Vyber zemi
Vyber typ
Vyber místo

Dědictví, kultura a pohostinnost

Benediktinské kláštery jako místa setkání
Michał Tomasz Gronowski OSB

Monasteries and monks living in them have long been an intriguing topic. From the very beginning of the monastic movement in the 4th century in Egypt, people visited monks, asking them for advice and prayer. Examples of such meetings can be found in the surviv- ing literature, which sometimes even gives the impression that a kind of “monastic tour- ism” was developing at the time. This concerns not only Egypt, but also other regions where monasteries were established: Palestine, Syria, Cappadocia and later also Italy and Western Europe. Written in the late 8th century in Palestine, after the Arab invasion, the life of one of the monks from the Great Laura of St. Sabbas (Kidron Valley) mentions the fact that this saint, cultivating the old custom of Lenten wanderings in the wilderness, visited local monasteries, some of which had already been abandoned and partially ruined. In the Middle

Ages and the modern era, too, the practice of visiting monasteries during pilgrimages to holy sites or during other travels did not stop. We can cite here, for example, an account of Peter Damian’s visit to Cluny in 1063, with admiring descriptions of not only the piety of the Cluny monks, but also of the appearance and furnish- ings of the local monastery. Similarly, towards the end of the 16th century, Charles de Croÿ recorded descriptions of not only castles and towns, but also of monasteries situated in what is now Belgium (including an interesting ico- nography in his accounts). In the 17th and 18th centuries in France Jean Mabillon and his pu- pils meticulously described the monasteries they visited, paying particular attention to li- braries and archives.

Today, with a changed social and cultural situation, we may wonder what makes people attracted to monasteries and how people see them. In the case of new monastic communities living in modern buildings the answer seems to be fairly straightforward, as their sacred and spiritual dimension is not obscured by the bag- gage of historical heritage. On the other hand, communities living in centuries-old monaster-ies must face the challenge of today’s increas- ingly secularised mentality, for which monas- teries as monuments of art and architecture, contributing to the beauty of the landscape, are more interesting than the idea behind their foundations. However, this is not about juxta- posing these two approaches or excluding ei- ther of them; on the contrary, this is about com- bining them in a harmonious manner. For both can creatively complement one another.

Reflections on how to harmonise both views of the place and role of monasteries in the so- cio-cultural context today have inspired the present project. A Benedictine monastery is es- pecially predestined to be a place of the meet- ing. It is such a place for several reasons and in several dimensions. It combines the dimensions of a historical monument, work of art, beau- tiful location, sacredness and unique atmos- phere of openness to visitors, for, as the Rule of St. Benedict says: “Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ (...). And let due honour be shown to all”. Thus, we have here a long tra- dition, spirituality, art, beauty and hospitality, i.e. openness to other human beings, which is manifested in the very act of welcoming them, and also in making an effort to meet their needs and expectations by creating the right condi- tions and an attractive offer: retreat, museum, education, culture.

Therefore, when examining all the dimen- sions of heritage-patrimony, culture and hos- pitality, we may discover a new dimension of the meeting, which is a fruit of a merger of all the values mentioned here. What is significant is their harmonious and joint analysis, because to different people getting into contact with a monastery these elements may appeal dif- ferently and in varying proportions, often also initiating a creative process of questioning or reflecting on other dimensions. For example, people admiring the beauty of a place or a work of art may start wondering why a monastery was founded here and not elsewhere, or, con- versely, the spiritual dimension may lead them to a reflection on the historical and cultural in- fluence of monasteries.

All these aspects make up a force that car- ries the idea of the monastery as patrimony – heritage of specific values. This has its full- est impact when the continuous existence of a monastery has been preserved, as it is the case, for example, in Pannonhalma. Often we also deal with a renewal of patrimony: a mon- astery existed somewhere for centuries, was dissolved, but after a while monks returned to it (Tyniec, Břevnov). We see how big that force can be in cases we could call translations or transformations of patrimony. A monastery is dissolved and abandoned, after some time the monks return and settle not in the old mon- astery, but somewhere in its vicinity. There is an interesting case of Landévennec in Brittany, France, an abbey from the early Merovingian period, second half of the 5th century, which was dissolved during the French Revolution. In the 20th century monks returned to the place, but built a completely new monastery, near the ruins of the old one; they believe they are the heirs of the old abbey. In this sec- ond case, what remains of an old monastery are just ruins, but the local community is still aware that this was a Benedictine monastery and that monks lived there, as it is the case of Hronský Beňadik in Slovakia. Sometimes the role of monks as hosts is, in a way, taken over by lay people who live there. And these lay people play, so to speak, the role of the monks, becoming the hosts and, in some sense, con- tinuing to carry this heritage (e.g. the former abbey in Hirsau in Germany).

The present study, which is an introduc- tory, theoretical and programmatic basis of the project, has been supported by the Visegrád Group Fund and carried out by the monks and employees from the monasteries in Tyniec (Poland), Sampor (Slovakia), Pannonhalma and Tihany (Hungary), Břevnov (Czech Republic), as well as the Faculty of History of the Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica (Slovakia). An im- portant contribution to the study has been made by Dr Rastislav Kožiak (Matej Bel University) and Marta Sztwiertnia (Benedictine Institute of Culture, Tyniec Abbey), who has analysed the aspects related to education in Benedictine monasteries. In addition, participants in two preparatory meetings included Fr Adalbert Gáspár, OSB (Tihany), Br Aleš Vandrovec, OSB (Břevnov), Br Michal M. Kukuča, OSB (Sampor).

The issues raised in the study will be com- plemented by materials prepared as part of an international conference summing up the en- tire project, materials that will be included in a separate publication.

Soubory ke stažení

Článek ve formátu PDF (anglický originál)