Third orders are predominantly lay communities who have joined one of the great orders in the Catholic Church . Together with the men and women religious who live in a monastic community, they each form a religious family with a common spirituality, often related to a founder personality. Its members are also called terciars or terciars .
There are different forms of third order communities:
- regulated third orders whose way of life has a monastic character, for example various religious orders of the Franciscan Sisters
- Third orders, whose members live alone or in a family in the world and belong to different classes and professions. They are based on the spirituality of the respective order and make a promise for life after a trial period ( novitiate ). This type of third order members is also called familial in some religious communities .
The oldest third orders have the Franciscans ( Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis ), the Premonstratensians , the Dominicans (brothers and sisters of the penance of St. Dominic, more recently also called Dominican lay communities ) and the Carmelites (Third Order of the Carmel (Carmelites of the ancient Observance) or Third Order of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and the Seraphic Holy Virgin Theresa (Disconsolate), now usually referred to as the Carmelite Community and Teresian Carmel Community for short).
Religious families (selection)
|Religious family||first order||second order||third order|
Poor Clares (OSCl)
Capuchin Sisters of Eternal Adoration (OSClCap)
Franciscan Sisters (regulated)
Franciscan Brothers of the Holy Cross (FFSC, for example)
Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis (OFS)
|Dominican order||Dominicans (OP)||Dominicans (OP)||Dominican lay communities|
|Premonstratensians||Premonstratensian (OPraem)||Premonstratensian choir women||Premonstratensian-Tertiary Sisters, Premonstratensian-Tertiary Sisters (Norbertine Sisters)|
|Carmelites||Carmelites (OCarm)||Carmelites (OCarm)||Carmelite Community|
|Discalced Carmelites||Discalced Carmelites (OCD)||Discalced Carmelites (OCD)||Ordo Carmelitarum Discalceatorum saecularis or Teresian Carmel Community|
|Religious family of St. Johannes Bosco||Salesians Don Boscos (SDB)||Don Bosco Sisters (FMA)||Salesian employees of Don Bosco (SMDB)|
There are also religious families of this type in the Protestant Church , such as the Tiers Ordre de l'Unité (third order of the Community de Grandchamp , which lives according to the rule of the community of Taizé ).
The beginnings go back to pious associations of both sexes. The third orders also arose out of the intention of individual people to live according to the rule and spirituality of a particular order, although their living conditions prevented them from entering a monastery . Such third orders go back to St. Francis who, when numerous men and women demanded admission to monasteries in 1221, gave them a rule in 20 chapters. These Tertiaries mostly wore an ash-gray habit , girded with a rope, and the sisters also wore a white veil .
Emperor Charles IV and the French King Louis IX. as well as many other princely persons belonged to third orders. At the end of the 13th century, some tertiary took their religious vows and became religious , which resulted in the regulated tertiary (regulated penitential orders). In the 19th century in particular, a large number of congregations emerged according to this pattern .
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