Basilian monks

The Catholic monastic order of Basilian includes both Uniate and Latin communities. Historically, this included the Greek-speaking monks in the Latin West. These were initially classified in the Norman kingdom of Sicily in the local organizational structure of the Roman Church, as a religious they were summarized only in modern times.

The concept of the Basilian

A self-contained " Basil rule " within the meaning of the Benedictine Rule or later Western rules of the order does not exist, but a series of writings and sermons on the monastic life, which go back to St. Basil and other Greek and Egyptian monastic fathers.

The Orthodox Churches have no monastic order, it is therefore not correct to call the monks as " Basilian ", although their form of life is the origin of the Catholic Basilian. In the West, the loosely organized monks of the Egyptian- Greek tradition from the 6th century through the rapidly growing first actual orders, the Benedictine displaced were. Few monasteries Greek life form able to preserve their independence in the West; these were later organized as the Basilian Order, their way of life was called St. Basil's rule. Thus, they have been adapted to the Western religious system.


Middle Ages

In the south of Italy, who was standing in the various regions to 1071 under Byzantine rule, there were many Greek monks, many anchorites, but in addition also cenobitic communities among themselves had no systematic connections. To what extent migration of monks during the iconoclasm played a role, is not quantifiable. Monastic life regulated the Typikon, mostly written by the founder, could be processed in the thought of St. Basil of Caesarea. There are three groups of Typika: the altkalabrische, which includes the Patirion in Rossano and Grottaferrata, the Calabrian - Sicilian with S.Salvatore to Messina and Carbone and the otrantinische group with San Nicola di Casole. Is dated to the 8th century, yet the type icon of John Prodromos Monastery on the island of Pantelleria, but whose manuscript tradition does not begin until the 16th century.

A major area especially eremitical monks living was the Merkourion, in which Nilus of Rossano had made his first monastic experience before he founded San Demetrio Corone San Adriano at. In southern Calabria several Greek monasteries arose only as start-ups in the Norman period, sometimes decisively promoted by Greek Hoffunktionären. Smaller Greek monasteries are documentary evidence in the northeast of Sicily and in the Val Demenna already in the last decades of Muslim rule. Among the larger centers belonged to San Filippo di Fragala which, although 1133 also the supervision of the Archimandrite of San Salvatore was assumed, but its own abbot and own subordinate offices maintained.

Less dense was the power of Greek monasteries on the Salento peninsula, particularly noteworthy is San Nicola di Casole near Otranto. Examples of coexistence between Greek and Latin monasticism, both the residence of the Nilus of Rossano in his care of Montecassino Abbey, and later the insinuation of Greek monasteries in Calabria under great Latin abbeys such as cava or Montecassino for the purpose of economic security, without thereby a rite change was connected. This was also supported by the Norman rulers.

Since many of the Greek monasteries according to the ideas Rogers I of Sicily, who was also Count of Calabria, not classified in the existing church organization were - in Sicily, she was still under construction, in Calabria in upheaval - decided to Roger II, in the years 1131-1133 to create the Archimandritat of San Salvatore in Messina a jurisdictional and pastoral tip, most of the Greek monasteries were subordinated to Sicily and southern Calabria. As proven the system, the regency of William II transferred in January 1168 the supervision of Greek monasteries in Lucania and Basilicata to the archimandrite of S. Elias and Anastasius in Carbone. For monasteries in Nordkalabrien and on the Sila Archimandrite was responsible in S. Adriano. S. Maria Hodogitria at Rossano, also headed by an archimandrite, who received no supervisory responsibilities, but remained independent as him Pope Paschal II in 1105 was awarded the exemption.

After a positive development under the Normans began during the 13th century, a gradual decline. An indicator are collected by the Roman Curia taxis, on the documentation are available from the beginning of the 14th century: most of the Greek monasteries was listed with only the minimum tax, in many cases, was in New appointments propter paupertatem (due to poverty) on the Servitientaxe omitted. Better off were only Grottaferrata and Messina, beech stand for the 500 or 400 florins. From this annual yield one third was transferred as Servitientaxe, but the payment could also be deferred and made ​​in installments, the successor had to take over the outstanding debt of its predecessor.

