The Camaldolese (Latin: Ordo Camaldulensium) monks and nuns are two different, but related, monastic communities that trace their lineage to the monastic movement begun by Saint Romuald.

Their name is derived from the Holy Hermitage (Italian: Sacro Eremo) of Camaldoli, high in the mountains of central Italy, near the city of Arezzo.

Ordo Camaldulensium
Formationc. AD 1012
TypeMonastic Order of Pontifical Right (for Men)
HeadquartersSacro Eremo Tuscolano, 00040 Monteporzio Catone, Italy
66 members (33 priests) (2016)
Father Major
Fr. Emir José Castillo Zárate, E.C.M.C.


Saint Romuald
St. Romuald

The Camaldolese were established through the efforts of the Italian monk Saint Romuald[1] (c. 950 – c. 1025/27). His reform sought to renew and integrate the eremitical tradition of monastic life with that of the cenobium.

In his youth Romuald became acquainted with the three major schools of western monastic tradition. The monastery where he entered the Order, Sant' Apollinare in Classe, was a traditional Benedictine community under the influence of the Cluniac reforms. Romuald chose to be under a spiritual master, Marinus, who followed a much harsher ascetic and solitary lifestyle that was originally of Irish eremitical origins. Some years later, Marinus and Romuald settled near the Abbey of Sant Miguel de Cuxa, where Abbot Guarinus was also beginning reforms but was building mainly upon the Iberian Christian tradition. Later drawing on his various early experiences, Romuald was able to establish his own monastic pattern, though he himself never thought of it as a separate unit, seeing it as a full part of the Benedictine tradition.

Around 1012 Romuald founded the Sacred Hermitage of Camaldoli in the Tuscan hills. Monks lived in individual cells, but also observed the common life, worshiping daily in the church and breaking bread in the dining hall.[2] First appearing at Camaldoli are the order's distinctive white habit and the combination of the two cenobite and hermit branches that afterwards became so marked a feature of the order. The order was approved by Pope Alexander II in 1072.[3]

There are Camaldolese hermitages and monasteries throughout Italy.


Current Congregations

Czerwony Klasztor 01
Former Camaldolese monastery in Červený Kláštor in Slovakia

The Camaldolese form two separate congregations. Various attempts were made at reunion. None, however, lasted, the longest being in effect 1634–1667. In that final year, Pope Clement IX issued a Papal Bull establishing a definitive separation between them.[3]

Benedictine Camaldolese

The Benedictine Camaldolese are headquartered at the frazioni of Camaldoli in Tuscany. On the mountainside stands the 11th-century Holy Hermitage founded by St. Romuald. Its 16th-century monastery is located a few kilometers below.

The next community founded by the Camaldolese congregation was the Monastery of St. Mary of the Angels in Florence.[2] By the 13th century, its scriptorium had become known throughout Europe as a major source of high quality parchments, which were much in demand. In this monastery the artist Lorenzo Monaco tentatively explored a vocation as a monk. Only the church of the monastery now remains in service.

Circa 1603 the Camaldolese Hermit Monastery, Krakow was established in the village of Bielany (now surrounded by Kraków). The priory consists of hermitages and the Assumption of Mary Church. Visitors are welcome for scheduled masses.[4]

The New Camaldoli Hermitage on the coast road south of Big Sur, California, was founded in 1958 by the Holy Hermitage of Camadoli, Italy. Officially named the Immaculate Heart Hermitage, it stands on a mountain side overlooking the Pacific Ocean. In 1979 the Holy Hermitage joined by New Camaldoli founded Incarnation Monastery in Berkeley, California, near the GTU, north of U.C. Berkeley.[5][6]

The order maintains a mix of monasteries and hermitages for men, in countries on five continents. Monasteries for women began in 1086; they are located now mostly in Italy and Poland, also in Tanzania and America.[7] An oblate community was started in Australia which since the mid-1990s continues under New Camaldoli's Prior of Big Sur.[8]

Camaldolese Hermits

The other congregation, known as the Camaldolese Hermits of Monte Corona (Er. Cam.), was established by the Renaissance reformer, Paolo Giustiniani. This group lives solely in hermitages, usually with a very small number of monks comprising the community. There are three houses in Italy, two in Poland, and one each in Spain, the United States, and Colombia, as well as a new foundation in Venezuela. Unlike the other congregation, it is not a member of the larger Benedictine Confederation.

