Romualdin world. This is what we're talking about. Those are the givens, monastically put. This is a quote from our own Della Santa. He's the prior of Monte Giovino. What is his first name? Della Santa. I can't remember it right now. He's the prior of Monte Giovino. He looks a lot like Don Nino. Montserrato. This is his book, from his book. It's in the bibliography if you want to look at it.


Based on greater solitude, silence, and fasting, the Romualdin system of life imitated the ancient Egyptian anchoritism in the penitential ascetical sphere. For the rest, it faithfully referred to the observance of the Benedictine rule. It was an organized aramidicism. This is the genius of the Romualdin world, is that he was organizing hermits. There are plenty of hermits in Italy at this time, plenty of them, but he was organizing them. That was his saving souls ministry, was to bring these eccentrics, et cetera, into an organized, into a group experience of living together under a rule. Another quote from Montserrato. Monte Cassino recognized Romuald's institute as authentic and legitimate. In fact, in the


year 997, Abbot John II of Monte Cassino retired to a nearby hermitage with five of his monks, where John Gradinigo, Romuald's disciple, had been since 988. So he had been there nine years. This is after Cucca. The Romualdin aramidical movement did not come to be considered antagonistic at all to Benedictine monasticism, but even a magnificent fruit of it. When we refer to the Romualdin world or the Romualdin movement or reform, we're talking about those houses which Romuald founded or his followers founded, or houses which joined the movement, joined up ranks after that. The only big houses we have are ones that came already that way. So some large houses joined the Romualdin movement later on.


All the foundations, though, were small. All were small. And for Peter Damian, he did an immense amount of, if you read The Life of Peter Damian, I translated this in our library, he did an immense amount of quick founding. In a matter of weeks, four foundations, he just dumped off two or three monks at each place, and they had to make a go of it, and they made the foundation. And all kinds of foundations were made this way, within the Fonte Avalana orb. But very small foundations, just like Raman's foundation. So what we're talking about are these types of foundations, whether they were founded or joined later, the world of Romuald, during his lifetime or the early years, maybe up to a century, let's say, after his death, before the Camaldolese congregation arose, and before the Avalanita congregation. These are the two monasteries we're talking about


this weekend, basically. Fonte Avalana and the Avalanita congregation, and Camaldoli and the Camaldolese congregation, especially when we're talking about the Romualdin spirituality. These are the two mothers. They later come together into union in the year 1570. They come together into the Camaldolese. I can give you a list of Romuald's foundations, all of which are relatively small. I'll name just a few of them that are important, especially if you've read the history, you'll recognize the names. Longadera, that's that hermitage just up the mountainside from Cusa. Saint Apollinare in Classe. Perio. Fonte Avalana, question mark. Some say it's quite likely that Romuald actually founded


Fonte Avalana. I don't think so, but he certainly was near to Fonte Avalana early on. Valdicastro, that's where he died. He organized a convent of nuns there and a hermitage. Actually, the nuns were there before Romuald was, but they weren't too organized. Citria, Holy Mary of Citria, that's where he was imprisoned. Monteprecio, Fulo. Now here, Saint Vincent of Fulo, I've been there. It's a wonderful, wonderful ancient church. It's used only for weddings now. This was a monastery from the So there was some of that also. Some of his foundations were already extant monasteries, which were on their last gasp of breath or had already died out. He used the building


and formed a new community. There's a monastery near Orvieto we don't know the name of, but we know it was important to the Romualdian movement. We also know the name of one that was there. There were more than one near Orvieto. Valambrosa. Valambrosa itself is often referred to as a hermitage of the Romualdian movement early on, before Camaldoli. Well, if you know the story, we don't have time to go into it. We don't have time. Anyway, there are some who say Valambrosa itself is Romualdian. Camaldoli also, needless to say. And there are others, but we don't know the specifics about them. An interesting note in this is that all the monks from these houses, except Camaldoli and except Fonte Avalana, which started as its own center and formed a congregation around


itself, wore black habits. The Romualdian world, for the most part, wore black habits or grey, unbleached habits. This is only in the early Romualdian time. Camaldoli wore white, traditionally held because of the vision that Romuald had about the white monks going up the staircase into heaven. We don't know if that's the real reason. That's the one that's often mentioned. But when I run across them, the scholars are mentioning that they always had their tongue in their cheek. So I don't know quite how to take that. What is the real reason? They don't give it. But anyway, we know that Camaldoli wore white habits. Not so among the other foundations. With Fonte Avalana, we can find the same thing. I can give you a whole list, which I'm not going to give you. If you want to see them, I'll photocopy them for you, of all these little foundations, just running parallel with


