Victories and tragedies

Crusades I

για Ελληνικά κάνετε κλικ εδώ

Collision of two worlds

In 1187 A.D. Salah ed Din (Saladin) conquers again Palestine and hence Jerusalem. So, the Third Crusade is called under Frederic I Barbarossa of Germany, Philip II August of France and Richard Lion-heart of England.

Richard Lion-heart proved a most efficient military leader: in 1191 he conquers Cyprus-because of personal differences with Isaac II Comnenos, the then Emperor of Byzantium, and having ensured, in this way, an important naval base, he succeeds in retaking Accra as well as a lot of other cities along the coast of Palestine.

The Third Crusade, in general, was crown with success despite of not managing to liberate Jerusalem.

Richard Lion-heart, in 1192 A.D., signs a treaty with Saladin, according which Jerusalem remains under Muslim rule, but the unarmed Christian pilgrims may enter the city.

Precisely this failure to recapture Jerusalem led to the convocation of the Fourth Crusade.

The Fourth Crusade, for reasons pertaining to the  partial interests of the great naval power of the times, namely Venice, and the intrigues of the ousted emperor Isaac II Comnenos who wanted to get his throne back, strayed from its original course and purpose, i.e. the liberation of Jerusalem, and supporting Isaac Comnenos who was promising rich rewards if they put him on the throne, it turned against Constantinople.

On April 12, 1204 A.D. they conquer and sack the City.

Pope Innocent III had threatened with excommunication the crusaders if they would turn to fight against their Christians, but unfortunately, his objections were not heeded and the crusaders did not obey him.

This tragic event left for many centuries an indelible mark in the collective memory of the Orient and rises further obstacles to its relations with the West.

Five more Crusades follow, from 1200 till 1270 A.D., but with poor results.

Despite all the shadows in the relief of the immense efforts of the Crusades, more than any other event in Medieval history, the Crusades allowed Christianity to become conscious of its unity and to give a united witness of faith to the world

Even today we keep a certain nostalgia with regard to them when we name noble efforts for the amelioration of our lives “Crusades”, e.g. against cancer, poverty etc.

Spiritual Solidarity

Baptism and Confirmation make us active and responsible members of the Church, open booksomething of which we may not be fully aware.

However, wittingly or unwittingly, we influence the whole of the community of the faithful and are influenced by it in our turn.

Whatever we do, however we act there are consequences in our immediate and further environment. The Church calls this mutual dependence of each faithful on the their and on the whole of the Church the “Communion of Saints”.

That means that we are really in a position to help each other in our spiritual life. Our prayer aids those who do not know how to pray, our fasting those who do not fast, our forgiveness those who do not forgive, our praise and thanksgiving those who do not praise or give thanks.

The saints who are already in heaven can assist us, so God’s Love “passes’ from one faithful to the other, from the saint to the striving Christian, from the :healthy” to the weak.

This is possible because the living link which binds us together is Christ himself who has given us his Spirit.

Life is like a book into which we , each day, write something new.

How do we fill its pages?

More importantly: do we allow the Holy Spirit to “write” it with us?

Then our life will be like another gospel for our fellow men and women, a reliable reflection of the joyful news of Salvation, for we shall  live responsibly our Baptism in the Communion of Saints.

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