Abbey of Santa Giustina

The Abbey of Santa Giustina is a Benedictine abbey in the center of the City of Padua, facing the Prato della Valle, which dates from the 10th century. The abbey is attached to the Basilica of Santa Giustina, which was built in the 6th century. Its present shape derives from construction in the 17th century.

Abbey of St. Justina
Abbazia di Santa Giustina
Abbazia di Santa Giustina
Basilica of St. Justina
Monastery information
OrderOrder of St. Benedict
Established10th century
Dedicated toSt. Justina of Padua
DiocesePadua
AbbotFrancesco Trolese, O.S.B.
Architecture
Heritage designationNational monument
Site
Coordinates45°23′47″N 11°52′47″E / 45.39639°N 11.87972°ECoordinates: 45°23′47″N 11°52′47″E / 45.39639°N 11.87972°E

History

The abbey is attached to the basilica which was built in the 520s by the Prefect Opilius to house the remains of St. Justina of Padua (d. 7 October 304) and of other Christian martyrs of the city. The building, with its lavish decorations, was described in 565 in a Life of St. Martin written by Venantius Fortunatus. By the 10th century, the presence of a monastic community which served the many pilgrims who came to the basilica to pray to the saints whose relics were contained there is seen in the decision of the Bishop of Padua in 971 to place the community under the Rule of St. Benedict.[1]

At that point the monastic community undertook renovations of the basilica. In the course of this work, on 2 August 1052 the remains of various saints, including Maximus the Confessor, Felicitas of Padua, Julian the Hospitaller and those identified as the Holy Innocents, were exhumed. In 1110 the abbey was sacked by the troops of the future Holy Roman Emperor Henry V during his invasion of Lombardy, in order to punish the monks for their loyalty to Pope Pascal II. The basilica complex was devastated in 1117 by a very strong earthquake which wreaked havoc throughout northern Italy and Germany. After the basilica and monastery were rebuilt, excavations resumed and in 1174 the remains of the patroness of the abbey was discovered, as were those identified in 1177 as those of Luke the Evangelist.[2]

A period of decline in the observance of its way of life began to develop in the monastic community. At the same time, the monks were led by a number of very spiritual abbots, such as Arnaldo of Limena, who died while imprisoned by Ezzelino III da Romano and is honored as "Blessed", as is Nicholas of Prussia. The abbey, however, reached the height of its influence under the leadership of Ludovico Barbo, who, despite being a canon regular and not a monk, was appointed as abbot by the bishop in order to undertake a reform of the monastic life in the abbey. He was successful and the abbey became the nucleus of the Congregation of Santa Giustina, which spread to include monasteries throughout Europe who came under the guidance of the Abbot of Santa Giustina. The congregation later became called the Cassinese Congregation. The abbey developed ties with centers of learning across the continent.[2]

The life of the abbey came to an end in 1797 when, along with all other religious communities, it was suppressed in the occupation of Italy by the French Revolutionary Army, led by Napoleon Bonaparte, which established the Cisalpine Republic in the city. Its artworks and the most valuable collections of the abbatial library were sent to Paris by the occupying forces. The monks were expelled and the buildings and property were sold off in 1810. The cloisters were then used as a military hospital, later as a barracks.[2]

The buildings were returned to the Catholic Church in 1917 and Pope Benedict XV re-established the abbey with all its ancient rights and privileges. He placed it under the Abbey of Praglia in nearby Teolo, which sent monks to resume monastic life there. On 1 November 1942 the community was declared an autonomous priory, which was established under its own abbot on 22 January 1943. The basilica and abbey now have the government status of a national monument and operate under the authority of the Superintendent of Monuments and Civil Heritage.[2]

