Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Order Of The Blessed Virgin Mary

Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary (; ), also called the Order of Saint Mary of the Tower or the Order of the Knights of the Mother of God, commonly the Knights of Saint Mary, was a military order founded in 1261 when it received its rule from Pope Urban IV, who expressly states the purpose of the organisation and the rights and obligations of its members:<blockquote> are to be allowed to bear arms for the defence of the catholic faith and ecclesiastical freedom, when specifically required to do so by the Roman church. For subduing civil discords they may carry only defensive weapons, provided they have the permission of the diocesan.</blockquote>The rule of the order was based on that of the Augustinians, but by a precedent set by the Order of Santiago and the Militia of Jesus Christ, members could marry and did not live in communal poverty. Their chief task appears to have been the pacification of the Lombard cities, racked by factional strife. In this they were largely unsuccessful, due in no small part to their political allegiance to the Church. The unique position of the order and the nature of its rule has led to its being denied full status by historians, who have sometimes labelled it a mere confraternity.

The order did have some success at building bridges between the Guelphs and Ghibellines. Two founding members, Loderingo......
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