Dominican Hagiography and Sermons - 785 

was adopted as the official biography of the saint.a The following selection from Constantine's Legenda does not mention St. Francis, but it is given here to illustrate how both Dominicans and Franciscans were beginning to circulate similar miraculous stories about the origins of their Orders about the same time.b

Constantine himself was eventually chosen as Bishop of Orvieto in 1250. In 1256, he was sent by Alexander IV on an embassy to the Byzantine Emperor Theodore II; he died in Constantinople not long afterwards.c

He [Dominic] went to Innocent, the Supreme Pontiff, and asked him to confirm for himself and his followers, an Order which would be called and which would in fact be an Order of Preachers. But the Pope at first seemed to show himself to be a little unyielding to a petition of this kind. Nevertheless, he eventually agreed to it, but not without a divine command. For it was surely as a result of the following revelation that the Vicar of Jesus Christ came to know just how necessary for the universal church, over which he presided, would be this Order which Dominic, the divinely inspired man of God, desired. For it has been made known by many trustworthy people that one night,d this same Supreme Pontiff, through divine revelation, saw in a dream the Church of the Lateran suddenly threatening to collapse, as though its very structure was buckling. As he looked at this sight, trembling and lamenting, Dominic, the man of God, suddenly appeared before him and with his shoulders propped up the whole building which was about to tumble down. As he marveled over this most unusual vision, the Pope prudently recognized its meaning, and without any delay commended the man of God's proposal and joyfully accepted his petition. The Pope counseled him to return to his brothers and, after deliberating with them, to choose by unanimous consent some approved Rule, which could serve as a basis on which to build up this new undertaking. They then could return to him at their leisure and take back with them his confirmation of their Order.

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Fontes Franciscani, p.


Summum Pontificem Innocentium adiit atque ordinem, qui Praedicatorum diceretur et esset, confirmari sibi suisque sequentibus postulavit. At ille postulationi huiusmodi visas est aliquantulum primitus se difficilem exhibere, quod tamen non sine nutu divino factum est, ut nimirum ex revelatione sequenti Vicarius Iesu Christi cognosceret, quam necessarìum esset universali, cui praesidebat, Ecclesiae id, ad quod vir Dei Dominicus inspiratus divinitus aspirabat. Sicut enim a plerisque fide dignis compertum est, quadam nocte idem summus Pontifex, Deo sibi revalante, videbat in somnis, quod Lateranensis ecclesia, quasi suis compagibus resolutis, gravem subito minaretur ruinam; quod dum tremens simul ac moerens aspiceret, ex adverso vir Dei Dominicus occurrebat humerisque suppositis totam illam casuram fabricam sustentabat. Cuius quidem visionis novitatem admirans et significationem prudenter intelligens, sine ullo dilationis obstaculo viri Dei et commendavit propositum et petitionem hilariter acceptavit, hortans eum; ut ad Fratres suos rediens et diligenter deliberans cum eisdem pari voto regulam sibi aliquam approbatam eligerent, super quam inchoandi ordinis promotionem formarent, et sic deinde ad ipsum veniens confirmationem ad libitum reportaret.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 785