Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Life and Death of St Romuald

Pasqualino Rossi (Vicenza 1639 - Roma 1722)
Morte di San Romualdo/Death of St Romuald 1680 circa
Oil on canvas
Chiesa dei Santi Biagio e Romualdo, Fabriano

In two speeches Pope John Paul II discussed the life of St Romuald and the debt owed to him by the Church today.

"Down the centuries the [Basilica of St. Apollinaire in Classe] and its adjacent monastery became, in fact, an active centre of evangelization, thanks to the labours of authentic witnesses of Christ, including the monk St Romuald.

In April 1001 he took part in the great assembly of Bishops and dignitaries which Pope Sylvester II held precisely at this church in Classe and which was also attended by Emperor Otto III. It was at that meeting that the evangelizing mission to the Slavs was planned and organized, in continuity with all that St Adalbert had accomplished.

For this mission three of Romuald's monks were chosen, Bruno, Benedict and John. Sealing their service to the Gospel with martyrdom, they are now venerated as heavenly protectors in both Ravenna and Poland."

Pope John Paul II: Message of the Holy Father to the Archbishop of Ravenna-Cervia on the Occasion of the Celebrations of the 1450 Anniversary of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Apollinaire in Classe (23 July 1999)

"We can understand, then, how the Psalms came to be adopted from the earliest
centuries as the prayer of the People of God. If in some historical periods there was a tendency to prefer other prayers, it is to the monks' great credit that they held the Psalter's torch aloft in the Church.

One of them, St Romuald, founder of Camaldoli, at the dawn of the second Christian millennium, even maintained, as his biographer Bruno of Querfurt says, that the Psalms are the only way to experience truly deep prayer: "Una via in psalmis" (Passio sanctorum Benedicti et Johannis ac sociorum eorundem: MPH VI, 1893, 427).

With this assertion, which seems excessive at first sight, he actually remained anchored to the best tradition of the first Christian centuries, when the Psalter became the book of Church prayer par excellence. This was the winning choice in view of the heretical tendencies that continuously threatened the unity of faith and communion. "

Pope John Paul II : General Audience- Wednesday 28 March 2001

For more about St Romuald and the order he founded see the website of San Giorgio Hermitage (Bardolino, Verona)