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A friar is a brother and a 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.
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.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.
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.
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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.
The four great orders were mentioned by the Second Council of Lyons (1274):
Some of the lesser orders are:
In the Sovereign Military Order of Malta the term Fra' (an abbreviation for the Latin word "frater" meaning "brother") is used when addressing the professed Knights of Justice who have taken vows.
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.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.
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.
The University of Pennsylvania has a senior honor society known as Friars.
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 for men and women. Historical records about its origin remain very uncertain, but it was probably founded in the 12th century on Mount Carmel in the Crusader States. Berthold of Calabria has traditionally been associated with the founding of the order, but few clear records of early Carmelite history have survived. The order of Carmelite nuns was formalised in 1452.
The Franciscans are a group of related mendicant Christian religious orders, primarily 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. Several smaller Protestant Franciscan orders exist as well, notably in the Anglican and Lutheran traditions.
Augustinians are members of Christian religious orders that follow the Rule of Saint Augustine, written in about 400 AD by Augustine of Hippo. There are two distinct types of Augustinians in Catholic religious orders dating back to the 12th–13th centuries:
The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel belongs to 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.
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 model 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.
A provincial superior is an officer of a religious institute acting under the institute's Superior General. A provincial superior exercises general supervision over all the members of that institute in a territorial division of the order called a province, which is similar to, but not to be confused with, an ecclesiastical province. Instead, the province under a provincial superior is one 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 Trinitarians, formally known as the Order of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Captives, is a mendicant order of the Catholic Church for men founded in Cerfroid, outside Paris, in the late 12th century. From the very outset, a special dedication to the mystery of the Holy Trinity has been a constitutive element of the order's life.
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, Lutheranism and Anglicanism all recognize Third Orders. They were a twelfth-century adaptation of the medieval monastic confraternities.
The Lay Carmelites, formally known as the Third Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, is a third order of the Carmelite Order of the Ancient Observance, established in 1476 by a bull of Pope Sixtus IV. It is an association of lay people who choose to live the Gospel in the spirit of the Carmelite Order and under its guidance.
Canons regular are canons in the Catholic Church who live in community under a rule and are generally organised into religious orders, differing from both secular canons and other forms of religious life, such as clerks regular, designated by a partly similar terminology.
The Order of Discalced Augustinians is a mendicant order that branched off from the Order of Saint Augustine as a reform movement.
A discalced congregation is a religious congregation that goes barefoot or wears sandals. These congregations are often distinguished on this account from other branches of the same order. The custom of going unshod was introduced into the West by St Francis of Assisi for men and by St Clare of Assisi for women.
Enclosed religious orders or cloistered clergy are religious orders whose members strictly separate themselves from the affairs of the external world. In the Catholic Church, enclosure is regulated by the code of canon law, either the Latin code or the Oriental code, and also by the constitutions of the specific order. It is practised with a variety of customs according to the nature and charism of the community in question. This separation may involve physical barriers such as walls and grilles, with entry restricted for other people and certain areas exclusively permitted to the members of the convent. Outsiders may only temporarily enter this area under certain conditions. The intended purpose for such enclosure is to prevent distraction from prayer and the religious life and to keep an atmosphere of silence.
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.
The Order of Saint Augustine, abbreviated OSA, is a religious mendicant order of the Catholic Church. It was founded in 1244 by bringing together several eremetical groups in the Tuscany region who were following the Rule of Saint Augustine, written by Saint Augustine of Hippo in the fifth century.
Franciscan spirituality in Protestantism refers to spirituality in Protestantism inspired by the Catholic friar Saint Francis of Assisi. Emerging since the 19th century, there are several Protestant adherent and groups, sometimes organised as religious orders, which strive to adhere to the teachings and spiritual disciplines of Saint Francis of Assisi.
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.