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Chronicler of the Order

"Of all the source materials concerning the life of St. Dominic and the origins of the Dominican Order, Jordan of Saxony's work is not only the earliest, but is also the most authentic. It has, …More
"Of all the source materials concerning the life of St. Dominic and the origins of the Dominican Order, Jordan of Saxony's work is not only the earliest, but is also the most authentic. It has, therefore, influenced all subsequent works on the Order. Happily, Blessed Jordan's authorship is beyond question. In him we have a firsthand witness and a first-class writer, for he was, on the one hand, a Master of Arts and a grammarian, and, on the other, St. Dominic's contemporary and his immediate successor as Master General of the Order. Jordan wrote his work sometime between December 25, 1231 (date of the death of Bishop Foulques of Toulouse) and the canonization of St. Dominic on July 3, 1234; probably during 1233. There were apparently two editions of Blessed Jordan's Libellus, the second being enriched by some few additional details. The account of the transference of St. Dominic's remains, however, is of a different nature. It was written by Blessed Jordan after he had personally presided as Master General over the translation. It is not known when or how this narrative was joined to the Libellus. Probably it was written by Jordan as an encyclical letter to the entire Order soon after the canonization of the Founder (July 3, 1234); certainly it was written before Jordan's tragic death by shipwreck while he was returning from the Holy Land in late 1236. This addition serves as an excellent complement to the Libellus. ...The task he set himself was to record the origins of the Order of Preachers and the foundations of its subsequent growth. Consistent with his purpose, Jordan noted with precision every important date and every decisive turn of events, highlighting with a few chosen words the essential facts and their significant results. The Libellus, then, is not strictly a life of St. Dominic, as it might well have been. It is much less a panegyric of the Saint. It is precisely what it was intended to be, namely, a chronicle, but it involves an extended description of Saint Dominic's life and activities as Founder. Blessed Jordan was a keen and sensitive observer. What is more, he was a reporter of unswerving honesty and good taste. The same could be said, also, of the witnesses upon whom he relied. If his long experience in positions of responsibility did not make Jordan infallible, at least it assured the Dominican Order of a history solidly grounded in fact." Today, 13 February is the feast of Blessed Jordan of Saxony, and this photo shows a detail from the sarcophagus of St Dominic. The man pointing to St Dominic may be a depiction of Blessed Jordan.

Source: Lawrence OP on Flickr
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