SUMMONS OF POPE EUGENE III. TO THE CRUSADE-1145

Quantum praedecessores

SUMMONS OF POPE EUGENE III. TO THE CRUSADE, DEC. 1, 1145.

(Doeberl: ” Monumenta Germaniae Selecta,” vol. 4, p. 40.)

Bishop Eugene, servant of the servants of God, to his most beloved son in Christ Louis, the illustrious and glorious king of the French, and to his beloved sons the princes, and to all the faithful ones of God who are established throughout Gaul,—greeting and apostolic benediction.

How much our predecessors the Roman pontiffs did labour for the deliverance of the oriental church, we have learned from the accounts of the ancients and have found it written in their acts. For our predecessor of blessed memory, pope Urban, did sound, as it were, a celestial trump and did take care to arouse for its deliverance the sons of the holy Roman church from the different parts of the earth. At his voice, indeed, those beyond the mountain and especially the bravest and strongest warriors of the French kingdom, and also those of Italy, inflamed by the ardour of love did come together, and, congregating a very great army, not without much shedding of their own blood, the divine aid being with them, did free from the filth of the pagans that city where our Saviour willed to suffer for us, and where He left His glorious sepulchre to us as a memorial of His passion, —and many others which, avoiding prolixity, we refrain from mentioning.

Which, by the grace of God, and the zeal of your fathers, who at intervals of time have striven to the extent of their power to defend them and to spread the name of Christ in those parts, have been retained by the Christians up to this day; and other cities of the infidels have by them been manfully stormed. But now, our sins and those of the people themselves requiring it, a thing which we can not relate without great grief and wailing, the city of Edessa which in our tongue is called Rohais,—which also, as is said, once when the whole land in the east was held by the pagans, alone by herself served God under the power of the Christians—has been taken and many of the castles of the Christians occupied by them (the pagans). The archbishop, moreover, of this same city, together with his clergy and many other Christians, have there been slain, and the relics of the saints have been given over to the trampling underfoot of the infidels, and dispersed. Whereby how great a danger threatens the church of God and the whole of Christianity, we both know ourselves and do not believe it to be hid from your prudence. For it is known that it will be the greatest proof of nobility and probity, if those things which the bravery of your fathers acquired be bravely defended by you the sons. But if it should happen otherwise, which God forbid, the valour of the fathers will be found to have diminished in the case of the sons.

Continue Reading