Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Neophyte, Psalms 40 ,Luke 7:1-10, St. Robert Bellarmine, Counter-Reformation, Crusade Series: Battle of LePanto


Monday, September 17, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: 
Neophyte, Psalms 40 ,Luke 7:1-10, St. Robert Bellarmine, Counter-Reformation, Crusade Series: Battle of LePanto

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our Spirit...it's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012



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Today's Word:  neophyte  ne·o·phyte  [nee-uh-fahyt]


Origin:  1540–50;  < Late Latin neophytus  newly planted < Greek neóphytos. See neo-, -phyte

noun
1. a beginner or novice: He's a neophyte at chess.
2. Roman Catholic Church . a novice.
3. a person newly converted to a belief, as a heathen, heretic, or nonbeliever; proselyte.
4. Primitive Church . a person newly baptized.
 

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Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 40:7-10, 17

7 then I said, 'Here I am, I am coming.' In the scroll of the book it is written of me,
8 my delight is to do your will; your law, my God, is deep in my heart.
9 I proclaimed the saving justice of Yahweh in the great assembly. See, I will not hold my tongue, as you well know.
10 I have not kept your saving justice locked in the depths of my heart, but have spoken of your constancy and saving help. I have made no secret of your faithful and steadfast love, in the great assembly.
17 Poor and needy as I am, the Lord has me in mind. You, my helper, my Saviour, my God, do not delay.


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Today's Gospel Reading -   Luke 7:1-10

When he had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum.  A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him.  When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave.  They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying, "He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us."  And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.  Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed.  For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes; and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it."  When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith."  When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.


 REFLECTION
•    Chapter 7 of the gospel of Luke helps us to receive the call addressed to the pagans to adhere to faith in the Lord Jesus.  The figure of the centurion becomes the pacesetter for all those who want to abide by the faith of Israel and then encounter and know the face of the Father in Jesus.  In the meditation on this Gospel, we are also proposed to open ourselves to faith or to make our confidence in the Word of the Lord more firmly unshaken.   Let us try, then, to follow, with our hearts, the paces of this Roman centurion, so that in him we may also be present.
•    Perhaps the first aspect that emerges from the reading of the passage is the situation of suffering in which the centurion finds himself.  Try to hear more attentively the words that try to give light to this reality.  Capernaum, a border city, a city apart, on the margins, a city where the blessings of God seem slow to arrive.  The grave illness; the imminent death of a dear person.
•    But we soon see that the Lord enters into this situation, coming to share in it, to live in it with his loving presence.  The words in italics confirm this truth:  “asking him to come”;  “and Jesus went with them”; “he was only a short distance.”  It is wonderful to see this movement of Jesus who moves near to him who calls him, who searches for him and who asks for salvation.  This is how Jesus acts with each one of us.
•    But it is also very useful to enter into contact with the figure of the centurion, who is here a bit like our master, our guide on the way of faith. “When he heard about Jesus”.  He received the announcement, he heard the good news and held it in his heart.  He did not net it escape and did not close his ears to life.  He remembered Jesus and now he goes in search for him.
•    “He sent.”  Twice does the centurion carry out his action: first sending the elders of the people to Jesus, authoritative figures, then by sending his friends.  Luke uses two different verbs and this helps us to understand better that in this man something took place, a state of passage:  he became more and more open to the encounter with Jesus.  Sending his friends is a bit like going to Jesus himself.
“asking him to come and save.”  Two beautiful verbs that explain the whole intensity of his request to Jesus.  He wants Jesus to come, to be near, to enter into his poor life, to come and visit his pain.  It is a declaration of love, of great faith, because it is as if he was saying: “Without you, I cannot live anymore.  Come!”  And he does not ask for any mere salvation, a superficial healing, as the particular verb chosen by Luke helps us to understand.  In fact, here it is a traverse salvation, one that crosses the entirety of life, of the entire person, and is capable of taking a person beyond, past every obstacle, every difficulty or trial, beyond even death.
•    “I am not worthy.”  Luke puts these words in the mouth of the centurion twice, and these words help us to understand the great transformation that has taken place within himself.  He feels unworthy, incapable, insufficient, as the two different greek terms used here indicate.  Perhaps the first conquest on the road of faith with Jesus is exactly this:  the discovery of our great need for Him, for his presence and the more certain knowledge that alone we can do nothing because we are poor, we are sinners.  However, precisely because of this we are infinitely loved!
•    “Say the word.”  Here is the great leap, the great transformation in faith.  The centurion now believes in a clear, serene and faithful way.  While Jesus walked towards him, he was also completing his own interior journey, changing, becoming a new man.  First, he welcomed the person of Jesus, then his word.  For him it is the Lord as he is, his word is efficacious, true, powerful, able to do what he says.  All of his doubts have crumbled; nothing remains but faith, the certain confidence in salvation, in Jesus.


