Friends of God

The Friends of God (German: Gottesfreunde; or gotesvriunde) was a medieval mystical group of both ecclesiastical and lay persons[1] within the Catholic Church (though it nearly became a separate sect) and a center of German mysticism. It was founded between 1339 and 1343 during the Avignon Papacy of the Western Schism, a time of great turmoil for the Catholic Church. The Friends of God were originally centered in Basel, Switzerland, and were also fairly important in Strasbourg and Cologne. Some late-nineteenth century writers made large claims for the movement, seeing it both as influential in fourteenth-century mysticism, and as a precursor of the Protestant Reformation. Modern studies of the movement, however, have emphasised the derivative and often second-rate character of its mystical literature, and its limited impact on medieval literature in Germany.[2]


The name "Friends of God" may have been influenced by various sources. A number of biblical passages use the term (e.g. Judges 8.22, James 2.23, Exodus 33.11, Psalm 138.17, Wisdom 7.27, Lk 12.4, John 15.15). The concept of friendship with God had also been applied by various medieval authors, and particularly among Meister Eckhart and his followers.[2]

Other Languages
Deutsch: Gottesfreunde
italiano: Amici di Dio
português: Os amigos de Deus