Hermits of St. Paul

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Also known as Pauline Fathers (Ordo Fratrum Sancti Pauli Primi Eremitae; OSPPE; Official Catholic Directory #1010), a religious order of priests and brothers. It originated in 1250 with the union of a monastery in Patach, Hungary that had been founded in 1215 by Bishop Bartholomew of Pécs with another in Pisilia, Hungary established by Blessed Eusebius of Esztergom (d. 1270). The order received papal approval in 1308 and adopted a strict observance of the rule of St. Augustine (see augustine, rule of st.). It spread widely in Hungary, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Prussia, Lithuania, and also in Poland, where the famous sanctuary of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa was founded in 1382. In the 16th and 17th centuries the Reformation and the Turkish invasions caused a serious decline, but a notable revival occurred at the end of the 17th century, when the order expanded to six provinces in Poland, Hungary, Austria, Istria, Swabia, and Croatia. In 1420 Mendo Gomez introduced the Hermits into Portugal, where the membership was always small. Guillaume Callier established the order in France and drew up statutes that received Paul V's approval in 1620. The French group, popularly known as the Brothers of Death, decorated their scapular with a skull and oriented their asceticism toward a constant concern with death. The order was contemplative until the 16th century, when the Holy See assigned to it charitable, educational, and parochial works. Many members became bishops, scholars, and writers. Cardinal Georg Utjesenovich (d. 1551) was famous as a defender of Hungarian independence. Augustin Kordecki is remembered for his defense of Poland and of the shrine at Czestochowa in 1655. Martin Borkowics has been called in Croatia the father of his country. Emperor Joseph II suppressed the houses in his Hapsburg states in 1786. The Portuguese and French houses did not survive the French Revolutionary period. The congregation first arrived in the United States in 1953. The United States provincialate is in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The generalate is in Czestochowa, Poland.

[v. gellhaus/eds.]