666 Christian Crimes



1100 - 1199


12th Century

The church forbade clerics to marry so that property would pass to the church rather than to the families of clergy. [Ellerbe, 58]



After praying at the monastery of Sorde for the apprehension of his brother's murderer, a knight from Gascony ambushed the criminal. The knight cut off the hands, feet and testicles of the murderer. To show his gratitude for the answered prayers, he offered the murderer's bloody armor and weapons to the monks, who accepted them gratefully. [Williams, 2002, 18]



After receiving their commanders' permission, crusaders slaughtered all the Moslems of Caesarea. These episodes were not unusual during any of the crusades. [Johnson, 246]



Crusaders destroyed the Banu Ammar library in Tripoli, said to be "the finest in the Moslem world." [Johnson, 1976, 246]

Crusaders under King Baldwin burned the library at Dar al-Iim, which contained more than 100,000 books. The Moslems of the city were exiled or sold into slavery. [Williams, 2002, 118]



Crusaders massacred the Moslems of Beirut. [Williams, 2002, 118]



Peter Abelard's Theologia was condemned and ordered to be burned. About Abelard's teaching, St. Bernard of Clairvaux complained that the people had been discussing the Virgin Mary, the Trinity, and sacraments, and said that "faith in God has no merit if human reason provides proof for it." [Freeman, 2009, 188-189]



Archbishop Diego of Compostella, after unsuccessful attempts at persuasion, put the Abbot of S. Pelayo de Antealtaria on trial for keeping seventy concubines. The abbot also had numerous children out of wedlock and had spent the monastery's money on luxurious living. Although the charges were proved, the abbot received no canonical punishment, but was granted "a benefice in the abbey lands ... for his support..." [Lea, 1884, 308]



Pope Innocent II "pronounced that a union contracted in opposition to the rule of the Church was not a marriage." [Lea, 1884, 315]



The death of a boy near Norwich, England, was rumored to have been sacrificed by Jews. After writing an account of routine "blood libel" by Jews, monk Thomas of Monmouth set off a round of pogroms all over Europe. [Haught, 1990, 44]


A Moslem army under Zengi laid siege to Edessa in Syria, which was defenseless except for some mercenaries who had not been paid recently. They had not been paid because Archbishop Hugo kept the money he was supposed to have paid them with. William of Tyre wrote, "Although he was said to have amassed great riches, which he might have used to pay troops for defending the city, Archbishop Hugo preferred, like a miser, to store up his wealth rather than to consider his perishing people." As a result, Zengi's army took the city. During the attack, the desperate citizens sought safety in the citadel, but Archbishop Hugo locked the doors so that they couldn't get in. The archbishop was murdered along with the defenseless Christians under his authority. [Williams, 2002, 122-123]



German crusaders, prompted by one of St. Bernard's anti-Semite monks, again massacred hundreds of Jews and stole their possessions. [Williams, 2002, 134]



[St.] Bernard of Clairvaux wrote: "The Christian glories in the death of a pagan, because thereby Christ himself is glorified." [Haught, 1990, 26]



Pope Lucius II led an army against the Roman Capitol, because the republican faction wanted him to relinquish all temporal powers. Lucius II was defeated and died of his battle wounds. [Catholic Encyclopedia, "Pope Lucius II"]


Pope [Bl.] Eugene III commissioned [St.] Bernard of Clairvaux to preach the Second Crusade. [Catholic Encyclopedia, "Pope Blessed Eugene III"]



King Conrad led a German army to the eastern empire as part of the second crusade. In the Byzantine city of Philippopolis, one talented magician was so good that the Crusaders thought he was a warlock. Consequently, they burned the town's suburbs. [Williams, 2002, 134]



[St.] Bernard of Clairvaux "complained that the courts rang with Justinian's laws rather than those of God." [Ellerbe, 62]



"The church's greatest ever canon lawyer, Gratian, said in 1150: 'Peter compelled the Gentiles to live as Jews and to depart from Gospel truth.'" [De Rosa, 25]

 And yet, the church proudly proclaims that its authority is derived from Peter.



