We've had the opportunity to talk about the changing character of Europe. The rise of feudal society, papal reform, the transformation of the monastic orders with the rise of Cistercians and Carthusians. But in the 13th century, much more was to come. We spoke of the latern council of 1215 when Innocent III presented a vision of the church. But at that very time, two remarkable figures emerged. One, the Spaniard Dominic here in a Spanish panel, his life represented. The other, Francis of Assisi for an image of Santa Croce in Florence. Again the central figure with images of his life. Dominic belonged to that crusading spirit about which we have spoken. And the growth of the Dominicans was closely linked to the Cathar heresy in Southern France. The Spaniard Dominic, who lived from 1170 to 1221, believed that no preacher should be sent into the lands of the Cathars who could not match the rigorous piety of these heretics, who was not able to preach and not able to sustain orthodoxy. In 1215, Dominic sought from Pope Innocent III confirmation of his order. But it was not until 1217 that Pope Honorius III granted that confirmation. The confirmation to preach and preaching as we shall see, is key to that story. This right and privilege to preach was remarkable. Because it had usually been reserved to come from bishops, not the pope. But Dominic was committed to preaching to the whole Church. And very quickly, houses were established in Spain and Italy and then in France. The order grew particularly in university towns and around the very emerging universities themselves. So much so that by the 1220s, the Dominicans were settling in England around Oxford. They enjoyed extraordinary success right from the beginning. And in the last chapter of the order over which he presided in 1221, Dominic declared that the role of the order was the cure of souls through preaching. The order devoted itself to mendicancy, that was sustaining oneself daily through begging. They were not to own property or to have regular income. In 1221, the order was divided into provinces showing that it had spread across Europe and now needed a new structure. In 1221, while Dominic still lived, there were 20 houses. 15 years later there were over 100, and by 1280, 400. The Dominicans, the order of preachers as they were known were spreading across the cities of Europe at time of urban growth. These Dominicans were to be learned and to work at the centers of education. Each Dominican convent placed an emphasis on education and study. There was a lecturer to give instruction, at the heart of this instruction was to interpret the Bible. But further there was the reading of other texts including the famous scholastic history of Peter Comestor who had died in 1180. The talented went on from the general study to work on Aristotle as the basis for learning scholastic theology. And the very best went to the general schools located near the universities. It was training ultimately to preach. The monastic spirituality of the Dominicans was rigorous. It involved the daily recitation of the offices, study and silence. Academic work was a priority, and Dominic founded convents in his native Spain, in Madrid, in San Sisto. And soon these convents spread across Europe, where they became centers of spiritual and educational reform. That reform and spiritual guidance was not simply limited to men. But was also offered to women who became increasingly involved in the Dominican Order. Nuns, but also lay people were drown to this rigorous spirituality and spiritual discipline. And the Dominicans served as advisors, as directors, as mentors. Numerous female figures emerged, but perhaps the most famous was Catherine of Siena who died in 1380. But there were many others, but this relationship was not uncontroversial. There were many who were deeply suspicious of female spirituality and of an active role of women in the devotional life of the church. There was also a darker side to this and that was the Dominicans' role in the Inquisition. In the Inquisition which had been establish by Gregory IX, the Dominicans took the lead. And in France and in Italy where divided into parts, Dominicans leadership of the Inquisition was led to, or at least was intended to lead to the suppression of heresy. Once again, it was the Cathars and other groups that were targeted. The Dominicans devoted themselves to the expurgation of heresy from the church. But to do so they not only practiced the work of the Inquisition, they wrote the literature that underpinned the Inquisition and its duties. They wrote the manuals, so they were involved in both the tasks and formulating in a way the ideology of the Inquisition. But for this role, despite their great popularity that they had enjoyed through preaching, they acquired a harsh reputation. They were seen by many as bloodthirsty, and for betraying the people through their activity with the Inquisition. And there were popular demonstrations against them. However, alongside their preaching, the Inquisitorial work, one of the extraordinary achievements of the Dominicans was to produce the great theologians of the age. One of whom, Thomas Aquinas, we will speak about in a few moments. That relationship between Dominicans and learning, helped them to become the center of the theological renewal of the church in the 13th century. What of Francis? Francis who was known as the second Christ. He became the most widely venerated saint in the Middle Ages. It was born in 1182 in Assisi, in Umbria. His father was a cloth merchant, a business into which Francis himself was probably expected to enter. Although he was baptized with the name of John, he took on the name Francis. As a young man, he dreamt of military glory, and indeed spent a year as a prisoner. But in 1205, in the midst of a campaign, he heard a voice. A voice that came to him when he was seriously ill, and his life began to be transformed from the worldly pleasures that he had enjoyed to something very different. Ultimately, he would say, I rose and left the world. He had a vision of a crucifix above an altar, which spoke to him saying, Francis, go and repair my house, which you see falling down. And after years of wandering and searching for his vocation, Francis became convinced that he was to live according to the form, to the pattern, to the way of the Holy Gospel. This meant above all, the preaching of penance. There was to be contrition before sacramental confession. Francis himself was not a priest, but believed passionately in the sacraments and order of the church. Alongside this was famously, his radical poverty. He and his followers named themselves the Lesser Brethren. They were to wander and preach, and like Dominic, to sustain themselves, to get their daily meal by begging. They were to hold no property in common. They were indeed an extraordinarily ragged group. But they drew many adherents to their group, to their circle who came from across society, most notably from the very sort of middle class that Francis had come from himself. People who were drawn by this spirituality, this renunciation of the world, but of service to the church and the world. There was also a radical egalitarianism. Regardless of your background or previous wealth, regardless of whether you came from a humble family, all were equal in the circle of Francis. All shared the same bread. There was no hierarchy or status. Like Dominic, Francis sought the approval of Pope Innocent III. And here we see in one of the famous images, part of the encounter between Francis and the Pope. Innocent III had at first been somewhat reluctant to meet with this man because the lattern council of 1215 had taken a strong view against the founding of new religious orders. Ultimately, he agreed to a conversation with Francis. We don't now exactly what was said, but it must have been one of the most remarkable extraordinary encounters between two figures, two remarkable figures of the Medieval world. In Giotto's painting on the 13th century, we have Innocent III dreaming of Francis holding up the church, which is in danger of tumbling over. It's a story that had extraordinary attraction, the truth of which we shall not know. The life of Francis, however, we do know. It involved many different things, including traveling to Egypt to meet with the Sultan to try to bring to a close the crusades. Famously, perhaps most famously in his life, he received in 1224 the wounds of Christ in a stigmata while having an ecstatic vision of seraphic angels. The work of the Franciscans in missions, in towns, in cities of Europe, transformed Christianity. They encountered the layity and encourage men and women, and their religious impulses. They directed them towards the church. They were part of that spirit of the latern council and that vision of innocent. They preached, they were experts because they had been well educated in the art of pastoral care. They encourage contrition and the hearing of confession. But further, they educated the local clergy to be able to carry on this work of the church. Both the Dominicans and Franciscans placed preaching at the heart the life of their work. They wrote literature on how to educate clergy into preparing and delivering homilies. At the heart of preaching was the necessity of contrition and penance, followed by sacramental confession and reconciliation. They brought fresh interpretation of the gospel to lay people, encouraging men and women to live Christian lives based on the simplicity of the gospel. These sermons led to confession which the friars would hear. They became the confessors to the people of Europe, and played a major role in the education of the wider church. The friars, through their work in the cities, through their role in education, and through their spiritual direction, had a tremendous effect on the life of the church in the 13th and 14th centuries.