  • Eremo Di San Girolamo (Monte Cucco), founded in 1521, does not have the separate, solitary cells typical of the other Coronese Hermitages.
  • Eremo SS. Annunziata Di Monte Rua was founded in 1537. In the past, it was the center of various Coronese Hermitages in the Republic of Venice.
  • Sacro Eremo Tuscolano was founded in 1607 at Frascati in the Alban Hills. It is the ordinary residence of the father major (superior general) and the novitiate house for Italy.
  • Eremo Di Monte Argentino, the "Silver Mountain", was founded in 1609 in the outskirts of Cracow, Poland. It was visited by Pope John Paul II in August 2002.
  • Eremo Cinque Martiri in Bieniszew in Poland was founded in 1663. In 1941 the hermitage was suppressed by the Nazis; three hermits died in concentration camps. It is presently the novitiate house for Poland.
  • Yermo Camaldulense N.S. De Herrera, Burgos, Spain, was founded in 1925 on the site of an ancient Cistercian abbey. It is a novitiate house.
  • Holy Family Hermitage in Bloomingdale, Ohio, was founded in the Diocese of Steubenville in 1959. Nine solitary cells stand, in original fashion, in a semicircle about the church. It is a novitiate house.[9]
  • Yermo Camaldulense de la Santa Cruz in Antioquia, Colombia, was founded in 1969. It is a novitiate house.
  • Yermo Camaldulense Santa Maria de Los Angeles, Venezuela

The Camaldolese Crown (Italian: Corona) was designed by Bl. Michele Pina (1450–1522), and is sometimes called the Crown of Our Lord (Corona Del Signore). It was officially approved by Papal brief on 18 February 1516.

Extinct Congregations

A early Benedictine Camaldolese site was founded in Florence, St. Mary of the Angels.[10]

Frater Maurus S. Michaelis Moranensis de Venetiis ordinis Camaldulensis
Fra Mauro of the Camaldolese Monastery of St. Michael in Murano, Venice (c. 1459)

Previously there were three autonomous Congregations, based in Turin (founded 1596), Venice (1474–1569) and France (founded 1526). The monasteries attached to Hermitage of Turin seem to have been absorbed by the Monte Corona congregation in the 18th century. The Venetian congregation, which was headed by an abbot, and the French one were eventually suppressed by the Holy See. The French monks became associated with Jansenism, due to which their congregation was suppressed in 1770 and the monks dispersed.[3]

By the early 20th century, the Venetian congregation, which was entirely coenobitic, was felt by Rome to be too few in numbers for continued existence, and its members were offered the opportunity to seek admission with the Congregation of Camaldoli. It had contributed many of its members to the service of the Church, most notably Pope Gregory XVI. The noted cartographer Fra Mauro had been a member of the mother monastery of St. Michael of Murano. It was in this community that the German merchant Daniel became a monk. Eventually he established a solitary hermitage in the woods, where he spent long periods in prayer. He was murdered in his cell by robbers in 1413 and is today venerated as Saint Daniel of Murano.[11]

In the Kingdom of Hungary, four Camaldolese monasteries were established: Zobor Hill (1695), Lánzsér (German: Landsee) (1701), Vöröskolostor (1710) and Majk (1733). In 1782 the Emperor Joseph II ordered the dissolution of every monastic order that, in his view, did not pursue "useful" activities. Thus the Camaldolese monasteries in that realm were secularized.

