Friar

Last updated
A group of friars; novices of the Order of Augustinian Recollects at the Monastery of Monteagudo in 2006 Agustinos Recoletos.jpg
A group of friars; novices of the Order of Augustinian Recollects at the Monastery of Monteagudo in 2006

A friar is a brother member of one of the mendicant orders founded in the twelfth or thirteenth century; the term distinguishes the mendicants' itinerant apostolic character, exercised broadly under the jurisdiction of a superior general, from the older monastic orders' allegiance to a single monastery formalized by their vow of stability. The most significant orders of friars are the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians and Carmelites. [1]

A religious brother is a member of a Christian religious institute or religious order who commits himself to following Christ in consecrated life of the Church, usually by the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. He is a layman, in the sense of not being ordained as a deacon or priest, and usually lives in a religious community and works in a ministry appropriate to his capabilities. A brother might practice any secular occupation. The term "brother" is used as he is expected to be as a brother to others. Brothers are members of a variety of religious communities, which may be contemplative, monastic, or apostolic in character. Some religious institutes are composed only of brothers; others are so-called "mixed" communities that are made up of brothers and clerics.

Mendicant orders Type of religious lifestyle

Mendicant orders are, primarily, certain Christian religious orders that have adopted 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. This foresaw 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.

A Superior General or General Superior is the leader or head of a religious institute in the Roman Catholic Church. The Superior General usually holds supreme executive authority in the religious order, while the general chapter has legislative authority.

Contents

Definition

Friars are different from monks in that they are called to live the evangelical counsels (vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience) in service to society, rather than through cloistered asceticism and devotion. Whereas monks live in a self-sufficient community, friars work among laypeople and are supported by donations or other charitable support. [2] Monks or nuns make their vows and commit to a particular community in a particular place. Friars commit to a community spread across a wider geographical area known as a province, and so they will typically move around, spending time in different houses of the community within their province.

Monk member of a monastic religious order

A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism by monastic living, either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decides to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his or her life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.

Cloister open space surrounded by covered walks or open galleries

A cloister is a covered walk, open gallery, or open arcade running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth. The attachment of a cloister to a cathedral or church, commonly against a warm southern flank, usually indicates that it is part of a monastic foundation, "forming a continuous and solid architectural barrier... that effectively separates the world of the monks from that of the serfs and workmen, whose lives and works went forward outside and around the cloister."

Asceticism lifestyle of frugality and abstinence of various forms, often for spiritual goals

Asceticism is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their practices or continue to be part of their society, but typically adopt a frugal lifestyle, characterised by the renunciation of material possessions and physical pleasures, and time spent fasting while concentrating on the practice of religion or reflection upon spiritual matters.

Etymology

The English term Friar is derived from the Norman French word frere ("brother"), from the Latin frater ("brother"), which was widely used in the Latin New Testament to refer to members of the Christian community. "Fray" is sometimes used in Spain and former Spanish colonies such as the Philippines or the American Southwest as a title, such as in Fray Juan de Torquemada.

Anglo-Norman, also known as Anglo-Norman French, was a dialect of French that was used in England and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in the British Isles during the Anglo-Norman period.

New Testament Second division of the Christian biblical canon

The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first being the Old Testament. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture.

Fray Juan de Torquemada Spanish scholar

Juan de Torquemada was a Franciscan friar, active as missionary in Spanish colonial Mexico and considered the "leading Franciscan chronicler of his generation." Administrator, engineer, architect and ethnographer, he is most famous for his monumental work commonly known as Monarquía indiana, a survey of the history and culture of the indigenous peoples of New Spain together with an account of their conversion to Christianity, first published in Spain in 1615 and republished in 1723. Monarquia Indiana was the "prime text of Mexican history, and was destined to influence all subsequent chronicles until the twentieth century." It was used by later historians, the Franciscan Augustin de Vetancurt and most importantly by eighteenth-century Jesuit Francisco Javier Clavijero. No English translation of this work has ever been published.

Orders

In the Roman Catholic Church, there are two classes of orders known as friars, or mendicant orders: the four "great orders" and the so-called "lesser orders".

