Ecclesiastical writer, founder of Bartholomites; b. Langna, Bavaria, Aug. 24, 1613; d. Bingen, May 20, 1658. He was one of 11 children of an impoverished family. In 1639, after working his way through school, he was ordained at Ingolstadt. The next year, while exercising his priestly duties, he attended the university and earned a licentiate in theology and a doctorate in philosophy. He served as pastor in Tittmonig, Leukenthat, and Bingen on the Rhine.
At the university, the general laxity in morals and weakening of the faith caused by the thirty years' war disturbed him, and he envisioned a congregation for diocesan priests whose objective would be the sanctification of its members in their missionary apostolate. Other than a promise of obedience to a superior no vows would be taken. Those members leading exemplary lives were to teach in seminaries or live by twos and threes as zealous leaders in parishes. He was unable to make a foundation in Eichstadt, but established one at Tittmonig, Bavaria, in the Archdiocese of Salzburg, under the title Institutum Clericorum saecularium in communi viventium, often referred to as the "United Brothers" or "Bartholomites." The latter term is not to be confused with the Armenian monks of the same title who sought refuge in Italy in the 13th century. In 1658 the request for papal approbation was denied; however, at the request of Emperor Leopold, the approval was given in 1680, twelve years after Holzhauser's death. The institute flourished in many countries, having at one time more than 1,500 members; many seminaries were entrusted to its members. However, the institute had many enemies who helped bring about its extinction in the late 18th century. The congregation was restored in France in the 19th century.
One of Holzhauser's important writings is Constitutiones et exercitia spiritualia clericorum saecularium in communi viventium, a constitution used in many seminaries in the 17th and 18th centuries, and as a handbook for education of the laity. His Interpretatio Apocalypsis usque ad cap XV, has as its central feature the familiar theme of the Middle Ages, that of joachim of fiore, the seven ages of the Church. De diversis orandi modis et de modo meditandi, De humilitate, and Epistola fundamentalis are among his writings aimed to help clerical and laic spiritual development. A petition for Holzhauser's canonization was begun in Rome.
Bibliography: m. heimbucher, Die Orden und Kongregationen der katholischen Kirche, 2 v. (3d ed. Paderborn 1932–34) 2:595–598. h. hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae, 5 v. in 6 (3d ed. Innsbruck 1903–13) 3:1039. m. j. hufnagel, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 2:7; 5:458.