Communities of Nuns

Wigry - eremy 2
Former Camaldolese hermitage in Wigry, Poland

Soon after the various communities established by St. Romuald began to develop, communities of nuns desired to share in this reform. Beginning under the guidance of Blessed Rudolf, third Prior General of Camaldoli, they were accepted into the life of the Congregation. He founded the Monastery of San Pietro di Luco in Mugello near Florence to establish the model of their "Little Rule" in 1086.

At their zenith, only ten monasteries of nuns were a part of the Order. There were many small monasteries, however, which followed the Camaldolese Rule but were subject to local bishops. Of those who form a part of the Congregation of the Holy Hermitage, their Motherhouse is the Abbey of St. Anthony the Abbot in Rome, where the abbess lives.[12]

The Camaldolese nuns ended up mostly in Italy and Poland in Złoczew. A few foundations, though, have been made in other countries. In France, a monastery of nuns was established by Polish nuns of the Order but it is on the verge of closure, with just one nun in residence. A monastery has been founded in Tanzania, which is currently flourishing.

Founded in 1979 by three Sisters, in Windsor, New York, Transfiguration Monastery became formally affiliated with the Camaldolese Benedictine Congregation in 1986. Sister Mary Donald Corcoran, O.S.B. Cam., has served as prioress since its foundation, which she made with two companions, Sisters Placid (a former recluse from France) and Jean Marie Pearse, a native of the region. For practical reasons, they have begun the process of changing their affiliation to an American Benedictine congregation, while still retaining Camaldolese traditions.[13]

Modern era

The Benedictine Camaldolese order extended its presence to the United States in 1958 with the founding of Immaculate Heart Hermitage, more commonly called New Camaldoli Hermitage, in the Santa Lucia Mountains of Big Sur, California.[14] New Camaldoli Hermitage later established a daughter house, Incarnation Monastery in Berkeley, California.[15] Fr. Cyprian Consiglio is the current Prior at New Camadoli Hermitage of Big Sur.[16][17]

The Camaldolese Hermits of Monte Corona established the Holy Family Hermitage in Bloomingdale, Ohio.[18] For several years, there was also a small community, Epiphany Monastery, in New Boston, New Hampshire, which was closed in 1998.

There are Camaldolese communities in India, Brazil, and Tanzania, among others.[19]

See also


  1. ^ Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Camaldulians" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ a b "Who We Are – New Camaldoli Hermitage". Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Camaldolese". Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  4. ^ 415 lat Kamedułów na krakowskich Bielanach. Retrieved 2019-3-20.
  5. ^ New Camaldoli Hermitage. Retrieved 2019-3-21.
  6. ^ Incarnation Monastery. Accessed 2019-3-28.
  7. ^ See section below: Nuns.
  8. ^ Camaldolese Downunder. Retrieved 2019-3-21.
  9. ^ "Camaldolese | Holy Family Hermitage". Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  10. ^ See above section "Benedictine Camaldolese".
  11. ^ Saint of the Day, March 31 at Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  12. ^ "Pope Francis visits Camaldolese Monastery of Sant'Antonio Abate". Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  13. ^ Transfiguration Monastery Archived 2015-02-27 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ New Camaldoli Hermitage. Retrieved 2019-3-21.
  15. ^ Incarnation Monastery. Accessed 2019-3-28.
  16. ^ "For the monks of Big Sur... ", in the Los Angeles Times, Aug. 11, 2017. Accessed 2019-3-28.
  17. ^ See above section "Benedictine Camaldolese".
  18. ^ This Hermitage is described above in the section "Camaldolese Hermits".
  19. ^ Servants of God: Cherubim Kozik, Er. Cam.; Aloysius Poprawa, Er. Cam.

