Address: 08199 Montserrat, Barcelona
Confession of the monastery: Catholicism
The date of foundation: 1025 year
Relics and Sacred Things: Black Madonna
Working Hours of Basilica: Monday-Sunday: from 07:00 till 20:00
Montserrat is the mountain group (with lots of peaks) situated not far from Barcelona. The main peaks are: Sant Jeroni (1236m), Montgros (1120 m) and Miranda de la Aigues (903m). This mountain is the mainsake for Caribbean Island Montserrat which was named by Columbus in its honor. “Montserrat” translated from Catalan means “sawn mountains”. The mountain consists of astonishing pink conglomerate in the form of sedimentary rocks. Montserrat is the first national park in Spain.
Mountains are known as the place of Benedictine abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat, where sanctuary of Black Madonna is situated. Some people consider this abbey to be the location of the Holy Grail. Mountain Montserrat has been the religious and pilgrim centre for more than thousand years. The history of these temples begins in the 9th century when catholic troops conquered this territory from Muslims. In the 10th century in these mountains were already four catholic dwellings of anachorets. In 1025 abbot Ripoiia and bishop Vika established new monastery in settlements of anachorets Santa Maria de Montserrat. Little monastery soon was full of pilgrims and visitors who spread stories about miracles made by God’s mother. In 1409 monastery Montserrat became an independent abbey. In the 17th and 18th centuries monastery Montserrat became first-magnitude cultural centre. A lot of significant composers were educated in its musical school. French war (1808-1811) brought destruction and estrangement to this place, however in 1844 renewal of monastic life began. In 1881 celebrations due to coronation of the Virgin Maria’s image were conducted there. During this coronation pope Leo XII proclaimed her protectress of Catalonia. Civil war in
Spain (1936-1939) led to rejection of the monastery. Despite this fact government of Catalonia managed to save Montserrat from destruction. From 1940s abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat is viewed as a symbol of Catalan nationalism.
Nowadays Montserrat community consists of one hundred monks. Functioning of the community is regulated according to the Rule of Saint Benedict (6th cent.).
Also monastery is famous due to its “Escolania” – one of the oldest in Europe boys’ choir which sings during religious ceremonies and communal prayer in basilica. According to the documents, religious and music school in Montserrat existed in the 14th century. All members of the choir get the high level of music and intellectual education. The choir has a great reputation and authority performing all over the world. A lot of famous musicians, composers and instructors studied in this school.
On the mountain there is a museum with works of art by famous painters and sculptors, including works of El Greco, Dali, Picasso and others.