QUESTIONS
•    Does my prayer feel like that of the centurion, addressed to Jesus to come and save?  Am I also ready to explain to the Lord my uneasiness, my need for him?  Am I perhaps ashamed to present to him the sickness, the death that lives in my house, in my life?  What do I need in order to fulfill this first step in trust?
•    And if I open my heart in prayer, to the invocation, if I invite the Lord to come, what is the profound attitude of my heart?  Is there also in me, as in the centurion, the knowledge of being unworthy, of not being sufficient solely of myself, of not being pretentious?  Do I know how to place myself before the Lord with that humility that comes from love, from serene trust in Him?
•    Is his Word good enough for me?  Do I ever listen to it in its entirety with attention, with respect, even though, perhaps, I am not able to fully understand it? And in this moment, what is the word that I want to hear from the mouth of the Lord for me?  What do I want Him to say to me?
•    The pagan centurion had such a great faith…and I, who am Christian, what faith do I have?  Perhaps it is true that I must pray like this:  “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”  (Mark 9:24)


Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites, www.ocarm.org.



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Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane





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Saint of the Day:  St. Robert Bellarmine


Feast Day: September 17
Patron Saint: Bellarmine University; Fairfield University; Bellarmine College Preparatory; canonists; canon lawyers; catechists; catechumens; Archdiocese of Cincinnati,


Saint Robert Bellarmine, S.J. (Italian: Roberto Francesco Romolo Bellarmino; 4 October 1542 – 17 September 1621) was an Italian Jesuit and a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He was one of the most important figures in the Counter-Reformation. He was canonized in 1930 and named a Doctor of the Church.

Bellarmine was born at Montepulciano, the son of noble, albeit impoverished, parents, Vincenzo Bellarmino and his wife Cinzia Cervini, who was sister of Pope Marcellus II. As a boy he knew Virgil by heart and composed a number of poems in Italian and Latin. One of his hymns, on Mary Magdalene, is included in the Breviary. He entered the Roman novitiate in 1560, remaining in Rome three years. He then went to a Jesuit house at Mondovì, in Piedmont, where he learned Greek. While at Mondovì, he came to the attention of Francesco Adorno, the local Jesuit Provincial Superior, who sent him to the University of Padua.

Bellarmine's systematic study of theology began at Padua in 1567 and 1568, where his teachers were adherents of Thomism. In 1569 he was sent to finish it at the University of Leuven in Flanders. There he was ordained, and obtained a reputation both as a professor and a preacher. He was the first Jesuit to teach at the university, where the subject of his course was the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. His residence in Leuven lasted seven years. In poor health, in 1576 he made a journey to Italy. Here he remained, commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII to lecture on polemical theology in the new Roman College.


New duties after 1589

Until 1589, Bellarmine was occupied as professor of theology. After the murder in that year of Henry III of France, Pope Sixtus V sent Enrico Caetani as legate to Paris to negotiate with the Catholic League of France, and chose Bellarmine to accompany him as theologian. He was in the city during its siege by Henry of Navarre.

