Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit
The Pauline Fathers a Hungarian order of the Roman Catholic Church, are more formally known as The Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit (Latin: Ordo Sancti Pauli Primi Eremitae , Czech: Řád paulínů, German: Pauliner, Hungarian: Első Remete Szent Pál Rendje, Polish: Paulini – Zakon Świętego Pawła Pierwszego Pustelnika, Slovak: Rád Svätého Pavla Prvého Pustovníka, Croatian: Red svetog Pavla prvog pustinjaka – pavlini).
This name is derived from the hermit Saint Paul of Thebes (died ca 345), canonized in 491 by Pope Gelasius I. After his death, a monastery taking him as its model was founded on Mount Sinai and still exists today.
Formed in 1250 by Blessed Eusebius of Esztergom (Özséb in Hungarian), of two communities, one founded at Patach in 1215 by Bishop Bartholomew of Pécs, who had united the scattered hermits of his diocese, and the other consisting of his own followers. In 1246 Blessed Eusebius, Canon of the cathedral of Esztergom, resigned his dignities, distributed his goods among the poor and withdrew to the solitude of the Pilis mountains, near Zante (probably related to present day Pilisszántó) to lead a life of penance with a few companions. Four years later he is said to have been admonished in a vision to gather into community the other hermits living in the vicinity, for whom he built a monastery and church the ruins of which are near the village of Pilisszentlélek (today a part of Esztergom). In the same year he proposed and obtained affiliation with the Patach community under the rule prescribed by its founder, and was chosen superior. He received the approbation of Ladislaus, Bishop of Pécs, for the new congregation, but the publication of the decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council at this time necessitated a journey to Rome to secure the further sanction of the Holy See.
In 1263 a new rule was given the congregation by the Bishop of Pécs, which was superseded by still another drawn up by Andrew, Bishop of Eger, after the death of Eusebius (January 20, 1270), and this was followed until 1308, when the permission of the Holy See was obtained to adopt the Rule of St. Augustine. The order was accorded many privileges by succeeding pontiffs, among others that of exemption from episcopal jurisdiction, and provisions were made for the pursuit of higher studies in many of the monasteries, one papal regulation ordaining that no member could be raised to any dignity in the order without the degree of Doctor of Divinity, for which a rigid examination was prescribed.
The order spread rapidly through Hungary, where alone it soon numbered 170 houses, and it attained an equal degree of prosperity in other countries, being divided into five flourishing provinces: Hungary (including Croatia, especially Istria), Germany, Poland, Sweden. In 1381 the body of St. Paul, the patron saint of the order, was transferred from Venice to the Monastery of St. Laurence in Hungary, which thereby gained greatly in prestige. Among the other famous houses of the congregation are the historical Polish monastery of Our Lady of Jasna Góra (Bright Mountain) in Częstochowa, Poland), with its Miraculous Icon of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa (according to legend the work of St. Luke and discovered by St. Helena with the True Cross), and the monasteries at Pozsony (now Bratislava) and Wiener Neustadt near Vienna. The church of San Stefano Rotondo at Rome was attached to the Hungarian College by Gregory XIII.
In 1783 a number of houses in Bohemia, Austria proper, Styria etc. were suppressed, and political disturbances in Hungary brought the same fate to most of the Hungarian monasteries, which had rendered incalculable services to religion and education. The destruction of the annals of these houses left the historical sources very meager. There remained a few houses of the order in Poland.
At the beginning of the 20th century only two Pauline monasteries remained. One of them was the Church of Saint Michael the Archangel and Saint Stanislaus of Szczepanów - Bishop and Martyr connected to a monastery Na Skałce (On the Rock) in Kraków, Poland found by Jan Długosz, and regarded as a national sanctuary. The other was recalled earlier the Monastery of Our Lady of Jasna Góra.
Among the members of the order to attain prominence were George Martinuzzi, bishop of Nagyvárad (Oradea) and cardinal (murdered 16 December 1551), an important figure in the history of Hungary; Matthias Fuhrmann of Hernals (d. 1773), historian of Austria and editor of the Acts of St. Paul of Thebes; Fortunatus Dürich (1802) and Franz Faustin Prochaska (d. 1809), editors of a Czech translation of the Scriptures.
- Life of Saint Paul the First Hermit
- The Pauline Fathers in Australia
- The Pauline Fathers in Hungary
- The Pauline Fathers in Poland
- The Pauline Fathers in USA
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