Ordo Fratrum Minorum
Coat of arms of the General Minister of the Order of Friars Minor
|Motto||Pax et bonum|
("Peace and the good")
|Formation||February 24, 1209|
|Founder||Francis of Assisi|
|Type||Mendicant Catholic religious order|
|Legal status||Religious institute|
|Michael A. Perry|
|Subsidiaries|| Secular Franciscan Order (1221)|
Third Order of Saint Francis (1447)
|Secessions|| Order of Friars Minor Conventual (1517)|
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (1520)
|Affiliations||Order of Saint Clare (1212)|
The Order of Friars Minor (also called the Franciscans, the Franciscan Order, or the Seraphic Order;postnominal abbreviation OFM) is a mendicant Catholic religious order, founded in 1209 by Francis of Assisi. The order adheres 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. The Order of Friars Minor is the largest of the contemporary First Orders within the Franciscan movement.
Francis began preaching around 1207 and traveled to Rome to seek approval of his order from Pope Innocent III in 1209. The original Rule of Saint Francis approved by the pope disallowed ownership of property, requiring members of the order to beg for food while preaching. The austerity was meant to emulate the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Franciscans traveled and preached in the streets, while boarding in church properties. The extreme poverty required of members was relaxed in final revision of the Rule in 1223. The degree of observance required of members remained a major source of conflict within the order, resulting in numerous secessions.
The Order of Friars Minor, previously known as the Observant branch (postnominal abbreviation OFM Obs.), is one of the three Franciscan First Orders within the Catholic Church, the others being the Capuchins (postnominal abbreviation OFM Cap.) and Conventuals (postnominal abbreviation OFM Conv.) The Order of Friars Minor, in its current form, is the result of an amalgamation of several smaller Franciscan orders (e.g. Alcantarines, Recollects, Reformanti etc.), completed in 1897 by Pope Leo XIII.The latter two, the Capuchin and Conventual, remain distinct religious institutes within the Catholic Church, observing the Rule of Saint Francis with different emphases. Franciscans are sometimes referred to as minorites or greyfriars because of their habit. In Poland and Lithuania they are known as Bernardines, after Bernardino of Siena, although the term elsewhere refers to Cistercians instead.
The "Order of Friars Minor" are commonly called simply the "Franciscans". This Order is a mendicant religious order of men that traces its origin to Francis of Assisi.Their official Latin name is the Ordo Fratrum Minorum.
The modern organization of the Friars Minor comprises three separate family or groups, each considered a religious order in its own right under its own minister General and with particular type of governance. They all live according to a body of regulations known as the Rule of St Francis.These are
The 2013 Annuario Pontificio gave the following figures for the membership of the principal male Franciscan orders:
A sermon which Francis heard in 1209 on Mt 10:9 made such an impression on him that he decided to fully devote himself to a life of apostolic poverty. Clad in a rough garment, barefoot, and, after the Evangelical precept, without staff or scrip, he began to preach repentance.
The mendicant orders had long been exempt from the jurisdiction of the bishop, and enjoyed (as distinguished from the secular clergy) unrestricted freedom to preach and hear confessions in the churches connected with their monasteries. This had led to endless friction and open quarrels between the two divisions of the clergy. This question was definitively settled by the Council of Trent.
Amid numerous dissensions in the 14th century sprang a number of separate congregations, almost of sects. To say nothing of the heretical parties of the Beghards and Fraticelli, some of which developed within the order on both hermit and cenobitic principles.
A difference of opinion developed in the community concerning the interpretation of the rule regarding property. The Observants held to a strict interpretation that the friars may not hold any property neither individually nor communally. The literal and unconditional observance of this was rendered impracticable by the great expansion of the order, its pursuit of learning, and the accumulated property of the large cloisters in the towns. Regulations were drafted by which all alms donated were held by custodians appointed by the Holy See, who would make distributions upon request. It was John XXII who had introduced Conventualism in the sense of community of goods, income and property as in other religious orders, in contradiction to Observantism or the strict observance of the rule. Pope Martin V, in the Brief "Ad statum" of 23 August, 1430, allowed the Conventuals to hold property like all other orders.
Projects for a union between the two main branches of the order were put forth not only by the Council of Constance but by several popes, without any positive result. By direction of Pope Martin V, John of Capistrano drew up statutes which were to serve as a basis for reunion, and they were actually accepted by a general chapter at Assisi in 1430; but the majority of the Conventual houses refused to agree to them, and they remained without effect. Equally unsuccessful were the attempts of the Franciscan Pope Sixtus IV, who bestowed a vast number of privileges on both the original mendicant orders, but by this very fact lost the favor of the Observants and failed in his plans for reunion. Julius II succeeded in doing away with some of the smaller branches, but left the division of the two great parties untouched. This division was finally legalized by Leo X, after a general chapter held in Rome in 1517, in connection with the reform-movement of the Fifth Lateran Council, had once more declared the impossibility of reunion. Leo X summoned On 11 July, 1516, a capitulum generalissimum to meet at Rome on the feast of Pentecost (31 May), 1517. This chapter first suppressed all the reformed congregations and annexed them to the Observants; declared the Observants an independent order, and separated them completely from the Conventuals.The less strict principles of the Conventuals, permitting the possession of real estate and the enjoyment of fixed revenues, were recognized as tolerable, while the Observants, in contrast to this usus moderatus, were held strictly to their own usus arctus or pauper.