Interior

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Nave

Basilica interior

The building is a Latin cross that extends from east to west. At 118.5 metres (389 ft) long and 82 metres (269 ft) wide, the Basilica of Santa Giustina is one of the largest of Christianity; it is seventh largest in Italy. The grandeur of the building is enhanced by the Prato della Valle, which it overlooks.[3] There are three main chapels. The presbytery with the choir, and the two chapels for saints Luke and Matthew that form the transepts. Each has a semicircular apse and are flanked by two chapels. Each aisle has six smaller chapels, square plan. The 26 pillars supporting the roof domes, each dome is set directly on the barrel vaults. The central bays are covered by eight domes covered with lead: the central one, with the lantern, is almost 70 metres (230 ft) high and is topped by a statue of copper depicting Santa Giustina, about 5 metres (16 ft) high.[3] The floor of the basilica was laid between 1608 and 1615 on geometric design, with yellow, white and red marble. There are many pieces of Greek marble, from the Basilica Opilionea.[3]

The left part of the nave

Capella di San Giacomo

The first chapel is dedicated to Saint James the Less. The altar is in polychrome stones in the style of the Corbarelli family of the seventeenth century. The white marble altarpiece shows an oil on canvas by Carlo Caliari: the martyrdom of Saint James.

Capella di San Gregorio Magno

The second chapel is dedicated to Pope Gregory I. Altar in polychrome mineral marquetry in the taste of the Corbarelli family of the twentieth century. The altarpiece is erected in green marble from Africa and Carrara white. The painting is an oil on canvas by Sebastiano Ricci representing Pope Gregory I who invokes the Virgin for the end of the plague in Rome at the beginning of the 18th century. Ricci's work replaced an initial painting by Carlo Cignani who "went wrong."

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Left nave – Chapel of St. James the Less

Chapel of St. James the Less

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Left nave – Chapel of St. James the Less – Altar in polychrome stones

Altar in polychrome stones

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Martyrdom of St. James the Less by Carlo Caliari

Martyrdom of St. James the Less by Carlo Caliari

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of St. Gregory the Great

Chapel to Pope Gregory I

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Left nave – Chapel of St. Gregory the Great – Altar in polychrome stones

Altar in polychrome stones

Santa Giustina (Padua) - St. Gregory the Great by Sebastiano Ricci

Pope Gregory I who invokes the Virgin Sebastiano Ricci

Cappella di san Daniele Levita

The third chapel is dedicated to Daniel of Padua. The architecture of the altar is characterized by the use of red marble from France and the marbles of Carrara and Padua; The painting of the altarpiece is Antonio Zanchi (1677), it represents the martyrdom of Saint Daniel. The altar is the work of the brothers Corbarelli.

Cappella di san Palcido
The fourth chapel is dedicated to Saint Placidus Martyr. Similar to the altar of Saint Maurus. The altarpiece houses an oil on canvas by Luca Giordano The martyrdom of Saint Placide and his companions , 1676. Note the refined decoration of the Corbarelli family inlaid with polychrome stones behind the altar.
Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of St. Daniel of Padua

Chapel of St. Daniel of Padua

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of St. Daniel of Padua - Martyrdom of Saint Daniel by Antonio Zanchi

Martyrdom of Saint Daniel by Antonio Zanchi

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of St. Placidus

Chapel of St. Placidu

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Martyrdom of St. Placidus by Luca Giordano

The martyrdom of Saint Placide and his companions by Luca Giordano

Cappella di san Mauro
The fifth chapel is dedicated to Saint Maurus. The altarpiece is in black and white marble from Genoa; The altar of green marble, marble of Genoa, and red marble of France. The table of the altarpiece representing "Saint Maurus invoked by the sick" (1673) by Valentin Le Febvre.
Cappella di Giuliano martire
The sixth chapelle is dedicated to Saint Julien. The altar contains the tomb of Saint Julien and is the work of Giovanni Comin (1680) who also shaped the statue of the saint, placed at the head of the casket. The rest of the sculptural decoration, including the beautiful statues of Saints Andrew and Matthew, belongs to Bernardo Falcone.
Cappella di santa Felicita
The seventh and last chapel on the left side of the nave is dedicated to Saint Felicity. The chapel houses the monumental altar surmounted by the urn containing the remains of the saint, discovered in 1502 in the Chapel of Saint Prosdocime of Padua. The sculptures are by Orazio Marinali and plays on the colors of white and red marble from France. The statue of the saint in prayer is placed on the urn, on the sides two angels and Saint Mark and Saint Simon. The altar is very refined, decorated by brothers Corbarelli: it represents fountains, gardens and the unfinished façade of the basilica.
Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of Saint Maurus

