Fr Gregory Collins elected Abbot of Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem

On Tuesday 26th July 2011, the Benedictine monks of Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem elected Father Gregory Collins OSB, a monk of Glenstal, to be their sixth Abbot.

Dormition Abbey is located on Mount Zion, just outside the old city walls of Jerusalem. The Abbey is named in memory of the ‘Dormition’ or ‘Falling Asleep’ of Mary, more commonly called the Assumption of Mary. Since ancient times, Christians in Jerusalem have honoured the place where Mary lived and died on Mount Zion and have handed on the tradition that, on the occasion of her death, the Apostles returned from their missionary journeys to the ends of the earth and gathered at Mary’s death bed. The community has twenty monks, and dependent houses at Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee and at Hildesheim in Germany.

The first monks of Dormition Abbey came from the Abbey of Beuron in Germany, and the community is German-speaking to this day. In common with all Benedictine monasteries, the primary focus of the monks is the worship of God through the daily celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours and the Eucharist. The abbey also has an important ministry of hospitality to pilgrims to the Holy Land, and runs a one-year theological course attended primarily by German students. Situated in a Land both holy and war-torn, the community sees reconciliation with God and neighbour as central to their lives.

While Benedictine monasteries nearly always elect one of their own monks as superior, the monks of Dormition have a tradition of calling monks from other abbeys to serve as their Abbot. Abbot Gregory is the first native speaker of English to be chosen. He has been elected for a term of eight years.

Abbot Gregory Collins OSBGregory Collins was born in Belfast in 1960. He studied at Queen’s University Belfast, gaining a doctorate in Byzantine Studies in 1991. He made Solemn Profession at Glenstal Abbey in 1994. Following ordination as priest in 1995, he studied Depth Psychology at the Jung Institute in Zurich. Between 1998 and 2002 Father Gregory was Headmaster of Glenstal Abbey School, after which he spent six years teaching Orthodox Theology and the History of Theology at the Benedictine university of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. Since returning to Glenstal, Father Gregory has had a varied ministry of writing and preaching retreats. Among his publications are The Glenstal Book of Icons (Dublin: Columba Press, 2002) and Meeting Christ in His Mysteries: A Benedictine Vision of the Spiritual Life (Dublin: Columba Press, 2011)

Abbot Gregory will depart for Jerusalem in early August.