FLORENSIANS (Ordo Florensis; Order of Flore): A Roman Catholic order established at Flore (the modern San Giovanni in Fiore, 90 m. s. w. of Taranto) by the Cistercian abbot and prophet Joachim (see JOACHIM OF FIORE) about 1192, some three years after he had exchanged the administration of his monastery of Corazzo for the life of a hermit in Mount Sila. For the inmates of his monastery of St. John, Joachim formed rules which were similar to those of the Cistercians, although independent and constituting a stricter Benedictine reform. This rule received the sanction of Celestine III. on Aug. 25, 1196, and there were also secular patrons, such as Henry VI. and his wife Constantia. The order gradually received several monasteries in Naples and both Calabrias, although it was exposed to persecution, since its founder was suspected of heresy. The miracles believed to be wrought at the tomb of Joachim gave a speedy impetus to the Florensians, so that they soon had thirty-four houses, including four nunneries, the most important at St. Helena near Amalfi. In 1227 Gregory IX. forbade the Cistercians to admit Florensians into their order on account of the comparative laxity of the Cistercian rule, thus rousing the envy and enmity of the monks of Citeaux. The Florensians maintained their high position, however, until the appointment of abbots in commendam, the first in 1470. The order then declined, and the majority of its monasteries, like the mother house in 1505, became incorporated with the Cistercians, although a few joined the Dominicans and Carthusians. The habit of the Florensians was of coarse gray cloth and closely resembled that of the Cistercians. The monks went barefoot, and in choir wore a cowl over their habit.