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Montecassino Abbey

Reminders of St. Benedict

The Abbey Museum

Scenes from the Monastery

The Abbey Church

Stairway to The Crypt

 




 

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The Basilica of Montecassino

Bronze doors of Constantinople - 27k

     Access to the Basilica is provided by three bronze doors, the middle one (right) dates from the eleventh century, when Desiderius was Abbot.  It consists of a set of panels with silver damask lettering.  The lower panel at the right, between two crosses, certifies that these door wings were made in Constantinople in 1066 and were a gift from Mauro of Amalfi, son of Pantaleone.  The doors have a great historic value because of the inscriptions which detail the possessions of the monastery and the churches that depended on Montecassino in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

     Below is the fresco which resides on the wall above the central portal of the Basilica.  It is titled The Glory of St. Benedict or The Benedictine Paradise.  In it you can see St. benedict surrounded by monks, bishops and nuns who lived in holiness by following his rule.  These include three popes in the foreground: at the left is Gregory the Great, St. Benedict's first biographer; in the middle is Pope Paul VI who re-consecrated the Basilica in 1964 and proclaimed St. Benedict the main Patron Saint of Europe and on the right is St. Victor III, Formerly Abbot Desiderius - author of Montecassino's splendor in the 12th century.

Fresco - The Glory of St. Benedict - 33k

Huge organ behind the altar - 22k

      On the left we can see the upper portion of the beautiful pipe organ built by Neapolitan Mascioni di Cuvio.  The organ has over 5000 pipes and three keyboards.  It is beautifully detailed in the baroque style.

     In the lower left corner is a picture of the gilded details at the base of the dome above the altar.  The spandrels show stories which represent the vows taken by the monks: Chastity bearing a lamp, Stability with an anchor and a column, Poverty leaning onto the Cross while dropping money and Obedience standing in a listening position.

     Below is a fragment of the original 11th century floor.  It is one of a pair of greyhounds that at one time flanked the altar.  Today this fragment can be seen in the Museum.

 

Details on the Baroque styled ceiling - 21k

Floor fragment from before the 1944 destruction - 16k

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Credit for the text in this tour:
The Abbey of Montecassino. Pubblicazioni Cassinesi / B.N. Marconi., Genova, 1998
 
 

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