Chapel of Saint Maurus

Santa Giustina (Padua) - St. Maurus the Abbot by Valentin Le Fèvre

"Saint Maurus invoked by the sick" by Valentin Le Febre

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of Saint Julian

Chapel of Saint Julian

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of Saint Felicity

Chapel of Saint Felicity

Left Transept

Cappella di San Lucca

The vast chapel was reorganized for the liturgical adaptations implemented in the years of the Second Vatican Council. In the center is the monument that houses the relics of St. Luke the Evangelist. Very careful work of the Pisano-Venetian school of 1313, commissioned by the Abbot Gualpertino Mussato and originally erected in the old Gothic chapel in 1562. The monument is made of serpentine and marble of Verona. It is enriched with eight alabaster panels carved in bas-relief depicting angels and symbols related to the saint. The whole rests on two granite columns, two alabaster spiral columns and the center is placed on a support in Greek marble, representing caryatid angels, supporting the whole. The altar of the sixteenth century, today displaced, served as a base time for the monument. All around a modern and controversial wooden choir. At the top is placed the sixteenth-century version - attributed to Alessandro Bonvicino - of the Virgin Salus Populi Patavini Constantinople. It is framed and supported by the bronze angels of Hamlet Sartori (1960-1961). The Byzantine icon of origin, according to tradition, painted by Saint Luke and brought to Padua to save from the iconoclastic fury of Constantinople, is now in a sanctuary in the monastery.

Capella Beato Arnaldo da Limena.
The chapel is dedicated to Blessed Arnaud Cataneo (Arnaldo da Limena). The altar was erected in 1681 when Bernardo Falcone gave the group of angels and the statue placed above the urn that houses the relics of Blessed Arnold de Limena. The lateral statues of Saints Peter and St Paul are works of Orazio Marinali and Michele Fabris. The work of marquetry of polychrome stones of the altar is the work of the Corbarelli family.
Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of Saint Luke

Chapel of Saint Luke

Abbazia di Santa Giustina (St Luc)

Altar and Reliquary of St. Luke the Evangelist

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of Saint Luke - Tomb of Luke the Evangelist (front)

Reliquary of St. Luke the Evangelist and transept organ

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of Saint Luke - Tomb of Luke the Evangelist (rear)

Reliquary of St. Luke the Evangelist (rear)

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of Saint Luke - Madonna of Constantinople Sixteenth-century version

Madonna of Constantinople Sixteenth-century version

Padova - Santa Giustina - MadonnaCostantinopolitana (Expo -12 Contrasto 25)

''Madonna of Constantinople original version

On the large wall on the right, there is the great canvas by Antonio Balestra, a work of 1718 depicting 'the martyrdom of Saints Cosmas and Damian'. Opposite, on the left wall, "The Great Massacre of the Innocents" by Sebastiano Galvano, signed by the mid-sixteenth century. Initially this work was in the church of San Benedetto Novello.

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of Saint Luke - Martyrdom of Saints Cosmas and Damian by Antonio Balestra

Martyrdom of Saints Cosmas and Damian by Antonio Balestra

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of Saint Luke - Massacre of the Innocents by Sebastiano Galvano

Massacre of the Innocents by Sebastiano Galvano

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of Arnaldo da Limena

Chapel to Blessed Arnaud Cataneo (Arnaldo da Limena)

