Santa Maria di Polsi, Abbey of
SANTA MARIA DI POLSI, ABBEY OF
A Basilian monastery on the Butrano River, in the Calabrian Apennines, altitude 2,500 feet, present Diocese of Gerace-Locri in Calabria, south Italy. The origin and life of this monastery, situated in a solitary mountainous region, is shrouded in mystery and legend. Tradition assigns its foundation to Count Roger I in the last half of the 11th century. It was inhabited by basilian monks who later abandoned it during the crisis of Greco-Italian monasticism. It appears, however, that hermits continued to live in the neighborhood while the cult of Our Lady was developing there and the locality became a place of pilgrimage for the whole of Calabria, Lucania, Apulia, and as far off as Sicily. In the 16th century the church was restored and a hostel for pilgrims was built. The present church dates from the 19th century and is still frequented by pious pilgrims who come to pray before the Madonna of Polsi. The title of commendatory abbot of Polsi is still retained by the bishops of Gerace-Locri.
Bibliography: d. fera, Memorie sul Santuario di Polsi (Reggio Calabria 1895). g. b. moscato in Rivista storica Calabrese 10 (1907) 215–225. f. pangollo, Memorie del Santuario di Polsi (Polistena 1933).
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