la Cava (Ss. Trinitá), Abbey of
LA CAVA (SS. TRINITÁ), ABBEY OF
Benedictine monastery near Salerno, Italy. It was founded in 1011 by St. alferius and enlarged by his second successor, Abbot peter pappacarbone (1079–1123), who built the church that was consecrated by Pope Urban II in 1092. Cava became the center of a flourishing Benedictine congregation inspired by the usages of cluny, where Alferius and Peter had stayed for some time. Endowed with a considerable number of holdings and dependencies, including several seaports, the abbey established a closely knit network of trade relations with Africa and the eastern Mediterranean and extended its influence through all of Italy, from Milan to Sicily. By the middle of the 13th century, Cava's power began to decline; becoming involved in the wars between the houses of Anjou and Aragon, it lost many holdings on the mainland, and in 1282 Pope martin iv forced the abbey to cede its Sicilian holdings to Aragon. Its abbot was one of the most influential dignitaries at the royal court of Naples, and in consequence by 1394 Cava came to be ruled by bishops, selected at will by the popes from among the secular clergy, and with results for the abbey that can be readily imagined. The monastery lost its Calabrian holdings in 1410; Pope Eugene IV introduced commendation in 1431. In 1492, when the monks remaining at Cava proved refractory to reform, the commendatory abbot Cardinal Oliviero Carafa removed them and substituted monks of the Reform Congregation of St. Justina (see benedictines), in favor of whom he renounced his commendation. The consequent abrogation of episcopal authority at Cava resulted in local disorders and pillaging, leading to the erection (1513) of the Diocese of Cava, distinct from the abbey. The monastery was closed from 1807 to 1815 and then suppressed in 1866; the monks, however, were left as "custodians," a step that preserved monastic buildings and the library from destruction. Today the abbot nullius of Cava has a territory of 22 parishes and about 25,000 inhabitants; the abbey belongs to the Benedictine Cassinese Congregation. In the library, besides documents of historical importance, there are preserved a Gothic Bible of the 14th century, a codex of Lombard law, and more than 600 incunabula. Four abbots are honored as saints: Alferius (1011–50), Leo I of Cava (1050–79), Peter (1079–1123), and constabilis (1123–24). Their veneration, authorized by Pope Sixtus V in 1589, was reconfirmed by Leo XIII in 1893. Another eight are blessed: Simeon (1141), Falco (1146), Marinus (1170), Benincasa (1194), Peter II (1208), Balsamon (1232), Leonard (1255), and Leo II of Cava (1268–95).
Bibliography: Chronicon Cavense, l. a. muratori, Rerum italicarum scriptores, 500–1500, 25 v. in 28, ed. g. carducci and v. fiorini (2d, new ed. Cittè di Castello 1900– ) 7:913–962. Annales Cavenses, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores (Berlin 1826– ) 3:185–197. Codex diplomaticus Cavensis, ed. m. morcaldi et al., 8 v. (Naples-Milan 1874–93). p. guillaume, Essai historique sur l'abbaye de Cava (Cava 1877). l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 1935–39) 1:635–637. p. schmitz, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912– ) 12:21–24. g. penco, Storia del monachesimo in Italia (Rome 1961).
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