1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hieronymites

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HIERONYMITES, a common name for three or four congregations of hermits living according to the rule of St Augustine with supplementary regulations taken from St Jerome’s writings. Their habit was white, with a black cloak. (1) The Spanish Hieronymites, established near Toledo in 1374. The order soon became popular in Spain and Portugal, and in 1415 it numbered 25 houses. It possessed some of the most famous monasteries in the Peninsula, including the royal monastery of Belem near Lisbon, and the magnificent monastery built by Philip II. at the Escurial. Though the manner of life was very austere the Hieronymites devoted themselves to studies and to the active work of the ministry, and they possessed great influence both at the Spanish and the Portuguese courts. They went to Spanish and Portuguese America and played a considerable part in Christianizing and civilizing the Indians. There were Hieronymite nuns founded in 1375, who became very numerous. The order decayed during the 18th century and was completely suppressed in 1835. (2) Hieronymites of the Observance, or of Lombardy: a reform of (1) effected by the third general in 1424; it embraced seven houses in Spain and seventeen in Italy, mostly in Lombardy. It is now extinct. (3) Poor Hermits of St Jerome, established near Pisa in 1377: it came to embrace nearly fifty houses whereof only one in Rome and one in Viterbo survive. (4) Hermits of St Jerome of the congregation of Fiesole, established in 1406: they had forty houses but in 1668 they were united to (3).

See Helyot, Histoire des ordres religieux (1714), iii. cc. 57-60, iv. cc. 1-3; Max Heimbucher, Orden und Kongregationen (1896), i. § 70; and art. “Hieronymiten” in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädie (ed. 3), and in Welte and Wetzer, Kirchenlexicon (ed. 2). (E. C. B.)