st.Romuald-Abbot, hermit, founder of the Camaldolese Order

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Feast Day : February 7



Also known as: Romuald of Ravenna



Romuald of Ravenna was an important figure in the medieval revival of eremitic monasticism. An account of his life was written by St. Peter Damian, a Father of the Church. Romuald was born around 952 in Ravenna, Italy, to a noble family. He was a young man when he saw his father kill a relative. To atone for his father’s sin, he entered the monastery of San Apollinare-in-Classe. He saw Apollinaris in a vision and became a monk. After three years Romuald departed to find a more austere way of life. In Venice he became a disciple of the hermit Marinus, who exacted harsh discipline. He went to the monastery at Cuxa, where he lived for 10 years. Meanwhile, his father had become a monk in an effort to atone for his own sins. Romuald returned to Ravenna to encourage him. Romuald’s reputation as a holy man attracted the attention of Emperor Otto III. The emperor appointed him abbot at San Apollinare-in-Classe. But after about a year Romuald resigned in order to establish hermitages and reform monasteries throughout northern Italy and the Pyrenees. He founded the monastery of Camadoli near Arezzo, which later became the motherhouse of the Camaldolese Order. The order merged the cenobitical, or monastic, life of the West with the eremitical, or hermit, life of the East. Romuald tried several times to journey to Hungary to evangelize, but his health prevented him from doing so. He died on June 19, 1027, at Val di Castro near Camadoli. Miracles were reported after his death. His hair shirt reportedly expelled a demon from the church, and was kept as a relic. Five years after his death, the remains of Romuald were exhumed in order to be placed in a new coffin beneath an altar. The monks expected to move bones and dust and so built a small coffin. One of them was warned in a dream by a venerable old man that the coffin would be too small. When the saint was uncovered, his body was found to be incorrupt, with a sheen of liquid on some of the parts. A new coffin was constructed, and the saint was reburied beneath the new altar. His body was exhumed again in 1466 and 1481 and was found to be still incorrupt. The remains are now in the crypt of St. Romuald at the monastery of SS. Biagio and Romuald, in Fabriano (Ancona), Italy.

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