Simone (Elio) Tonini was born at Valfloriana (Trento) on 21 August 1921, made his first profession as a Sylvestrine Benedictine monk at Fabriano on 21 September 1937, and was ordained a priest at Rome on 16 March 1946. He departed this life peacefully on 9 April 2019 at the age of 97.
He spent his long life serving the Congregation in Italy, then in Sri Lanka (1949-1962), in Australia (1962-1972), in both of which he was Prior, and then – from 1972 to 1989 – as Abbot General in Rome, visiting many times the monasteries of the Congregation throughout the world.
He fulfilled various positions in Vatican Dicasteries and in the Benedictine Confederation. He was a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, of AIM and DIM, and sometimes Vicar of the Abbot Primate. He took great interest in interreligious dialogue and was part of two monastic delegations to India and Japan, as well as a participant at the Asian Monastic Meeting in Bangkok in 1968 and at the first World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi in 1986. It was under his leadership that the Sylvestrine Congregation became a member of the Benedictine Confederation.
The funeral service was held at the Church of the Monastery of St. Sylvester, Montefano, Fabriano, on Thursday, 11 April 2019, followed by burial in the nearby Monastic Cemetery.