Carmelite Chronicles
The Origin of the Hermits of Mount Carmel

March 19, 2019 |

“Every Order taketh its name either from a place or from a saint,” writes John Baconthorpe, 14th century English Carmelite; “from a place, like the Cistercians who are called after Citeaux, and our Order after Carmel.” As a matter of fact, it is to Mount Carmel, a mountain in Palestine on the Bay of Haifa, that the Carmelite Order traces its origin. The date of its origin, the subject of an age-old controversy, can now be ascertained with relative accuracy.

Jacques de Vitry, bishop of Acre from 1216 to 1228, describes in glowing terms the flowering of the Latin Church consequent upon the conquest of Palestine: “Pilgrims full of zeal for God, and religious men, flocked into the Holy Land, attracted by the sweet savour of the holy and venerable places. Old churches were repaired, and new ones were built; by the bounty of princes and the alms of the faithful, monasteries of regular monks were built in fitting places; parish priests and all things appertaining to the service and worship of God, were properly and suitable established everywhere.”

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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