be effected before the brethren had assembled; his faction endeavored to forestall the action of the chapter by carrying him from his cell, breaking open the doors, and placing him in the general's seat. Giovanni appeared, and after tumultuous proceedings his friends obtained the upper hand; the disturbers were scattered among the provinces, and Elias retreated to a hermitage, where he allowed his hair and beard to grow, and through this show of sanctity obtained reconciliation to the Order. Finally, in the chapter of 1232, his ambition was rewarded. Giovanni was deposed and he was elected general.
These turbulent intrigues were not the only evidence of the rapid degeneracy of the Order. Before Francis's Testament was five years old his commands against evasions of the Rule by cunning interpretations had been disregarded. The chapter of 1231 had applied to Gregory IX. to know whether the Testament was binding upon them in this respect, and he replied in the negative, for Francis could not bind his
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