2012-03-08 Vatican RadioThe Camaldoli monastic community, near the Tuscan hill town of Arezzo, is a place of outstanding natural beauty. Immersed in a lush forest around the foothills of the Apennine mountains, it is this year celebrating the 1000th anniversary of its foundation by Benedictine monk, St Romuald, who drew deeply on the ancient monastic traditions of both East and West.
With a vocation to unite the solitary life of the hermit and the community dimension of a shared faith, the Camaldoli community has increasingly developed this vision as a place of encounter between peoples of different faith traditions. Over recent decades this had led to its recognition as an important centre for ecumenical and interfaith dialogue.
Since the mid 1500’s the Camaldoli community has also had an important presence here in Rome at the monastery of St Gregory on the Caelian hill – the place from which St Gregory the Great sent out St Augustine at the end of the sixth century to bring the Christian gospel to the people of Anglo-Saxon England.
And it is in this same church that Pope Benedict and the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will celebrate Vespers on Saturday, marking together the millennium of the Camaldoli monastic community.
Australian Fr Peter Hughes, is the current prior of the monastery of San Gregorio al Celio – he told Philippa Hitchen about the history of the community and its focus as a centre for ecumenical encounters....