Italian monastic congregation. joachim da fiore, the great Calabrian "prophet" and mystic was the abbot of the Cistercian Corazzo, but in pursuit of a stricter life he founded, in 1189, S. Giovanni in Fiore, a new abbey in a remote wilderness of Calabria. In his concept monks, detached from worldly cares and dedicated to contemplation in severe penances, were to herald the third and final phase of salvation, the kingdom of the Holy Spirit. The legal framework of the new organization was similar to that of the Cistercians, but the discipline and spirituality anticipated those of the Franciscans. In 1196 Celestine III approved the new congregation, which spread quickly throughout Italy, numbering in the middle of the 13th century about 40 houses. By the end of the 15th century, however, most houses had become depopulated and impoverished. In 1505 the Abbey of Fiore returned to the fold of the Cistercians and other communities were eventually absorbed by the Carthusians or Dominicans. In the 17th century the abbeys that had rejoined Cîteaux became members of the Cistercian Congregation of Calabria, ending the independent life of Florians.
Bibliography: f. russo, Gioacchino da Fiore e le fondazioni florensi in Calabria (Naples 1959). g. penco, Storia del monachesimo in Italia (Rome 1961).
[l. j. lekai]