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. That is why the first High Medical School in the world was soon opened in nearby Salerno which is considered today to have been the earliest Institution of Higher Education in Western Europe. [14] 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. [2][3], The history of Monte Cassino is linked to the nearby town of Cassino which was first settled in the fifth century B.C. The Chapel of Relics holds reliquaries of several saints. From the A1 autostrada, take the Cassino exit. There are special daily openings from the day after Christmas to January 7, the day before Epiphany. Admission to the museum is €5 for adults, with discounts for families and groups. After being destroyed by an earthquake in 1349, it was reconstructed again with many additions. As part of a protracted, months-long battle, in February 1944, the monastery was bombarded by Allied planes and completely destroyed. It was directly subject to the pope and many monasteries in Italy were under its authority. He contrasts this with the 25-year struggle faced by St. Martin of Tours in western Gaul by pagans angry at his attacks on their shrines: "By the time of Benedict, paganism was in a weaker condition in western Europe than it had been in Martin's time. It maintained good relations with the Eastern Church, even receiving patronage from Byzantine emperors. It acquired a large secular territory around Monte Cassino, the so-called Terra Sancti Benedicti ("Land of Saint Benedict"), which it heavily fortified with castles. Speak quietly and respect the sacred environment. It was the Volsci who first built a citadel on the summit of Monte Cassino. Downstairs is the crypt, built in 1544 and carved into the mountain. 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. The Rule of St. Benedict mandated the moral obligations to care for the sick. De Vogue writes "this mountain had to be conquered from an idolatrous people and purified from its devilish horrors. [6], Archaeologist Neil Christie notes that it was common in such hagiographies for the protagonist to encounter areas of strong paganism. The Abbazia di Montecassino, perched on the mountaintop above the town of Cassino, is a working monastery and pilgrimage site but is open to visitors. Architectural historian Kenneth John Conant believed that Desiderius' rebuilding included pointed arches, and served as a major influence in the nascent development of Gothic architecture. The building became a national monument with the monks as custodians of its treasures. Among the great historians who worked at the monastery, in this period there is Erchempert, whose Historia Langobardorum Beneventanorum is a fundamental chronicle of the ninth-century Mezzogiorno. Inside the basilica are amazing frescoes and mosaics. "[8], While scholars see some similarities between the story of Benedict's encountering demonic phenomena and diabolic apparitions at Monte Cassino with the story of Saint Anthony the Great's temptation in the desert, the influence of the story of St. Martin is dominant – with the resistance of Satan substituting for Martin's outraged pagan populace. The abbey on Monte Cassino was originally founded by Saint Benedict in 529, making it one of Europe's oldest monasteries. There was an ancient temple there in which Apollo used to be worshipped according to the old pagan rite by the foolish local farmers. In 1057, Pope Victor II recognised the abbot of Monte Cassino as having precedence over all other abbots. From the dissolution of the Italian monasteries in 1866, Monte Cassino became a national monument. By using Tripsavvy, you accept our. 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 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. And he summoned the people of the district to the faith by his unceasing preaching. The abbey on Monte Cassino was originally founded by Saint Benedict in 529, making it one of Europe's oldest monasteries. According to chronicler Leo of Ostia the Greek artists decorated the apse, the arch and the vestibule of the basilica. Their work was admired by contemporaries but was totally destroyed in later centuries except two fragments depicting greyhounds (now in the Monte Cassino Museum). The buildings of the monastery were reconstructed in the 11th century on a scale of great magnificence, artists being brought from Amalfi, Lombardy, and even Constantinople to supervise the various works. There is a collection of religious items from the monastery. During reconstruction, the abbey library was housed at the Pontifical Abbey of St Jerome-in-the-City. 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. Visiting Hours: Daily from 8:45 AM to 7 PM from March 21 to October 31. Adalbert de Vogüé recounts that "Traces have been found of the oratories of St. Martin and of St. John the Baptist, with additions from the eighth and eleventh centuries, together with their pre-Christian cellars. This abbey was founded in the fourth century by Saint Benedict is one of the largest in Italy. Near the end of the museum is a collection of Roman finds and finally photographs from the WWII destruction. With British troops positioned to race up Route 6 far in their rear, and Polish troops poised for a renewed assault, the German paratroopers who had fought and bled for so long to control Monte Cassino received orders to withdraw. The 11th and 12th centuries were the abbey's golden age. At the bottom of the staircase is a statue of Saint Benedict dating from 1736. And like conquering Israel, Benedict came precisely to carry out this purification. In 1454 the abbey was placed in commendam and in 1504 was made subject to the Abbey of Santa Giustina in Padua. In his earlier setting Benedict "had twice shown complete mastery over his aggressiveness, Benedict is now allowed to use it without restraint in the service of God. The monastic routine called for hard work. In the center is an octagonal well and from the balcony, there are great views of the valley. The Battle of Monte Cassino was a turning point in the war, but at an incredibly high cost—in addition to the loss of the abbey itself, more than 55,000 Allied troops and more than 20,000 German troops lost their lives. "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. "The first to demolish it were Lombards on foot in 580; the last were Allied bombers in 1944. During this time the body of St Benedict was transferred to Fleury, the modern Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire near Orleans, France. There are 17th to 18th-century fresco sketches, prints, and drawings related to the monastery. Monte Cassino is a monastery in Lazio, Italy, 130 km southeast of Rome.It is a rocky hill overlooking the town of Cassino. [5], Pope Gregory I's biography of Benedict claims that Satan opposed the monks repurposing the site. Early years of the Abbey ; The Golden Age; Modern Era; The Battle of Montecassino ; The Revival of the Abbey ; Pope Benedict XVI visits the Abbey; Abbots of Montecassino; The Reconsecration of the Basilica; Live il blog dell'Abbazia di Montecassino; Heritage. Benedictine monks took care of the sick and wounded there according to Benedict's Rule. In 1944 during World War II it was the site of the Battle of Monte Cassino and the building was destroyed by Allied bombing. This school found its original base in the temple itself was only twelve meters long and eight wide civilians refuge. 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