[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Nilus of Rossano

X/XI Centuries
Nilus was a treasury official who came from a noble family, before the deaths of his mistress and daughter led him to reform his wastrel youth and to enter a monastery. Fluent in Latin and Greek, he was a hymnographer, and while he followed the rule of Basil, he sought to unite the rules of Basil and Benedict. Nilus was the abbot of St. Adrian's monastery in Calabria, and when the Saracens invaded the area c. 981, he led the community to Velluccio, where they lived for 15 years on land given them by the monks of Monte Cassino. In 999, Nilus refused Emperor Otto III's offer to rebuild the monastery of St. Adrian. Shortly before his death in 1004, Nilus had a vision at Grottaferrata and knew that this was to be his community's home. Although Nilus died before the monastery was built and the community established there, he is considered the first abbot of Grottaferrata, which is still the center of Greek (or Byzantine) monasticism in Italy.

Karen Rae Keck


Return to St Pachomius Library.