THE CRUSADERS AND THE CHURCH

The Crusades generally brings to mind a very dark time in history. I have had several discussions with individuals about the topic of the Crusades and I cannot remember one person that spoke highly of it. There is an abundance of atheistic websites claiming phrases for example, “Religion has caused more wars and deaths than anything else in history”. The Crusade obviously left hard feelings for many throughout time. The legendary Crusades are one of the foremost topics of failed religious endeavors to arise by critics. The Crusades were notably a Roman Catholic affair and I believe it is important that it be distinguished from Evangelical Christianity. Nevertheless, both religion as well as atheistic motivations such as communism is responsible for the many deaths in many wars. The Evidence Bible reads, “It is true that man has used religion for political gain. Nazi Germany had "God with us" engraved in German on the belts of Nazi soldiers. America said, "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition." The law may even allow you to start the Christian Nazi Party, if you so desire. You can become a "reverend" for a few dollars through the tabloid classifieds and then further your political agenda with the world‟s blessing, no matter how much it smears the name of Christ.”1 The Crusades were a vicious reaction to the conquering of Jerusalem in the Holy Land. In 614 AD the Persians, who were not yet Muslim, conquered Jerusalem. Rome and Persia had battled for centuries and during this time Jerusalem fell. The “true cross” relic was stolen in the process. This loss greatly concerned and angered Rome. In response to the defeat the Roman Emperor Heraclius led an army to Jerusalem retaking the land and the relic. Hill writes that this could quite

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Comfort, Ray. "Answers from the Evidence Bible." www.livingwaters.com. Available from http://www.livingwaters.com/witnessingtool/religionhascausedmorewars.shtml. Internet; accessed 28 November 2010.

in Egypt and Syria. The only serious one had been El-Hakim's persecution at the beginning of the XIth century.”3 The violent attack by El-Hakim on the artifacts and the pilgrims in Jerusalem was the start of the Christian response. In 1095 Pope Urban II declared from Clermont. 3 . Christian pilgrims would travel to Jerusalem as tourists. “This was not simply another Roman-Persian conflict.”2 The official Muslim conquest began several years later in 622 AD and the shortly thereafter the entire Arabian peninsula collectively became Islam and Persia was then crushed. “For your brethren who live in the east are in urgent need of your help. However." The Past and Present Society 6 no. because of the destruction of the Holy Sepulchre. and you must hasten to give them the aid which has often been promised them. which is called the Arm of St. The Pope gave this remarkable proclamation at the Council of Clermont. In 638. 1954 (1954): 7. the Turks and Arabs have attacked them and have conquered the territory of Romania [the Greek empire] as far west as the shore of the Mediterranean and the Hellespont.possibly be the first crusade. This had made a deep impression in the West. Zondervan Handbook to the History of Christianity. Claude. “Naturally there had been occasional outbursts of fury. Under the Muslim Law they were usually fairly safe and were not forced to convert to Islam. It would be more than another four centuries before that would occur. "An Introduction to the First Crusade. one whose object was the retrieval of the „true cross‟. Michigan: Lion Publishing. as the most of you have heard. Jonathan. pg 104 Cahen. it was the first Crusade. Although Jerusalem was out of the hands of the Roman Catholics. Cahen explains. 2006. this peacefulness didn‟t always last. France that an expedition to Jerusalem was urgent and would begin to bring an end to the conflict and reclaim Jerusalem. George. They have occupied more and more of the lands of those 2 Hill. For. The cherished Christian relics including the „true cross‟ were now in danger by the hands of the Muslims. Nov. Rome did not immediately attempt to challenge and re-conquer the Holy City. the Muslims conquered Jerusalem and the rest of the Middle East. It was a holy war.. In the meantime. In effect. News of this outrage was carried home by returning pilgrims.

1. However in journey between the two cities they were ambushed by Kilij Arslan and his army but to no avail. the faithful of God will be much more widely attacked by them.”4 The crowd was motivated by Pope Urban II‟s speech and responded with „Deus lo volt!‟ (God wills it!) and thus the First Crusade began and was largely a success. it meant also for those who are absent. They have killed and captured many. to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends. the great outer walls of Antioch were breached and the Crusaders broke through.. I say this to those who are present. eds. (New York: Scribners. Christ commands it. foot-soldiers and knights.. Thatcher. 513-17 . beseech you as Christ's heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever rank. Paine writes. It took many months yet in the end the siege was successful. If you permit them to continue thus for awhile with impurity. “On 3 June 1098. The first assault was the Imperial Palace at Blachernae in Constantinople. poor and rich. The leaders there were force into submission. pp. The homes of Muslim and Christian alike were looted as the 4 Bongars. and Edgar Holmes McNeal. and have destroyed the churches and devastated the empire. Gesta Dei per Francos. Moreover. 382 f. On this account I. massacring every Muslim they found. Their strategy was to block the city gates preventing them from forming an effective attack while preventing supplies and support from entering in. or rather the Lord.Christians. The army set out and along the way they conquered several important and not so important cities. Next after they crossed over modern day Istanbul Strait (Bosphorus) they sacked the city of Nicaea and then the city Armenia. In 1097 the Crusaders laid siege to the heavily fortified city of Antioch. and have overcome them in seven battles. 1905). The city was so heavily reinforced it could not be easily conquered. A Source Book for Medieval History. This strategy partially backfired as the Crusaders began running low on supplies and many began to starve. trans in Oliver J.

