At the heart of Norcia is the Monastery of St Benedict, built around the fifth century secular basilica where Ss Benedict and Scholastica were born in 480. At the heart of the community is the daily round of eight offices and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
St Gregory’s teaching and apostolate flowed forth from the life of the Monastery of St Andrew on the Caelian Hill and the ideal for which he and his brethren strove is epitomised in the life of St Benedict, which occupies the entire second book of St Gregory’s Dialogues. Central to the programme of the Dialogos Institute will be the study of the Psalter, the Rule of St Benedict and the works St Benedict recommended therein: St John Cassian’s Institutes, the Rule of St Basil and the Sayings of the Desert Fathers.
The authoritative texts in disputation are not the products of modern academia but those handed down by the ages and by the tradition of the church. It is not the professor who teaches but the Scriptures, the Magisterium, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the wisdom of Greek and Roman antiquity. Gregory stands at the intersection of Antiquity and the Medium Aevum, between the world of the Fathers and the birth of Scholasticism. He is our guide as we follow the command of the Apostle, "test everything, hold fast to that which is good".
Instead of lectures founded upon the conviction that authority lies in the current academic consensus, the Institute is founded upon the Socratic disputation. It is not the professor who teaches but rather the wisdom of Greek and Roman antiquity redeemed and perfected by the Deposit of Faith. Consulted in their original languages, the language of the sources in disputation will be English, the universal tongue of the present age whose sacred history begins with St Gregory’s monastic evangelisation.
For a thousand years the bulk of the Christian East has been sundered from the faithful in communion with the Roman Pontiff. St Gregory, codifier of the Roman liturgy and by tradition contributor to the Byzantine liturgical heritage, served for six years as Papal ambassador at Constantinople. Dedicated to this heritage, the Institute strives to make available to its members the fullness of the liturgical, spiritual and intellectual heritage of the Old and the New Rome. It will also pay special attention to the writings of St Gregory which were (even during his lifetime) most widely disseminated in the Greek speaking East, more widely than those of any other Latin Father.