"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Basilians of Grottaferrata in Albania

The Basilians are sometimes thought to be the "bad boys" of Eastern Christianity, especially among Ukrainians, because they are and have been heavily Latinized in many ways for many centuries, betraying, inter alia, authentically Eastern monasticism and introducing into both Eastern Catholic and some Orthodox churches practices that are not aboriginal to them. (I remember very clearly reading the extremely hostile descriptions of them when I visited Pochaev in 2001, where they once ruled for a time.) It's true that they were reformed by the Jesuits along the lines of a Western order like the Jesuits. Now a new book by Ines Angeli Murzaku of Seton Hall University proposes a fresh look at them:

Ines Angeli Murzaku, Returning Home to Rome: The Basilian Monks of Grottaferatta in Albania (Athens: Analekta Kryptoferris, 2009), xxi + 309 (38 photos).

Drawing on extensive research in Vatican dicasteries, Jesuit archives in Italy, the state archives of Albania in Tiranë, the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, the University of Calabria, and other private archives in Calabria, the author sheds light on Catholic-Orthodox relations in southern Italy and Albania as well as Christian-Muslim relations. I asked Anthony O'Mahony, of Heythrop College, University of London, who has published in this area, to review this book for us in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies in 2011.

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