All of the groups that followed the Franciscan Rule literally were united to the Observants and the right to elect the Minister General of the Order, together with the seal of the order, was given to this united grouping. This grouping, since it adhered more closely to the rule of the founder, was allowed to claim a certain superiority over the Conventuals. The Observant general (elected now for six years, not for life) inherited the title of "Minister-General of the Whole Order of St. Francis" and was granted the right to confirm the choice of a head for the Conventuals, who was known as "Master-General of the Friars Minor Conventual"—although this privilege never became practically operative.
In 1875, the Kulturkampf expelled the majority of the German Franciscans, most of whom settled in North America.
The habit has been gradually changed in colour and certain other details. Its colour, which was at first grey or a medium brown, is now a dark brown. The dress, which consists of a loose sleeved gown, is confined by a white cord, from which is hung, since the fifteenth century, the Seraphic rosary with its seven decades. Sandals are substituted for shoes. Around the neck and over the shoulders hangs the cowl.
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.
Saint Bonaventure, born Giovanni di Fidanza, was an Italian medieval Franciscan, scholastic theologian and philosopher. The seventh Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, he was also Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He was canonised on 14 April 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor of the Church in the year 1588 by Pope Sixtus V. He is known as the "Seraphic Doctor". Many writings believed in the Middle Ages to be his are now collected under the name Pseudo-Bonaventure.
Thomas of Celano was an Italian friar of the Franciscans as well as a poet and the author of three hagiographies about Saint Francis of Assisi.
The Fraticelli or Spiritual Franciscans were extreme proponents of the rule of Saint Francis of Assisi, especially with regard to poverty, and regarded the wealth of the Church as scandalous, and that of individual churchmen as invalidating their status. They thus claimed that everyone else in the Church were damned and deprived of powers and were declared heretical in 1296 by Boniface VIII.
Angelo da Clareno, also known as Angelo Clareno, was the founder and leader of one of the groups of Fraticelli in the early 14th century.
Saint Joseph of Cupertino, O.F.M. Conv. was an Italian Conventual Franciscan friar who is honored as a Christian mystic and saint. He was said to have been remarkably unclever, but prone to miraculous levitation and intense ecstatic visions that left him gaping.
Giles of Assisi, was one of the original companions of Francis of Assisi and holds a leading place among them. St. Francis called him "The Knight of our Round Table".
The Order of Friars Minor Conventual, commonly known as the Conventual Franciscans, or Minorites, is a Catholic branch of the Franciscans, founded by Francis of Assisi in 1209.
Brother Leo was the favorite disciple, secretary and confessor of St Francis of Assisi. The dates of his birth and of his becoming a Franciscan are not known; a native of Assisi, he was one of the small group of most trusted companions of the saint during his last years.
Berard of Carbio, O.F.M., was a thirteenth-century Franciscan friar who was executed in Morocco for attempting to promote Christianity. Expelled from the kingdom twice, they returned each time and continued to preach against Islam. In anger and frustration, the king finally beheaded them. He and his companions, Peter, Otho, Accursius, and Adjutus, are venerated as saints and considered the Franciscan Protomartyrs.
Albert Berdini, O.F.M., was a Franciscan friar and noted preacher, born in 1385 in the town of Sarteano, which lies in the Province of Siena in the Tuscan region of Italy. He was an associate of Bernardine of Siena, and a diplomatic envoy of Pope Eugene IV to the Coptic and Ethiopian Churches.
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.
The Little Flowers of St. Francis is a florilegium, divided into 53 short chapters, on the life of Saint Francis of Assisi that was composed at the end of the 14th century. The anonymous Italian text, almost certainly by a Tuscan author, is a version of the Latin Actus beati Francisci et sociorum eius, of which the earliest extant manuscript is one of 1390 AD. Luke Wadding ascribes the text to Father Ugolino da Santa Maria, whose name occurs three times in the Actus. Most scholars are now agreed that the author was Ugolino Brunforte.
Elias of Cortona was born, it is said, at Bevilia near Assisi, ca. 1180; he died at Cortona, 22 April 1253. He was among the first to join St. Francis of Assisi in his newly founded Order of Friars Minor. In 1221, Francis appointed Elias Vicar General.
Giovanni Parenti, O.F.M. was an Italian Friar Minor and successor of St. Francis of Assisi as head of the Order. Parenti had a legal background. He served as Minister Provincial in Spain before being chosen Minister General in 1227. Parenti held a literal interpretation of poverty as it applied to the Order; a view that was not shared by everyone. He stepped down in 1232 and was succeeded by Elias of Cortona.
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.
Matteo Serafini was the co-founder and first Superior-General of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins, the principal branch of the Franciscans issued from the Reform of the Observance.
Custos means a religious superior or an official in the Franciscan Order. The precise meaning has differed over time, and among the Friars Minor, Conventuals, and Capuchins.
John Forest was an English Franciscan Friar and martyr. Confessor to Queen Catherine of Aragon, Forest was burned to death at Smithfield for heresy, in that he refused to acknowledge the King as head of the church.
Caesar of Speyer was an early Franciscan who was a companion of Saint Francis of Assisi, and the first Provincial Minister of the Franciscans in Germany. After the death of Francis, he was a leader of the zelanti faction, opposed to what they considered a relaxation of the Rule as promulgated by the founder.
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