The next pope, Clement VIII, set great store by him. He was made rector of the Roman College in 1592, examiner of bishops in 1598, and cardinal in 1599. Immediately after his appointment as Cardinal, Pope Clement made him a Cardinal Inquisitor, in which capacity he served as one of the judges at the trial of Giordano Bruno, and concurred in the decision which condemned Bruno to be burned at the stake as a heretic.

In 1602 he was made archbishop of Capua. He had written against pluralism and non-residence of bishops within their dioceses. As bishop he put into effect the reforming decrees of the Council of Trent. He received some votes in the 1605 conclaves which elected Pope Leo XI, Pope Paul V, and in 1621 when Pope Gregory XV was elected, but only in the second conclave of 1605 was he papabile.

The Galileo case

In 1616, on the orders of Paul V, Bellarmine summoned Galileo, notified him of a forthcoming decree of the Congregation of the Index condemning the Copernican doctrine of the mobility of the Earth and the immobility of the Sun, and ordered him to abandon it. Galileo agreed. When Galileo later complained of rumors to the effect that he had been forced to abjure and do penance, Bellarmine wrote out a certificate denying the rumors, stating that Galileo had merely been notified of the decree and informed that, as a consequence of it, the Copernican doctrine could not be "defended or held". Cardinal Bellarmine was himself ambiguous about heliocentrism, personally noting that further research had to be done to confirm or condemn it. (In 1633, Galileo would again be called before the Inquisition in this matter.)

Last years

In his old age he was bishop of Montepulciano for four years, after which he retired to the Jesuit college of St. Andrew in Rome, where he died on 17 September 1621, aged 78.

Works

Bellarmine's books bear the stamp of their period; the effort for literary elegance (so-called "maraviglia") had given place to a desire to pile up as much material as possible, to embrace the whole field of human knowledge, and incorporate it into theology. His controversial works provoked many replies, and were studied for some decades after his death. At Leuven he made extensive studies in the Church Fathers and scholastic theologians, which gave him the material for his book De scriptoribus ecclesiasticis (Rome, 1613). It was later revised and enlarged by Sirmond, Labbeus, and Casimir Oudin. Bellarmine wrote the preface to the new Sixto-Clementine Vulgate.

Dogmatics

From his research grew his Disputationes de controversiis christianae fidei (also called Disputationes), first published at Ingolstadt in 1581–1593. This major work was the earliest attempt to systematize the various religious controversies of the time. Bellarmine devoted eleven years to it while at the Roman College. The first volume of the Disputationes treats of the Word of God, of Christ, and of the Pope; the second of the authority of ecumenical councils, and of the Church, whether militant, expectant, or triumphant; the third of the sacraments; and the fourth of Divine grace, free will, justification, and good works.

Venetian Interdict

Under Pope Paul V (reigned 1605–1621), a major conflict arose between Venice and the Papacy. Paolo Sarpi, as spokesman for the Republic of Venice, protested against the papal interdict, and reasserted the principles of the Council of Constance and of the Council of Basel, denying the pope's authority in secular matters. Bellarmine wrote three rejoinders to the Venetian theologians, and may have warned Sarpi of an impending murderous attack.


Allegiance oath controversy and papal authority

Bellarmine also became involved in controversy with King James I of England. From a point of principle for English Catholics, this debate drew in figures from much of Western Europe. It raised the profile of both protagonists, King James as a champion of his own restricted Calvinist Protestantism, and Bellarmine for Tridentine Catholicism.

Devotional works

During his retirement, he wrote several short books intended to help ordinary people in their spiritual life: De ascensione mentis in Deum per scalas rerum creatorum opusculum (The Mind's Ascent to God) (1614) which was translated into English as Jacob's Ladder (1638) without acknowledgement by Henry Isaacson, The Art of Dying Well (1619) (in Latin, English translation under this title by Edward Coffin), and The Seven Words on the Cross.


