Augustinian Canons Regular (CRSA = Ordo Canonicorum Regularium Sancti Augustini), Catholic men's order adhering to the Rule of St. Augustine; unlike other orders, not founded by an individual or a group, but a form of priestly community life with monastic oaths which grew out of old traditions (from the 4th century) and the Gregorian Reform (11th and 12th centuries). Each monastery is an independent unit with an elected abbot (Provost) at its head. The most prosperous times of the Augustinian Canons Regular were in the 12th and 18th centuries. Under Emperor Joseph II 10 monasteries were closed in the present territory of Austria (St. Andrä an der Traisen, St. Dorothea in Vienna, Gurk, Pöllau, St. Pölten, Rottenmann, Seckau, Stainz, Suben and Waldhausen), 2 more were closed at the beginning of the 19th century (St. Andrä im Lavanttal, Ranshofen).
The activities of the Augustinian Canons Regular are mainly focussed on parish and special ministry, as well as educational tasks and science and art.
The monasteries of the Augustinian Canons Regular are united to form congregations (united since 1959 as the Confederation of Regular Canons of St. Augustine under an Archabbot): thus in 1907 the Augustinian Canons Regular monasteries existing in Austria at the time, St. Florian (founded 1071), Reichersberg (1084), Herzogenburg (1112), Klosterneuburg (1133), Neustift near Brixen/Bressanone (1142) and Vorau (1163) were united to form the Congregatio Austriaca Can. Reg. Lateranensium, which is led by an Abbot General elected for a certain term (since 1987 the Provost of St. Florian).
The Augustinian Canons Regular currently (1994) take care of 107 parishes incorporated into the monasteries with 152 regular priests (total 189 members) and approximately 280,000 Catholic parish members (excluding Neustift near Brixen: 127 regular priests and 89 parishes).
Further reading: M. Schmid and S. Diermeier, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte der Augustiner-Chorherren, 1961/62; F. Röhrig (ed.), Die bestehenden Stifte der Augustiner-Chorherren in Österreich, Südtirol und Polen, 1997.
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