Other Chronicles and References - 594 

in their way of life, namely, that they cut off their shoes above the foot and went about walking as if barefooted. Besides, while they wore mantles like religious, they had their hair cut just like the lay people. But what was most shameful about them was that men and women would walk together on the road and often stay in the same house, even—so it was reported of them—sleeping together in the same bed! Nevertheless, they claimed that all these practices came down from the apostles.

In place of these the Lord Pope approved certain others then on the rise who called themselves “Poor Minors.” These rejected the above-mentioned superstitious and scandalous practices, but traveled about both in winter and in summer absolutely barefoot; they accepted neither money nor anything else besides food, and occasionally a needed garment that someone might spontaneously offer them, for they would not ask anything from anyone. However, later on these men realized that their name could possibly lead to self-glorification under the cover of great humility and that, as many bear the title “poor” to no purpose,a they could boast in vain before God; therefore, obedient to the Apostolic See in all things, they preferred to be called Lesser Brothers instead of Poor Minors.

Caesar of Heisterbach (c.1225-35)

To complete these German references to the early Lesser Brothers, we should include the following incident mentioned in the Life of Saint Engelbert, Archbishop of Cologne from 1217 to 1225. This legenda was written by Caesar (c.1180-c.1240), a monk of the Cistercian abbey of Heisterbach, of which he was elected prior in 1227. A noted preacher and prolific writer, he left some 36 works, including a life of Elizabeth of Hungary.b Caesar dedicated this life of Engelbert to his successor, Archbishop Henry of Cologne (+ 1238).c This incident reveals the “wait and see” attitude of even sympathetic ecclesiastics towards the new order.

When the brothers of the new Order of Preachers and the brothers who are called Minors first arrived at Cologne,d some of the clergy,

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Testimonia minora, Testimonia minora, p. 1718, Acta Sanctorum 3, p. 650


Ast domnus papa quaedam superstitiosa in conversatione ipsorum eisdem obiecit, videlicet quod calceos desuper pedem praecidebant et quasi nudis pedibus ambulabant; praeterea cum portarent quasdam cappas quasi religionis, capillos capitis non attondebant nisi sicut laici: hoc quoque probrosum videbatur in eis quod viri et mulieres simul ambulabant in via et plerumque simul manebant in domo una, et de eis diceretur, quod quandoque simul in lectis accubabant; quae tarnen omnia ipsi asserebant ab apostolis descendisse.

Ceterum domnus papa in loco illorum exurgentes quosdam alios, qui se appellabant Pauperes Minores, confirmavit, qui praedicta superstitiosa et reprobrosa respuebant, sed praecise nudis pedibus tam aestate quam hieme ambulabant et neque pecuniam nec quidquam aliud praeter victum accipiebant, et si quando vestem necessariam quisquam ipsis sponte conferebat; non enim quidquam petebant ab aliquo. Hi tamen postea attendentes, quod nonnnmquam nimiae humilitatis nomen gloriationem importet et de nomine paupertatis, cum multi eam frustra sustineant, apud Deum vanius inde gloriantur, maluerunt appellari Minores Fratres quam Minores Pauperes, apostolicae Sedi in omnibus obedientes.

Caesar of Heisterbach (c. 1225–35)19

Et cum venissent Coloniam fratres de novo ordine Predicatorum necnon et fratres qui dicuntur Minores, et graves eis essent quidam ex clero eisque coram archiepiscopo Engelberto diversa obicerent illos accusando,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 594