CamaldoliThere is a special place in my heart and personal spirituality for Camaldoli (my photo above), St Romuald, and the Camaldolese. This year the Camaldolese Benedictines are commemorating the 1,000th anniversary of the foundation of their motherhouse in Camaldoli, Italy, where St. Romuald encouraged the vocation of some monks to live in solitude as hermits. I have visited Camaldoli (the hermitage and the cenobium), and St Gregory’s, their monastery in Rome, and stayed at New Camaldoli, Big Sur, in California, and visited Incarnation Monastery, Berkeley. [The links are to some of the photos I took].

Camaldolese have recluses, hermits, monastics living in community, and involved in apostolic ministry. And you can move from one of those modes of life to another. Their central focus, that holds all this together, is contemplative life. They also have Oblates.

St Augustine of Canterbury, of course, set off from St Gregory’s in Rome, having been prior there. The Episcopalian/Anglican Order of the Holy Cross has a special association with the Camaldolese – to the point of having shared a monastery together, drawing on each others’ insights, and mutually enriching each others’ lives and spirituality.

There is a particular focus on ecumenism and interreligious dialogue.

As part of the millennium celebrations the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury have prayed together at St Gregory’s.

Archbishop’s homily at vespers, St Gregory’s

Monastic Virtues and Ecumenical Hopes – Archbishop of Canterbury address at St Gregory’s (a conference presented with my friend, Fr. Robert Hale, prior of the New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, California).

Monks and Mission: a perspective from England address of the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Abbey of Monte Cassino.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon on March 11 at St. Paul’s Within the Walls, an Episcopal Church parish and the first non-Roman Catholic church to be built inside the walls of Rome. The St. Paul’s congregation was joined by members of All Saints Anglican Church in Rome, a parish in the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe, for the service:

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