San Salvatore di Messina, Monastery

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The largest and most important Basilian monastery in southern Italy. Between 1122 and 1132, roger ii of Sicily built the abbey near the lighthouse tower at the tip of the isthmus. The Emperor charles v demolished it in the 16th century to make room for a castle, and it was rebuilt elsewhere in Messina. bartholomew of simeri (d.1130) helped to found it, but in 1131 Roger II entrusted the direction of San Salvatore to his disciple (St.) Luke (d. 1149).

The monastery was organized as an archimandria, i.e., it became the head of a monastic confederation with jurisdiction over 41 monasteries located in the vicinity of Messina and Reggio (Calabria), and was declared exempt from any ecclesiastical or lay jurisdiction. Archimandrite Luke codified its statutes in the Typikon promulgated in 1133. The appointment of an archimandrite and the reforms introduced by Luke were new features in the Byzantine monastic arrangement in Italy which had followed until then the Studite tradition (see studion [stuiu]). Privileges and donations made the archimandrite an important ecclesiastical and political personage in Sicily. The library of San Salvatore contained many splendid Greek codices, 175 of which may be found in the university. Decline, which became more pronounced under Angevin rule, was checked by Cardinal bessarion. In the 17th and 18th centuries the Basilian Congregation of Italy was established with happy results. San Salvatore was, however, suppressed by the Italian government in 1883, and its territory was incorporated into Messina.

Bibliography: Important documents on this monastery in MS Rome, Vat. Lat. 8201. r. pirri, Sicilia sacra, ed. a. mongitore, 2v. (3d ed. Palermo 1733). f. matranga, "Il monastero dei Greci del S. Salvatore dell'acroterio di Messina " Rendiconti dell'Accademia Peloritana (Messina 1887). g. cozza-luzi, De typico sacro messanensis monasterii archimandritalis in Nova Patrum bibliotheca, ed. a. mai and g. cozza-luzi, 10 v. (Rome 18521905) 10.2:117137. a. mancini, Codices graeci monasteri messanensis S. Salvatoris (Messina 1907). m. scaduto, Il monachismo basiliano nella Sicilia medievale (Rome 1947).

[m. petta]