What Religious Order Would You Belong To If You Lived In The Medieval Times?


Common Group
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On May 11, 2015

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You would belong to the ordern of the Knights Templar

You would belong to the ordern of the Knights Templar

The Knights Templars were the earliest founders of the military orders and are the type on which the others are modeled. In 1119, the French knight, Hugues de Payens, approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem and proposed creating a monastic order for the protection of those pilgrims in the Holy Land.

The order owed its rapid growth in popularity to the fact that it combined the two great passions of the Middle Ages, religious fervour and martial prowess. Having renounced all the pleasures of life, they faced death with a proud indifference; they were the first to attack, the last to retreat, always docile to the voice of their leader, the discipline of the monk being added to the discipline of the soldier. As an army they were never very numerous. A contemporary tells us that there were 400 knights in Jerusalem at the zenith of their prosperity; he does not give the number of sergeants, who were more numerous. But it was a picked body of men who, by their noble example, inspirited the remainder of the Christian forces.

Templars were often the advance shock troops in key battles of the Crusades, as the heavily armoured knights on their warhorses would set out to charge at the enemy, ahead of the main army bodies, in an attempt to break opposition lines. One of their most famous victories was in 1177 during the Battle of Montgisard, where some 500 Templar knights helped several thousand infantry to defeat Saladin’s army of more than 26,000 soldiers.

You belong to them because of your strength and great desire of conquest. You are willing to risk your own life for others and for your Faith.

You would belong to the Benedictines

You would belong to the Benedictines

Saint Benedict is considered the founder of Western monasticism (rule founded ca. 525 A.D.).1 The Benedictine monks were one of the first monks to live in community (cenobite). Prior to this time, monks typically lived as hermits, or eremites (known as Desert Fathers). Traditionally, Benedictines are cloistered; living within an enclosure with very little to no interaction with the world. Being a coenobitic order, their “world” is the monks around them, which they interact with frequently (community meals, community prayer, community work, etc.). 

The Benedictine “motto” is ora et labora; Prayer and Work. It is thus that outside of the Divine Office, a monks time it usually taken up with some sort of work, not allowing time for idle hands. Traditionally, one is not likely to find Benedictines reciting the Rosary in common, Divine Mercy Chaplet, or other such devotions. Their day is mostly occupied by the recitation of the complete Divine Office (all seven offices, and complete psalms), though many Benedictine communities today vary greatly from this custom. Benedictines are also noted for their excellence in Gregorian Chant and the liturgical action. 

You would belong to them because you are a very spiritual person whose principal objective is to live in God’s presence through the liturgy and to offer your humble, daily labor to God for his glory.

You would belong to the Franciscans

You would belong to the Franciscans

The Franciscans were founded in the 13th century by Saint Francis, who, in a vision, was charged by God to rebuild My Church, which as you see is falling into ruin. Franciscans are typically characterized by their lives of simplicity, penance, poverty, and love for the poor. In a testament written by Saint Francis, the very first sentence contains the following; “The Lord granted me, Br. Francis, to begin to do penance in this way”. It is thus fitting that the Franciscan order be regarded as the Order of Penitents. 

Being a mendicant order, the Franciscans live solely off of the generosity of others, entrusting all to the hands of God. Like the Benedictines, the Franciscans also underwent a number of reforms throughout history, but were consolidated in 1897 into three main bodies; Friars Minor, the Conventuals, and the Capuchins. Some Franciscan communities may be more contemplative in nature, similar to that of monastics

You would belong to them because you are simple, unattached person that is that is more than willing to serve others.

You would belong to the Dominicans

You would belong to the Dominicans

The Dominican Order (or “Order of Preachers”) was founded by Saint Dominic in the early 13th century, who saw the need for greater education and engagement of society. As the name implies, the charism of the Dominicans is primarily preaching and teaching “to combat heresy and propagate religious truth”. Saint Dominic possessed a great love for Our Lady, and is considered the founder of the Holy Rosary. He was also renown for his theological disputations against heretics, particularly the Albigensians, to which he won many to the faith. In fact, his preaching was so effective, that the enemies of the Church soon resorted to insults and threats, seeing that they were unable to refute his arguments. 

Saint Dominic teaches us the power that words can have on people, especially when they are supported by prayer and sacrifice. Although he practiced many austere penances to the bewilderment of his followers, he also loved heretics deeply and sought to understand their positions in order to effectively combat them. 

