Miracles of the Crusades
Posted by foryourfaith on June 27, 2010
When Peter the Hermit reached the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem at the end of his pilgrimage, he dreamt that Jesus Christ told him to go home, raise an army and then return to liberate the eastern Christians from the Muslims. At the Council of Clermont in 1095, Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade. Peter the Hermit obeyed his vision and led a large number of French and German followers to the Holy Land.
The Crusaders took it for granted that god was on their side, but at the same time they needed all the heavenly help they could get. Their Saracen opponents could match the finest warriors of western Europe in skill and courage, and every step of the road to Jerusalem was fiercely contested.
The siege of Antioch in Syria in 1098 was especially long and drawn out. One night a low-born Provencal, Pierre Barthelemy, dreamt of the apostle Andrew and a beautiful young man bearing the wounds of Christ. Andrew showed Pierre the Holy Lance and the wounds it had made in Christ’s body. He told Pierre the lance would be found near the altar in the church of Saint Peter of Antioch. At first no one believed him, but the next night Christ and the Virgin appeared to a priest called Stephen. Christ said he was angered by the Crusader’s impiety, but if they repented and prayed before battle he would show his mercy in five days. On the fifth day, 14 June 1098, the lance was found. Amid great rejoicing it was decided to attack the Saracens. During the battle on 28 June, many of the Crusaders saw an army of celestial warriors on white horses fighting alongside them.
After the victory the pope’s delegate, the French bishop of Le Puy, Adhemar, died of plague. But when the army reached Jerusalem he appeared in a vision to a priest. Pierre Desire, telling him to organize a penitential procession around the walls. When Jerusalem was taken on 15 July 1099, many Crusaders said they saw Adhermar urging them on; some claimed that he was the first to scale the walls.
The original sources of these stories differ on many points, but all agree that such visions inspired the Crusaders to fight and helped to maintain unity among them.
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