A confraternity is normally a Roman Catholic or Orthodox organization of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety, and approved by the Church hierarchy. An archconfraternity is a "franchise" of confraternities, able to establish different groups using the same names and rules, such as the Confraternities of the Cord, Confraternity of the Rosary and others. Many of these are very widely spread. Especially in the cities of the Middle Ages, confraternities could be important and wealthy institutions for the elite, as in the Scuole Grandi of Venice. The Purgatorial societies and orders of flagellants were other specialized medieval types. The medieval French term puy designated a confraternity dedicated to artistic performance in music, song and poetry; the German meistersingers were similar, though typically imitating trade guilds in form.

The term may have other meanings: Confraternities in Nigeria began as a term for fraternities in the American college sense, university-based social organisations, but the term has spread and changed to become in many cases used by street gangs that have been accused of widespread crime.

The Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament is an example of an Anglo-Catholic confraternity established in the Church of England. Catholic confraternities of priests became common in the 19th century, fulfilling similar functions for the clergy.

Each Confraternity organization has a set of rules or by-laws to follow which every member promises to live by. Even though the Catholic Church works in harmony with the confraternity, these rules are not religious vows, instead merely rules set up to govern the confraternal organization.

Read more about Confraternity:  Activities, Membership

Other articles related to "confraternity":

Confraternity - Membership
... Each confraternity has its own regulations for membership, stipulating who may join ... The confraternity of Our Lady of the Rosary allows universal membership without regard to race, creed or social status ...
Scapular Of The Seven Sorrows Of Mary
... The members of this Confraternity later wore a scapular habit which had to be of black cloth ... In 1611, the Servite order's confraternity and the Black Scapular of the Seven Dolours of Mary received indulgences from Pope Paul V ... This scapular must be worn constantly, if one wishes to gain the indulgences of the confraternity approved by the Congregation of Indulgences in 1888 ...
Scapular Of The Most Blessed Trinity
... of the Holy Trinity is a Roman Catholic devotional scapular associated with the Confraternity of The Holy Trinity and the Secular Third Order of the Most Holy Trinity ... The indulgences of the confraternity were approved by the Congregation of Indulgences in 1899 (but have been revised with the new Trinitarian Way in 2000) It is a ...
Santa Maria Della Scala (Siena) - History
... In the 1430s, the confraternity devoted to Saint Jerome moved into the rooms in the lower levels of the Hospital, which were directly accessible from the streets ... Other confraternities active at this time include an older confraternity dedicated to Mary Most Holy, the brotherhood of Saint Michael the Archangel, later renamed ...
Confraternities In Nigeria
... In Nigeria, a confraternity is a group that is nominally university-based, though 'street and creek' confraternities began in the 1990s ... The first confraternity, the Pyrates Confraternity was created as a social organization for promising students ...