The Dominican order is also responsible for producing arguably the greatest theologian in history, Saint Thomas Aquinas, whose thought the Church as adopted virtually wholesale into its theology, even more than Augustine (for example, during the council of Trent, the Summa Theologica was placed next to the Bible on the altar in honor of its importance). While most Dominicans are active, few communities may also live a strictly cloistered life.

You would belong to them because you are an intellectual person that not only loves learning and studying, but, above all, transmiting the Truth to others.

You would belong to the Carthusians

You would belong to the Carthusians

The Carthusians were founded in the 11th century. They started independently by Saint Bruno, who was renown for his austere aestheticism. The Carthusians are a paradox of sorts, in that they are a “community of hermits”. Not only are they isolated from the world, but they are also isolated from one another. They do not eat meals in community, like most other religious orders, nor do they ordinarily perform manual labor together. Most of their time is spent in solitary, within their cell, in which they eat, work, sleep, and pray (it is for this reason that many Carthusian cells are quite spacious, sometimes even with multiple floors). While they only leave their cell for community prayer, this should not give the impression that Carthusians have much free time, as their day is strictly regimented. It is said that the principle form of penance in a Carthusian monastery is not the cord, nor fasting, nor other corporal mortifications, but rather the bell. The Carthusian, it is said, lives by the clock and ultimately dies by the clock. 

The Carthusians tend to be the strictest order in terms of their isolation from the world, which has also allowed them to remain relatively unchanged throughout the centuries (as a result, they tend not to adopt new devotions, such as the Divine Mercy Chaplet). For this reason, many young men just beginning their discernment tend to be attracted to them for their austerity, though roughly 9 out of 10 leave within the first year. There may also be some variance within the order from charterhouse to charterhouse, specifically in the degree of poverty and austerity. Even though the Carthusians are the most radical in terms of external austerity, the environment can only go so far in and is only one component in a larger picture. As is mentioned above, one should not be scandalized to observe some monks to be just as worldly as seculars. Israel was taken from Egypt in one day. But it would require more than 40 years before Egypt was taken from Israel.

You would belong to them becuase you are deeply spiritual person, someone dedicated to prayer and silence. You also have a great spirit of sacrifice and live austerely.

You would belong to the Cistercians

You would belong to the Cistercians

The Cistercians, (today known as the “Order of Cistercians of the Common Observance” ), branched out from the Benedictines in the 11th century as a reform. The original emphasis of Cistercian life was on manual labour and self-sufficiency, and many abbeys have traditionally supported themselves through activities such as agriculture and brewing ales. Over the centuries, however, education and academic pursuits came to dominate the life of their monasteries.

When founded, they believed that the Benedictine order had undergone too many developments over the years, and thus sought a more literal application of the Benedictine rule.

The most striking feature in the reform was the return to manual labour, especially field-work, a special characteristic of Cistercian life. Cistercian architecture is considered one of the most beautiful styles of medieval architecture. Additionally, in relation to fields such as agriculture, hydraulic engineering and metallurgy, the Cistercians became the main force of technological diffusion in medieval Europe.

Today, however, one might not find much difference between a Benedictine and Cistercian monastery (however, this depends on the individual community). Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a Cistercian monk responsible for the proliferation of the order throughout Europe, founded nearly 200 monasteries in his lifetime.

You would belong to this order because you are hav a great ascetic spirit. You are disciplined, strong and harbor great desires of changing the world.

You would belong Mercedarian Friars

You would belong Mercedarian Friars

The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy or Mercedarians was one of many dozens of associations that sprang up in Europe during the 12th and 13th centuries as institutions of charitable works. The work of the Mercedarians was in ransoming impoverished captive Christians (slaves) held in Muslim hands, especially along the frontier that the Crown of Aragon shared with al-Andalus (Muslim Spain).

From the year 1192 certain noblemen of Barcelona had formed a confraternity for the purpose of caring for the sick in hospitals, and also for rescuing Christian captives from the Moors. Tradition has it that around 1218, Nolasco and King James I of Aragon, experienced separately a vision of the Virgin Mary, who asked them to found a religious order dedicated to rescuing the many Christian captives held by the Moslems

In August 10, 1218, the new religious order for the Redemption of Captives was officially and solemnly constituted at the main altar erected over Saint Eulalia’s tomb in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross (also known as the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia) in Barcelona. Bishop Berenguer de Palou gave Nolasco and his companions the white religious habit that they would wear as characteristic of the Order; he put them under the Rule of Saint Augustine as a norm for their life in common and he gave his authorization for the sign of his cathedral, the Holy Cross, to be on the habit of the Order.

You would belong to them because of your great spirit of sacrifice and your willingness to offer up your love for the weakest or most in need.

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