Deus Vult

More than just Catholic Zealots

The Crusades are some of the most controversial and widely misunderstood events of medieval Europe. Crusaders are often portrayed as savage, imperialistic, barbaric conquest-seekers when, in actuality, many historical sources indicate that their missions were much more pious in motivation than their reputation would suggest. Historian Thomas Madden contends that the First Crusade was, first and foremost, an act of “love of one’s neighbor,” an “errand of mercy to right a terrible wrong.”[1]  Crusades  were also considered a pilgrimage for the sake of the “reconquest of Jerusalem,”

During the 11th century, the Byzantine Empire was at war with the Turkish Empire, and while the rise of the skilled and powerful emperor Alexios Comnenus made the Byzantine’s future seem a bit more promising than it had, as the Byzantine’s struggled with political instability, they were still in great need of aid.

The First Crusade as an entirely defensive move meant to protect the Byzantines from “the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race,” he said while preaching the Crusade (according to a version written recorded by the monk Robert of Rheims), “a race utterly alienated from God, a generation forsooth which has not directed its heart and has not entrusted its spirit to God, has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by the sword, pillage and fire.”[3]

It is clear that in the mind of the Pope and the Crusaders he inspired, this was an act of defense and protection.

In his speech about the Crusade, Pope Urban II also mentions that Jerusalem, the “navel of the world,” the land “fruitful above others” is being “held captive by [God’s] enemies,” and “does not cease to implore” the Christians to “come to her aid.”[5]

Pope Urban II derives his assumption that the Crusaders have an obligation to help both from the fact that the Turks’ victims are their Christian brothers, as well as from the fact that it is Jerusalem, specifically, that is being captured. Jerusalem is the city which “the Redeemer of the human race has made illustrious by His advent, has beautified by residence, has consecrated by suffering, has redeemed by death, has glorified by burial.”[6]

This obligation to protect is the Crusaders’ primary motivation, but not the only one. The Crusaders considered their mission a pilgrimage (they would not have used the word “Crusade” to describe what they were doing), and pilgrimage was one way to obtain an indulgence. Indulgences were not just a way to “buy forgiveness for sins,” which is a common misconception, but rather a recognition of good works for the sake of shortening the soul’s time in purgatory.

Pope Urban II’s speech. He writes:

[If any church deserves] reverence above others (for persons, I say, since greater privileges are accorded to apostolic sees; for places, indeed, since the same dignity which is accorded to persons is also shown to regal cities, such as Constantinople), we owe most to that church from which we received the grace of redemption and the source of all Christianity.[7]

The Crusaders believed that they were actually doing something to please God and save their souls, which is reflected in Pope Urban II’s remarks as well; he implores the Crusaders to “undertake this journey for the remission of your sins, with the assurance of the imperishable glory for the kingdom of heaven.”

The Knights Templar or simply as Templars, were a Catholic military order recognised in 1139,  the wealthiest and most powerful order. They became a favoured charity throughout Christendomand grew rapidly in membership and power. They were prominent in Christian finance.  The King of France became indebted to them, and he didn’t like that. In 1307, he had many of the order’s members in France arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, and burned at the stake.[13] Pope Clement V disbanded the order in 1312 under pressure from King Philip.

Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades.[6]

They were also known as The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, they were so poor that their insignia showed two knights riding one horse. 

This was because they took a vow of poverty, but the order was still getting donations. With its clear mission and ample resources, the order grew rapidly.  Based on this mix of donations and business dealing, the Templars established financial networks across the whole of Christendom.  The Order of the Knights Templar arguably qualifies as the world’s first multinational corporation.[10][11][23]

The Hashashin and the hired  Mercenaries

It wasn’t until many hired mercenaries joined the fray that the burning, destroying and looting that happens in war escalated even further. There has never been a war without all these things and the introduction of the Hashashin made that things get even uglier.  The Muslim order of the Hashashin, or Assassins would dress up as priests and murder high ranking officials without hesitation. They worked for both sides of the battle for both muslim, and templars. It was these Assassins who murdered many high level Templar Guild Masters.

