The biography records that the area was still largely pagan at the time; Benedict's first act was to smash the sculpture of Apollo and destroy the altar. The former territory of the Abbey, except the land on which the abbey church and monastery sit, was transferred to the diocese of Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo. Benedict's prayers are portrayed as the driving force behind the building of the abbey and the triumphs over Satan, through prayer: "Benedict the monk wrests from the devil a well-determined base which he never leaves. From November 1 to March 20, hours are 9 AM to 4:45 PM. Montecassino (also spelled Monte Cassino), a small town about 80 miles south of Rome, is the home of the sacred relics and monastery of St. Benedict (480-543), the patron saint of Europe and the founder of western monasticism. The building became a national monument with the monks as custodians of its treasures.  Following the bombing the ruins of the monastery were occupied by German Fallschirmjäger (paratroopers) of the 1st Parachute Division, because the ruins provided excellent defensive cover. During the period of exile, the Cluniac Reforms were introduced into the community. A flourishing period of Monte Cassino followed its re-establishment in 718 by Abbot Petronax, when among the monks were Carloman, son of Charles Martel; Ratchis, predecessor of the great Lombard Duke and King Aistulf; and Paul the Deacon, the historian of the Lombards. The trucks were loaded and left in October 1943, and only "strenuous" protests resulted in their delivery to the Vatican, minus the 15 cases which contained the property of the Capodimonte Museum in Naples. As was common in the early days of Christianity, the abbey was built over a pagan site, in this case on the ruins of a Roman temple to Apollo. There was an ancient temple there in which Apollo used to be worshipped according to the old pagan rite by the foolish local farmers. The abbey itself however, was not initially utilised by the German troops as part of their fortifications, owing to General Kesselring's regard for the historical monument. Monte Cassino became a model for future developments. Basilica at Monte Cassino by James Martin Montecassino Abbey Visiting Information. It was totally rebuilt after the war and is now a major destination for tourists, pilgrims and history buffs. Montecassino (also spelled Monte Cassino), a small town about 80 miles south of Rome, is the home of the sacred relics and monastery of St. Benedict (480-543), the patron saint of Europe and the founder of western monasticism.. After being destroyed by an earthquake in 1349, it was reconstructed again with many additions.  The Vatican daily bulletin of 23 October 2014 announced that with the appointment of his successor Donato Ogliari, the territory of the abbey outside the immediate monastery grounds had been transferred to the Diocese of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo, now renamed Diocese of Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo. No doubt Gregory had this biblical model uppermost in his mind, as is clear from the terms he uses to describe the work of destruction. The mountain shelters this citadel on a broad bench. When [Benedict] the man of God arrived, he smashed the idol, overturned the altar and cut down the grove of trees. In the tenth century, the monastery was again opened and was filled with beautiful manuscripts, mosaics, and works of enamel and gold. Regulations: No smoking or eating, no flash photography or tripods, and no shorts, hats, mini-skirts, or low-necked or sleeveless tops. All the knowledge of the civilizations of all the times and nations was accumulated in the Abbey of that time. The Romans renamed the settlement Casinum and built a temple to Apollo at the citadel. "The abbot in his wisdom decided that great number of young monks in the monastery should be thoroughly initiated in these arts" – says the chronicler about the role of the Greeks in the revival of mosaic art in medieval Italy. Currently there is no admission charge. If you're traveling between Rome and Naples, the beautiful Abbey of Montecassino is well worth a visit. Monte Cassino Monastery is located on the top of one of the hills (519 m above sea level) of the Central Apennine. Pope Gregory also relays that the monks found a pagan idol of bronze when digging at the site (which when thrown into the kitchen gave the illusion of a fire until dispelled by Benedict). The monastery became known as a center of culture, art, and learning. " Scholars note that this striking contrast is not stressed by Gregory but rather both settings are portrayed as part of a single battle account against the same demonic enemy. In one story, Satan invisibly sits on a rock making it too heavy to remove until Benedict drives him off. ", Benedict scholars (such as Adalbert de Vogüé and Terrence Kardong) note the heavy influence of Sulpicius Severus' Life of Martin on Pope Gregory I's biography of Benedict, including the account of his seizure of Monte Cassino. Montecassino Abbey is about 130 kilometers south of Rome and 100 kilometers north of Naples, on the mountain above the town of Cassino in the southern Lazio region. On 15 February 1944 the abbey was almost completely destroyed in a series of heavy, American-led air raids. The care of the sick was such an important duty that those caring for them were enjoined to act as if they served Christ directly. St. Benedict (see Subiaco) established his first monastery here.The monastery was constructed on the site of the pagan temple of Apollo and St. Benedict's first act was to smash the sculpture of Apollo and destroy the altar.
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