Among the worship buildings in Cava de’ Tirreni, the Abbey of the Holy Trinity stands out, found in 1011 by a Benedictine hermit friar.

In the Middle Ages, the Benedictine Abbey of the Holy Trinity in Cava de’ Tirreni was one of the most alive religious and cultural centers of Southern Italy. Found by a Longobardic noble, Saint Alferius Pappacarbone, who had a vision of the Holy Trinity in the shape of three bright rays coming from the Rock, retired in those places to live praying and meditating, he will assist in short times to the rise of a numerous community of friars.

The archive of the Abbey is very important. In its very elegant rooms of the end of the 18th century there are precious parchment and paper manuscripts, more than fifteen thousand parchments, of whom the oldest dates back to 792 A.D., and a considerable number of paper documents. This has called the attention of numerous scholars coming from everywhere. There is a complete printed catalogue of the codes (parchment manuscripts), still available; soon there will be the catalogue of the paper manuscripts too.

Among the famous codes, we remember the Visigothic Bible of the IX century, the Codex Legum Longobardorum (Code of Longobardic laws) of the XI century, the Etymologiae by Isidore of the VIII century and the De Temporibus by the Venerable Bede of the XI century, on whose margins the friars annotated the most important happenings of the abbey and the contemporary world.

These marginal notes represent the Annales Cavenses published several times. About the parchments, the private documents are organized in chronological order and placed in the diplomatic room in coffers, anyone containing 120 parchments. Instead, the public documents (papal or episcopal bulls, diplomas of emperors, kings and feudal lords), are in the main (magna) coffer with a number of more than seven hundred, chronologically organized too.

The consultation is easy for the scholars from a Regestum Pergamenarum, a folio manuscript of eight volumes completed by some friars, last century. There is the summary of all the parchments with the indication of the coffer that stores them. The documents already published in the Codex Diplomaticus Cavensis belong to the years 792-1080 and are exactly 1669.

The Library of the Abbey owns more than 40,000 volumes with numerous incunabula and important cinquecentine.

The volumes are classified and placed in three rooms. The most represented sciences are Patristics, Theology, Law and, above all, History. A catalogue of the authors simplifies its consultation.

Library of the Abbey of Cava de' Tirreni

The historian Paul Guillame, in the second half of 1800, writes: (…) According to a constant tradition and the testimony of the historian Rodolfo, the walls erected during the day were found destroyed at the dawn of the following day. Therefore, the man of God thought that the Heaven did not approve the place he had chosen and given that in front of mount Sant’Elia, at the bottom of the rock of the cave that he had decided to abandon, he saw several times and in the night a shining light divided into three rays, considered this apparition as a sign of the divine will and decided to build the monastery around the already existing cells, despite the evident difficulties that this project presented. 

Alferius started substituting the little oratory of the cave with a more suitable church. The works started in 1012 at the expenses of the same Alferius and continued, without interruption, for many years. The solemn blessing of the church took place in 1019. On that occasion, the entire monastery was put under the protection of the Holy Trinity, which once was pleased to indicate its place and so, since then, it was named: monastery of the Holy Trinity of the Cava…’

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