The Choir

La cappella del Santissimo Sacramento.
The chapel is dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament. Before hosting the Blessed Sacrament, the chapel contained the relics of the Innocent Saints. The ceiling is decorated with frescoes depicting angels and apostles worshiping the Blessed Sacrament. The work is by Sebastiano Ricci made around 1700; It is characterized by the use of the trompe l'oeil. The vault above the altar is occupied by the representation of the Eternal Father, preceded by the Apostles, represented as if placed above the walls of the chapel, and attracted by the Eucharist carried in triumph by An angelic crowd.
The altar is a work made in several times in the forties of the seventeenth century. The design is by Lorenzo Bedogni by Pietro Paolo Corbarelli and their sons Simone, Antonio and Francesco around 1656. It was completed in 1674 by Giuseppe Sardi and Josse the Court who fashioned the two angels worshipers while the bronze statues on the Tabernacle were cast Carlo Trabucco (1697). The other sculptures are by Michele and Alessandro Fabris Tremignon.
Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of the holy sacrament

Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of the holy sacrament - Altar

Chapel to the Blessed Sacrament - Altar

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of the holy sacrament - Ceiling

Chapel to the Blessed Sacrament - Ceiling

The choir

It is elevated in relation to the rest of the building and is accessible by a monumental staircase. Below is a large crypt, now a winter chapel. The balustrades are the work of Francesco Contini (1630). On the sides, at the top, niches inside, two busts that ideally represent the two Roman patricians Vitaliano (right) and Opilione (left) works of Giovanni Francesco de Surdis of 1561.

The high altar

Decorated with "Florentine" combining fine inlays of marble on which are placed pieces of mother-of-pearl, coral, lapis lazuli, carnelian, pearls and other precious materials. The delicate work was carried out between 1637 and 1643 by Pietro Paolo Corbarelli designed by Giovan Battista Nigetti, brother of the famous Matteo Nigetti. On 7 October 1627, with great pomp, the body of Saint Justine was placed under the altar. The painting of the altarpiece The martyrdom of Saint Justine by Paolo Veronese oil on canvas from 1576.

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Choir and High Altar

Choir and High Altar

Santa Giustina (Padua) - High Altar

High Altar

Padua (4)

The martyrdom of Saint Justine by Veronese

Cappella della Pietà

The chapel is the work of Genoese artist Filippo Parodi in 1689. The artist took charge of the architectural, decorative and sculptural design including the ceiling, adorned by an angelic stucco crowd. In the center is the Pietà, surrounded by two statues of Mary Magdalene and John the Apostle.

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of La Pieta

Chapel of La Pieta

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of La Pieta - Pieta by Filippo Parodi

Pieta by Filippo Parodi

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of La Pieta - Ceiling

Ceiling

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of saint Maximus of Padua

Chapel of saint Maximus of Padu

Right transept

Chapel of Saint Maxime of Padua

The altar houses the tomb containing the remains of the second bishop of Padua, Saint Maximus. The statue group: saint maxime, the angels who hold the insignia of the bishop and saint jacques is the work of Michele Fabris (1681), while the statue of St. Bartholomew is the result of the scissors of Bernardo Falcone (1682). The altar in marquetry of polychrome stone, is the work of the Corbarelli family.

Chapel of Saint Matthias

The great space is dominated by two imposing canvases: on the right The mission of the Apostles (1631) of Battista Bissoni and Saints Cosmas and Damian saved by the angel (1718) of Antonio Balestra, this one comes from the Church of the Mercy. Below the paintings are the confessionals and a pulpit from the seventeenth century. At the bottom of the chapel is a monument in Greek and African marble where the body of Saint Matthias the Apostle rests. The work is inspired by the reliquary tomb of Saint-Luc which is anterior. It was completed in 1562 by Giovanni Francesco de Surdis who carved the bas-reliefs representing the apostles. Behind the ark opens the door leading to the Martyrs' room. The 15th century vault is decorated in the style of the Renaissance. The bas-reliefs are attributed to the circle of Bartolomeo Bellano. A small alabaster temple with rich ironwork houses a representation of the virgin.