External links

Allegory of the Camaldolese Order

Allegory of the Camaldolese Order is a composition by El Greco and his workshop that survives in two paintings at the Instituto Valencia de Don Juan in Madrid and the Museo del Patriarca in Valencia. They depict a bird's-eye view of the "ideal monastery" according to the Camaldolese and were likely commissioned as part of Fray Juan de Castañiza's (c. 1545-1599) petition to Philip II in 1597 to establish the benedictine monastic order in Spain.

Bartolomeo della Gatta

Bartolomeo della Gatta (1448–1502), born Pietro di Antonio Dei, was an Italian (Florentine) painter, illuminator, and architect. He was the son of a goldsmith. He was a colleague of Fra Bartolommeo. In 1468, Bartolomeo became a monk in the Order of Camaldoli, which his brother Nicolo had already entered. Upon taking holy orders, he changed his name to Bartolomeo. About 1481, he was summoned to Rome where he contributed to the cycle of frescos on the walls of the Sistine Chapel.

Bartolomeo eventually became Abbot of San Clemente in Arezzo. He died in 1502 and was buried in the Abbey of San Clemente.


Bielany is a district in Warsaw located in the north-western part of the city.

Initially a part of Żoliborz, Bielany has been an independent district since 1994. Bielany borders Żoliborz to the south-east, and Bemowo to the south-west. Its north-eastern border is the Vistula River, and the northern-western border is also the limits of the city of Warsaw.

The name 'Bielany', which in Polish is plural, derives from the white habits of the Camaldolese monks who have an ancient priory there. It is also known for the Józef Piłsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, which was established 1929 when it was known as the Central Institute for Physical Education (C.I.W.F.), as well as the newly built Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University.

Bielany, Kraków

Bielany [bʲɛˈlanɨ], originally a village near Kraków (Poland), since 1941 one of its neighbourhoods, located some 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) west of the city centre. Nowadays Bielany is a part of Kraków's Zwierzyniec District.

Camaldolese Hermit Monastery, Kraków

Camaldolese Hermit Monastery in Kraków (Polish: Kościół Wniebowzięcia Najświętszej Maryi Panny w Krakowie) is a Camaldolese priory in Bielany in Kraków, Poland. The monastery is located on the 326-metre (1,070 ft) Silver Mount. It consists of hermitages and the Assumption of Mary Church.

The Camaldolese monks were invited to settle in Bieleany by Grand Court Marshal Mikołaj Wolski in 1603. The monastery was built between 1609-1630. The construction of the building was supervised by Walenty von Säbisch but after the collapse of part of the monastery the supervision over the works was subsequently taken over by Italian architect Andrea Spezza. By 1630, the monastery was completed according to his plans.

The richly-decorated interior of the church is the result of works by another prominent Italian architect of the period Giovanni Battista Falconi.

Inside the Royal Chapel there are paintings by Tommaso Dolabella the court painter of the Polish king Sigismund III Vasa. The central part of the presbytery features a painting by a Polish painter and graphic artist in the Romantic style Michał Stachowicz depicting the Assumption of Mary.

Throughout its history the monastery was visited by such kings as John III Sobieski, Władysław IV Vasa, John II Casimir and Stanisław August Poniatowski. On 19 August 2002, the church was visited by Pope John Paul II during his pilgrimage to Poland.


Camaldoli is a frazione of the comune of Poppi, in Tuscany, Italy. It is mostly known as the ancestral seat of the Camaldolese monastic order, originated in the eponymous hermitage, which can still be visited.

Fra Mauro

Fra Mauro, O.S.B. Cam., (died 1464) was an Italian cartographer who lived in the Republic of Venice. He created the most detailed and accurate map of the world up until that time, the Fra Mauro map.

Mauro was a monk of the Camaldolese Monastery of St. Michael, located on the island of Murano in the Venetian Lagoon. It was there that he maintained a cartography workshop. He also was employed by some very powerful men like Prince Henry the Navigator.

Luigi Guido Grandi

Dom Guido Grandi, O.S.B. Cam. (1 October 1671 – 4 July 1742) was an Italian monk, priest, philosopher, theologian, mathematician, and engineer.

