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Celestine V


Pope Celestine V

 1215 – 19 May 1296

He founded the Order of the Celestines

It is reported that Sauniére received a copy of the above painting of Peter of Morone being crowned Pope Celestine V from the Louvre along with the two paintings by Poussin and Teniers

About the year 1254, Peter of Morone (later took the name Celestine V) gave the Celestine order a rule formulated in accordance with his own practices. In 1264 the new institution was approved as a branch of the Benedictines by Urban IV; however, the next pope Pope Gregory X had commanded that all orders founded since the prior Lateran Council should not be further multiplied. Hearing a rumour that the order was to be suppressed, the reclusive Peter traveled to Lyon, where the Pope was holding a council. There he persuaded Gregory to approve his new order, making it a branch of the Benedictines and following the rule of Saint Benedict, but adding to it additional severities and privations. Gregory took it under the Papal protection, assured to it the possession of all property it might acquire, and endowed it with exemption from the authority of the ordinary. Nothing more was needed to ensure the rapid spread of the new association and Peter the hermit of Morone lived to see himself "Superior-General" to thirty-six monasteries and more than six hundred monks.

The fame of the holy life and the austerities practised by Pietro Morone (Celestine V) in his solitude on the Mountain of Majella, near Sulmona, attracted many visitors, several of whom were moved to remain and share his mode of life. They built a small convent on the spot inhabited by the holy hermit, which became too small for the accommodation of those who came to share their life of privations. Peter of Morone (later Pope Celestine V), their founder, built a number of other small oratories in that neighborhood.

Sulmona was thought to be the birthplace of Ovid.

Poussin carried a copy of Ovid's Metamorphoses on his person at all times.

The Majella Massif has long been one of the most revered mountains in Italy. Its name derives from Maia, the mother of Mercury (or Hermes) and also one of the Pleiades, who in ancient times was widely worshiped in the Adriatic region. In the 13th century many monasteries and hermitages were built and rebuilt on its slopes, due largely to the influence of hermit Peter of Morrone (later Pope Celestine V). Over 40 of these structures survive, some intact, others in ruins; many are still used by nearby residents for religious purposes such as annual pilgrimages.


Maia also raised the infant Arcas, the child of Callisto with Zeus (See Tomb at Les Pontils). Wronged by the love affair, Zeus' wife Hera in a jealous rage had transformed Callisto into a bear. Arcas is the eponym of Arcadia, where Maia was born. The story of Callisto and Arcas, like that of the Pleiades, is an aition for a stellar formation, the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the Great and Little Bear.

 Of course one should also realise that the name Celestine means starlike or pertaining to the heavens. 



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