The Order of Preachers (Ordo Praedicatorum) abbreviated OP, also known as the Dominicans, is a Catholic mendicant order of pontifical right founded in France, by a Spanish priest, saint and mystic, Dominic. It was approved by Pope Honorius III via the papal bull Religiosam vitam on 22 December 1216. Members of the order, who are referred to as Dominicans, generally carry the letters OP after their names, standing for Ordinis Praedicatorum, meaning of the Order of Preachers. Membership in the order includes friars, nuns, active sisters, and lay or secular Dominicans (formerly known as tertiaries). More recently there has been a growing number of associates of the religious sisters who are unrelated to the tertiaries.
Founded to preach the gospel and to oppose heresy, the teaching activity of the order and its scholastic organisation placed it in the forefront of the intellectual life of the Middle Ages. The order is famed for its intellectual tradition by having produced many leadi