Pietro I Orseolo

Pietro I Orseolo, O.S.B. Cam. (Peter Urseolus) (928–987) was the Doge of Venice from 976 until 978. He abdicated his office and left in the middle of the night to become a monk. He later entered the Camaldolese Order. He is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church following his canonization in 1731. In 1733 the Venetian librarian, Giuseppe Bettinelli, published an edition of a biography written by the infamous heretical Friar Fulgenzio Manfredi in 1606.

Placido Zurla

Placido Zurla, O.S.B. Cam., (April 2, 1769 – 29 October 1834) was an Italian Camaldolese monk and prelate, who was Cardinal Vicar of Rome and a writer on medieval geography.

Pope Gregory XVI

Pope Gregory XVI (Latin: Gregorius XVI; 18 September 1765 – 1 June 1846), born Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 2 February 1831 to his death in 1846. He had adopted the name Mauro upon entering the religious order of the Camaldolese.

Strongly conservative and traditionalist, he opposed democratic and modernising reforms in the Papal States and throughout Europe, seeing them as fronts for revolutionary leftism. Against these trends Gregory XVI sought to strengthen the religious and political authority of the papacy (see ultramontanism). In the encyclical Mirari vos, he pronounced it "false and absurd, or rather mad, that we must secure and guarantee to each one liberty of conscience." He encouraged missionary activity abroad and condemned the slave trade. However, his harsh repression, financial extravagance and neglectfulness left him deeply unpopular domestically.

He is the most recent pope to take the pontifical name "Gregory", and the most recent non-bishop to become pope.


Prior, derived from the Latin for "earlier, first", (or prioress for nuns) is an ecclesiastical title for a superior, usually lower in rank than an abbot or abbess. Its earlier generic usage referred to any monastic superior.


Romuald (Latin: Romualdus; c. 951 – traditionally 19 June, c. 1025/27 AD) was the founder of the Camaldolese order and a major figure in the eleventh-century "Renaissance of eremitical asceticism".

Saint-Romuald, Quebec

Saint-Romuald is a district within the Les Chutes-de-la-Chaudière-Est borough of Lévis, Quebec, Canada, located on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River across from Quebec City. The district was formerly a town (Saint-Romuald d'Etchemin), but was amalgamated with Lévis on January 1, 2002.

The largest oil refinery in eastern Canada, owned by Valero Energy Corporation, is located in Saint-Romuald.

The Quebec Bridge connects Saint-Romauld to Sainte-Foy, a district of Quebec City.

The Etchemin River flows into the Saint Lawrence River at Saint-Romuald.

The district is named after a Roman Catholic parish, which is named in honour of Saint Romuald (c. 951–June 19, 1027), the founder of the Camaldolese order. The church is described as neo-classical in style and was built in 1855 by Joseph and Louis Larose.According to the Canada 2006 Census:

Population: 11,633

% Change (2001–06): +7.3

Dwellings: 5,568

Area (km²): 17.16 km²

Density (persons per km²): 677.9

San Gregorio Magno al Celio

San Gregorio Magno al Celio, also known as San Gregorio al Celio or simply San Gregorio, is a church in Rome, Italy, which is part of a monastery of monks of the Camaldolese branch of the Benedictine Order. On March 10, 2012, the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of the Camaldolese in 1012 was celebrated here at a Vespers service attended by Anglican and Catholic prelates and jointly led by Pope Benedict XVI and Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.

San Gregorio is located on the Caelian Hill, in front of the Palatine. Next to the basilica and monastery is a convent of nuns and a homeless shelter run by Mother Teresa of Calcutta's congregation, the Missionaries of Charity.

