Hungary was most likely one of the "founding nations" in the Order of Saint Augustine.
This was because one of the groups that participated in the Grand Union of the Order in the year 1256 almost certainly had houses there.
Although this group, the Hermits of Saint William (Williamites) soon withdrew from the Order of Saint Augustine, their houses in Germany and Hungary - approximately twenty of them - stayed with the Order.
For example, the former Williamite house at Gran (now called Esztergom) was fully established in 1262.
In 1290 King Andrew III praised its members for their exemplary lives, and approved a house of study there.
Although historical records are not plentiful, Vito of Hungary O.S.A. is said to have brought to the Christian Faith more than 10,000 persons.
These people had arrived in the area as a result of the invasion by the Mongol tribes in the previous century.
Vito was listed by the thirteenth-century Augustinian historian, Henry of Friemar O.S.A., as a holy man, but Henry knew little more about him than his name. Vito was mentioned by name by other Augustinian historical writers, including Ambrose Massari da Cori O.S.A., and the Anonymous Florentine (who also included a miracle story), but not by Jordan of Saxony O.S.A.
At the request of Pope Boniface VIII about the year 1295, Giles of Rome O.S.A. wrote an instruction book about preaching the Christian faith to the Tartar tribes.
It is believed by many historians that the Augustinian Province of Hungary existed at the time of the General Chapter at Siena in 1295, even though some have maintained it was founded after 1308, and that houses in Hungary previous to that year were part of the Province of Germany.
Reasons for thinking otherwise include: (1) in 1262, Pope Urban IV granted the privileges of the bull Religiosam vitam eligentibus to his "beloved sons, the priors and brothers hermits, who live according to God and the Rule of St Augustine in the kingdom of Hungary" (2) In 1265, Pope Clement IV sent another bull, also favoring the Augustinians, "to the archbishops and bishops of the kingdoms of Germany and Bohemia."
If it were true that the Augustinian houses in Hungary were part of the German Province before 1308, one cannot easily explain the omission of the superior of Germany in the first bull, and the omission of Hungary in the second. It is certain, moreover, that an Augustinian named Peter of Hungary took part in the General Chapter held in Perugia in 1303 as a definitor of the Augustinian Province in his country.
Hungary had six Augustinian houses by the year 1300. In Hungary, according to Adrianyi, "all of the kings were great promoters of the Augustinians," from Bela IV (1235-1270) to Louis I, whose four-decade reign began in 1342.
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