Romuald's foundations. Some of them, Peter Damian later on, Peter Damian comes after Romuald. He takes over some Romualdian foundations that didn't make it or that were already faltering. And he brought them back to life and reminded them of their Romualdian influence and inspiration, including Citria. Well, Citria, that makes sense. It's just right near Fonte Avalana. It's just down the road, just down the canyon. I have stories about Citria, too, if you want to catch me at a meal or something like that. Ask me about Citria and the horses. The houses, then, of Fonte Avalana and Peter Damian were in the spirit of the Romualdian reform and were characterized by the same list of givens. So that little list of givens I gave to you for Romuald's foundations fit for Peter Damian's also. Remember, Peter Damian


wrote the Life of Romuald. That was his first monastic writing. And he wrote it before he took on the work of founding and reforming. Romuald is his inspiration. Romuald is going to be his model about how to go about founding houses and what to do. Well, it flows naturally that he's going to do the same basic thing that Romuald did in his founding era. It seems to me that the fact that all these houses were all rather small says something, especially since so many foundations were being made. We're talking lots. The main ones I've listed. Rather than concentrating on building up certain houses into large monasteries or large hermitages. That wasn't the way they went about it. And it seems to me that because it wasn't done that way, there was a reason for it. And that it somehow germane


to what the Romualdian spirit was. Some larger historical houses later joined the Romualdian movement. Pomposa is the famous one. The Abbey of Pomposa was rather large when it joined the Romualdian reform. But none of the originals were huge. There was no rule about being small as such that we can determine. It's just the way they did it. And there had to be a reason for that. Perhaps you'll come up with the answer. But it has something to do with the lived experience of Romualdian spirituality. A second characteristic about that early Romualdian world which is going to underpin what we become as commodities, solitude. My hero Giovanni Tabacco writes, this is Romuald's central motive. Wanting to guarantee the


aramidical life's autonomy through its own discipline which is consistent with its purpose. He wanted to give the aramidical life in his day some authenticity, some ethos. It was a mess. It was very individualistic. It had no order. They weren't under anyone. They weren't connected for the most part to other monasteries. It was a mess. And that's what Romuald's central motive was, to end this mess and to save the souls of those solitaries. One of our monks, Celestino Perucci, writing with a little different slant, writes about Romuald's coming into his own after the experience of living under Marino and then being the master of this small group of hermits near Cucca. Quote, placing the hermitage on the same juridical plane as the Benedictine synovium. Now, Perucci has a real slant here and it


comes across very clearly. And it's very pro-aramidicism and a lot is being unsaid between the lines that you can fairly well understand. But anyway, the point is made. Placing the hermitage on the same juridical plane as the Benedictine synovium with a superior, with a rule approved by ecclesiastical authority, with its own novices, its own professed, da-da-da, to give it some order. Because the only way the hermits are going to live authentically and be left alone and heal, some of them needed healing, and coming into a whole was to get some order and some time-tested order that the rule of Benedict would bring to the picture. Romuald is doing something new on the monastic scene. He's developing something for solitaries whereby hermits can live alone together. But under a rule and under a superior, and for Romuald


the superior is going to be a hermit, and that's something new. That's something new. Because until now, when you have instances of cenobites and hermits living together, coming together, and they have some historical examples, there's always the abbot of the synovium who's in charge of everyone. And there's a certain logic to that, as the hermits are out in a network of attachment to the monastery, but the monastery itself is the center. Well, it makes sense that the cenobitic abbot is going to be the superior. Romuald works differently. In the beginning, we're talking now about the Romualdian time. We're not talking about the centuries of Kamaldi's life, not yet. Tobacco adds, quote, again, it is among Cuxa, Ravenna, and Venice that the formation of the Romualdian hermitical experience occurs. It's there that it occurs. It comes together


