|Abbey Church of St Benedict, Ealing|
The Abbey Church - front
|OS grid reference||TQ1742781453|
|Heritage designation||Grade II|
|Designated||19 January 1981|
|Archbishop||Most. Rev. Vincent Nichols|
|Abbot||Dom Martin Shipperlee|
The monastery at Ealing was founded in 1897 from Downside Abbey, originally as a parish in the Archdiocese of Westminster. It was canonically erected as a dependent priory in 1916 and raised again to the rank of independent conventual priory in 1947. Finally, in 1955 it was elevated to the status of an abbey by Pope Pius XII.
The monks of Ealing accept clerical and lay men as guests in the monastery, on the understanding that guests will attend morning mass and evening vespers with the monks. Residential and non residential guests are welcome at the sung liturgy of the hours in the Abbey Church and the monks have a house for guests and retreatants.
A major work of the Abbey in the past has been teaching and administration in St Benedict's School, founded as Ealing Priory School in 1902 by Dom Sebastian Cave. This is an independent day school for boys and, since 2007, girls at both the junior and senior levels. There is also a small co-educational nursery. Since 1987 the Abbey has engaged a lay headmaster for the school having previously provided the headmaster from foundation. In 2012 the trust of St Benedict, Ealing created a new new charitable trust, St Benedict's School, and passed school administration to a new board of governors. As a result members of the monastic community are more free to choose different apostolates. The Abbey also has close links with the nearby girls' school St Augustine's Priory, a former convent school.
Benedictine Study and Arts Centre
The monks of Ealing also run the Benedictine Study and Arts Centre, which was originally suggested in 1986 by Abbot Francis Rossiter and opened in 1992 by Abbot Laurence Soper. The present Abbot, Martin Shipperlee, has continued his support since his election in 2000. The Centre, which is endorsed and supported by the Archdiocese of Westminster, has developed and provides a Liberal Arts programme of adult education and a programme of Sacred Liturgy, with some officially validated courses. The studies pursued now focus upon Sacred Liturgy and the Liberal Arts, including theology (go to directory of institutions) and both modern and classical languages, of which the Latin summer school has become a regular feature of the annual programme.
The Centre's library contains three main collections for undergraduate liberal studies and graduate study in theology and liturgy. Its current contents are based on a collection assembled in Oxford, London and Rome from 1978 to 1992, subsequently supplemented by purchase and gift, in particular by recent donations from several members of the Alcuin Club.
The Centre is based at "Overton House", an elegant red-brick, neo-gothic property built by John M. Bartholomew, son of the founder of John Bartholomew and Son, the map-maker; the name of "J.M. Bartholomew" features in some carved stones in the walls of the garden. The property was purchased by Downside Abbey in 1930 and sold to Ealing Abbey upon its independence in 1955.
In 2002 the Centre's principal, Dom James Leachman, was appointed professor of Liturgy at the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy at Sant Anselmo in Rome, from where, as a tenured professor, he still directs its work. The UK arm of the project, Appreciating the Liturgy (based on the encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia), founded and directed by Dom James Leachman and Dom Daniel McCarthy, a monk of St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison, Kansas, has been housed since 2009 in the former "Scriptorum" at the Centre, originally established by Dom Bernard Orchard OSB in 2003.
The Centre publishes the periodical Benedictine Culture twice each year.
Monks of Ealing
Ealing Abbey has been the home for parts of the careers of various notable monks. Between 1933-1939 Dom David Knowles, the monastic historian and later Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge resided there and conducted the research for his magnum opus The Monastic Order in England. Cuthbert Butler also lived at Ealing following his retirement as Abbot of Downside from 1922 until his death in 1934. Dom John Main OSB, a proponent of Christian meditation, whose methods are now fostered by the World Community for Christian Meditation, was a monk of the Ealing community in the period 1959-1970 and 1974-1977.
