Other Chronicles and References - 592 

one of the existing rules with their proven customs.a For him renewal of the church could only lie in the restoration of tried and true observances.
This entry is under the year 1224; the chronicle itself ends in 1225. Its report corroborates that of Jordan of Giano (ChrJG 36), who recalled that the Franciscans had arrived in Magdeburg in 1223.b

Two orders having a new way of religious life began to settle in the province, especially in the city of Magdeburg. One of them was called the Holy Preachers; the other, the Lesser Brothers. It is reported that they were founded about twenty years before this time and were confirmed by Pope Innocent. The first of these is made up only of clerics; the second receives both clerics and laymen, and it is said that it was begun by a merchant.

But why are such novelties introduced, if not as a kind of reproach against the neglected and indolent manner of religious life of those [of us] living in orders on which the Church was first founded? In fact, the most blessed Augustine and Benedict lived as they taught, and it is known to what great heights of sanctity they climbed by living their way of religious life. Certainly if anyone had the will to follow their precepts obediently, it would seem that he would need no new institutions.c For if these new institutions are seeking after holiness, then that holiness at which those two most holy fathers arrived by living according to their rules should be enough. It is not easy to believe that anyone from the Order of Holy Preachers or from the Order of Lesser Brothers will become holier than Augustine or Benedict!

Now far be it from me, when I say these things, to disparage anyone’s zealous endeavors. But I am saying that one must deplore, yes vigorously deplore, the fact that the ancient orders have been led into such disrepute by the disordered way of life of those who profess them, that they are no longer believed to suffice for salvation by those wishing to renounce the world. For if they were still considered sufficient, new ones would never be sought.

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Testimonia minora, Testimonia minora, p. 18-19


Chronicle of Lauterberg (c. 1224)17

Duo novae conversationis ordines in provincia et praecipue in ipsa civitate Magdeburgensi haberi coeperunt, unus eorum, qui sanctos Praedicatores se nominant, alter eorum, qui Minores Fratres appellantur; de quibus ferunt, quod ante hoc tempus viginti annis instituti et ab Innocentio papa fuerint confirmati. Et prior quidem clericorum tantum est; sequens vero et clericos et laicos recipit, quem dicunt ab institore quodam principium accepisse.

Quid autem est huiusmodi novitatum introductio nisi quaedam exprobratio neglectae et otiosae conversationis eorum, qui in ordinibus constituti sunt, in quibus Ecclesia primitus est fundata.? Denique beatissimi Augustinus et Benedictus, qui ita docuerunt ut vixerunt, ad quantum sanctitatis culmen ex sua conversatione pervenerint, notum est, quorum praeceptis si quis obedientiam servare voluerit, nullis novis institutionibus videbitur indigere. Nam si eisdem novis institutionibus sanctitas quaeritur, illa posset sufficere, ad quam praedicti patres sanctissimi secundum suas vivendo regulas pervenerunt. Non enim facile credi potest, quod quisquam vel ex ordine sanctorum Praedicatorum vel Minorum Fratrum Augustino vel Benedicto sanctior sit futurus.

Absit autem, ut quorumlibet bonis studiis derogando haec dixerim, sed quia dolendum et valde dolendum est, quod primitivi ordines ex eorum, qui eosdem professi sunt, inordinata conversatione ad tantum deducti sunt contemptum, ut saeculo renuntiare volentibus ad salutem sufficere non credantur. Si enim posse sufficere putarentur, numquam novi alii quaererentur.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 592