Woodcut (above): This is one of the earliest attempts to picture the Grand Union, about which not many historical details are available.
The formation of these mendicant orders was partly the consequence of a reform program called for by Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. It desired to put an end to groups of preachers and religious lay groups who formed spontaneously and then operated without much structured control by the Church.
It also desired to make more stable and effective the positive values that these new groups of preachers were trying to adopt, i.e., community life, poverty and official public ministry in the cities that were then rapidly increasing in size.
(Continued on the next page.)