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Jordan of Saxony - 03

St Augustine : Augustinian Priory, Gemerhausen, Germany
Augustinian Priory,
Gemerhausen, Germany

A recently deceased Dominican, who also was named Jordan of Saxony had produced such a work about the first Dominicans.
Jordan of Saxony O.S.A. was a friar capable of doing likewise for the Augustinian Order.
The latter was regarded as a man of vast experience as a result of his years of research,
He was the Augustinian most acquainted with all historical and juridical questions pertaining to the Order.
Through his initiative and personal energy, Jordan collected and collated material for this project.
His work as Provincial and his various other duties impeded his progress, but in 1357 he finally published his work.
His Liber Vitasfratrum ("A Book about the life of the Brothers") was published in 1357. It proved to be his most original and most valuable written work. Indeed, it has also been described as one of the most mature and most significant ascetical writings of fourteenth-century Europe.
(Beforehand, he had written a Vita (Life) of Augustine and commentaries on the Bible, and books of sermons afterwards.)
It was certainly a major achievement. When later produced as a book with octavo pages and with lettering of less than the usual size, the Vitasfratrum exceeded 440 pages.
Therein he gives, using the example of the Augustinians living at his time, a very clear idea of the spirituality of the Order of Saint Augustine. He offered his Liber Vitasfratrum to every individual Augustinian friar, so that he could use it as a measure of the extent to which he was a “true brother of the Order.”
Jordan showed himself to be an able and sound teacher of the ascetical life, and an expert master of Church Law.
Jordan had not been content simply to report and classify the marvellous events and miracles in the lives of his earlier Augustinian "fratres" (brothers), but wrote a comprehensive treatise on the religious life. He regarded his Vitasfratrum as a handbook of instruction in what it meant to to an authentic spiritual follower of Augustine and his Rule.
He was more interested, for example, the promoting religious obedience than in establishing the historical precedence of the Order (of Hermits) of Saint Augustine over the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine.
He stated that he would prefer to be a member of whichever Order distinguished itself by stricter observance than to be in whichever Order was more certain that St Augustine had founded it first.
Even though the Vitasfratrum is not primarily a book of history, some of its chapters are historical in character, and deal with the origin and development of monasticism in general, and its canonical reorganisation in the thirteenth century in particular.
He quotes broadly from the Bible and from the Church Fathers; there are many quotations from the genuine and spurious works of Augustine of Hippo.
(Continued on the next page.)

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