THE RATISBON CONSTITUTIONS of 1290.
The Constitutions were stable, and by Church law no part could be changed unless it was approved by two successive general chapters.
The early writers of the Order’s history note the changes were made about the year 1284 by the twofold effort of Blessed Clement of Osimo O.S.A. (died in 1291) and Blessed Augustine of Tarano O.S.A...
Prior to becoming an Augustinian, Augustine had been a professor of law at Bologna, and then supreme judge of King Manfred's court and papal penitentiary.
This was during the period where the Order of Saint Augustine had reason to fear papal suppression, hence any movement towards a greater uniformity in Augustinian religious life was an important - and definitely a politically wise - step.
Jordan of Saxony O.S.A. wrote in 1357 that Clement and Augustine “collaborated with steadfast application to revise the Constitutions, and in their burning zeal for the Order they produced an edition more suitable to its needs."
"They clarified their layout by introducing chapters and headings, and at the same time made some additions and subtractions, in accordance with what seemed best for the spirit of religion and the good standing of the Order.” (Vitasfratrum II, 14).
The results of their combined efforts were the edition of the Augustinian Constitutions called forever afterwards the Constitutions of Ratisbon, (a town now called Regensburg, in Bavaria, Germany) where the document was approved at the General Chapter in 1290.
Most of the regulations in the Ratisbon Constitutions were in force before 1284, when Blessed Augustine started their codification. His work largely consisted in the collection of existing laws, their unification and division into chapters.
He also had to add the latest development in monastic rules. For this purpose he used the Dominican Constitutions of 1260 which differed from those of 1228 in austerity and an emphasis on general chapters and provincial chapters. The sections on faults and their punishments were taken over almost verbatim from the Dominican Constitutions. The concept of loyalty to the general and his power over the Constitutions was also accepted, along with the process of elections through definitors and discretes.
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