March 14, 12
- Powerful families would make sure that their male offspring would
be trained to obtain high positions in the church.
- ^Contended to become popes.
The Sacralization of Christian Combat
- In 8 and 9 centuries – Popes Leo IV and John VII promised that
all who died in defending against Arabs, Magyars, or Vikings will win
- By 1050, the Church monopolizes the “ordination” of knights,
widely considered as constituting an 8 thSacrament.
- The initiate‟s armour and weaponry would then be blessed and
smeared with holy oil
- Pope Gregory VII (1073-85) proclaimed that military service for
Christ could secure a complete remissio peccatorum
- Holy war as penance – killing the “enemies of god” is deemed
more effective… than prayer, fasting, or works of mercy.
- Crusading – a devotional act of armed pilgrimage, initially to
reclaim the Holy Land from Muslim control, but which expanded to
include religious wars against pagans in Eastern Europe and the
Baltic region, Greek and Russian Orthodox Christians, Tartars, and
Christian heretics, such as the Cathars and Hussites, as well as
political enemies of the popes (in these operations, massacres
against local Jewish populations were common).
- Christian-Muslim hostility had been rising, owing to Seljuk Turkish
pressure on the Byzantines and, since 1009, when the Fatimid
„mad‟ Caliph al-Hakim ordered the destruction of churches and
synagogues throughout North Africa and the Middle East…
- In 1063, Pope Alexander II involved in the Reconquista – Christians
fighting against Muslims would be absolved of sins if died in battle.
- Pope Urban II, calls for deliverance of the Holy Land, Nov. 1095
– declares it an “act of penance so severe that it is fully sufficient to
remit all the sins” of the confessing crusaders
- Crusader ceremonial:
- Taking the cross – inspired by Matt. 19:29
- Purse and staff (like the pilgrim)
- The sacred vow
- Crusader rights and privileges: moratorium on debt repayment and
interest; exemption from tolls and taxes; automatic release from
excommunication; personal confessors who had wide powers of
- Monks served as recruiting agents – pledged that monasteries
would safeguard property and the families of the crusaders.- Spiritual incentives – Guilbert, Benedictine Abbot of Nogent
(1053-1124): G-d has instituted in our time holy wars, so that the
order of knights… might find a new way of finding salvation. And so
they are not forced to abandon secular affairs completely by
choosing monastic life or any religious profession…. But can attain
in some measure G-d‟s grace while pursuing their own careers, with
the liberty and in the dress to which they are accustomed.” –
knightly was & life style is now sacred &salvific
- Guilbert‟s history of the First Crusade, published in 1121, titled Dei
gesta per Francos = „G-d‟s Deeds Performed through the Franks‟.
- Crusader testimonials confirm many acted “in order to obtain G-d‟s
pardon for my crimes” “to gain Christ” many opted for was rather
- Fighting as an act of self-sanctification – Crusaders made
confession and took communion before every military engagement.
- Dominician friar on the Crusader dead: “by this kind of death,
people make it to heaven who perhaps would never reach it by
- Efforts were made to claim martyrdom for fallen Crusaders – but
the Church was ambivalent
- An Early crusade song, French c.1145 – the Turks‟ dishonorable
seizure of “G-d‟s fief”: …No one will have any fear of hell…
- The wife‟s reward:
- “The woman who with a willing heart sends her dear husband on
this journey (if she remains virtuous) shall purchase half of his
reward. She shall pray for both of them here, and he shall go and
fight for them both there”
- Between 1096 and 1101, a series of crusading invasions flow
- Some 60000 gather for