On 24 June 1524, Pope Clement VII approved the establishment of the Theatine Order in his Brief Exponi Nobis.
The Theatines were founded by Saint Cajetan, Paolo Consiglieri, Bonifacio da Colle, and Giovanni Pietro Carafa and named after the Italian city Chieti/Theate where Carafa was Bishop. The order was consecrated to the Cross and Saint Cajetan and the other Theatines will make their profession before the pope on September 14th – the Feast of the Holy Cross.
The main charism of the Theatines was to encourage both clergy and laity in the practice of virtue. One of the reasons for the establishment of the Theatines was in response to the attacks of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.
The Theatines accomplished much good work with their oratories and missions and include in their number one pope – Paul IV. However, the mid-late 19th century suppression of religious orders struck the Theatines particularly harshly. The Theatines vow of poverty prohibited them from owning any property and so was left with very little when their order was disolved many parts of Europe.
There are also Theatine Sisters and it was through Venerable Ursula Benincasa, who founded the Order of Theatine Nuns, that the devotion of the Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception was established.