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of Saint Matthias

Chapel of Saint Matthia

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of Saint Matthias - Saints Cosmas and Damian saved by the angel (1718) Antonio Balestra

Saints Cosmas and Damian saved by the angel (1718) Antonio Balestra

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Chapel of Saint Matthias - The mission of the Apostles (1631) by Battista Bissoni

The mission of the Apostles (1631) Battista Bissoni

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Tomb of Saint Matthias

Tomb of Saint Matthias

The corridor of the martyrs (Il Corridoio dei Martiri)

It is accessible from the right transept. Built in 1564 on the ruins of the ancient abbey church of the Middle Ages, it was designed to allow passage to the Sanctuary of St. Prosdocime of Padua. The corridor, painted in the 16th and 17th centuries, is counter-vaulted and, in the middle, an octagonal space covered by a dome decorated with fresco by Giacomo Ceruti. In the center there is the well of the Martyrs: built on the orders of the abbot Angelo Sangrino in 1565 above the medieval well (still visible in the basement) which was in the middle of the nave of the original basilica. The octagonal marble of Verona marble and alabaster, is finely worked. A grid allows to see at the bottom the bones of the martyrs of the Diocletian era discovered here in 1269 by Blessed Giacoma. In the west corner a piece of the mosaic decoration that adorned the floor of the opilionea basilica of the sixth century is still visible. At the bottom an altar of the sixteenth century on a painting by Pietro Damini The discovery of the well of the martyrs and the miraculous power of the twelve candle count among the best works of the artist. Also visible is a large iron cage, dating back to the Middle Ages, which contained the remains of Saint Luke. The two statues of saints Peter and Paul are the work of Francesco Segala.

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Corridor of the Martyrs

The corridor of the martyrs

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Corridor of the Martyrs - well

The well of the Martyrs

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Corridor of the Martyrs - Ceiling

Fresco by Giacomo Ceruti

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Corridor of the Martyrs - Altar with the discovery of the well of martyrs by Pietro Damini 202 x 152 cm

Altar with The discovery of the well of martyrs by Pietro Damini

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Corridor of the Martyrs - The old cage of St Luc

The old cage of St Luke

The sanctuary of Prosdocimus

Following the corridor of the Martyrs is the sanctuary of Prosdocimus of Padua or Sanctuary of Santa Maria. One of the oldest buildings in Veneto: dated from the 6th century. It is the only preserved vestige of the opilionea basilica. Originally it was a chapel dedicated to the preservation of relics. The space is conceived on the plane of the Greek cross and is characterized by a very elegant awning composed of dome all painted in grotesque in the sixteenth century to replace the original mosaic decoration. It was the burial place of the first bishops of Padua, including the first, St Prosdocime of Padua, whose body rests in the altar of 1564. It consists of a Roman sarcophagus placed on the right (in relation to the " apse). Above the altar is a bas-relief depicting St Prosdocime of Padua in the Roman aristocrat's dating from the 5th century. In front of the apse a pergola, in Greek marble, astonishing work of the sixth century practically intact preserved in the initial position of Iconostase Along the wall of the small entrance hall, remains of frescoes from the twelfth century, decorations from the 16th century. The tympanum of the door of the basilica opilionea of the sixth century.

Santa Giustina (Padua) - The Shrine of Saint Prosdocimus

The sanctuary of Prosdocimus

Santa Giustina (Padua) - The Shrine of Saint Prosdocimus - Saint Prosdocimus

Bas-relief depicting St Prosdocime from the 5th century

Santa Giustina (Padua) - The Shrine of Saint Prosdocimus - tomb of Saint Prosdocimus

Tomb of Saint Prosdocimus

Santa Giustina (Padua) - The Shrine of Saint Prosdocimus - Remains of the first building in end of Vth

