A hermit monk from California is coming to Wales to help people heed the call to contemplation and his visit is being backed by the Bishop of Monmouth.
Father Cyprian Consiglio OSB Cam will be performing at St Mary’s Priory Abergavenny on Wednesday October 19th around the theme of “Spirit, Soul and Body: The Universal Call to Contemplation.”
Cyprian Consiglio is a Catholic priest and Benedictine monk of the Carmaldolese Congregation in Big Sur, California. Most of his music and teaching is inspired by the life and work of Dom Bede Griffiths, an English monk who spent the second half of his life in India helping to establish a Hindu-Christian ashram.
Father Cyprian is a gifted teacher and singer/songwriter who has built an integral practice to help us go deeper into a lived spirituality, aimed at the whole person. When he’s not travelling the world, Cyprian spends time either with his Brothers at the New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, or at a hermitage in the mountains of Santa Cruz.
Cyprian – who is also a qualified yoga teacher – says he’s passionate about helping people realise there is room in Christianity for some of the practices which appeal to them from other traditions, like yoga and meditation. He says it is a joy to be able to find a common language to talk with people of other faiths, and to help Christians discover the beauty in other traditions. Cyprian calls it “bridge work,” and says it goes both ways: “Christians can benefit from the truth and beauty in other religions, and from seeing Christianity through the eyes of others, or through new eyes. It’s like looking at your home from someone else’s window.”
His message and music is finding a growing audience. Cyprian has written a book called “Prayer in the Cave of the Heart” and has released a number of CDs. He says we are all called to a contemplative experience of God, and that calling is found in all religions.
Cyprian says: “So many people have left Christianity and found something they seek in another tradition, and they can’t find their way back. They are who I feel called to serve. I also want to help promote the joy and necessity of talking with and truly understanding people from other faith backgrounds, as a vital step to building peace and under-standing in the world.”
The Bishop of Monmouth, Right Reverend Dominic Walker OGS says, ‘One of the spiritual renewal movements in the church today is often described as ‘the new monasticism’ where all kinds of people discover that they can draw on the deep riches of the ancient monastic tradition and apply it to their busy lives today. At its heart is the desire to become fully human though entering into a deeper relation-ship with the divine. Father Cyprian is a hermit monk who has a gift of communicat-ing the power of prayer and silence to people today who are hungry for God. His visit to Wales is an opportunity not to be missed.’
Father Cyprian’s current work began in the early nineties when he met English-born Benedictine monk Bede Griffiths. Father Bede, who died in 1993, spent many years at an ashram in India and became a significant contributor to the development of Indian Christian theology. The ashram, Shantivanam, in Tamil Nadu, became a center of contemplative life and inter-religious dialogue. Cyprian is now a member of the trust that oversees Bede Griffiths’ legacy, and he makes regular visits to Shantivanam to help with the work there.
The evening concert at St Mary’s Priory Centre will include a talk, sacred songs, chanting from different traditions and shared silence. The concert will follow the monthly monastic day – one day a month dedicated to the Monastic Rule of St Benedict, and an attempt to focus community life on worship, celebration, meditation and work. This includes the recitation and singing of the daily offices, the celebration of the Eucharist, time to eat together, a time of holy study, Lectio Divina, and an afternoon dedicated to physical work. It is a chance to connect with the Benedictine roots of the Priory and experience the fullness of talking part in a praying and working community. People can join the monastic day at any point in the day or just come for Cyprian’s concert in the evening.
An Evening with Cyprian Consiglio, OSB Cam – St Mary’s Priory 7.30pm – 9.30pm Wednesday 19th October 2011
Tickets (£10 / £7) are available on the door or by contacting Brigid Bowen on 02920 191659 or email firstname.lastname@example.org