st dominicThe Dominican Order, originally known as the Order of Preachers, is a Catholic religious order created by Saint Dominic in the early thirteenth century in France. Dominic established his religious community in Toulouse in 1214, officially recognized as an order by Pope Honorius III in 1216. Founded under the Augustinian rule, the Dominican Order is one of the great orders of mendicant friars that revolutionized religious life in Europe during the High Middle Ages. However, it notably differed from the Franciscan Order in its attitude toward ecclesiastical poverty.

Established to preach the Gospel and to combat heresy, the order is famed for its intellectual tradition, having produced many leading theologians and philosophers. It played a leading role in investigating and prosecuting heresy during the Inquisition. Important Dominicans include Saint Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, St. Catherine of Siena, and Girolamo Savonarola. Four Dominican cardinals have become popes.