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There are also offshoots such as active Carmelite sisters.Carmelite tradition traces the origin of the order to a community of hermits on Mount Carmel, which succeeded the schools of the prophets in ancient Israel or the Crusader states.

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(The Carmelites were forced to leave the site, and the Holy Land, in 1291.

Their original conventual buildings were destroyed several times, but members of the order were able to return in the nineteenth century under the Ottoman Empire.

These men, who had gone to Palestine from Europe either as pilgrims or as crusaders, chose Mount Carmel in part because it was the traditional home of Elijah.

The foundation is believed to have been dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

There is scholarly debate over the significance for the Carmelites of the decree at the Second Council of Lyon in 1274 that no order founded after 1215 should be allowed to continue.

This action put an end to several other mendicant orders, including the Sack Friars, and the Pied, Crutched and Apostolic Friars.

Albert of Jerusalem, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and Papal legate, for a Rule.

(Albert is credited with giving a rule to the Humiliati during his long tenure as Bishop of Vercelli, and was well-versed in diplomacy, being sent by Pope Innocent III as Papal Legate to what was known as the Eastern Province.) Albert created a document, the Rule of St Albert, which is both juridically terse and replete with Scriptural allusions, thereby grounding the hermits in the life of the universal Church and their own aspirations.

These three elements are at the heart of the Carmelite charism.

The most recent statement about the charism of Carmel was in the 1995 Constitutions of the Order, in which Chapter 2 is entirely devoted to the idea of charism.

By 1245 the Carmelites were so numerous in England that they were able to hold their first general chapter at Aylesford, where Saint Simon Stock, then eighty years old, was chosen general.

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