Online Encyclopedia

PREMONSTRATENSIANS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 279 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PREMONSTRATENSIANS  , also called Norbertines, and in

England White Canons, from the colour of the habit: an orderof Augustinian Canons founded in 1120 by St Norbert, after-wards archbishop of
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Magdeburg . He had made various efforts to introduce a strict form of canonical
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life in various communities of canons in Germany; in 1120 he was working in the diocese of
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Laon, and there in a
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desert place, called Premontre, in
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Aisne, he and thirteen companions established a monastery to be the cradle of a new order . They were canons
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regular and followed the so-called
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Rule of St Augustine (see
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AUGUSTINIANS), but with supplementary statutes that made the life one of
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great austerity . St Norbert was a friend of St Bernard of Clairvaux—and he was largely influenced by the Cistercian ideals as to both the manner of life and the government of his order . But as the Premonstratensians were not monks but canons regular, their
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work was preaching and the exercise of the pastoral office, and they served a large number of parishes incorporated in their monasteries . The order was founded in 1120; in 1126, when it received papal approbation, there were nine houses; and others were established in
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quick succession throtthout western
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Europe, so that at the
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middle of the 14th century there are said to have been over 1300 monasteries of men and 400 of
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women . The Premonstratensians played a predominant
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part in the conversion of the
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Wends and the Christianizing and civilizing of the territories about the Elbe and the Oder . In time mitigations and relaxations crept in, and these gave rise to reforms and semi-
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independent congregations within the order . The Premonstratensians came into England (c . 1143) first at Newhouse in Lincoln, and before the dissolution under Henry VIII. there were 35 houses . At the beginning of the 19th century the order had been almost exterminated, only eight houses surviving, all in the
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Austrian dominions . There are now some 20 monasteries and
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I000 canons, who serve numerous parishes; and there are two or three small houses in England .

The strength of the order now lies in

Belgium, where at Tongerloo is a great Premonstratensian abbey that still maintains a semblance of its
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medieval state . Helyot, Histoire
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des ordres relsgieux (1714), ii. chs . 23—26; Max Heimbucher, Orden u . Kongregationen (1907), ii . § 56; articles in Wetzer u . Welte Kirchenlexicon (2nd ed.) and Herzog Realencyklopadie (3rd ed.) . The best
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special study is F . Winter, Die Pramonstratenser des 12 . Jahrh. and ihre Bedeutung fur das nordostliche Deutschland (1865) . (E . C .

End of Article: PREMONSTRATENSIANS
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