FLORENTIUS RADEWYNS, r8'dt-wins: One of the founders of the Brethren of the Common Life (q.v.); b. at Leerdam (13 m. a. of Utrecht), Holland, in 1350; d. at Deventer March 24, 1400. The son of educated, wealthy parents, he studied at the University of Prague from 1375 to 1378, when he received the degree of licentiate. On his return to Leerdam he heard Geert Groote (q.v.) preach, and the two became friends about 1380. He then exchanged his canonry at Utrecht for a vicarage at Deventer that he might be able to accompany Groote in his travels, and was ordained priest. A band of earnest thinkers gathered around the pair, and Florentius's vicarage became their home. After Groote's death in 1384, Florentius became the head of this community. In 1391 the brethren moved into their own house and their number increased, although the plague of 1398 deprived them of many members. They accordingly moved to Amersfoort, only to return after a year. The community controlled by Florentius was, as Thomas b, Kempis says in his Vita, a mirror of holiness and an ornament of morals, a refuge of the poor, a convent of the clergy, a school of life for the worldly, and a helper of poor scholars. The directions of Florentius became authoritative for all later foundations. After his conversion he was a harmonious picture of modern piety, which, rooted in humility, did not withdraw from the world, but by self-denial sought to win all men for the higher life. At 3 A.m. he began to prepare the work of the brethren and during the day the needy sought his help. No work of charity was too great or too small for him. He bathed the sick himself, and whoever met him once never forgot the deep impression of his personality. He encouraged severe self-examination, and gave prudent advice: " First think, and then act, but do not atop; never work mechanically; never seek thyself." The literary activity of Florentius was scanty, and he restricted himself to matters concerning humility and the fear of God. His principal works are as follows: a letter written at the request of Henricus de Balueren, included' by Jan Busch (q.v.) in his Chronicon Windeshemense, and appended in complete form to the life of Florentius by Thomas i; Kempis; Tradatulus devotus de exstirpatione vitiorum et passionum et acquisitions verarum virtutum et maxims caritatis Dei et proximi et verm unionis cum Deo et proximo, aeu traetatulus de apirilualibus exercitiis (ed. H. Nolte, Freiburg, 1862); Puncta quodam seaundum quee actus suns volebat moderari, quo: quis tegens poterit diqualiter cognoscere interiors ipsius, appended to the life by Thomas h Kempis, and commonly called bona puncta. Tklia latter work reflects the ideal of a man of benevolence and contains the conclusa et proposita prepared by Groote, but collected and enlarged by Florentius. It agrees, for the most part, with the Tractatulus. and is extant in many manuscripts and recensions of his pupils, but the most original form is given by J. B. Malon, in his Recherches historiques et critiques sur le veritable auteur du Livre de pimitation de Jesus-Christ (3d ed., Paris, 1858). Meditation upon the principles of Florentius inspired the writings of his pupils, Thomas i! Kempis, Theodore of Herzen, and Zerbold of Zutphen. A work of this character, reflecting the spirit of Florentius, was discovered by J. M. W├╝stenhoff in a Berlin manuscript and reprinted by him under the title Parvum et simplex ezercitium ex consualudine humilis patria domini Florentii et aliorum denotontm (Archief tbor nederlandaoAe Kerkgeschiedenis. The Hague, 1894, 80 sqq.).

L. Schulze.

Bibliography: : Chief sources for a life are the Vita by Thomas h Kempis in the latter's Opera, ad. Sommaliue, Antwerp, 1600, Eng. transl. in The FoaHdsrs cif the New Devotion, pp. 81-164, London, 1905; R,. Dier, Seriptura,

. G. Grote . . . et multis alas fratribua, in G. Dumbar, Arwlecta, 3 vols., Deventer, 1719-22. and Dumbar's Hot kerkelyke en werentlyke Deventer. 2 vols., ib. 1732-38. Consult: K. Grubs. Gerhard Groot und seine Stiftungen, pp. 66 sqq., Cologne, 1883; BL, ix. 728-729; ADB, vii. 130; and literature under Common Life, Brethren of The.


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