Confraternity  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A confraternity is normally a Roman Catholic organization of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety, and approved by the Church hierarchy. An archconfraternity is a "franchise" of confraternities, able to establish different groups using the same names and rules, such as the Confraternities of the Cord, Confraternity of the Rosary and others. Many of these are very widely spread. Especially in the cities of the Middle Ages, confraternities could be important and wealthy institutions for the elite, as in the Scuole Grandi of Venice. The Purgatorial societies and orders of flagellants were other specialized medieval types; puy is a medieval French term for a confraternity dedicated to artistic performance in music, song and poetry, the German meistersingers were similar, though typically imitating trade guilds in form.

The term may have other meanings: confraternities in Nigeria began as a term for fraternities in the American college sense, university-based social organisations, but the term has spread and changed to become in many cases used by street gangs that have been accused of widespread crime.

The Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament is an example of an Anglo-Catholic confraternity established in the Church of England. Catholic confraternities of priests became common in the 19th century, fulfilling similar functions for the clergy.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Confraternity" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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