Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Attending Mass in the Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia

St. Benedict (San Benedetto) enjoys a very special place in the life of Norcia (Nursia, in Roman times), where he was born, probably in about the year 480, reaching manhood as the remnants of the Roman Empire slid into chaos. During the subsequent Dark Age, monasteries were often the main focal points of culture, learning, spiritual zeal and readiness for social action, in contrast to the agitated sea of barbarism that surrounded them on all sides. Benedict formulated a humane and reasonable set of precepts for his monks, and this Rule of Saint Benedict became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom. For this reason, Benedict is often called the founder of western monasticism and therefore by extension perhaps also the founder of modern Europe. He is, in any case, the patron saint of Europe.

Attending Mass in the Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia
The Basilica of St. Benedict on the main piazza of Norcia, Umbria.
For those inspired by traditional services in ancient churches, nothing equals attending Mass in the Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia in Umbria. The Basilica is located on the main piazza of Norcia. Vespers and Compline are open to the public every day in the crypt of the Basilica. The time for Vespers varies throughout the year from 5:30 pm in summer, 6:15 pm in autumn and winter, and 4:15 pm in Lent. Compline is at 7:45 PM all year round and, by special dispensation, for Compline, Mass is recited in latin and is accompanied by Gregorian chant. To participate, you should wait at the red rope at the stairs leading down to the crypt on the left side. It's courteous to ask the monk who unlocks the door whether you may participate. The door is locked for the duration of the service (30 minutes).

The monks have recently established a micro-brewery at their monastery. They make a light and a heavy beer, both of which are available in the bars around Norcia and at the monastery gift shop. Here is a video of the inauguration of the brewery.



More about things to see and do in Norcia, Italy.

Vacation accommodation in Chianti, Tuscany.


 
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