Canonization and final resting place

Bellarmine was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930; the following year he was declared a Doctor of the Church. His remains, in a cardinal's red robes, are displayed behind glass under a side altar in the Church of Saint Ignatius, the chapel of the Roman College, next to the body of his student, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, as he himself had wished. In the Roman Catholic calendar of saints Saint Robert Bellarmine's feast day is on 17 September, the day of his death; but some continue to use pre-1969 calendars, in which for 37 years his feast day was on 13 May. The rank attributed to his feast has been "double" (1932–1959) and its equivalent "third-class feast" (1960–1968); in 1969 it was downgraded to an "optional memorial".

Legacy

Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky is named after him, as are Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, California and Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma, Washington.


References

  • Bellarmine, Robert, Spiritual Writings, New York: Paulist Press, 1989. ISBN 0-8091-0389-3
  • Blackwell, Richard J. (1991). Galileo, Bellarmine, and the Bible. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. ISBN 0-268-01024-2.
  • Fantoli, Annibale (2005). The Disputed Injunction and its Role in Galileo's Trial. In McMullin (2005, pp.117–149).
  • McMullin, Ernan, ed. (2005). The Church and Galileo. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. ISBN 0-268-03483-4.
  • Bellarmine's Letters at Historical Archives of the Pontifical Gregorian University
  • St. Robert Bellarmine from Fr. Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints
  • "St. Robert Francis Romulus Bellarmine". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
  
 
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Today's Snippet I:  Counter-Reformation


The Counter-Reformation (also the Catholic Revival or Catholic Reformation) was the period of Catholic revival beginning with the Council of Trent (1545–1563) and ending at the close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648 which is sometimes considered a response to the Protestant Reformation. The Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort, composed of four major elements:
  1. Ecclesiastical or structural reconfiguration
  2. Religious orders
  3. Spiritual movements
  4. Political dimensions
Such reforms included the foundation of seminaries for the proper training of priests in the spiritual life and the theological traditions of the Church, the reform of religious life by returning orders to their spiritual foundations, and new spiritual movements focusing on the devotional life and a personal relationship with Christ, including the Spanish mystics and the French school of spirituality. It also involved political activities that included the Roman Inquisition.

Council of Trent


A session of the Council of Trent, from an engraving.
Pope Paul III (1534–1549) initiated the Council of Trent (1545–1563), a commission of cardinals tasked with institutional reform, addressing contentious issues such as corrupt bishops and priests, indulgences, and other financial abuses. Paul had been appointed Pope as a genuine convert to and lover of Catholicism, in the hope that he would represent a movement away from what had become a Papal Monarchy which had caused violent struggles for power in the years preceding - epitomised by the Sack of Rome in 1527. Paul had proposed a general Church council be held as early as 1536 but was unable to hold it until 1545 due to the vulnerability of the Papacy. The support of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, was needed for any such initiative, but he was occupied with the Hapsburg-Valois Conflict in Milan until the Peace of Crépy in 1544. This fundamental political weakness is historically considered the reason why the outcome of the Council of Trent was so conservative - the papacy could not afford to surrender power, and that power was in part sustained by the very abuses of the Church that the Council sought to redress.

The Council upheld the basic structure of the Medieval Church, its sacramental system, religious orders, and doctrine. It rejected all compromise with the Protestants, restating basic tenets of the Roman Catholic faith. The Council upheld salvation appropriated by grace through faith and works of that faith (not just by faith, as the Protestants insisted) because "faith without works is dead", as the Epistle of St. James states (1 22:26). Transubstantiation, during which the consecrated bread and wine were held to be transformed wholly and substantially into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, was also reaffirmed, along with the other six Sacraments of the Catholic Church. Other practices that drew the ire of Protestant reformers, such as pilgrimages, the veneration of saints and relics, and the veneration of the Virgin Mary were strongly reaffirmed as spiritually commendable practices. The Council officially accepted the Vulgate listing of the Old Testament Bible which included the deuterocanonical works (also called the Apocrypha, especially by Protestants) on a par with the 39 books customarily found in the Masoretic Text and the Protestant Old Testament. This reaffirmed the previous council of Rome and Synod of Carthage (both held in the 4th century, A.D.) which had affirmed the Deuterocanon as Scripture. The Council also commissioned the Roman Catechism, which still serves as authoritative Church teaching (the Catechism of the Catholic Church).