Among the insolvent Greek monasteries in Calabria were S. Adriano 1402 S. Giovanni di Laura 1346 1362 S. Pancrazio di Scilla 1351 S. Salvatore de Calomeno 1346, 1350, 1386, 1396th

The Greek language skills of the monks were usually quite low in the 15th century. Therefore texts were recorded in vernacular Greek alphabets. First cardinal protector of the Basilian was Bessarion since 1446, of a general chapter of the Greek monasteries held this year, which had not yet been organized across. Bessarion was commendatory of S. Salvatore di Messina (since 1456 ) and of Grottaferrata (since 1462 ). Bessarion also provided a monastic rule with Italian and Latin translation together. 1457-1458 led Athanasius Chalkeopoulos by a visitation of the Greek monasteries in Calabria, which yielded a largely dismal picture of the economic and spiritual conditions.

Modern Times

In the 16th century the Cardinals Giulio Antonio Santoro Guglielmo Sirleto and protectors of the Basilian were. 1573 Reform Congregation for the Greeks was founded, which was also responsible for the Basilian 1577 the Collegio Greco. 1579 the first general chapter of the reformed Basilian took place, which had united with the Spanish founded around 1560 Basilian and their statutes followed the model of the Benedictine Congregation of Monte Cassino.

The General Chapter was held in S. Filareto in the diocese Mileto. On the orders of Cardinal Guglielmo Sirleto the Benedictine Abbot Paul from Castrovillari presided. As the first Abbot General Nicola Antonio Ruffo was elected Abbot of S. Nicola di Butramo in the diocese of Gerace. Ruffo was probably Kalabrese, but not of Greek origin. He was ordained as a priest Latin world, then joined with the permission of his bishop, the Greek monasticism and was Archimandrite of S. Bartolomeo di Trigono in the diocese Mileto. He caused a translation of the Typikons in vernacular, but let this record in Greek characters. In 1573 he turned to Pope Gregory XIII. Had his monastery many churchgoers who do not belong to the Greek language group. For their needs, the celebration in the Latin rite was necessary, for which he bring with the conditions. Ruffo also argues that the priors of Grottaferrata and S. Giovanni di Stilo as Greek ordained priest now celebrated the Latin liturgy. The Pope allowed the rite change, threatens the suspension, if he should return to the Greek rite, but Ruffo obliged to continue to remain in the Order.

For the allocated as coming Greek monasteries, the rule was that they could join the Basilianerkongregation only with the consent of Kommendatars or after his death.

Offered resistance, the Spanish government. A request to close the Basilianerklöster in the Kingdom of Sicily, was treated in 1585 in the Consistory, but was rejected.

Tradition situation

Original documents have been preserved only sporadically and are no longer usually kept in the original archive site. The Fondo Basiliani in the Vatican Library contains copies which was originally the Abbot General of the Basilian Pietro Menniti, at the turn of the 17th had the 18th century can create the Summa bullarum et Constitutionum apostolicarum per ordine sp Basilii Magni present in one copy each in San Salvatore Messina and S. Basil de Urbe. The Visitation Report of Chalkeopoulos has gone from Cardinal Sirleto to his successor Santoro and come with the library in the papal library. Since 1909 he is in the library of the Abbey of Grottaferrata.


In addition to the Basilian monastery of Santa Maria di Grottaferrata in, the last monastery founded in the 16th century Italian Congregation, there are the following Basilian religious communities:

  • Aleppinische Basilian (Latin: Ordo Basilianus Aleppensis Melkitarum, religious symbol: BA) and
  • Basilian the Most Holy Redeemer (Latin: Ordo Basilianus Sanctissimi Salvatoris Melkitarum, religious symbol: BS)
  • Basilian of St.. John the Baptist (Latin: Ordo Basilianus of John S. Baptistae, Soaritarum Melkitarum, religious abbreviation BC )
  • Basilian St. Jehoshaphat (Latin: Ordo Sancti Basilianus Jehoshaphat also Ordo Sancti Basilii Magni, religious symbol: OSBM )
  • Basilian and
  • Congregation of St. Basil priest (Latin: Congregation of Sancti Basilii, religious symbol: CSB)