BETHLEHEMITES, a name borne at different times by three orders in the Roman Catholic Church. (1) A community of friars at Cambridge, in 1257, whose habit was distinguished from that of the ordinary Dominicans by a five-rayed red star (in reference to Matt. ii. 9 f). (2) An order of knighthood similar to the Knights of St John, established by Pius II. in 1459 to resist the inroads of the Turks. (3) The Bethlehemite Order of Guatemala, a nursing community founded in 1650 by Pedro Betancourt (d. 1667), extended by the brothers Rodrigo and Antonio of the Cross, and raised to an order by Innocent XI. in 1687. They wore a dress like that of the Capuchins, and Clement XI. in 1707 gave them the privileges of the mendicant orders. They spread throughout Central America and Mexico and as far south as Lima, and with the order of sisters, founded in 1668 by Anna Maria del Galdo, were conspicuous for their devotion during times of plague and other contagious diseases. This order became extinct about 1850. The name Bethlehemites has also sometimes been given to the Hussites of Bohemia because their leader preached in the Bethlehem church at Prague:
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