While the basic structure of the Church was reaffirmed, there were noticeable changes to answer complaints that the Counter-Reformers were, tacitly, willing to admit were legitimate. Among the conditions to be corrected by Catholic reformers was the growing divide between the clerics and the laity; many members of the clergy in the rural parishes, after all, had been poorly educated. Often, these rural priests did not know Latin and lacked opportunities for proper theological training (addressing the education of priests had been a fundamental focus of the humanist reformers in the past). Parish priests were to be better educated in matters of theology and apologetics, while Papal authorities sought to educate the faithful about the meaning, nature and value of art and liturgy, particularly in monastic churches (Protestants had criticised them as "distracting"). Notebooks and handbooks became more common, describing how to be good priests and confessors.

Thus, the Council of Trent attempted to improve the discipline and administration of the Church. The worldly excesses of the secular Renaissance Church, epitomized by the era of Alexander VI (1492–1503), intensified during the Reformation under Pope Leo X (1513–1522), whose campaign to raise funds in the German states to rebuild St. Peter's Basilica by supporting use of indulgences served as a key impetus for Martin Luther's 95 Theses. But the Catholic Church would respond to these problems by a vigorous campaign of reform, inspired by earlier Catholic reform movements that predated the Council of Constance (1414–1417): humanism, devotionalism, legalism and the observantine tradition.

The Council, by virtue of its actions, repudiated the pluralism of the secular Renaissance which had previously plagued the Church: the organization of religious institutions was tightened, discipline was improved, and the parish was emphasized. The appointment of Bishops for political reasons was no longer tolerated. In the past, the large landholdings forced many bishops to be "absent bishops" who at times were property managers trained in administration. Thus, the Council of Trent combated "absenteeism," which was the practice of bishops living in Rome or on landed estates rather than in their dioceses. The Council of Trent also gave bishops greater power to supervise all aspects of religious life. Zealous prelates such as Milan's Archbishop Carlo Borromeo (1538–1584), later canonized as a saint, set an example by visiting the remotest parishes and instilling high standards.

Religious Orders

New religious orders were a fundamental part of the reforms. Orders such as the Capuchins, Ursulines, Theatines, Discalced Carmelites, the Barnabites, and especially the Jesuits worked in rural parishes, and set examples of Catholic renewal.

The Theatines undertook to check the spread of heresy and contributed to a regeneration of the clergy. The Capuchins, an offshoot of the Franciscan order notable for their preaching and for their care for the poor and the sick, grew rapidly. Capuchin-founded confraternities took special interest in the poor and lived austerely. Members of orders active in overseas missionary expansion expressed the view that the rural parishes often needed Christianizing as much as the heathens of Asia and the Americas.

The Ursulines focused on the special task of educating girls. Devotion to the traditional works of mercy exemplified the Catholic Reformation's reaffirmation of salvation through faith and works, and repudiation of the maxim sola scriptura emphasized by Protestants sects. Not only did they make the Church more effective, but they also reaffirmed fundamental premises of the Medieval Church.

The Jesuits were the most effective of the new Catholic orders. An heir to the devotional, observantine, and legalist traditions, the Jesuits organized along military lines. The worldliness of the Renaissance Church had no part in their new order. Loyola's masterwork Spiritual Exercises showed the emphasis of handbooks characteristic of Catholic reformers before the Reformation, reminiscent of devotionalism. The Jesuits became preachers, confessors to monarchs and princes, and humanist educators, and their efforts are largely credited with stemming Protestantism in Poland, Bohemia, Hungary, southern Germany, France, and the Spanish Netherlands.

