In the Roman Catholic church, a member of any of the religious orders and congregations whose constitutions are based on the Rule of St. Augustine, including the Hospitallers (Knights of Malta) and the Dominicans. The two main branches of the Augustinians, however, are the Augustinian Hermits and the Augustinian Canons. The former was one of the four great mendicant orders of the Middle Ages, and its members (including Martin Luther) were active in European university life and ecclesiastical affairs. The latter became in the 11th century the first Roman Catholic order to combine clerical status with full common life. The order declined after the Reformation, but it continues missionary, educational, and hospital work. Other notable orders are the Augustinian Recollects (founded in the 16th century) and the Second Order of St. Augustine (1264) for nuns, both still active today.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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