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The Dominican Order, (its formal name, the Order of Preachers, is less common in English) founded by Saint Dominic in the early 13th century, is one of the great mendicant orders of friars that revolutionized religious life in Europe during the high middle ages.
Like his contemporary Francis of Assisi, Dominic saw the need for a new type of organization to address the needs of his time, and the quick growth of the Dominicans and Franciscans during their first century confirms that the orders of mendicant friars met a felt need.
Dominic sought to establish a new kind of order, one that would bring the dedication and systematic education of the older monastic orders like the Benedictines to bear on the religious problems of the burgeoning population of cities, but with more organizational flexibility than either monastic orders or the secular clergy. His new order was to be a preaching order, trained to preach in the vernacular languages but with a sound background in academic theology.
The Dominicans were a major force in the development and maintenance of the Inquisition.
Important Dominicans include:
See also: Chinese Rites controversy