As you walk around the cloister,
you will find several doorways. There are five of them, one leading to
the church, one leading to the Antico Dispensarium, one leading
to the Sala dei Reunione de Monari and two that lead back
to the rectangular courtyard that overlooks the vegetable garden. As you
examine the Sala dei Reunione de Monari you may begin to find that
things are arranged in sets of seven. Take notice of the number
of rough marble steps that descend to the smooth marble floor of the Sala
dei Reunione de Monari. You will find that there are seven.
Is this significant? You will have to judge for yourself.
If you are there at 10:45 on
a Sunday morning, you will hear mass being called by the melodic sound
of bells ringing in the tower high above. It has been done that way
for 800 years. After you hear the bells, you should make your way
to the church. You will be able to experience a ceremony that
has been performed there for the last 800 years. It is a re-creation of
The Last Supper which is performed in Gregorian chant.
In the church, the trend of groups
of seven continues. There are seven columns. There are seven
windows along each wall. There are seven vaulted chambers along each
side of the chapel. Finally, each of the seven windows have a stair-like
decoration containing ( Yes, you guessed it.) seven steps. Do you
still think that itís a coincidence? I believe that there may
be some connection with the Seven Sacraments; seven elaborate rituals that
are intended to shorten ones time in Purgatory.
As you tour this site, stop for a moment
to close your eyes and think about what things would have been like 800
years ago. Imagine the church at the Casamari Abbey without the Baroque
altar and lit only by fire light. Envision the mass as it would have been.
Think about how the average peasant of the 11th century would have perceived
the opulence of this place. As you tour the Abbey, take the time
to step out of your daily existence and consider what life was like in