San Michele in Isola

San Michele in Isola is a Roman Catholic church, located on the Isola di San Michele, a small islet sited between Venice and Murano, which once sheltered a Camaldolese monastery (Italian: Monastero di S. Michele di Murano), but now houses the main cemetery of the city. The monastery was mostly demolished in the 19th-century, but the church remains, originally rebuilt starting in 1469. The church is dedicated to Saint Michael (Roman Catholic), the holder of the scales on Judgement Day, a fit guardian of the sleep of the faithful dead. The island cemetery now includes the land of the formerly separate island of San Cristoforo. This church is sometimes referred to as San Michele di Murano, although this islet is separate from islands comprising that town.

San Zeno (Pisa)

San Zeno is a church and a former abbey in Pisa, Tuscany, Italy.

The church is documented going back to 1029. It was part of a monastery built over pre-existing edifices, and, until the 15th century, it had also a hospital. In the 12th century it was held by the Camaldolese monks.

The church has a nave and two aisles. The façade is preceded by a portico supported by pilasters and a central columns. The second row has mullioned windows and decorations with lozenges and small circular windows, with ceramic basins by Islamic masters (11th century; the originals are in the National Museum of San Matteo).

The interior has ancient Roman capitals and traces of medieval paintings.

Santa Maria degli Angeli, Florence

Santa Maria degli Angeli (St. Mary of the Angels) is the former church of a now-defunct monastery of that name in Florence, Italy. It belonged to the Camaldolese congregation, which was a reformed branch of the Benedictines. The congregation is based on the hermitage which was founded in 1012 by the hermit St. Romuald at Camaldoli, near Arezzo, hence the name. Very little of the medieval building exists today.

The monastery was a major center of studies in the early Renaissance and its scriptorium was a noted producer of manuscripts of high quality. Many of the illustrations from its work are found in museum collections around the world. The late High Gothic painter, Lorenzo Monaco, was a monk here for a time, while he tested his vocation, but ultimately he left. Nevertheless, he executed a series of artworks for this monastery and other Camaldolese institutions, both during his time in the Order and afterwards.

The so-called Rotonda degli Scolari, partially built by Filippo Brunelleschi, is part of the complex. The church once housed a series of artworks now located elsewhere, such as the Coronation of the Virgin by Lorenzo Monaco.

Theobald of Provins

Theobald of Provins, O.S.B. Cam. (French: Saint Thibaut, Thibault, Thiébaut) (1033–1066) was a French hermit and saint. He was born at Provins to the French nobility, his father being Arnoul, Count of Champagne. He was named after his uncle, Theobald of Vienne, also considered a saint.As a youth, Theobald admired the lives of hermits such as John the Baptist, Paul the First Hermit, Anthony the Abbot and Arsenius the Great. He would visit a local hermit named Burchard, who lived on an island in the Seine.Theobald refused to get married or to begin a career either in the army or at court. When war broke out between his cousin Odo II, Count of Blois, and Conrad the Salic over the Burgundian crown, Theobald refused to lead troops to help his cousin and convinced his father to let him become a hermit.Theobald left home with a friend named Walter to become a hermit at Sussy in the Ardennes. They then traveled to Pettingen, where they worked as day laborers.

The two friends became pilgrims on the Way of St. James and afterwards returned to the Diocese of Trier. They then made a pilgrimage to Rome and planned to go to the Holy Land by way of Venice. However, Walter fell ill near Salanigo, near Vicenza, where they decided to settle. After Walter died, Theobald joined a group of hermits who had gathered in the area under the guidance of the founder of the Camaldolese, St. Romuald. The Bishop of Vicenza eventually ordained Theobald a priest. His background, however, was soon discovered and his parents came to visit him.Theobald's mother, Gisela, received the permission of her husband to stay with their son and became a hermit herself near this place of retreat. Theobald died from an illness in which the skin of every limb was covered over in blotches and ulcers.Shortly before he died, Theobald made his profession of religious vows to the prior of his Camaldolese community, who had been summoned for this purpose when it was realized how close Theobald was to death.

Bible and
By country
of the faithful

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.