Founder of the camaldolese; b. Ravenna, Italy, c. 952; d. hermitage at Val di Castro, near Fabriano, Italy, June 19, 1027. The son of a nobleman named Sergius, Romuald entered the monastery of San Apollinare in Classe when he was 20 years old to do penance on behalf of his father, who had killed a kinsman. He became a monk there after seeing St. Apollinaris in a vision. Three years later he went to the mainland near Venice in search of a more austere way of life and became the disciple of a hermit named Marinus. In c. 978 Romuald and Marinus, together with Guarin, abbot of the Abbey of cuxa in the Pyrenees, who was visiting Venice, persuaded the Doge peter orseolo to abdicate, and all three returned to Cuxa with Guarin. Romuald and Marinus lived an eremitical life there near the monastery. After ten years Romuald returned to Italy to strengthen the vocation of his father, who had become a monk, and he remained there for the rest of his life. Emperor otto iii greatly revered Romuald for his sanctity of life, and in 998 appointed him abbot of San Apollinare in Classe, but at the end of a year Romuald resigned the office and went to live in a hermitage at Pereum in the nearby marshes. This became an important center for training clergy, e.g., bruno of querfurt, for the Slavonic mission field. Romuald wanted to die a martyr's death and set out to preach to the Magyars, but was forced to abandon the journey on account of his age. He spent the rest of his life founding eremitical congregations in northern and central Italy, among them, vallombrosa. But the most important of these was camaldoli near Arezzo, founded in 1023–27, which later became the motherhouse of the Camaldolese Order. Romuald left no written rule for his monks. When his body was exhumed in 1466 it was found to be incorrupt. It was transferred to Fabriano in 1481.
Feast: June 19 and Feb. 7 (translation).
Bibliography: peter damian, Vita beati Romualdi, ed. g. tabacco (Fonti per la storia d'Italia 94; Rome 1957); La Vie du bienheureux Romuald, tr., l. a. lassus (Namur 1962). w. franke, Quellen und Chronologie zur Geschichte Romualds von Camaldoli (Halle 1910); Romuald von Camaldoli und seine Reformtätigkeit zur Zeit Ottos III (Berlin 1913, 2d ed. Vaduz 1965). p. ciampelli, Vita di s. Romualdo abate, fondatore dei Camaldolesi (Ravenna 1927). j. leclercq, "Saint Romuald et le monachisme missionnaire," Revue Bénédictine 72 (1962) 307–323. g. tabacco, "La data di fondazione di Camaldoli," Rivista di storia della Chiesa iri Italia, 16 (1962) 451–455. a. pagnini, Vita di S. Romualdo abbate, fondature dei camaldolesi (2d ed. Camaldoli 1967). t. matus, ed., The Mystery of Romuald and the Five Brothers (Trabuco Canyon, CA 1994). l. vigilucci, Camaldoli: A Journey into its History & Spirituality, tr. p.–d. belisle (Trabuco Canyon, CA 1995).
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