The tympanum of the door of the basilica opilionea of the sixth century

Right side of the Nave

Chapel of sant'Urio
The arch placed on top of the altar (1682) contains the remains of Urio who was the guardian priest of the church of Santi Apostoli in Constantinople who saved the relics of St. Luke, St. Matthew, Icon of the Virgin of the iconoclastic fury bearing the whole until Patavium. The statue of Sant'Urio, the angels and the saints Thomas and Thaddeus are by Bernardo Falcone. The work of marquetry in polychromatic stones is by Corbarelli.
Chapel of the Holy Innocents
The chapel built during the first half of the 17th century was originally used for the Blessed Sacrament, which was transferred to one of the apsidal chapels. The present aspect dates from 1675 with the sanctuary for the relics of Saints Innocents (the remains of three victims of Herod). "The disarray of Santa Rachel" is by Giovanni Comin (1690); The two saints: James the Minor and John are attributed to Michele Fabris. The work of marquetry in polychrome stone is by Corbarelli.
Santa Giustina (Padua) - Right nave – Cappella di sant'Urio

Chapel of sant'Urio

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Right nave - Chapel of the Holy Innocents

hapel of the Holy Innocents

Chapel of Saint Benedict
The altar is erected in black and white marble of Genoa. The table of the altarpiece: Saint Benedict welcomes Saint Placide and Saint Maur by Palma the Younger.
Chapel of Saint Scholastica
The columns that support the altar are of Salò marble. The painting of the altarpiece depicts 'The Death of Saint Scholastica' is by Luca Giordano in 1674.
Santa Giustina (Padua) - Right nave - Chapel of saint Benedict

Chapel of Saint Benedict

Santa Giustina (Padua) - St. Benedict welcomes his disciples, Maurus and Placidus by Palma Il Giovane

St. Benedict welcomes his disciples, Maurus and Placidus

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Right nave - chapel of Saint Scholastica

Chapel of Saint Scholastica

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Death of St. Scholastica by Luca Giordano

Death of St. Scholastica by Luca Giordano

Chapel of saint Gerard Sagredo
The painting of the altarpiece dated 1674 by Johann Carl Loth shows the "Martyrdom of St. Gerard Sagredo"
Chapel of saint Getrude
The painting of the altarpiece Ecstasy of St. Gertrude by Pietro Liberi
Chaeple of the conversion of St. Paul
The table of the altarpiece is attributed to Paolo Veronese in collaboration with his students, he represents The Conversion of St. Paul. On the left wall a canvas in a lunette represents the same subject, this work is by Gaspare Diziani formerly in the Chiesa delle Terese.
Santa Giustina (Padua) - Right nave - Chapel of saint Gerard Sagredo

Chapel of saint Gerard Sagredo

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Martyrdom of St. Gerard by Carlo Loth

Martyrdom of St. Gerard by Carlo Loth

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Ecstasy of St. Gertrude by Pietro Liberi

Ecstasy of St. Gertrude by Pietro Liberi

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Conversion of St. Paul by school of Veronese

Conversion of St. Paul by Paolo Veronese

Santa Giustina (Padua) - Conversion of St. Paul by Gaspare Diziani

Conversion of St. Paul by Gaspare Diziani

References

  1. ^ "Storia". Abbazia di Santa Giustina (in Italian).
  2. ^ a b c d "Storia II" (PDF). Abbazia di Santa Giustina (in Italian).
  3. ^ a b c "Basilica di Santa Giustina". it.wikipedia.com/wiki/Basilica di Santa Guistina. Missing or empty |url= (help)

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Marco Vigerio della Rovere (1446 – 18 July 1516) was an Italian bishop and cardinal of the Catholic Church.

Monte Cassino

Monte Cassino (sometimes written Montecassino) is a rocky hill about 130 kilometres (81 mi) southeast of Rome, in the Latin Valley, Italy, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to the west of the town of Cassino and 520 m (1,706.04 ft) altitude. Site of the Roman town of Casinum, it is best known for its abbey, the first house of the Benedictine Order, having been established by Benedict of Nursia himself around 529. It was for the community of Monte Cassino that the Rule of Saint Benedict was composed.

The first monastery on Monte Cassino was sacked by the invading Lombards around 570 and abandoned. Of the first monastery almost nothing is known. The second monastery was established by Petronax of Brescia around 718, at the suggestion of Pope Gregory II and with the support of the Lombard Duke Romuald II of Benevento. It was directly subject to the pope and many monasteries in Italy were under its authority. In 883 the monastery was sacked by Saracens and abandoned again. The community of monks resided first at Teano and then from 914 at Capua before the monastery was rebuilt in 949. During the period of exile, the Cluniac Reforms were introduced into the community.