Major orders

The four great orders were mentioned by the Second Council of Lyons (1274):

Carmelites Catholic mendicant religious order

The Carmelites, formally known as the Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel or sometimes simply as Carmel by synecdoche, is a Roman Catholic mendicant religious order founded, probably in the 12th century, on Mount Carmel in the Crusader States, hence the name Carmelites. However, historical records about its origin remain very uncertain. Berthold of Calabria has traditionally been associated with the founding of the order, but few clear records of early Carmelite history have survived.

Discalced Carmelites religious order

The Discalced Carmelites, known officially as the Order of the Discalced Carmelites of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel or the Order of Discalced Carmelites, is a Catholic mendicant order with roots in the eremitic tradition of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. The order was established in the 16th century, pursuant to the reform of the Carmelite Order by two Spanish saints, Saint Teresa of Ávila and Saint John of the Cross. Discalced is derived from Latin, meaning "without shoes".

Conventual Franciscans in their variant grey habits Friars.jpg
Conventual Franciscans in their variant grey habits

Lesser orders

Some of the lesser orders are:

Uses by other Christian traditions

Orders of friars (and sisters) exist in other Christian traditions, including the Order of Lutheran Franciscans, the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans and the Order of Lesser Sisters and Brothers. [5] In the Anglican Communion there are also a number of mendicant groups such as the Anglican Friars Preachers, the Society of Saint Francis and the Order of St Francis. [6]

Other usage of the name

Several high schools, as well as Providence College, use friars as their school mascot. The Major League Baseball team San Diego Padres have the Swinging Friar ("padre" is also a Spanish word for the priestly title "father"; in 1769 San Diego was founded by Spanish Franciscan friars under Junípero Serra).

The University of Michigan's oldest a cappella group is a male octet known as The Friars. [7]

The University of Pennsylvania has a senior honor society known as Friars.

In the order of the Knights of Malta, the short form Fra (for Frate) is used when addressing members who have taken vows.

See also

Related Research Articles

Franciscans group of religious orders within the Catholic Church

The Franciscans are a group of related mendicant religious orders within the Catholic Church, founded in 1209 by Saint Francis of Assisi. These orders include the Order of Friars Minor, the Order of Saint Clare, and the Third Order of Saint Francis. They adhere to the teachings and spiritual disciplines of the founder and of his main associates and followers, such as Clare of Assisi, Anthony of Padua, and Elizabeth of Hungary, among many others.

Priory religious house governed by a prior or prioress

A priory is a monastery of men or women under religious vows that is headed by a prior or prioress. Priories may be houses of mendicant friars or nuns, or monasteries of monks or nuns. Houses of canons regular and canonesses regular also use this term, the alternative being "canonry".

Augustinians general term for various religious orders

The term Augustinians, named after Augustine of Hippo (354–430), applies to two distinct types of Catholic religious orders, dating back to the first millennium but formally created in the 13th century, and some Anglican religious orders, created in the 19th century, though technically there is no "Order of St. Augustine" in Anglicanism. Within Anglicanism the Rule of St. Augustine is followed only by women, who form several different communities of Augustinian nuns in the Anglican Communion.

Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the habit of both the Carmelite Order and the Discalced Carmelite Order, both of which have Our Lady of Mount Carmel as their patroness. In its small form, it is widely popular within the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church as a religious article and has probably served as the prototype of all the other devotional scapulars. The liturgical feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16, is popularly associated with the devotion of the Scapular.

Provincial superior

A provincial superior is a major superior of a religious institute acting under the institute's Superior General and exercising a general supervision over all the members of that institute in a territorial division of the order called a province—similar to but not to be confused with an ecclesiastical province made up of particular churches or dioceses under the supervision of a Metropolitan Bishop. The division of a religious institute into provinces is generally along geographical lines, and may consist of one or more countries, or of only a part of a country. There may be, however, one or more houses of one province situated within the physical territory of another since the jurisdiction over the individual religious is personal rather than territorial. The title of the office is often abbreviated to Provincial.

The term "Third Order" signifies, in general, lay members of religious orders, who do not necessarily live in community and yet can claim to wear the habit and participate in the good works of some great order. Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Lutheranism all recognize Third Orders. They were a twelfth century adaptation of the medieval monastic confraternities.