through those early experiences. A small group of solitaries bonded pro privilegio amores, for the privilege of love. Bonded together for the privilege of love. Now, he's taking this phrase from our primary sources. It seems to me that this simple statement of tobacco indicates the core of what can be said about Romualdian spirituality. A small group of solitaries bonded for the privilege of love. Bonded for love. Why solitude? Romualdian spirituality is drawn toward solitude for two main reasons. First of all, the desire to be with God. It's as simple as that. The desire to speak with God, and to listen to


God, to hold spiritual converse with God. To center on the word of God, as they centered on the word of God in the early anchoritic experience of the classic experience of the desert, of Egypt. In other words, to be word-centered. So, to be connected with the word intimately. First reason for solitude. The word. Secondly, and this is interesting, because it also takes you back to that part of Romuald's influence. I said the rule of Benedict on one side, and the life of Antony on the other. To fight the demons. That is, to challenge evil openly. This is none other than the white martyrdom of the early desert. However you're going to find that evil, wherever you're going to find that evil, and a good chance of finding


it within yourself, in solitude, to do battle. And Peter Damien, in his Opus 21, writes about this. Quote, solitude in the hermitage is peopled by demons. Seeking God in a heightened tension of love is a great adventure for the privilege of love. A very difficult test is given to hermit. The immediate battle with diabolical powers at the very root of evil. It is true that Peter Damien could be more concerned with demons than Romuald ever was. Particularly if Peter Damien's concern there in the life of Romuald was to use the traditional hagiographical imagery and experiences rather than biographically historical ones. He's not writing that true


biographical history as we know them nowadays. But nevertheless, the encounter with evil is surely germane to the solitary quest for all of us. From the beginning of monastic history. In Peter Damien's life of Romuald, Master Romuald battles with demons in chapter 7, 16, 17, 18, 32, 33, 49. There are battles with demons in every one of those chapters. We also hear that the monks of Bifortico ask Romuald to write them a little treatise. What's the name of the treatise? De pugna demonorum, on fighting the devils. Which he supposedly did, but which is lost to history. We don't have a copy of it. But because Peter Damien


doesn't say anything more about it, we just assume that he actually wrote a little work on battling demons. Could be like his little rule, one pager. But we don't have any record of it. Outside the little rule of Romuald, in fact, we find in Bruno Boniface's Life of the Five Brothers, and some mention later on, of Romuald's commentary on the Psalms, and his commentary on the prophetic canticles, which we don't have. We have no record of writing of Romuald. He wasn't a writer anyway. Even if we had copies of these, he still wouldn't come off as a writer in the real sense of the word. We'd have a few works by him, but that's not his main work. The only reference than those is his little work about battling devils that he did for those monks. However important we can regard the demonic aspect


in the Romualdian spirituality, we can say that solitude is intrinsic to the spirituality's makeup, and that evil, in the battle with even one's own personal demons, is as germane to the spiritual quest for every one of us as it is to Romuald in those chapters I listed on. Another element, apostolic. One cannot ignore the interplay between contemplation and action in the life and witness of St. Romuald of Ravenna. There was a certain restlessness in him to be on the go, to be on the move, to be saving souls, often more than not, that means finding more solitaries to bring together, and to reform the Church. And there are certain battles that he's concerned with, which many


of the great Romualdian saints are going to be concerned with. Classically, Peter Damian, with asseminy and Nicolaitism. Also a saint whom we're going to soon celebrate, St. John Gwalbert, who began at Camaldoli, didn't stay very long, he ended up elsewhere, but he fought battles against these very things that the other Romualdians are fighting. Tabacco refers to the, quote, restless life of Romuald, which seems to witness a continuous contrast between the needs for action and contemplation. Is anything new under the sun in this regard? Another way of looking at this movement we find in Romuald would be to say that if he is not living in reclusion and or helping a foundation to get its feet on the contemplative


