The Book of Chronicles (Prologue and the First Tribulation) - 376 

April 14, 1310, was favorable to the Spirituals. Angelo took up residence with Cardinal Giacomo Colonna who employed his talents during the Council of Vienne (1311-2). He stayed with Colonna until the Cardinal's death in 1318, cultivating friends among the papal staff during that time in hope of reacquiring papal protection for the Poor Hermits, now called "Clareni." Whether due to another Spiritual Franciscan, Pietro Rainalducci who, from 1328 to 1330, was an anti-pope living in Rome, or to the influence of the General Minister, Michael of Cesena (1316-28), Clement's successor, John XXII (1316-34), refused to grant Angelo's request. Disgruntled, Angelo left Avignon and sought refuge among the Benedictine Celestines at Subiaco. They reluctantly provided a haven from which he began to pour out his writings on Franciscan life, among them The Book of Chronicles or of the Tribulations of the Order of Lesser Ones which he wrote between 1321-2.5 On June 15, 1337, Angelo Clareno died at Santa Maria d'Aspro in Basilicata, Italy, where he had fled in 1334 to avoid the threat of inquisitorial proceedings initiated by John XXII.

The Book of Chronicles or of the Tribulations of the Order of Lesser Ones

Like Peter of John Olivi and Ubertino da Casale, Angelo describes the history of the Order in apocalyptic terms.6 The same vocabulary of the status of history frequently appears, but, in addition to these, Angelo describes seven periods that unfold after the appearance of Francis, each with its own unique tribulation.7

After a lengthy prologue that places Francis's Rule in a rich biblical setting, Angelo divided the Book of Chronicles into seven sections, each describing a tribulation of the Order. The first of these begins with Francis's absence (in 1220-1) and describes the rejection of Francis's Rule by those brothers who did not think it possible to observe it. Although this first "tribulation" echoes many allusions to the earlier portraits of Thomas of Celano and Bonaventure and, at times, incorporates material from the Assisi Compilation, Angelo adds significantly to these. He does so by inserting biblical references and allusions that cleverly corroborate his retelling of these incidents. The second tribulation begins after Francis's death in 1226 and describes the generalate of Elias (1232-9) in terms of seduction, tyranny, and persecution. Victims of Elias's abuse of power are clearly Caesar of Speyer, Bernard of Quintavalle, Simone "of the Countess," and the relics of Saint Anthony of Padua.

The generalate of Crescentius of Iesi (1244-1247) is the occasion for the third tribulation in which Angelo sees ambition for and achievement of learning and honors stifling the humility and poverty cherished by Francis. Only the subsequent generalate of John of Parma (1247-1257) offered an antidote, but even that was quickly and effectively abandoned during the fourth tribulation, the generalate of Bonaventure (1257-1274). Angelo reserves his bitterest attack for Bonaventure, interpreting his persecution and imprisonment of John of Parma as evidence of the enduring ruin brought upon the Order by the theologian of Paris. He offers four reasons for Bonaventure's treatment of




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 376