Beghards or Beguards

Beghards Or Beguards a religious association in the Roman Church, which formed itself, in the 13th century, in the Netherlands, Germany, and France, after the example of the Beguines (q.v.), whom they closely imitated in their mode of life and the arrangement of their establishments. They supported themselves mostly by weaving, but became neither so numerous nor so popular as the Beguines. More generally than the Beguines they associated with the heretical Fraticelli (q.v.), and the "Brethren and Sisters of the Free Spirit." They were suppressed by the council of Vienna in 1311. Most of them joined the third orders of St. Francis or St. Dominic, but yet retained for a long time their name and their mode of life. For a time they found a protector in the Emperor Louis, but new decrees were issued against them by Charles IV (1367) and Pope Urban V (1369). In 1467 they became, by taking the usual solemn vows, a monastic association, which gradually united with several congregations of the Franciscan order. Their last convents and the name itself were abolished by Pope Innocent X in 1650.

The name Beghards was commonly given in the 13th and 14th centuries (just as "' Pietist" and 'Methodist" were afterward used) to persons who opposed or revolted from the worldly tendencies of the Roman Church. The Waldenses, Wickliffites, and Lollards, in France and England, were so named. See Neander, Ch. Hist. 4, 303; Mosheim, De Beghard. et Beguin. (Lips. 1790); Mosheim, Ch. Hist. cent. 13, pt. in ch. 2, § 40. Other treatises on these orders have been written by Beier (Jen. 1710), Bruhns (Lub. 1719)a Gotze (ib. 1719), Houston (Antw. 1628). SEE BEGUINES; SEE BEGUE.

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