Exarchic Greek Abbey of St. Mary of Grottaferrata - Basilian Monks

Corso del Popolo, 128 - 00046 Grottaferrata (Rome) ITALY - Phone 0039.06.9459309 - Fax 0039.06.9456734

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  • A Panoramic View
  • The Entrance Portal
  • A Section of the Roverian Walls
  • The Basilica of St. Mary
  • The Byzantine Mosaic
  • The Triumphal Arch
  • The Cryptoporticus
  • The Fortress at Night
A Panoramic View1 The Entrance Portal2 A Section of the Roverian Walls3 The Basilica of St. Mary4 The Byzantine mosaic5 The Triumphal Arch6 The Cryptoporticus7 The Fortress at Night8
VOCATION “You have seduced me, o Lord, and I let myself be seduced” (Jer. 20:7)


St. Basil, the GreatSaint Basil the Great (ca. 330-379), one of the Fathers of the Eastern Church, had been a monk prior to his appointment as archbishop of Cesarea in Cappadocia. During that experience, he wrote several ascetic works that he later brought together in two collections: Regula Major and Regula Brevior. According to St. Basil, the life of a monastic community should be founded on two spiritual principles: obedience to the Abbot and charity among the monks, binding each to his brothers. His precepts strongly influenced monasticism in the East. Byzantine-Greek monastic piety in Italy is inspired by other sources as well as St. Basil’s teachings, from the Desert Fathers to St. Theodore of Studion, hegumen of the famous Studion Monastery in Constantinople. By the beginning of the 13th century the Church of Rome, which had regained ecclesial jurisdiction over the territory conquered by the Normans in southern Italy, was defining all Byzantine-Greek monks in Italy as followers of St. Basil and calling them Basilian Monks. This was the start of a process that led, in 1579, with Pope Gregory XIII's Constitution Benedictus Dominus, to the foundation of the Congregation of Basilian Monks. Byzantine monasticism in Italy thus received the legal status of an Order, and the abbot of individual monasteries in the South of Italy, no longer autonomous, were placed thenceforth under the direction of an Abbot General.


When the voice of God reaches us, and we say our “Here I am!” to the One who calls the stars by name, a process of dying and rising begins in our lives and we become “different” because we are swept up into the plan of God.

Every human being, for the very fact that he comes to life, is “called” by God's goodness to become a precious and unique member of the Body of Jesus Christ and to enjoy full adoption in God's sonship. Among those who are baptized, the Lord calls some of them to follow him more closely with a life - long consecration - this is the peculiar characteristic of a monk from the earliest times of Christian Church history.

Thus the Typikòn (Holy Rule) of our monastery says:

“...Among the disciples who are in the world, but not of the world, a monk is the one who answers God's call inviting him to follow Him in solitude in the desert to speak to his heart. The monk witnesses a love that is marked in a special way by the unconditionable offer of his whole life and by the eschatological expectation: this expectation nourishes him by hope and faith. Therefore, a monk’s life seems like that of the angels, as the Patristic and liturgical tradition says: like an angel, the monk, in full subjection to the Spirit, places himself in the complete service of God, even if he is conscious of his weakness.

This exclusive role is well manifested in the special fecundity of the monastic testimony. Tradition has properly understood the meaning of the monastic habit, attributing it to the Apostles themselves. Above all the monk becomes a new creature, according to the models offered by God’s Mother, St. John The Baptist, St. Mary of Bethany and the disciple Jesus loved. According to this view tradition has long seen in the monastic profession a “second baptism”, the mark of which is the new name a monk is given at the moment he offers himself to God.

Monastic life is therefore Christian life in its radicality renouncing created things, despite of their goodness, in order to follow poverty, obedience and chastity. The peculiar signs of a monk are prayer, which manifests either the expectation of God’s coming or the answer to the Word received, meditated and “ruminated” upon; the pressing invitation to conversion; the purification of the heart through the fight against “evil thoughts”, humility, obedience, poverty, chastity, meditation on the precariousness of life, compunction, renouncing oneself, grief for one’s sins and tears flowing out of grief. Monastic life is also Christian life accomplished in its radicality, not as a condition apart, typical only of a kind of Christians, but as a reference point for all the baptized”.

St. Theodore of StudionOur ascetic life, as Basilian Monks of Byzantine-Greek rite, is based on the integral observance of the Holy Gospel according to the spirituality of the Greek Saints Fathers Basil the Great, Theodore of Studion, Maxim the Confessor, John of the Climax, transmitted to us especially by our Holy Founders Nilus and Bartholomew.

Our days are organized by the liturgical celebrations and work, manual or intellectual, for each monk which tries to facilitate to everyone the realization of the personal divine project, taking into account the inborn qualities, spiritual attractions and physical resistance of somebody, always under obedience to the Superiors and the monastic tradition.

Our main activities are:

Liturgy, Prayers and Spiritual Direction

Monastic Library open to the public

Publications of periodicals and books

Center for the restoration of old books

Monastic Museum

Cultivation of the earth

The service for the Unity of Christians, in particular between Orthodox and Catholics, is our typical commitment. First of all, we contribute to the dialogue between the sister Churches with daily effort in the conversion , penance, the ascent in the prayer, animated from the desire to the realization of the prayer of Jesus to the Father “may they all be one (John. 17:21).

In such dimension of memory, testimony and service to the Christian Unity, the Exarchic Monastery of Blessed Mother of God at the Grottaferrata represents a meeting center for the ecumenical dialogue between East and West. For the good result of this important scope we, as Basilian Monks, don’t stop to plead for the illumination of the Holy Spirit and the particular intercession of the Blessed Mother of God Hodigitria.

“For the grace of God we are gathered in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that our proposals have an only and same aim: the life lived in piety”
St. Basil the Great

“The monk has of sight only God, he only has desire of God, and he is only taken care of God, he means to only serve God and, living in peace with God, he becomes cause of peace for the others”
St. Theodore of Studion

“The monk is an angel and his own work is mercy, peace and sacrifice of praise”
St. Nilus founder


If in your heart you feel Jesus’ voice calling you to follow him,
then respond generously to him with your “here I am”.
The Basilian monastic life is a life of total consecration to God,
open to the necessities of brethren, for the good of the Church and of humanity.
No obstacle should frighten you,
but with courage, come and stay with us for some time.
Please, contact us: “Come and see!”

Men desiring to learn more about the Basilian Monks of Grottaferrata
may request a brochure and/or a vocation video - Send e-mail

Ph. (0039) 06.945.93.09 - E-mail: Send e-mail

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Corso del Popolo, 128 - 00046 Grottaferrata (Rome) ITALY - Phone 0039.06.9459309 - Fax 0039.06.9456734