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16. století

The Jesuit Order

An important monastic order
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The Jesuit Order is a leading monastic order of the Roman Catholic Church, which was formed in 1534 to the initiation of Ignác of Loyola and which was officially confirmed by a Papal Charter in 1540.
It spread quite quickly following in the footsteps of Spanish and Portuguese colonialism, it progressively reached the entire world. The Jesuit missions started their activities and founded various schools. In Bohemia, a Jesuit College was founded in 1556, which was known as Klementinum. From 1562, it held the right to issue doctorates, thus equaling universities. After a short break caused by the Estate Revolt that led to all Jesuits being expelled from the country in 1618, the Jesuit Order quickly resettled and became the main pillar of the Recatholization of the Czech lands after 1620.
The order had

become very active worldwide, owning huge properties, primarily from colonial estates, often being sole owners. That gradually led to a cooling of the relationships with the aristocracy and with some leading dynasties. During the Enlightenment in the 18th century, the power of the church generally weakened and so did that of the Jesuits. Under general pressure from European monarchs (except Russia and Prussia), the Jesuit Order was finally abolished by Pope Clement the Fourteenth. All their property was confiscated and many members of the order were executed or ended up in exile.
The existence of the order however did not end because after the fall of Napoleon, Pope Pius the Seventh renewed the order in 1814 and the "Black Robes" (characteristic clothing of the Jesuits) are still active today.


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