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Mendicant order

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The Mendicant (or Begging) Orders are religious orders which depend directly on the charity of the people for their livelihood. In principle they do not own property, either individually or collectively, and have taken a vow of poverty, in order that all their time and energy could be expended on preaching the Gospel and serving the poor.

In the Middle Ages, the original mendicant orders of friars in the Church were the

The Second Council of Lyons of 1274 recognized these, bar the Servites, as the four "great" mendicant orders, and suppressed certain others. The Council of Trent loosened the property restrictions on the mendicant orders. Afterwards, except for the Franciscans and their offshoot the Capuchins, members of the orders were permitted to own property collectively as do monks.

The term "mendicant" may also be used to refer to other non-Catholic and non-Christian ascetics, such as Buddhist monks and Hindu holy men.

Last updated: 02-26-2005 13:00:46