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(kăp`yo͞ochĭnz) [Ital.,=hooded ones], Roman Catholic religious order of friars, one of the independent orders of FranciscansFranciscans
, members of several Roman Catholic religious orders following the rule of St. Francis (approved by Honorius III, 1223). There are now three organizations of Franciscan friars: the Friars Minor [Lat. abbr., O.F.M.
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, officially the Friars Minor Capuchin [Lat. abbr., O.M.Cap.]. The order was founded (1525–28) in central Italy as a reform within the Observants, led by Matteo di Bascio. It is one of the largest orders. Born, like the Jesuits, at the beginning of the Counter Reformation, the Capuchins became a major force in church activity, especially in preaching and in missions. With the Jesuits they did much to revive Catholicism in the parts of Europe where Protestantism had prevailed. The Capuchins have been very important in foreign missions; they were early arrivals in French Canada.


See study by Father Cuthbert (1928, repr. 1971).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



Catholic monastic order founded as a branch of the Franciscan order in 1525 in Italy.

The order received its name because of the pointed hood (capuccio) sewn to the cassock of coarse cloth that the monks wore. The founder of the Capuchins was the Franciscan monk Matteo da Bascio, who strove to restore the ascetic character of the early Franciscan communities. The rule of the Capuchins was approved by Pope Clement VII in 1528 or 1529. They were confirmed as an independent order by Pope Paul V in 1619. During the 16th and 17th centuries the order spread throughout a number of countries in Western Europe. The Capuchins played a large role in the Counter-Reformation. Their primary goal was to strengthen the influence of Catholicism on the popular masses.

Even today the Capuchins remain a bastion of clericalism. By1972 there were approximately 14, 000 Capuchin monks; theorder of Capuchinesses, founded in the 16th century, numberedabout 2, 500 nuns.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Discrimination of functionally appropriate and inappropriate throwing tools by captive tufted capuchins (Cebus apella).
Three apparent cases of infanticide by males in wild white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus).
He claimed studies had shown that infant capuchins removed from their mother at one day went on to grow and weigh the same as capuchins left with their mothers.
At the age of eleven he entered the Minor Seminary at Loreto and, on the advice of his confessor, joined the Capuchins at Camerino, in preference to the Jesuits.
CHESTER Zoo's capuchin monkeys were busy exploring their new surroundings yesterday.
The choice of subject matter for Portia's altarpiece, the Immaculate Conception, also indicates her sympathetic understanding of the Capuchins, who were among the strongest supporters of the hotly-contested dogma of Mary's conception free from original sin.
A faithful interpreter, suspected of having revealed secrets to the Capuchins, was executed.
The Roman Catholic Church will mark tomorrow the Feast of Saint Lawrence (San Lorenzo) of Brindisi, considered as the greatest Capuchin preacher and the first Capuchin-Franciscan to be honored as a Doctor of the Universal Church.
"In the wild they would use plants such as citrus and clematis which are known to have medicinal benefits, but here at DZG we give our capuchins spring onions which they use in exactly the same way."