Today, Pope Francis nominated as the new Apostolic Exarch for the Catholics of the Greek Byzantine Church, Reverend Archimandrite Manuel Nin, OSB. This local church has approximately 6000 faithful. Bishop-elect Nin, 59, has served the Church until now as the Rector of the Pontifical Greek College (Rome) and teacher at Pontifical Atheneum of Sant’Anselmo (Rome).
The new exarch is the titular bishop of Carcabia, a professed monk of the Abbey of Montserrat, and has been a priest for 18 years. He is currently a consultor in the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, a member of the Liturgical Commission of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and first assistant to the president of the Subiaco-Cassinese Congregation. May God grant Bishop Manuel many years!
Rome is a VERY fascinating place to visit due to the intersection of culture, religion, politics, and art. There is a rich sense of the human and a love of life. One important basilica is Saint Paul’s (my personal favorite). These brief videos give perspective.
Saint John Paul II: “In its present form, inspired above all by Saint Benedict, Western monasticism is the heir of the great number of men and women who, leaving behind life in the world, sought God and dedicated themselves to him, “preferring nothing to the love of Christ”.The monks of today likewise strive to create a harmonious balance between the interior life and work in the evangelical commitment to conversion of life, obedience and stability, and in persevering dedication to meditation on God’s word (lectio divina), the celebration of the Liturgy and prayer.”
–Vita Consecrata, 6
On these U.S. shores a devotion to the Mother of God under the title of Our Lady of Monte Vergine is unknown by most people. There are, however, those of us who know Italy and the presence of the Benedictine abbey on Monte Vergine that inspires us to use this title to Mary. From the image herewith it is difficult to grasp that the icon is quite large, with a height of over 12 feet and width of over 6 feet; it shows the Mary seated on a throne with the Infant Jesus seated on her lap. Historians call icon of the Mother and Child, “of Constantinople” (because it is said to have been brought to Italy by King Baldwin of Jerusalem) given to the Benedictine monks in 1310. King Baldwin. The image is dark, so the icon is often referred to as one of the “Black Madonnas”; a title given to several images of the Holy Virgin Mother.
The famous Benedictine sanctuary located in the village of Montevergine (of Campanian region of Italy); the “Monte Vergine” comes from the religious history going back to the pre-Christian era when there was a temple of Cybele existed. A chapel of the Blessed Virgin was built in the seventh century. In 1119, Saint William of Vercelli founded the monastery that still exists. Saint William was a hermit who came back to his native Italy after making a pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela (Spain).
Saint William had the reputation for sanctity inspiring many to live in cells on the mountain. Monasticism still is present there. The first true church was constructed in 1126, and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.
Today, it is reported that over one-and-one-half million pilgrims yearly pay homage to Our Lady of Montevergine. The most popular day is Pentecost. There have been numerous miracles attributed to this portrait of the Mother of God and her Divine Son.
The Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation celebrates his 75th birthday. Abbot Notker Wolf presides in charity over the worldwide communion of Benedictines from the Aventine Hill in Rome. He was the archabbot of the St Ottilien Abbey and Congregation before his election as Primas.
Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.