Order of Friars Minor

Mendicant Catholic religious order formed in 1209 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Order of Friars Minor (also called the Franciscans, the Franciscan Order, or the Seraphic Order;[5] 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.

Quick facts: Abbreviation, Predecessor, Merged into, ...
Order of Friars Minor
Ordo Fratrum Minorum (Latin)[1]
AbbreviationPost-nominal letters OFM
PredecessorOrder of Observant Friars Minor
Merged intoOn October 4, 1897, the Order of Discalced Friars Minor, Order of Observant Friars Minor, Order of Friars Minor Recollect and the Order of Reformed Friars Minor were merged into a single religious order named the Order of Friars Minor
FormationFebruary 24, 1209; 814 years ago (1209-02-24)
FounderSaint Francis of Assisi
Founded atAssisi, Italy
TypeMendicant Order Institute of Consecrated Life - Men[2]
Legal statusReligious institute
HeadquartersGeneral Curia
Via di S. Maria Mediatrice, 2500165 Roma, Italia[3]
Membership (2020)
12,726 (8,771 priests)[4]
Fr. Massimo Fusarelli, OFM
Pax et bonum
Peace and the good
Preaching, missionary, educational, parochial, charitable works
Parent organization
Catholic Church
SubsidiariesSecular Franciscan Order (1221)
Third Order of Saint Francis (1447)
SecessionsOrder of Friars Minor Conventual (1209)
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (1520)
Formerly called
Order of Observant Friars Minor
Francis of Assisi, founder of the Order of Friars Minor; oldest known portrait in existence of the saint, dating back to St. Francis' retreat to Subiaco (1223–1224)

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 the 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.[6][7]

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.[8] 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 rather to Cistercians.