Dominican Order

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The Order of Preachers (Latin: Ordo Praedicatorum), after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III (1216–27) on 22 December 1216 in France. Membership in the Order includes friars[1], nuns, congregations of active sisters, and lay persons affiliated with the order (formerly known as tertiaries, now Lay or Secular Dominicans).

A number of other names have been used to refer to both the order and its members.

  • In England and other countries the Dominicans are referred to as Black Friars because of the black cappa or cloak they wear over their white habits.[2] Dominicans were Blackfriars, as opposed to Whitefriars (for example, the Carmelites) or Greyfriars (for example, Franciscans). They are also distinct from the Augustinian Friars (the Austin friars) who wear a similar habit.
  • In France, the Dominicans are known as Jacobins, because their first convent in Paris was built near the church of Saint Jacques,[3] and Jacques is Jacobus in Latin.
  • Their identification as Dominicans gave rise to the pun that they were the Domini canes, or Hounds of the Lord.[4]

Members of the order generally carry the letters O.P. standing for Ordinis Praedicatorum, meaning of the Order of Preachers, after their names.

Founded to preach the Gospel and to combat heresy, the order is famed for its intellectual tradition, having produced many leading theologians and philosophers. The Dominican Order is headed by the Master of the Order, who is currently Father Bruno Cadoré.[5]

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