Carmelite Chronicles
The Order of Discalced Carmelites

October 31, 2013 |

At the general chapter of Cremona, which convened on June 6, 1593, the Discalced Congregation was represented by its vicar general, Nicholas Doria, his two socii and three provincials with their socii. Doria’s candidate for prior general, and Philip II’s as well, was Michael de Carranza. Carranza, as a matter of fact, was present at the chapter by special mandate of Clement VIII. Carranza (d. 1607) was certainly a worthy candidate for the Order’s highest office, and in the light of the tragic career of John Stephen Chizzola, who was actually elected, it is a pity that Philip II’s wishes for once were not honored by the Order. One of the outstanding Carmelites of all Spain, Carranza earned the king’s esteem for his zeal for reform. He would have suited the mood of Clement VIII. Anne of Jesus refers to Carranza as “a great friend of our Discalced friars.”

The general chapter of Cremona of 1593 is mostly remembered for the division of the Order. John Baptist, procurator of the Discalced Congregation, proposed the complete independence of the Congregation from the Order, to be confirmed by the pope. By secret vote the chapter agreed on the condition sine qua non that the Discalced would not accept houses in places where the Order was already represented. On December 20, 1593, Clement VIII in his constitution, Pastoralis officii, confirmed the decree of the chapter and erected the Order of Discalced Carmelites under a preposite general.OCDShield-a

Doria was nominated to this office until the first general chapter of the new Order, but on May 9, 1594, the Lion of Carmel passed to his reward. It is to be hoped that his bones in fact found rest in the tomb. With blind stubbornness he battled the most brilliant and imaginative spirits of the reform; this was one time the bull won the corrida.

Doria was skilled at manipulating the law and never transgressed anyone’s legal rights. Had he, instead of Gracián, been in charge of the Discalced from the start, the separation of the reform from the Order might equally have taken place, but it would have been brought about with less hysterics.

In any case the rift in the unity of Carmel, inevitable under the circumstances, can only be regretted.

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.
Share This

Sign up for our Email newsletter