In April 2006 civil damages were awarded jointly against Dom David Pearce, a former head of the junior school at St Benedicts, and Ealing Abbey in the High Court in relation to an alleged assault by Dom Pearce on a pupil while teaching at St Benedict's School in the 1990s, although criminal charges were dropped. He was subsequently charged in November 2008 with 24 counts of indecent assault, sexual touching and gross indecency with six boys aged under 16. The counts related to incidents before and after 2003, when the law was changed to create an offence of sexual touching.  After admitting his guilt at Isleworth Crown Court to offences going back to 1972 Pearce was jailed for eight years in October 2009. The conduct of the Ealing monastic community, as trustee of the St. Benedict's Trust, was examined by the Charity Commission, which found that it had failed to take adequate measures to protect beneficiaries of the charity from Dom Pearce.
In March 2011 Dom Laurence Soper, the Abbot during the 1990s, was arrested on child abuse charges relating to the period when he was a teacher at, and the bursar of, St Benedict's School; it was reported in October 2011 that he had failed to answer bail and was being sought by the police.
Priors and Abbots
The following monks have served as Prior and, since elevation to the status of Abbey on 26 May 1955, Abbot:
|1916 to 1925||Prior||Dom Wulstan Pearson||Consecrated as the first Bishop of Lancaster, 25 February 1925|
|1925 to 1935||Prior||Dom Benedict Kuypers|
|1935 to 1938||Prior||Dom Edward Green||Headmaster of Ealing Priory School 1917-1919|
|1938||Prior||Dom Mark Pontifex|
|1938 to 1945||Prior||Dom Stanislaus Chatterton|
|1945 to 1946||Prior||Dom Ambrose Agius||Member of Ealing Community at independence from Downside, December 1947|
|1946 to 1955||Prior||Dom Charles Pontifex||Member of Ealing Community at independence from Downside, December 1947; appointed as the first Abbot|
|1955 to 1956||Abbot||Dom Charles Pontifex||Resigned following a car crash; died 1976|
|1956 to 1967||Abbot||Dom Rupert Hall||Headmaster of Ealing Priory School 1939-1945; member of Ealing Community at independence from Downside, December 1947; died 1974|
|1967 to 1991||Abbot||Dom Francis Rossiter|
|1991 to 2000||Abbot||Dom Laurence Soper||Arrested in 2011 on child abuse charges |
|2000 to present||Abbot||Dom Martin Shipperlee|
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- Kollar 1989, p. 53
- Kollar 1989, p. 126
- "Ealing Abbey Music". ealingmonks.org.uk. 21 May 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- "The Sixteen's 2013 Choral Pilrimage - The Queen of Heaven". bbc.co.uk. 22 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- London University International Programme
- Benedictine Study and Arts Centre - Latin Summer School
- Benedictine Culture (ISSN 1751-4673) 2010
- Pontifical Institute of Liturgy website
- "Appreciating the Liturgy". Retrieved 17 July 2010.
- referenced in two books * Born to be King - The Epic of the Incarnation (A theological application of the Matthean Priority Hypothesis), Ealing Abbey Scriptorium, London (1993); * The Origin and Evolution of the Gospels, Ealing Abbey Scriptorium, London 1993
- Benedictine Periodicals and Serials
- "Dom Bernard Orchard (obituary)". The Telegraph. 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- Encyclopedia of Monasticism by William M. Johnson, p.713
- Kollar 1989, p. 146
- Silent Teaching - The Life of Dom John Main, by Paul T. Harris, Spirituality Today, Winter 1988, Vol.40 No. 4, pp. 320-332
- Alleged Assault Ealing Times 13 April 2006
- Priest charged with paedophilia Ealing Gazette 9 December 2008
- Ealing priest charged Ealing Times 9 December 2008
- 'Devil in a dog collar' priest faces jail for sex abuse London Evening Standard - 12 August 2009
- Jailed child pervert priest ruined my life Ealing Gazette, 9 October 2009
- Charity Commission Report on St. Benedict's Trust, 15 December 2009
- Constituency Matters: Protect children but don't abandon civil liberties Ealing Gazette 21 December 2009
- Father Laurence Soper of Ealing wanted over sex abuse BBC News 14 October 2011
- Kollar 1989, pp. 191–192