Carmelite Chronicles
From East to West

May 16, 2019 |

While the hermitage on Carmel was stabilizing itself and growing from within, forces were at work without, which would eventually lead to its destruction. The third decade of the century, spanned by the ten-year truce negotiated by Frederick II in 1229, was not marked by any major recurrence of hostilities between Saracen and Christian.

Pope Innocent IV

Nevertheless, the hermits must have suffered disturbance, for it is at this period that a number of them decided to return or migrate to the West. A religious foundation in the open countryside was always prey to raids by bands of bedouins or other hostile groups. “The inroads of the pagans,” Innocent IV was to write later, “have driven our beloved sons, the hermits of Mount Carmel, to betake themselves, not without great affliction of spirit, to parts across the sea.”

According to the Dominican, Vincent of Beauvais (d. 1264), the Carmelites migrated to Europe in 1238.

The foundation of the Carmelites in Valenciennes made as early as 1235 is doubtful. Foundations were made in Messina in Sicily, Aylesford and Hulne in England (1242), and Les Aygalades near Marseilles in Provence. It was probably at this time, too, that the Carmelites crossed to Cyprus, to Fortamia (today probably Karmi, near Nicosia) – a less drastic removal from the Holy Land.

From The Mirror of Carmel by Joachim Smet, O. Carm.

Fr. Joachim Smet O.Carm.
Fr. Joachim Smet, O.Carm. (1915-2011) was one of the leading historians of the Carmelite Order. In addition to being a founding member and President of the Institutum Carmelitanum in Rome and editor of Carmelus, a journal of Carmelite Studies, Fr. Joachim was a gifted writer. he is well-known for his four-volume work The Carmelites and his Life of Saint Peter Thomas. Among his other works: Familiar Matter of Today-Poems (2007), The Mirror of Carmel: A Brief History of the Carmelite Order, (2011), various publications on Carmelite Nuns, Carmelite Liturgy, Carmelite Libraries of Spain and Portugal and the Carmelites of Medieval England.
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