Neilos, who died in 1004, was a Greek monk who lived in southern Italy under the Byzantine Empire. The Life of Neilos offers a snapshot of a distinctive time when Greek and Latin monasticism coexisted, a world that vanished after the schism between the churches of Rome and Constantinople in 1054. The translation was edited by Dr. Ines Angeli Murzaku Professor of Church History and Director of Catholic Studies Program at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, Dr. Raymond Capra, Assistant Professor of Greek and Classical Studies at Seton Hall University, and Father Douglas J. Milewski, Associate Professor of Theology, at Seton Hall University. They spoke to Charles Camosy about their new work:
How did Greek and Latin monks co-exist for 15 years being so different?
Milewski [describing a visit by Saint Neilos and his followers to Monte Cassino, the birthplace of Benedictine monasticism]: “We are told in chapter 73 that St. Neilos and his monks were greeted at the foot of the mountain by the whole community and escorted to the abbey with full pomp and regalia as though this were a feast day or the arrival of St. Anthony of Egypt or St. Benedict himself. Anyone remotely familiar with Monte Cassino would appreciate the honor of the escort by the effort of the climb! Further, there is the great contrast in the monastic traditions represented here. The order and stabilitas of the Benedictine life is far removed from the ‘peripatetic’ asceticism lived by St. Neilos. Nevertheless, he is greeted not merely as an esteemed guest but is treated as a recognized master of the spiritual life.”
Charles C. Camosy