LAZARITES (LAZARISTS or LAZARIANS) , the popular names of the " Congregation of Priests of the Mission " in the Roman Catholic Church. It had its origin in the successful mission to the common people conducted by St Vincent de Paul (q.v.) and five other priests on the estates of the Gondi, family. More immediately it dates from 1624, when the little community acquired a permanent settlement in the college des Bons Enfans in Paris. Archiepiscopal recognition was obtained in 1626; by a papal bull of the 12th of January 1632, the society was constituted a congregation, with St Vincent de Paul at its head. About the same time the canons, regular of St Victor handed over to the congregation the priory of St Lazarus (formerly a lazarhouse) in Paris, whence the name of Lazarites or Lazarists. Within a few years they had acquired another house in Paris and set up other establishments throughout France; missions were also sent to Italy (1638), Tunis (1643), Algiers and Ireland (1646), Madagascar (1648) and Poland (1651). A fresh bull of Alexander VII. in April 1655 further confirmed the society; this was followed by a brief in September of the same year, regulating its constitution. The rules then adopted, which were framed on the model of those of the Jesuits, were published at Paris in 1668 under the title Regulae seu constitutiones communes congregationis missionis. The special objects contemplated were the religious instruction of the lower classes, the training of the clergy and foreign missions. During the French Revolution the congregation was suppressed and St Lazare plundered by the mob; it was restored by Napoleon in 1804 at the desire of Pius VII., abolished by him in 1809 in consequence of a quarrel with the pope, and again restored in 1816. The Lazarites were expelled from Italy in 1871 and from Germany in 1873. The Lazarite province of Poland was singularly prosperous; at the date of its suppression in 1796 it possessed thirty-five establishments. The order was permitted to return in 1816, but is now extinct there. In Madagascar it had a mission from 1648 till 1674. In -1783 Lazarites were appointed to take the place of the Jesuits in the Levantine and Chinese missions; they still have some footing in China, and in 1874 their establishments throughout the Turkish empire numbered sixteen. In addition, they established branches in Persia, Abyssinia, Mexico, the South American republics, Portugal, Spain and Russia, some of which have been suppressed. In the same year they had fourteen establishments in the United States of America. The total number of Lazarites throughout the world is computed at about 3000. Amongst distinguished members of the congregation may be mentioned: P. Collet (1693-1770), writer on theology and ethics; J. de la Grive (1689-1757), geographer; E. Bore (d. 1878), orientalist; P. Bertholon (1680-1757), physician; and Armand David, Chinese missionary and traveller.
See Regulae seu constitutiones communes congregationis missionis (Paris, 1668); Memoires de la congregation de la mission (1863); Congregation de la mission. Repertoire hislorique (1900); Notices bibliographiques sur les ecrivains de la congregation de la mission (Angouleme, 1878); P. Helyot, Diet, des ordres religieux, viii. 64-77; M. Heimbrecher, Die Orden und Kongregationen der katholisc'hen Kirche, ii. (1897); C. Stork in Wetzer and Welte's Kirchenlexikon (Catholic), vii. ; E. Bougaud, History of St Vincent de Paul (1908).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)