The Will of God

Pope Urban II

Pope Urban II

From the confines of Jerusalem and from the city of Constantinople a grievous report has gone forth and has repeatedly been brought to our ears; namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race, a race wholly alienated from God, a generation that set not their heart alight and whose spirit was not steadfast with God, violently invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by pillage and fire. They have led away a part of the captives into their own country, and a part have they have killed by cruel tortures. They have either destroyed the churches of God or appropriated them for the rites of their own religion. They destroy the altars, after having defiled them with their uncleanness. The kingdom of the Greeks is now dismembered by them and has been deprived of territory so vast in extent that it could be traversed in two months’ time . . .

. . . Let those who have formerly been accustomed to contend wickedly in private warfare against the faithful fight against the infidel, and bring to a victorious end the war which ought already to have been begun. Let those who have hitherto been robbers now become soldiers. Let those who have formerly contended against their brothers and relatives now fight against the barbarians as they ought . . .

. . . Most beloved brethren, today is manifest in you what the Lord says in the Gospel, `Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’; for unless God had been present in your spirits, all of you would not have uttered the same cry; since, although the cry issued from numerous mouths, yet the origin of the cry as one. Therefore I say to you that God, who implanted is in your breasts, has drawn it forth from you. Let that then be your war cry in combats, because it is given to you by God. When an armed attack is made upon the enemy, this one cry be raised by all the soldiers of God: ‘It is the will of God! It is the will of God!’ [Deus vult! Deus Vult!]

– Pope Urban II, 1095, according to the chronichlers Robert the Monk and Fulcher of Chartres. In the eleventh century the Byzantine Emperor Alexis I was losing ground to Muslim armies and appealed to Pope Urban II for support to reconquer the Holy Lands for the Empire. Urban II obliged by whipping up fears of the heathen infidels and hatred of their supposed transgressions against the One True God, inciting men to kill in the name of ‘love thy enemy.’ The Crusades lasted three centuries.

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/urban2a.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Urban_II#Crusades

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusades#Immediate_cause

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