The Assassins were generally young in age, giving them the physical strength and stamina which would be required to carry out these murders. However, physical prowess was not the only trait that was required to be a “Fida’i”. To get to their targets, the Assassins had to be patient, cold, and calculating. They were generally intelligent and well-read because they were required to possess not only knowledge about their enemy, but his or her culture and their native language. They were trained by their masters to disguise themselves and sneak into enemy territory to perform the assassinations, instead of simply attacking their target outright.[9]

Lacking their own army, the Nizari relied on these warriors to carry out espionage and assassinations of key enemy figures, and over the course of 300 years successfully killed two caliphs, and many viziers, sultans, and Crusader leaders.[6]

Order of Assassins or simply Assassins (Arabicأساسين‎ asāsīnPersianحشاشین‎ Hashâshīn) is the common name used to refer to an Islamic sect formally known as the Nizari Ismailis. Based on texts from Alamut, their grand master Hassan-i Sabbah tended to call his disciples Asāsīyūn (أساسيون, meaning “people who are faithful to the foundation [of the faith]”), but related to the term hashish.[1][2][3][4]

This was because they would use drugs ritually before they would kill.  One theory, possibly the best known but also the most criticized, comes from the reports of Marco Polo during his travels to the Orient. He recounts a story he heard, of the “Old Man of the Mountain” (Sabbah) who would drug his young followers with hashish, lead them to a “paradise”, and then claim that only he had the means to allow for their return. Perceiving that Sabbah was either a prophet or magician, his disciples, believing that only he could return them to “paradise”, were fully committed to his cause and willing to carry out his every request.[10]

The origins of the Assassins can be traced back to just before the First Crusade, around 1094 in Alamut, north of modern Iran, during a crisis of succession to the Fatimid caliphate.[7] There has been great difficulty finding out much information about the origins of the Assassins because most early sources are written by enemies of the order, are based on legends, or both. Because of the unrest in the Holy Landcaused by the Crusades, Hassan-i Sabbah found himself not only fighting for power with other Muslims, but also with the invading Christian forces.[8]

The Oaths of the Templars

Oaths

1. The Temple and Service thereof

“Remember, brothers, that we are the descendants of the ‘Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ’ who first held their meetings in the precincts of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. We must contemplate the word and meaning of the Temple. Remember also that we are but rough stones and must continuously work to build our own Temple with the smooth stones within us.”

2. The Love of Meditation

“Recognize with gladness that we are neither lost, nor strangers to God, but one of His good creatures, and in our Temple we shall meet people from many nations and religions. There is no shame in seeking God; forget not when we ponder that God’s Temple is our own being. God will not look for us, but we first must seek Him. Each day, time must be put aside for meditation and prayers for our Order and its work.”

3. Discipline

“The principles of St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s life are still valid today. We must care for mind, body and soul. Work happily, but with humility and at all times honor your fellow man.”  Care not for worldly goods.

4. Knightly Combat

“Our white garments decorated with the Blood Red Cross remind each of us that we must be capable of making sacrifices. Do not strive for worldly wealth—perhaps tomorrow we might have to give account of ourselves. We shall not know, until it is too late, for excuses are not acceptable to the Greatest Being, Almighty God.”

5. Brotherhood

“Each day we must help our brethren for whom we are responsible, for one day God will say, ‘Where is thy Brother?’ Accept no reward, always be a pillar of the Temple, for all the Order holds for us is the opportunity to flee the sins of the world, to live charitably, to be penitent, and above all, to be the servant of Almighty God.”

As true Templars, we must always be prepared for battle in either the temporal or spiritual realms. Our oaths require moral courage and our way of life demands dedication to our knightly ideals. The true knight is, of course, humble before the Lord and his fellow man. If a true Templar would boast about anything, he boasts in our Lord!

Decalogue

(or 10 Commandments of Knighthood- Leon Gautier, 1832 – 97)
1.The Knight was first of all a Christian soldier with unswerving faith in the Church;
2. He must resolutely defend that Church;
3. He must faithfully obey his feudal lord so long as that obedience did not conflict with allegiance to the Church;
4. He must love his country;
5. He must maintain unrelenting war against the enemies of Christendom;
6. He must never retreat from the enemy;
7. He must keep his pledged word;
8. He must be generous in giving;
9. He must show pity for the weak, and steadfastness in their defence;
10. He must at all times champion the good against the forces of evil.

1813 Templar Oath

“In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

“I pledge myself, from now and forever, to the holy Militia of the Order of the Temple. I declare to take freely and solemnly oath of obedience, poverty and chastity, as well as fraternity, hospitality and preliation.”

“With this oath I state my strong and irrevocable intent”

 

“To pledge my sword, my forces, my life and everything that I own to the cause, defence, honour and further knowledge of the Christian religion, of the Order of the Temple and of my companions in arms; to the rescue of the Temple of the Holy Sepulchre of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Land of Palestine and the East and of the domains of our forefathers.”