Reynald of Chatillon, the Christian prince of Antioch, was an insane pirate. He tortured the patriarch Aimery of Antioch until he agreed to give him money to attack Christian Cyprus. Cyprus was peaceful and supported the crusades. William of Tyre wrote: "Reynald completely overran the island of Cyprus without meeting any opposition, destroyed cities and wrecked fortresses. He broke into the monasteries of men and women and shamelessly raped nuns and young virgins." Cyprus belonged to the Byzantine Emperor, Manuel Comnena. Reynald sent him the noses he had cut off the faces of Byzantine priests. [Williams, 2002, 158-59]



Arnold of Brescia, a priest, was hanged and burned after being defrocked, exiled and excommunicated for calling for reform. [Haught, 1990, 84]

The Catholic Encyclopedia ("Arnold of Brescia") says that Arnold was a demagogue and turned against Pope Eugene III. The pope had been lenient with him after he had joined revolutionary forces in Rome, which had forced the pope into temporary exile. [Haught, 1990, 84]



Cathari were executed at Steinfeld and at Bonn. [Catholic Encyclopedia, "Cathari"]



After making an alliance with the Egyptians, Amalric and his crusaders demanded the surrender of the Egyptian city of Bilbeis. When the garrison defending the city refused, Amalric laid siege and took the city three days later. He gave his men permission to kill, loot and burn with abandon, which they did.

Amalric contended that Sultan Shawar and Nur ed-Din were plotting against the Franks. The Christian William of Tyre thought that this was a lie, that the attack was contrary to divine law, and a pretext to defend an atrocity.

"The Christians who set out to save the Holy Tomb from infidels are now slaughtering civilians, violating all sacred oaths, and causing untold misery for millions of Moslems." [Williams, 2002, 152]



Charlemagne was canonized by the antipope Paschal III for political purposes, but his canonization was not accepted by the Roman Church. [Catholic Encyclopedia, "Charlemagne"]



Thirty Cathari were found in England and were condemned by a council of bishops at Oxford. They were branded on the forehead, flogged, and thrown out of the city. They all died from hunger or exposure in the harsh winter. [Catholic Encyclopedia, "Cathari"; Engh, 133]



Seven Cathari were burned at V├ęzelay in Burgundy. [Catholic Encyclopedia, "Cathari"]



Crusading Franks systematically massacred civilians, including Christian Copts, in Egypt. "... the effect was to unite Egyptians of all religions (and races) against the crusaders." [Johnson, 1976, 246]



In Blois, France, 38 Jewish leaders were sentenced to death for killing a child. No body was found and no children were missing. [Haught, 1990, 44]



The Third Lateran Council proclaimed a military crusade against Cathars (Cathari, Albigenses), but it was unsuccessful. Cathari doubted Creation, said Jesus was an angel, rejected transubstantiation, and practiced celibacy. [Haught, 1990, 54]



Jews were banished from France. [Grun, 160]



The Council of Verona excommunicated Waldensians. These were followers of Peter Waldo of Lyon, who preached in the streets. Despite being banned by the church, they continued their preaching. The Albigensian Crusade (1208) was directed at them as well as the Cathari. Centuries later, Waldensians were still being persecuted and executed. [Haught, 1990, 56]



The Synod of Melfi decreed that the wives and concubines of priests "became liable to be seized as slaves by the over-lord." [Catholic Encyclopedia, "Celibacy of the Clergy"]


Jews were slaughtered at Richard I's coronation. [Grun, 160; Cline, medieval3]



Crusades continued throughout the twelfth century, and almost constantly between 1190 and 1250. [Billings, 86]



Frederick II (Barbarossa), Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, died. He had long fought with the popes in a dispute about the powers of church and state. "Of Frederick's children and grandchildren, ten died by papal violence or in papal dungeons." [Johnson, 1976, 203]


The entire Jewish community of York, England, was massacred. [Kirsch, 241]



During the third Crusade Richard the Lion-Heart massacred 3000 residents of Acre, mostly women and children. Corpses were cut open to look for swallowed gems. According to the chronicler Ambroise: "They were slaughtered every one. For this be the Creator blessed." [Haught, 1990, 26; www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org , "Acre (Akko)"]



"In 1197 the Pope [Celestine III] engaged in a conspiracy to murder Henry VI, in conjunction with his estranged wife Constance of Sicily;...." [Johnson, 1976, 198]



At Cardinal Lothaire's coronation as Pope Innocent III, the ritual words were uttered: 'Take this tiara and know that thou art Father of princes and kings, Ruler of the World, the Vicar on earth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, whose honor and glory shall endure through all eternity.'

Apparently, the new pope took those words literally. He wore clothing dripping with gold and jewels. His procession went through the rubble and ruins of Rome to the Lateran, where the Roman Senate swore allegiance to him and clerical and aristocratic notables kissed his foot. He dispensed money to rich and poor, then hosted a sumptuous banquet for the nobles. A senior prince served him the first dish. [De Rosa, 67]







© R. Paul Buchman 2011