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Mendicant orders

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Cluny Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery in Saône-et-Loire, France. It was at one time the center of Western monasticism.

Mendicant orders are, primarily, certain Roman Catholic religious orders that have adopted for their male members a lifestyle of poverty, traveling, and living in urban areas for purposes of preaching, evangelization, and ministry, especially to the poor. At their foundation these orders rejected the previously established monastic model, which prescribed living in one stable, isolated community where members worked at a trade and owned property in common, including land, buildings and other wealth. By contrast, the mendicants avoided owning property at all, did not work at a trade, and embraced a poor, often itinerant lifestyle. They depended for their survival on the goodwill of the people to whom they preached. The members of these orders are not called monks but friars.

The term "mendicant" is also used with reference to some non-Christian religions to denote holy persons committed to an ascetic lifestyle, which may include members of religious orders and individual holy persons.

Main mendicant orders[edit]

The Second Council of Lyon (1274) recognised four main mendicant orders, created in the first half of the 13th century:

Other mendicant orders[edit]

The other mendicant orders recognized by the Holy See today are the

Like the monastic orders, many of the mendicant orders, especially the larger ones, underwent splits and reform efforts, forming offshoots, permanent or otherwise, some of which are mentioned in the lists given above.

Former mendicant orders[edit]

Mendicant orders that formerly existed but are now extinct, and orders which for a time were classed as mendicant orders but now no longer are.

Extinct mendicant orders[edit]

  • Ambrosians or Fratres sancti Ambrosii ad Nemus, existed before 1378, suppressed by Pope Innocent X in 1650.
  • Fraticelli of Monte Malbe, founded at Monte Malbe near Perugia in Italy in the 14th century, by the end of the century they had dispersed.
  • Hospitallers of San Hipólito (Saint Hippolytus) or Brothers of Charity of de San Hipólito were founded in Mexico and approved by Rome as a mendicant order in 1700. In the 18th century they were absorbed by the Brothers Hospitaller of Saint John of God.
  • Jesuati, or Clerici apostolici Sancti Hieronymim, Apostolic Clerics of Saint Jerome, founded in 1360, suppressed by Pope Clement IX in 1668.
  • Saccati or "Friars of the Sack" (Fratres Saccati), known also variously as Brothers of Penitence and perhaps identical with the Boni homines, Bonshommes or Bones-homes, whose history is obscure.[6]
  • Crutched Friars or Fratres Cruciferi (cross-bearing friars) or Crossed Friars, Crouched Friars or Croziers, named after the staff they carried which was surmounted by a crucifix, existed by 1100, suppressed by Pope Alexander VII in 1656.
  • Scalzetti, founded in the 18th century, suppressed by Pope Pius XI in 1935.[6]

Orders no longer mendicant[edit]

Orders considered heretical by the Catholic Church[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Carmelite Order". www.newadvent.org. Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  2. ^ "Rule of Saint Francis". www.newadvent.org. Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  3. ^ "History Of The Order". The Dominican Friars in Britain. English Province of the order. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  4. ^ "The Augustinian Order". The Augustinians. Augustinian Province of St. Thomas of Villanova. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  5. ^ Griffin, Patrick. Order of Servites. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 19 Aug. 2013
  6. ^ a b c Giancarlo Rocca (dir.), Dizionario degli Istituti di Perfezione, Edizioni Paoline, Roma, vol. V, 1978, col. 1185.

External links[edit]