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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.
|Ordo Fratrum Minorum (Latin)|
|Abbreviation||Post-nominal letters OFM|
|Predecessor||Order of Observant Friars Minor|
|Merged into||On 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|
|Formation||February 24, 1209; 814 years ago (1209-02-24)|
|Founder||Saint Francis of Assisi|
|Founded at||Assisi, Italy|
|Type||Mendicant Order Institute of Consecrated Life - Men|
|Legal status||Religious institute|
Via di S. Maria Mediatrice, 2500165 Roma, Italia
|12,726 (8,771 priests)|
|Fr. Massimo Fusarelli, OFM|
Pax et bonum
Peace and the good
|Preaching, missionary, educational, parochial, charitable works|
|Subsidiaries||Secular Franciscan Order (1221)|
Third Order of Saint Francis (1447)
|Secessions||Order of Friars Minor Conventual (1209)|
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (1520)
|Order of Observant Friars Minor|
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.
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 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.