"An oriental gem set in the pontifical tiara"
Pope Leo XIII
The Exarchic Monastery of Santa Maria in
Grottaferrata, also known as the Greek Abbey of Saint Nilus,
was founded in 1004 by a group of monks from Calabria led by St.
Nilus of Rossano, a charismatic leader and a very important figure
of his time. When St. Nilus, the monks' spiritual father, died
shortly after founding the Abbey, St. Bartholomew the Younger, his
favourite disciple and cofounder of the monastery, assumed their
We, monks who follow the teachings of St. Nilus
and St. Bartholomew still live and work within the walls of this
ancient Abbey. We are Catholics of the Byzantine-Greek rite
and belong to the Order of Basilian Monks, established by the Catholic
Church for all Byzantine-rite monasteries in Italy.
Today, Grottaferrata is
the last of the many Byzantine-Greek monasteries that dotted Sicily,
southern Italy and Rome itself in the Middle Ages. It is also unique
in that, having been founded fifty years before the Great Schism
that divided Catholics and Orthodox, it remained in communion with
the Church of Rome while preserving the Byzantine rite and monastic
tradition of its founders.