Towards the end of Ruysbroeck's life, in 1378, he was visited by the fervid lay-preacher Gerhard Groot (1340-1384), who was so impressed by the life of the community at Groenendal that he conceived the idea of founding a Christian brotherhood, bound by no monastic vows, but living together in simplicity and piety with all things in common, after the apostolic pattern.
Their works comprise the whole literature of our faith during the decisive centuries which followed the apostolic age.
Prelates are protonotaries apostolic, domestic prelates, private.
Perceiving the advantage of a visit to the imperial and apostolic court after the Italian occupation of Rome and the suppression of the religious orders, and convinced of the value of more cordial intercourse with the German empire, Visconti-Venosta and Minghetti advised their sovereign to accept both the Austrian and the subsequent German invitations.
Their writings, like those of the apostles, are epistolary; but editions of the apostolic fathers now usually admit also the early Church order known as the Didache, the allegory entitled the Shepherd, and a short anonymous apology addressed to one Diognetus.