An oblate in Christian monasticism (especially Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican) is a person who is specifically dedicated to God or to God's service. Currently, oblate has two meanings:

  • Oblates are laypersons or clerical members of a religious order, not professed monks or nuns, who have individually affiliated themselves in prayer with a House of their choice. These make a formal private promise (annually renewable or for life, depending on the house with which they are affiliated) to follow the rule of prayer in their private life as closely as their individual circumstances and prior commitments permit. Such oblates do not constitute a religious order as such. They are comparable to the Tertiaries associated with some orders of friars.
  • "Oblate" is also used in the official name of some religious orders.

Origins and history

Oblate has had various particular uses at different periods in the history of the Church. The children vowed and given by their parents to the monastic life, in houses under the Rule of St. Benedict, were commonly known by the name during the century and a half when the custom was in vogue, and the councils of the Church treated them as monks—that is, until the Council of Toledo (656) forbade their acceptance before the age of ten and granted them free permission to leave the monastery, if they wished, when they reached the age of puberty. The term puer oblatus (used after the Tenth Council of Toledo) is used to describe an oblate who had not yet reached puberty and thus had a future opportunity to leave the monastery,[1] though puer oblatus can also refer to someone entering an abbey.[2] At a later date the word "oblate" was used to describe such lay men or women as were pensioned off by royal and other patrons upon monasteries or benefices, where they lived as in an almshouse or homes.

In the eleventh century, Abbot William of Hirschau or Hirsau, in the old Diocese of Spires, introduced lay brethren into the monastery. They were of two kinds: the fratres barbati or conversi, who took vows but were not claustral or enclosed monks, and the oblati, workmen or servants who voluntarily subjected themselves, whilst in the service of the monastery, to religious obedience and observance.

Afterwards, the different status of the lay brother in the several orders of monks, and the ever-varying regulations concerning him introduced by the many reforms, destroyed the distinction between the conversus and the oblatus.

The Cassinese Benedictines, for instance at first carefully differentiated between conversi, commissi and oblati; the nature of the vows and the forms of the habits were in each case specifically distinct. The conversus, the lay brother properly so called, made solemn vows like the choir monks, and wore the scapular; the commissus made simple vows, and was dressed like a monk, but without the scapular; the oblatus made a vow of obedience to the abbot, gave himself and his goods to the monastery, and wore a sober secular dress.

But, in 1625, we find the conversus reduced below the status of the commissus, inasmuch as he was permitted only to make simple vows and that for a year at a time; he was in fact undistinguishable, except by his dress, from the oblatus of a former century. Then, in the later Middle Ages, oblatus, confrater, and donatus became interchangeable titles, given to any one who, for his generosity or special service to the monastery, received the privilege of lay membership, with a share in the prayers and good works of the brethren.

Canonically, only two distinctions were ever of any consequence: first, that between those who entered religion "per modum professionis" and "per modum simplicis conversionis" the former being monachi and the later oblati; secondly, that between the oblate who was "mortuus mundo" (that is, who had given himself and his goods to religion without reservation), and the oblate who retained some control over his person and his possessions – the former only (plene oblatus) was accounted a persona ecclesiastica, with enjoyment of ecclesiastical privileges and immunity (Benedict XIV, "De Synodo Dioce.", VI).

Oblates today

Secular oblates

In modern practice, many Benedictine communities have a greater or smaller number of secular oblates. These are either clergy or laypeople affiliated in prayer with an individual House of their choice, who have made a formal private promise (annually renewable or for life) to follow the Rule of St Benedict in their private life at home and at work as closely as their individual circumstances and prior commitments permit. Non-Catholics can be received as oblates of a Catholic monastery.[citation needed]

Conventual oblates

To be distinguished slightly from other secular oblates, there is a small number of conventual or claustral oblates, who reside in a monastic community. If the person has not done so previously, after a year's probation they make a simple commitment of their lives to the monastery, which is received by the superior in the presence of the whole community. More on the level of committed volunteers, they would share in the life of the community and undertake, without remuneration, any work or service required of them. They are not, however, considered monks or nuns themselves. Often they wear a religious habit similar to, but distinct from, that of the monks or nuns. A conventual oblate may cancel this commitment at any time; and it is canceled automatically if the superior sends the oblate away for good reason, after simple consultation with the chapter.

Religious orders that use "Oblate" in their name

There are several religious orders (i.e., living the consecrated life according to Church Law) that use the word "Oblate" in their name, or in an extended version of their common name. These are not oblates like the oblates (secular) and (regular), and should not be confused with them.

Examples include the:

  • Oblates of St Frances of Rome (founded 1433 in Italy)

List of Oblates


  1. ^ http://www.jstor.org/pss/553067
  2. ^ http://phonoarchive.org/grove/Entries/S13475.htm

Further reading

External links

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed (1913). "Oblati". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем сделать НИР

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Oblate — Ob*late , a. [L. oblatus, used as p. p. of offerre to bring forward, offer, dedicate; ob (see {Ob }) + latus borne, for tlatus. See {Tolerate}.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Geom.) Flattened or depressed at the poles; as, the earth is an oblate spheroid.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Oblate — Ob*late , n. [From {Oblate}, a.] (R. C. Ch.) (a) One of an association of priests or religious women who have offered themselves to the service of the church. There are three such associations of priests, and one of women, called oblates. (b) One …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Oblate — Sf dünne, aus Mehl und Wasser gebackene Scheibe erw. fach. (8. Jh.), mhd. oblāt[e] f./n., ahd. oblāta, ovelāta Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus ml. oblata (hostia) dargebrachtes Abendmahlsbrot , zu l. oblātus, dem PPP. von l. offerre darreichen,… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Oblate — Oblate: Das aus der Kirchensprache stammende Substantiv (mhd., ahd. oblāte) bezeichnete ursprünglich das als Hostie gereichte Abendmahlsbrot (daher noch heute im kirchlichen Bereich die spezielle Bedeutung »noch nicht geweihte Hostie«). Seit dem …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • oblate — oblate1 [äb′lāt΄, äb lāt′] adj. [ModL oblatus < OB + latus as in prolatus (see PROLATE): from being thrust forward at the equator] Geom. flattened at the poles [an oblate spheroid] oblate2 [äb′lāt΄] n. [ML oblatus, offered, thrust forward < …   English World dictionary

  • Oblate — Oblate, eine Art Blasenschnecke, s.u. Acera d) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • oblate — ► ADJECTIVE Geometry ▪ (of a spheroid) flattened at the poles. Often contrasted with PROLATE(Cf. ↑prolate). ORIGIN Latin oblatus carried inversely …   English terms dictionary

  • Oblate — Ob|la|te [o bla:tə], die; , n: 1. dünne, aus einem Teig aus Mehl und Wasser gebackene Scheibe, die besonders in der katholischen Kirche als Abendmahlsbrot gereicht wird: der Priester bricht die Oblate. Syn.: ↑ Hostie. 2. a) dünne Scheibe aus… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • oblate — {{11}}oblate (adj.) flattened on the ends, 1705, from M.L. oblatus flattened, from L. ob toward (see OB (Cf. ob )) + latus, abstracted from its opposite, prolatus lengthened (see OBLATE (Cf. oblate) (n.)). {{12}}oblate (n.) person devoted to… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Oblate — Oblaten (von lat. oblatum, dargebracht) bezeichnet folgende römisch katholische Ordensgemeinschaften: Oblaten (OMI), Oblati Mariae Immaculatae, die Missionare Oblaten der unbefleckten Jungfrau Maria, in Deutschland bekannt als Hünfelder Oblaten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”