Neilos’s long-lasting marks on Grottaferrata’s identity
Book Title – Greek Monasticism in Southern Italy: The Life of Neilos in Context (edited by Barbara Crostini and Ines Angeli Murzaku)
Chapter Number & Title – Chapter 15 : Neilos’s Long-Lasting Marks on Grottaferrata’s Identity (by Ines Angeli Murzaku)
This chapter focuses on St Neilos as an exemplar of the eleventh-century medieval peregrino in peregrinagio. The saint embodied pilgrims’ par excellence character traits: who never settled down (Heb. 11:9); looked forward for the city with strong foundations (Heb.11:10); never thought of going back (Heb. 11:15) or terminating his pilgrimage; displayed a strong desire for a better homeland (Heb. 11:16); and died in faith (Heb. 11:13) that his life and vision will live in the Monastery of Mother of God of Grottaferrata. These identity traits of the founder are still actively lived in Grottaferrata, although the monastic community is severely reduced to a handful of monks. Neilos’s wish for Grottaferrata was to make it a point of unity for all the dispersed and wandering brethren, which included Italo-Greek monks, peregrines and common people. Still, Grottaferrata, following in the founder’s footsteps, re-created her identity, showing a high level of originality and adaptability while building its stabilitas for the monastic community at the gates of the urbe. Neilos’s peregrinagio and later Grottaferrata’s peregrinagio made the monastic community reach new levels of self-understanding and self-knowledge while showing a high level of adaptability to new conditions.