- Order of Clerks Regular
- 1524 in Rome, Italy by Saint Gaetano dei Conti di Tiene, Paolo Consiglieri, Bonifacio da Colle, and Giovanni Pietro Carafa
Religious order founded to recall the clergy to an edifying life and the laity to the practise of virtue. Saint Gaetano and his companions endeavored to combat the errors of Martin Luther then threatening Italy; they founded oratories and hospitals, and devoted themselves to preaching the Gospel and reforming lax morals. Despite the severity of their rule and strict vow of poverty, the congregation rapidly developed, both in Italy and in foreign countries. The Theatines were invited to Turin, Genoa, Venice, Milan, Padua, Piacenza, Parma, Modena, Florence, Naples, Palermo, Messina, Lecce, etc. In France they built the church of Saint Anne la Royale; in Spain under Philip II, the Theatine cardinal Paolo Burali d’Arezzo filled various embassies at the command of the viceroy of Naples; in Portugal John IV gave them a house and a college for the education of noble youth in 1648; in England, under Henry VIII, Thomas Goldwell, bishop of Saint Asaph, entered the Order. The Theatines founded the first papal missions in foreign lands, as in Golconda, Peru; Mingrelia, Georgia; the Islands of Sunda, Borneo, and Sumatra, Arabia, Armenia, Ava, Persia, and many other places. During this 19th century the order began to decline, and at the time of the suppression of religious orders in 1860, it was reduced to a shadow of its former greatness. Pope Pius X in 1909 united the Theatines to the Spanish Congregation of the Holy Family, but this union was dissolved in 1916. A congregation of Theatine nuns, dating from c.1583, and flourishing in Naples and Sicily, has now almost disappeared.