ground, he's moving somewhere else to do the very same thing. Either he's moving in that direction or he's doing it, one or the other. And he did a lot of it. He travels from one solitude to another solitude, either living or fashioning for others an organized approach to the solitary monastic witness. We are going to speak tomorrow morning about an exceptional phase in his life regarding the mission to the East and what happened after the martyrdom of Bruno Bonaparte. We'll do that tomorrow. But generally speaking, he's moving from solitude to solitude. St. Peter Damian tells us that Romuald would periodically feel within himself a certain dissatisfaction with not bearing any fruit, and that comes up a number of times, that little phrase. After he's been in a place too long, he gets an itch to bear fruit,


and off he goes. A restlessness to be on the go and saving souls. Now, I always keep in parentheses what he means by that. By means of his solitary approach to the monastic life, he saves souls. I should also mention here that during the days of the Romualdian reform, there were plenty of little churches and little chapels peopled and served by Romualdian hermits. One man chapel, one man churches. Just as during the Camaldolese days of the 13th and 14th centuries, there were plenty, excuse me, plenty hospitals and hospices peopled by Camaldolese men and women. I can give you detailed lists of the former, particularly where Fonte Avalona is concerned,


all these little chapels. There is an amazing list of them I found in one source from the Fonte Avalona documents. Incredible list. I don't know where they got all these people, and each one had its own little hermit. Incredible what was going on. History tells us that at the apex, as far as the latter goes, as far as Camaldolese hospitals and hospices, Camaldolese was responsible for, in people power or in at least financial backing, almost 500 hospitals and hospices at its apex. In fact, one of our greatest saints, Rudolf, insisted that every hermitage be involved with hospice work, that it was the most germane work for hermits to be doing, germane to their solitary quest, was doing hospice work.


Romul not only felt but understood the very human need for both action and contemplation in the monastic life. Again, Tobacco writes, Romul is a living testimony, with his intense industriousness, another might say compulsive behavior, that's me, not Tobacco, and his conception of relations between the hermitage and the monastery, of a singular connection between the needs for contemplation and action. But there's a certain paradox here. There's a paradox in the Romualdian worldview, both in the Fonte Avelana framework and the more distinctly Romualdian counterpart. Romul's kind of hermitical life is more open to the world than any other extant forms of hermitical life, and there were many other forms at this time. Thus the need for Romuald to fashion and give integrity to the hermitical monasticism in the church of his day. There were so many


forms of what was going on. Ironically, the paradox is that his type is more open, rather than less open, to the world. But at the same time, Romualdian monasticism is also most definite about its rejection of the world, and the ways of the world. Not the people in the world, but the influences, of the world. Open to the world, but not swallowed up by the world. Grounded in that world, yes, but not buried by it. The last characteristic that I came up with regarding Romualdian spirituality, primitive Romualdian spirituality, was that it was built on love. We have so many instances of loving


relationships, of spiritual intimacy, we're not talking just buddhas, we're talking spiritual intimacy, surrounding Romuald and his early followers, that it's incredible. How many here have read the Life of Romuald? Just so I have an idea. Okay, we've got a few. I highly recommend that you read the Life of Romuald in this volume. Especially if you're Kamaldi's oblet, that you understand the life of our founder, that you read it. Also the other source in here, the Life of the Five Brothers, both about Romuald and his world. Because, unless you understand these primary sources, which we now have in English, I'm not trying to get you to buy these books, borrow it if you have to, but read these sources because unless you find that genius, that flame at the center of who we are, you're


not going to understand the whole picture. Anyway, there's a number of relationships that are marked in the Life of Romuald. Now we're talking intense relationships. The relationship between Romuald and Marino, for instance, I'm basically relying on Leclerc and Tabacco for this research. The relationship between Romuald and John Gradinigo, which was at one point very, very strong. The relationship between Romuald and the emperor, Otto III, cannot be underestimated, and their spiritual colloquy that they held regularly. Romuald and Benedict later on. This is the Benedict who will be martyred in Poland. Benedict and


