In January I presented a paper at a local medievalist’s conference about St. Nilus and the monastery he founded in Grottaferrata. (The paper has been “published” online by the conference and can be read here.) The best part about my recent trip to Italy was that I got to visit this amazing abbey.
It is not exactly a typical tourist spot. To get there you first stop at the beautiful town of Frascati and walk or take a bus to the town of Grottaferrata. We walked (because we couldn’t figure out the buses) and had a long journey. When we finally arrived I was amazed – it had been worth every step. (And every step we would have to take on the long walk back.)
This monastery was founded under the Latin church but, due to their Greek heritage, operated in the Byzantine style. During the Schism when the Eastern and Western churches were divided these monks were loyal to the Pope but on friendly terms with the Eastern churches.
This is the only picture I didn’t take – it came from the abbey’s website. We got to listen to their evening vespers in this chapel but the light was poor and I didn’t want to be a distraction. Hearing the monks sing their chants in the traditional Byzantine style was a rare experience that I will always cherish.