Some time before 1214, Albert, Patriarch of Jerusalem, at the request of a group of hermits living on Mount Carmel in Palestine, set down a formula of life which gave formal expression to the way of life they had been living for some fifteen or twenty years. This formula became known as the Primitive Rule of Carmel and is still followed by Carmelites eight hundred years later.
It is a short Rule and perhaps the most scriptural of those of the ancient religious Orders and has inspired countless saints to follow its injuction to "live in allegiance to Jesus Christ and follow him faithfully with a pure heart and a good conscience". It is also a gentle but sure guide for those who follow it, tempering traditional asceticism with a care for the needs of age and infirmity.
The whole purpose of the Rule is to lead its followers to an ever deeper friendship with Christ of whom St. Teresa wrote, "he is the beginning, the middle and the end of all prayer", and it is the bond which unites all members of the Carmelite Order