The official Rule (Regula bullata) as written by St. Francis and approved by Pope Honorius III on 29 November 1223. It is the the Rule followed by the first order brothers even to this day.
Written probably in 1226, when Francis was dying, the Testament is the most important autobiographical document of St. Francis. The description of this document as a “mandatum” indicates the style of a last will given by Francis to the brothers prior to his death.
Revised following the Second Vatican Council, the Constitutions are the official interpretation of the Rule, according to the “signs of the times,” and the governing principles of Capuchin life.
Written in 1529, soon after the initial Capuchin reform, the Statutes are the original description of Capuchin life and spirituality.
With little change or variation, the Constitutions of 1536 were the governing principles of the order for over 400 years, until the Second Vatican Council required all religious orders to update their constitutions.
Written in 1221, this earlier Rule of St. Francis was little more than a compilation of different Scriptural quotes. It did not receive written papal approval.