Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore

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The Olivetan Benedictine Monks

Monastic Life

"But I, like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God,
put my trust in God’s faithful love, for ever and ever.
(Sal. 51)

"In the year 1313 of the Nativity of the Word incarnate, the aforementioned men, beloved of God, went to such a place, with their tools and their books, to offer to God a requested service." This is how the monk Antonio da Barga recounts, in his 1450 Chronicles, the beginnings of our history that initially led Bernardo Tolomei, Patrizio Patrizi and Ambrogio Piccolomini into the desert of Acona, a desert which, with the foundation chart of 26th March 1319, would become the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore.

Bernardo and his friends embraced the Rule of St. Benedict and gave birth to a new monastic Congregation approved by Pope Clement VI on 21st January 1344. The various monasteries founded or aggregated from the beginning entered thus into a religious family united under the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, all members of one body. In this way Bernardo adopted the specific charism of a centralized structure for the new monastic family, which, thanks to the General Chapter and the ministry of the Abbot of Monte Oliveto, who is also the Abbot General and father of all the monks, develops an Unum Corpus that produces brotherly love, making the communities deeply united together.

This charism that is lived even today through the vow of stability in the Congregation, guarantees a fair autonomy of monasteries guided by their respective superiors.


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