The 11th and 12th centuries were the abbey's golden age. It acquired a large secular territory around Monte Cassino, the so-called Terra Sancti Benedicti ("Land of Saint Benedict"), which it heavily fortified with castles. It maintained good relations with the Eastern Church, even receiving patronage from Byzantine emperors. It encouraged fine art and craftsmanship by employing Byzantine and even Saracen artisans. In 1057, Pope Victor II recognised the abbot of Monte Cassino as having precedence over all other abbots. Many monks rose to become bishops and cardinals, and three popes were drawn from the abbey: Stephen IX (1057–58), Victor III (1086–87) and Gelasius II (1118–19). During this period the monastery's chronicle was written by two of its own, Cardinal Leo of Ostia and Peter the Deacon (who also compiled the cartulary).

By the 13th century, the monastery's decline had set in. In 1239, the Emperor Frederick II garrisoned troops in it during his war with the Papacy. In 1322, Pope John XXII elevated the abbey into a bishopric but this was suppressed in 1367. The buildings were destroyed by an earthquake in 1349, and in 1369 Pope Urban V demanded a contribution from all Benedictine monasteries to fund the rebuilding. In 1454 the abbey was placed in commendam and in 1504 was made subject to the Abbey of Santa Giustina in Padua.

In 1799, Monte Cassino was sacked again by French troops during the French Revolutionary Wars. The abbey was dissolved by the Italian government in 1866. The building became a national monument with the monks as custodians of its treasures. In 1944 during World War II it was the site of the Battle of Monte Cassino and the building was destroyed by Allied bombing. It was rebuilt after the war.

After the reforms of the Second Vatican Council the monastery was one of the few remaining territorial abbeys within the Catholic Church. On 23 October 2014, Pope Francis applied the norms of the motu proprio Ecclesia Catholica of Paul VI (1976) to the abbey, removing from its jurisdiction all 53 parishes and reducing its spiritual jurisdiction to the abbey itself—while retaining its status as a territorial abbey. The former territory of the Abbey, except the land on which the abbey church and monastery sit, was transferred to the diocese of Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo.

Praglia Abbey

Praglia Abbey (Italian: Abbazia di Praglia) is a Benedictine monastery in the frazione of Bresseo in Teolo, Province of Padua, Italy. It is located at the foot of the Euganean Hills, some 12 kilometers southwest of Padua, and four kilometers from Abano Terme.

Sezzadio

Sezzadio is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Alessandria in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) southeast of Turin and about 15 kilometres (9 mi) south of Alessandria.

Sezzadio borders the following municipalities: Carpeneto, Cassine, Castelnuovo Bormida, Castelspina, Gamalero, Montaldo Bormida, Predosa, and Rivalta Bormida.

The main sight is the Abbey of Santa Giustina, founded in 722 by the Lombard king Liutprand. In 1033 it was enlarged by the marquis of Sezzadio, Oberto, and reached its greatest splendour in the 11th through 13th centuries, remaining under the Benedictines until 1474. The church has a large cotto façade divided by pilasters and crowned by Lombard bands. The interior has a nave and two aisles ending with apses. In the apses are frescoes from the 14th and 15th centuries, while the crypt has an 11th-century mosaic pavement. Antonio Barbavara was briefly the Abbot in 1428. Mark Knowles argues that Antonio was the author of the world famous Voynich cipher manuscript.

The large parish church was built from 1900 in neo-Gothic style.

Stella, Liguria

Stella (Ligurian: A Steja) is a comune of the Province of Savona in the Italian region Liguria. The municipality has a population of 3,030 (as of 1 January 2017) and extends over an area of 43.68 square kilometres (16.86 sq mi). It borders the comuni of Albisola Superiore, Celle Ligure, Pontinvrea, Sassello and Varazze.

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