 

“To submit to the Rule of our Holy Father Bernard, to the Transmission Chart, the Rules, Law and Decrees and all other statements issued in conformity to the Statutes of the Order; not to invest any knight or divulgate title, grade, ritual or other custom of the Order unless authorized by the Statutes; to obey unconditionally and always, within the Establishments of the Order and without, and in all walks of life, the Grand Master and the high Officers of the Order, collectively and singularly.”

 

“To love my brothers the Knight and my Sisters the Dames and help them, their children and their widows with my sword, my advice, means and wealth, my credit and everything in my power, and will favour them, with no exception, over those who are not members of the Order.”

“To defend the pious pilgrims, to aid and comfort those who are persecuted for the Cause of the Cross, the sick and the poor.”

 

“To fight the infidels and the non-believers with my example, virtue, charity and convincing arguments; and to fight with the sword the infidels and non-believers who attack the Cross with their own sword.”

 

“To abhor all immodesty, and not to indulge in illegitimate pleasures of the flesh and then only with my legitimate spouse.”

 

“Finally, barring rules dictated by Religion and the Order, to conform to the Laws and Customs of the countries in which I may reside, to fulfill my duties of citizen, and to be loyal knight in those countries which entertain relations with the Order.”

 

“This oath I pronounce loudly before the Knights present at this Convent. I sign it and confirm it by my blood. Again, I write it and sign its registration in the documents relating to this Convent and witnessed by the Knights.”

“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

 

“Pursuant to the Magistral Decrees of 18 Adar 117 and (?) 694, confirmed by the Convent General on 1 Nisan 695 (2 April 1813), I declare to accede to the Unity of the Temple.”

The first Crusade was a very similar reaction to that of 2018 as headlines such as:

Christians in Egypt face unprecedented persecution, report says

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/10/christians-egypt-unprecedented-persecution-report

Gunmen kill Christians and Muslims in Quetta, Pakistan

https://www.dw.com/en/gunmen-kill-christians-and-muslims-in-quetta-pakistan/a-43228740

Four Pakistani Christians Killed In Attack Claimed By Islamic State

https://www.rferl.org/a/four-christians-shot-dead-attack-claimed-islamic-state-pakistan/29141276.html

ISIS TELLS MUSLIMS TO KIDNAP AND MURDER CHRISTIANS IN RUSSIAN-OCCUPIED AREAS

https://www.newsweek.com/kidnap-and-murder-christians-russian-occupied-areas-isis-tells-muslims-818371

The fact is that [ISIS] kills Christians because they are Christians; Yazidis because they are Yazidis; Shia because they are Shia.Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, March 17, 2016.”

https://www.counterextremism.com/content/isiss-persecution-religions

Muslim Extremists Massacre 48 Christians in Nigeria

https://www.christianheadlines.com/news/muslim-extremists-massacre-48-christians-in-nigeria.html

List of terrorist incidents in France

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_France

Struggling to prevent terrorist attacks, France wants to ‘reform’ Islam

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/struggling-to-prevent-terrorist-attacks-france-wants-to-reform-islam/2018/04/16/b81a20c6-1d67-11e8-98f5-ceecfa8741b6_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.87c84038b67e

Native French under Attack in Muslim Areas

http://www1.cbn.com/video/native-french-under-attack-in-muslim-areas

List of Islamist terrorist attacks

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamist_terrorist_attacks

Muslim Americans Again Brace for Backlash After New York Attack

https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/nyc-terrorist-attack/muslim-americans-again-brace-backlash-after-new-york-attack-n816291

New ISIS Video Shows Mass Beheading of Christians

https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/new-isis-video-shows-mass-beheading-of-christians-399613507644

ISIS in 2015 behead 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1176709/ISIS-behead-shoot-30-Ethiopian-Christians-Libya.html

21 Coptic Christians Beheaded by ISIS Honored for Refusing to Deny Christ

https://www.christianpost.com/news/21-coptic-christians-beheaded-by-isis-honored-refusing-deny-christ-175128/

https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w-chapman/christian-father-beheaded-isis-teach-my-children-principles-jesus-christ

 

These are just some current headlines, and do not include the average terrorist attacks, only the ones on Christians for the example, the list would be too long.

Oaths

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassins
http://adorans.org/?article=the-first-crusade-as-protection-and-pilgrimage