The Order of Discalced Augustinians was a reform movement of Roman Catholic religious orders, which occurred as part of the Counterreformation developing in Catholic Europe, also found sympathy among the friars of the Augustinian Order. As the order to which Martin Luther belonged, there was a special interest among them in the theological debates of the day, as well as a need to return to the roots of their way of life.

Enclosed religious orders Christian religious orders separated from the external world

Enclosed religious orders of the Christian churches have solemn vows with a strict separation from the affairs of the external world. The term cloistered is synonymous with enclosed. In the Catholic Church enclosure is regulated by the code of canon law, either the Latin code or the Oriental code, and also by subsidiary legislation. It is practised with a variety of customs according to the nature and charism of the community in question.

Independent Augustinian communities are Roman Catholic religious communities that follow the Augustinian Rule, but are not under the jurisdiction of the Prior General of the Augustinian hermits in Rome.

Augustinian nuns most ancient and continuous segment of the Roman Catholic Augustinian religious order

Augustinian nuns are the most ancient and continuous segment of the Roman Catholic Augustinian religious order under the canons of contemporary historical method. The Augustinian nuns, named after Saint Augustine of Hippo, are several Roman Catholic enclosed monastic orders of women living according to a guide to religious life known as the Rule of St. Augustine. Prominent Augustinian nuns include Italian composer Vittoria Aleotti, Italian mystic St. Clare of Montefalco, German mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich and St. Rita of Cascia.

The Society of Saint Augustine, also known as the "Augustinians of Kansas" is a Roman Catholic Institute of Consecrated Life which takes as its pattern of living, the way of life delineated in the Rule of Saint Augustine of Hippo. The community was founded on October 16, 1981 in Amarillo, Texas by four Augustinian Recollects. They were later joined later by two Augustinians; As an Augustinian community, The Society of Saint Augustine is composed of priests, religious brothers and lay people. It is rooted in the Augustinian Recollect tradition but differs somewhat from many other Augustinian Communities in that it places great emphasis on the inclusion and involvement of the laity in the life and ministry of the community. Wherever a Community house is established, great emphasis is placed on extending Augustinian spirituality. Lay "Affiliates" take part in Communal activities and regular formation. These "Affiliates" are invited to join the friars in Daily Offices, communal events—and even in the apostolate, where appropriate. In turn, they extend Augustinian spirituality by their lives.

Vocational discernment is the process in which men or women in the Catholic Church discern, or recognize, their vocation in the church. The vocations are the life as layman in the world, either married or single, the ordained life and the consecrated life.

Order of Saint Augustine Catholic order of mendicant friars

The Order of Saint Augustine, generally called Augustinians or Austin Friars, is a Catholic religious order. It was founded in 1244 by bringing together several eremetical orders in the Tuscany region who were following the Rule of St. Augustine, written by St. Augustine of Hippo in the 5th Century.

Christianity in the 13th century Christianity-related events during the 13th century

The Eastern Roman (Byzantine) imperial church headed by Constantinople continued to assert its universal authority. By the 13th century this assertion was becoming increasingly irrelevant as the Eastern Roman Empire shrank and the Ottoman Turks took over most of what was left of the Byzantine Empire. The other Eastern European churches in communion with Constantinople were not part of its empire and were increasingly acting independently, achieving autocephalous status and only nominally acknowledging Constantinople's standing in the Church hierarchy. In Western Europe the Holy Roman Empire fragmented making it less of an empire as well.

Sack Friary, Bristol was a friary in Bristol, England. It was established in 1266 and dissolved in 1286.

When referring to Roman Catholic religious orders, the term Second Order refers to those Orders of cloistered nuns which are a part of the mendicant Orders that developed in the Middle Ages.

References

  1. Stravinskas, Peter M.J., ed. (April 1, 2002). Catholic Dictionary, Revised. Huntington, Ind.: Our Friday Visitor. ISBN   978-0879733902.
  2. Catholic encyclopedia entry for "friar"
  3. The Carmelite Order
  4. "Is a Friar a Priest or a Brother?", Franciscan Friars, Province of Saint Barbara
  5. Order of Lesser Sisters and Brothers
  6. Order of St Francis
  7. "The University of Michigan Friars :: History". University of Michigan Friars. Retrieved 1 October 2010.Cite web requires |website= (help)