CELESTINES: A name borne by two monastic societies which owe their origin to Pope Celestine V. (1) The Benedictine Celestines, known also as Moronites and Murrhonites, were originally composed of men who were members of the Benedictine order, but lived as hermits on Monte Majella in the Abruzzi from about 1258, under the guidance of the future pope Celestine, who gave them a severer rule and obtained papal confirmation for the congregation from Urban IV., probably in 1264, though the alleged bull of this year, as well as another of Gregory X. from 1274, is of doubtful genuineness. The early history of the congregation is, in fact, frequently open to critical objection; as, for example, the statement that it already had sixteen houses in 1274, when its founder is said to have gone to the general council at Lyons and attracted great attention as a wonder-worker. After about 1290, the mother house seems to have been at Monte Murrhone near Sulmona. On the founder's elevation to the papacy in 1294, he attempted by rich grants of indulgences and other privileges to give it a commanding position in the Benedictine monastic family; indeed, he aspired to reform the mother house of the whole order at Monte Cassino on the principles of his congregation. But the brevity of his pontificate prevented the execution of his plans. The congregation, however, continued to grow, until in Italy it had at the beginning of the eighteenth century ninety-six houses. Its rule, which in some points, especially as to fasting, surpasses the original Benedictine rule in strictness, was revised by Urban VIII. in 1629. The French province never got beyond twenty-one houses. In Bohemia and Lusatia the congregation had some famous seats, as at Prague, Königstein, and Oybin near Zittau, the last of which was founded by Charles IV. in 1366 and suppressed in the sixteenth century.—(2) The Franciscan Celestines (Poveri eremiti di Celestino), called also Fraticelli, were a congregation within the Franciscan order, founded in 1294, on an impulse given by Celestine V., by two of the "spiritual" sections of the order, Pietro da Macerato (Liberato) and Pietro da Fossombrone (Angelo Claremo, d. 1357). It existed down to about 1340 in nearly all its original strength as a congregation of the Minorites. See FRANClS, SAINT, OF ASSISI, AND THE FRANCISCAN ORDER.
For (1) Helyot, Ordres monastiques, v. 51
sqq., vi. 180-191; Heimbucher, Orden und Kongregationen,
i. 134-136 (gives the later literature); Currier, Religious
Orders, p. 147; KL, iii. 582-584. For (2) Felice Tocco,
I fraticelli o poveri eremiti di Celestino, in the Bollettino
della società storica Abruzzese, vii. (1895) 117-159.
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