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MONTEFELTRO


528


MONTEFELTRO


the present day Monte Cassino is the property of the Italian Government, which has declared it a national monument; the abbot, however, is recog- nized as Guardian in view of his administration of the diocese. The reigning abbot is Dom Gregorio Diamare (elected 1009); the community (1009) con- sists of thirty-seven choir monks and thirty lay brothers. The vast buildings contain, besides the monastery, a lay school with 126 boarders and two seminaries, one open to all and the other reserved for (he Diocese of Monte Cassino with 76 and 50 pupils respectively. In the management of these institu- tions the monks are assisted by a number of secular priests.

The present buildings form a vast rectangular pile externally more massive than beautiful. The ancient tower of St. Benedict, now a series of chapels elabo- rately decorated by monastic artists of the Beuron school, is the only portion dating back to the founda- tion of the abbey. The entrance gate leads to three square court-yards opening out of one another with arcades in the Doric order. These date from 1515 and are attributed, on somewhat slight evidence, to Bramante. From the middle court-yard an immense flight of steps leads to the atrium or forecourt of the basilica. This quadrangle has an arcade sup- ported by ancient columns taken from the basilica of Abbot Desiderius, and probably once in the de- stroyed temple of Apollo on the site of which the present church stands. The existing church, the fourth to occupy the site, is from the designs of Cosi- mo Fansaga. It was begun in 1649, and was conse- crated in 1727 by Benedict XIII. In richness of marbles, the interior is said to be surpassed only by the Certosa at Pavia, and the first impression is certainly one of astonishing magnificence. On closer inspection, however, the style is found to be somewhat decadent, especially in the plasterwork of the ceiling, while the enormous profusion of inlaid marble and gilding produces a slightly restless effect. Still it is undoubtedly the finest example of Floren- tine mosaic work in Europe, and the general colour scheme is excellent. The church is cruciform in plan, with a dome at the crossing, beneath which is the high altar. Behind this altar is the choir with its elabo- rately carved stalls. The tomb of St. Benedict is in a crypt chapel beneath the eastern portion of the church, but it is extremely doubtful whether any relics of the saint now remain there. This chapel has recently been decorated with mosaics from designs by artists of the Beuron school, the severity of which con- trasts markedly with the slightly Rococo paintings by Luca < Uordano in the church above. The sacristy contains the ancient pavement of opus alexandrinum, which was formerly in the basilica of Abbot Desiderius. In the left transept is the monument of Pietro di Medici, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and brother of Leo X. This tomb, which is by the great archi- tect Antonio di Sangallo, is unquestionably the most beautiful and dignified work in the whole building. The great west door, a bronze piece of the twelfth centurj', is engraved with the names of all the parishes in the Diocese of Monte Cassino. The kitchens are approached from the ground-floor by a long covered passage on an inclined plane, large enough for two mules laden with provisions to pass. This curious structure dates from the twelfth century and is ht by an exquisite marble window of four arches in the style known as Cosmatesque. The buildings as a whole produce an effect of great dignity and magnificence, all the more unexpected from the inaccessible posi- tion of the monastery and the extreme severity of the exterior. The view from the "Loggia del Paradiso" or forecourt, is one of the most famous in Southern Italy.

The archives (archivium), besides a vast number of documents relating to the history of the abbey, con-


tains some 1400 manuscript codices chiefly patristic and historical, many of which arc of the greatest value. The library contains a fine collection of modern texts and apparatus crilicus, which is always most courteously put at the disposal of scholars who come to work on the manuscripts. When the abbey was declared a national monument, orders were given to transport the whole collection of manuscripts to the National Library at Naples; but, owing to the personal intercession of Mr. Gladstone, then Prime Minister of England, the order was reversed, and in- stead one of the community was appointed as Archi- vist with a salary from the Government, an arrange- ment which still continues.

The Diocese of Monte Cassino includes most of the Abruzzi, and is one of the most extensive in Italy. It was formed by uniting seven ancient dioceses, a fact which is borne in mind by the interesting custom that, when the abbot sings pontifical High Mass, he uses seven different precious mitres in succession. As or- dinary the abbot is directly subject to the Holy See, and the choir monks take rank as the chapter of the diocese, of which the abbatial basilica of Monte Cas- sino is the cathedral. The conferring of sacred orders, blessing of Holy Oils, and administration of the Sacra- ment of Confirmation are the only pontifical functions which the abbot does not exercise. The vicar-general is usually one of the conmmunity.

Annales Ca&inenses in Pertz, Mon. Germ. Hist. Script., Ill, VII, XIX: Gattula, Hist, abbatia Casin. (4 vols.. Venice, 1733); Margarinus, Bultar. Casin. (2 vola., Venice, 1650); Armellini, Bibl. Benedictino-Casinensis (Assisi, 1732); Grossi, La Scuola e la bibliografia di Monte Cassino (Naples, 1820) ; TosTI, Storia ddla Badia di Monte Cassino {3 vols., Naples, 1S42); Van den Nest, Naples et le Mont Cassin (Antwerp, 1850) ; Guillaume, Description . . . du Mont Cassin (Monte (ilassino, 1874); Idem, Mojit Cassin et le XIV' centenaire de St. Benott (Paris, 1880); Bahtolini, Uantico Cassino e il primitivo monastero di S. Bene- detto (Monte Cassino, 1880); Clausse, Les origines benidictines (Paris, 1899); UoHELLl, Italia Sacra, II (Venice, 1647). 1027-35; Longfellow in Atlantic Monthly, XXXV (1875), 161; Beh- NARDi, L'archivio e la bibliotheca di M. C. (Monte Cassino, 1872); Diet, des MSS., II (Migne, 1853), 923-52; Spicilegium Casinenss (Monte Cassino, 1893 — ); Piscicelli-Taeggi, La paleografia artislica di M. C. (5 vols., Monte Cassino, 1878-83).

G. Roger Hddleston.

Montefeltro, Diocese of (Feretrana), in the province of Urbino, in the Marches, Central Italy. The earliest mention of it, as Mons Feretri, is in the diplomas by which Charlemagne confirmed the grants of Pepin the Short to the Holy See. Montefeltro was then the seat of counts, who became imperial vicars in 1135, and Counts of Urbino in 1213. Their rule was interrupted from 1322 to 1375, when Ederigo I of Montefeltro amd Urbino lost possession of the city. This prince and his successors made several attempts to recover Montefeltro, from which Cardinal Albornoz (1359) again expelled them in the person of Nolfo. The elder Guido of Montefeltro, a famous Ghibelline captain, finally became a Franciscan, and died in 1298.

The first known bishop of Montefeltro was Agatho (826), whose residence was at San Leo; other bishops were Valentino (1173), who finished the cathedral; Benvenuto (1219), deposed as a partisan of Count Ederigo; Benedetto (1390), a Benedictine monk, rector of Romagna and Duke of Spoleto; the Fran- ciscan Giovanni Seclani (1413), who built the epis- copal palace of Calamello; Cardinal Ennio Filonardi (1549); Giovanni Francesco Sarmani (1.567), founder of the seminary of Pennabilli, thenceforth residence of the bishops, the episcopal see having been transferred to that town from San Leo, an important fortress of the Pontifical States. Under Bishop Flaminios Dondi (1724) the see was again transferred to San Leo, but later it returned to Pennabilli. This diocese is suffra- gan of Urbino, and has 120 parishes, 173 secular priests, 30 regulars, 60,350 Catholics, 91 religious houses of men, 9 of women, 2 educational institutes for male students, and 3 for girls.

Cappelletti, Le Ckiese d'ltalia. III (Venice, 1857).

tJ. Benigni.