John Gradinigo, and their relationship becomes spiritually intimate as John Gradinigo tells Benedict about this Master Romuald, who's off in the road right now, and Benedict hasn't even met him, but that's how the relationship forms, and intimately so. And when Romuald arrives, Benedict's already there, grasping the heart of Romuald. Benedict and Bruno Boniface, especially just prior to the mission to the East, but that, again, that relationship is not so much about Romuald as it's encouraged by Romuald. Romuald is pushing these two together, being intimate. Put your hearts together. It was like he was constantly trying to bring something together there, which did come together, which flourished and flowered in the Romualdian


world. Another relationship encouraged by Romuald was the relationship between Gradinigo and this Count Oliban during the Cusa period, early on, and also the Abbot Guarino, the Abbot of Cusa, and Count Oliban. In fact, that whole little grouping around Cusa for three, four years there was incredibly intimate on a daily basis, as was the group in Poland, I presume. Tabacco points out that there seems to be a pronounced character of intimacy among the Romualdian hermits, based on a felt need they all had to share spiritually, and keep on sharing spiritually, and to share everything. We had those instances of Romuald and the


Emperor Otto III doing all-nighters together, just all night long, sharing about the spiritual life and their spiritual experiences. Bruno talks about he and Benedict doing the same thing, talking about martyrdom and the mission to the East. Also Gradinigo and Benedict, early on, before Benedict met Romuald, as I mentioned, they spent hours and hours and hours talking about this wonderful person named Romuald. Interestingly enough, we find similar bonds of intense affection binding Peter Damian to a number of people in his life, and so within the Fonte Avelana orb as well. These relationships among the early Romualdians are important because this type of intense bonding was not the characteristic


type of friendship one would expect among monastics at this time. Example. Peter Damian, the famous one. If you've read Peter Damian, Peter Damian and Loricato, Dominic Loricato. Again, we are told by Peter Damian, all-nighters, all night praying and discussing their spiritual experiences together. I'm sure Tobacco gives a pun here when he mentions this. He talks about the perfection of the vincolo between the hermits P.D. and Loricato. Vincolo, not just bond, chains. Vincolo can mean chain too, and Dominic Loricato wore chains. He was a penitentiary. I'm sure he meant that tongue-in-cheek. I don't know how many people ever caught that, but I had a good laugh anyway.


Peter Damian and Hildebrand, famous. The letters of the correspondence between the two. Peter Damian often writing Hildebrand would say, why haven't you written me? I'm bereft. You don't expect this coming out of Peter Damian. He's lamenting his loneliness and Hildebrand's ignoring him and whatnot. This is the future of Pope Gregory VII, the great reformer. Very close relationship. Mutual esteem based, I think, more than anything on their mutual reform activity of the day. Peter Damian later on, after he retires from active ministry as a cardinal archbishop, with the abbot of Montecassino, Abbot Desiderius. And there again we have that correspondence,


very touching correspondence. And writings that Peter Damian did for Desiderius and the monks of Montecassino out of just mutual esteem. And then the Empress Agnes again in Peter Damian. And there we have again letters, very touching letters. But very, very intimate. Perhaps the most significant key to these Romualdian relationships is that they were built on love. But on the love of God. And their intensity grew out of the need to share that kind of love. They had intense relationships because they had a need to share the love of God and what that meant and what that was becoming in their lives. So, in summation, I would say that above all, the spirituality of St. Romuald and his early


followers, that is, Romualdian spirituality, is one that is built on a small scale, that is centered on the word of God, primarily, in solitude, and it's characterized by an intense love of God, which had to be shared. Small, word, solitude, intense love, share. That's how I read the Romualdian spirituality, and that's going to characterize what Kamaldoli spirituality becomes, and who we are today as Kamaldolis. Tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock, we're going to continue looking at—this is hard work


too, I realize that—looking at these primary sources. But it's real important to see the genius of our early world, because otherwise you don't understand what history did to that, or did with that, in order for us to flower in the modern world, and who we are in the modern world. So we're going to continue looking at our early sources, and we're going to look at some odd parts of it, some paradoxical parts of it. Martyrdom, and traveling to the East, and preaching the Gospel to the non-believers, and all the elements that go into that and flow from that, very paradoxically. And we're going to look at some rather humorous parts too. Then, tomorrow afternoon, we'll have some fun, and we'll look at the history, and where we have gone from there, down to our own day. Thank you.