Pope Honorius Confirms Order of Preachers

Stained glass window from St. Dominic's Church in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. Stained glass window from St. Dominic's Church in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.
Stained glass window from St. Dominic’s Church in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.

The following reflection is part of an ongoing series about the life of St. Dominic & the Order of Friars Preachers.

The following year Dominic set out for Rome to obtain the promised confirmation of his Order from Pope Innocent III, his good friend. However, on the way he received news of the pope’s death. Would he be successful with the new pope, Honorius III? After much prayer Dominic continued on his journey. Honorius received him graciously, kept his predecessor’s promise, and confirmed the Order on December 22, 1216.

Adopting Innocent’s title “The Order of Brothers Preachers” as the Order’s official name, Honorius granted it the unique privilege of preaching the Gospel worldwide irrespective of diocesan boundaries, the first such commission in the church. The two scrolls he gave to Dominic read: “Honorius, Bishop, Servant of the servants of God, to our dear Son, Dominic, prior of Saint Romans of Toulouse, and to your brethren who have made or will make profession of regular life, health, and Apostolic benediction. We, considering that the brethren of your Order will be the champions of the faith and true lights of the world, do confirm the Order in all its lands and possessions, present and to come, and we take the Order itself, with all its goods and rights, under our protection and government.” By the time the Order was confirmed, Dominic had enlisted well-educated men from the Universities of Paris and Bologna. Thus, from the beginning the Dominicans placed study in preparation for preaching at the heart of their common life.

Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. (a member of the English Province) was invited by the Dominican Foundation to take pictures of some of the locations where our friars serve throughout the Northeast. During his time in Washington, D.C., Fr. Lew photographed the interior of the Church of St. Dominic. St. Dominic’s has been the church where our friars are ordained to the priesthood each May. Surrounding the church, is a collection of beautiful stained glass windows that chronicle the life of St. Dominic & the foundation of the Order of Preachers. Fr. Lew accomplished a great work by capturing the splendor of these windows, and in the process, the life of a towering saint.