Others shot them with arrows. hands. 41 d‟Aguiliers. and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city." Christian History Institute. The Third Crusade began in 1189 and it too was a dreary failure. You would not believe it if I told you. This second expedition became popular with the promotional preaching of Bernard of Clairvaux a French abbot. a chronicler of the crusade. The plan to travel to Jerusalem and control it was forgotten and instead the city of Damascus became the focus of attention.Crusaders repaid the latter for the lack of Christian solidarity. The army was unorganized and often suffered from internal feuding between commanders. Michael. This Crusade did not fare as smoothly as the first however there was much support for it. the Sultan of Egypt 5 6 Paine.chitorch. But these were small matters compared to what happened at the Temple of Solomon. Others tortured them longer by casting them into the flames. so that they fell from the towers. Hertfordshire UK: Pocket Essentials.”5 The brutal and coldblooded killings were all the more evident as Christians began slaughtering even fellow Christians. One had to pick one‟s way over the bodies of men and horses. The Crusades. Piles of heads. "Crusaders Capture Jerusalem. After several attempts they penetrated the walls. The revenge of the Crusaders was disturbing and callous. we saw some wonderful sights. Raymond d'Aguilers. This time the army was led by Louis VII of France. Some of our men – actually the more merciful ones – cut off the heads of their enemies. .php/eras/medieval/crusades/. Harpenden. Available from http://www. accessed 28 November 2010. 2005. Pope Gregory VIII ordered the re-conquering of Jerusalem which at this time was ruled by. “Now that our men had possession of the walls and towers. Saladin. described his eyewitness of the massacre.org/index. The city and region of Edessa was sacked by the Muslims in 1144 and causing Pope Eugene III to order a Second Crusade. Internet. The Crusaders were unable to capture the city and instead retreated in failure. Finally the Crusaders reached Jerusalem where the Holy City was heavily guarded by the army of Iftikhar ad-Daula. Raymond.”6 Their joy and celebration did not last long.

in 1192 King Richard signed a treaty with Saladin allowing Muslims to rule Jerusalem but also allowing the Christian pilgrims to visit as tourists safely. Arsuf and Jaffa. Many refer to this crusade as the “King‟s Crusade” rather than the “People‟s Crusade” as the previous endeavors were named. This expedition never re-conquered the Holy Land. “When news of this reached Innocent it put him in a quandary. 104 . Paine writes. The Third Crusade did not accomplish what it set out to do and the Pope had died before it even ended. most never finished the travel to Jerusalem. 2005. The Fourth Crusade was finished after Constantinople and the Crusaders returned home. Immediately they sacked the city of Zara.since1187. in 1202. King Richard I traveled with his army to Jerusalem and along the way laid siege to Acre. The relationship with Constantinople had become more than strained over the last several centuries. The large German segment of the army headed to Jerusalem however along the way German King and Roman Emperor. the Fourth Crusade ensued to also re-conquer Jerusalem. His anger at the direction the Crusade had taken was subdued by his joy at the final reduction of the Byzantine heresy. Michael. Hertfordshire UK: Pocket Essentials. The Crusades. Six years later. 7 Paine. Next rather than continuing on to Jerusalem as planned they were side-tracked to the Byzantine city of Constantinople where it was conquered and pillaged and the populace massacred. In Fact. This Crusade was ordered by Pope Innocent III. Harpenden. Frederick Barbarossa accidently drowned and the gigantic army fell apart. Instead of conquering Jerusalem.”7 The original plan to re-conquer Jerusalem never came about. This shocked and extremely angered the Pope because the city was Catholic.

The spiritual drive of the Crusades died and became typical battles and wars and countless lives lost in massacre.The subsequent Crusades such as the Fifth Crusade failed also and the Sixth Crusade did restore Jerusalem but not for long. After a two hundred year span the Crusades had officially come to their end in 1291. . The Seventh Crusade was small and the past passion and enthusiasm for the crusades appeared to be over for quite some time.

Internet. Ray. Michael. Gesta Dei per Francos..shtml. 2005. and Edgar Holmes McNeal.chitorch. Thatcher. pg 104 Paine. 513-17 Cahen. d‟Aguiliers.Bibliography Bongars. Available from http://www.php/eras/medieval/crusades/. 1954 (1954): 7. Available from http://www.. Michigan: Lion Publishing. 382 f. The Crusades. Harpenden." Christian History Institute. Michael. accessed 28 November 2010. A Source Book for Medieval History." The Past and Present Society 6 no. (New York: Scribners. "An Introduction to the First Crusade. Claude..com. Raymond. 104 . Nov. Internet. Hertfordshire UK: Pocket Essentials. 2006. 2005. 1. Hertfordshire UK: Pocket Essentials." www. Hill.livingwaters. pp.org/index. eds. "Crusaders Capture Jerusalem. Harpenden. "Answers from the Evidence Bible. Comfort.livingwaters. accessed 28 November 2010. The Crusades. trans in Oliver J.com/witnessingtool/religionhascausedmorewars. 1905). Zondervan Handbook to the History of Christianity. Jonathan. 41 Paine.

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