Paradiso Canto XXII

Paradiso 22

‘Here is Macarius, here is Romualdus,
here are my brothers whose feet never strayed
beyond their cloisters and whose hearts were firm.’

vv. 49-51

Beatrice reassures Dante.—St. Benedict appears. – He tells of the founding of his Order, and of the falling away of its brethren. Beatrice and Dante ascend to the Starry Heaven. – The constellation of the Twins. – Sight of the Earth.

Beatrice explains to Dante the meaning of the cry of the souls in the Seventh Heaven – the heaven of Saturn –after Peter Damian’s invective. It was a prayer to invoke divine punishment for the corruption of the Church. She then invites Dante to look back on the blessed souls of the Seventh Sphere. One of them, Saint Benedict of Nursia, who founded Western Monasticism in the 6th century, first remembers the famous Abbey of Montecassino he established, and then shows Dante the souls of two monks: Macario and Romualdo.

When the Poet asks Saint Benedict if he can see him in his human form, which is now veiled by the surrounding light, the latter answers that it will only be possible in the Empyrean, where every wish can be granted. Saint Benedict then begins an imperious tirade against his devotees’ corruption, who have given up the custom of obeying to the Benedictine rule. Following the ascent of the blessed souls of Saturn to the Empyrean, through a swirl of light, Beatrice encourages Dante to walk up the ladder on which the contemplating souls had appeared. The two pilgrims then enter the Eighth Heaven, the Sphere of Fixed Stars, specifically, the constellation of Gemini, under which the Poet was born.

Dante begs the stars for protection for the difficult task he has been confronted with, i.e. show the final vision of Heaven, and then, exhorted by Beatrice, he looks downwards and evaluates all the path he has gone so far. He sees seven planets and, far away, slightly larger than a dot, Earth. Eventually, he turns his eyes up towards Beatrice.

Versione inglese realizzata dalla Classe 5aC (a.s. 2020-2021) del Liceo Scientifico “A. Oriani” di Ravenna

San Romualdo

The church of San Romualdo was built for the monks coming from the abbey of Sant’Apollinare in Classe between 1629 and 1637. In the 1930s, it became a Monument to the Fallen Soldiers and, in 2004 it was designated as the seat of the Museum of the Risorgimento. Romualdo was born in Ravenna to the aristocratic Onesti and Traversari Families. He promoted the Camaldolese Congregation, a reformed branch of the Benedictine Order. Well-known for the rigor of his faith and life, he built several monasteries and hermitages, including that of Pereo in the north of Ravenna, near Sant’Alberto, and that of Camaldoli in the Casentinesi mountains.

Traduzione a cura della classe 5aC A.S.20/21 del Liceo Scientifico A. Oriani di Ravenna

San Romualdo

Canto adopted by Se.t.am di Valmorra F. & C.

For further information on Church of San Romualdo

View Dante’s itinerary on the map

Available Resources

Reading of the Canto