Jesuits participated in the expansion of the Church in the Americas and Asia, by their missionary activity. Loyola's biography contributed to an emphasis on popular piety that had waned under political popes such as Alexander VI and Leo X. After recovering from a serious wound, he took a vow to "serve only God and the Roman pontiff, His vicar on earth." The emphasis on the Pope is a reaffirmation of the medieval papalism, while Council of Trent defeated Conciliarism, the belief that general councils of the church collectively were God's representative on earth, rather than the Pope. Taking Pope as an absolute ruler, the Jesuits contributed to the Counter-Reformation Church along a line harmonized to the Vatican.

Spiritual Movements

The Catholic Reformation was not only a political and Church policy oriented movement, it included major figures such as Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Ávila, John of the Cross, Francis de Sales and Philip Neri, who added to the spirituality of the Catholic Church. Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross were Spanish mystics and reformers of the Carmelite Order whose ministry focused on interior conversion to Christ, the deepening of prayer and commitment to God's will. Teresa was given the task to develop and write about the way to perfection in her love and unity with Christ. Her publications, especially her autobiography The Life of Theresa of Jesus had multiple effects. It's to be placed besides the Confessions of Augustine. Thomas Merton called John of the Cross the greatest of all mystical theologians. 

 An important clarification about the word "mystical" is necessary here. When one considers its definition or the nature of "mysticism," a common misunderstanding exists that if one is to become a mystic they are required to seclude themselves physically from the outside world to have this kind of experience. Although such seclusion can, indeed, be the only apostalate (vocation) to which some are called to a life of prayer, there are others who have dual apostalates. In fact, John of the Cross himself served as both confessor/spiritual director within the confines of the clositered communities that he and Teresa of Ávila worked vigorously to establish, but he also literally helped build a number of those convents and monasteries. It is true that Ignatius of Loyola and Francis de Sales were called to a more active spirituality or apostalate, but their vocations were not "the opposite" of Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross as this article previously indicated. Returning to Ignatius of Loyola, "to see God in all things" was a typical expression of Ignatius and a main theme of his Spiritual Exercises. The spirituality of Filippo Neri, who lived in Rome at the same time as Ignatius, was practically oriented too, but totally opposed to the Jesuit approach. Said Filippo: "If I have a real problem, I contemplate what Ignatius would do ... and then I do the exact opposite". As a recognition of their joint contribution to the spiritual renewal within the Catholic reformation, Ignatius of Loyola, Filippo Neri and Teresa of Ávila were canonized on the same day, March 12, 1622.

The victory at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 was accredited to the Virgin Mary and signified the beginning of a strong resurgence of Marian devotions". During and after the Catholic Reformation, Marian piety experienced unforeseen growth with over 500 pages of mariological writings during the 17th century alone. The Jesuit Francisco Suárez was the first theologian to use the Thomist method on Marian theology. Other well known contributors to Marian spirituality are Lawrence of Brindisi, Robert Bellarmine, and Francis of Sales.

Decrees on Art

Last Judgement, Michelangelo 1534
The Last Judgment, a fresco in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo (1534–41), came under persistent attack in the Counter-Reformation for, among other things nudity (later painted over for several centuries), not showing Christ seated or bearded, and including the pagan figure of Charon.

Italian painting after 1520, with the notable exception of the art of Venice, developed into Mannerism, a highly sophisticated style, striving for effect, that concerned many churchmen as lacking appeal for the mass of the population. Church pressure to restrain religious imagery affected art from the 1530s and resulted in the decrees of the final session of the Council of Trent in 1563 including short and rather inexplicit passages concerning religious images, which were to have great impact on the development of Catholic art. Previous Catholic councils had rarely felt the need to pronounce on these matters, unlike Orthodox ones which have often ruled on specific types of images. The decree confirmed the traditional doctrine that images only represented the person depicted, and that veneration to them was paid to the person, not the image, and further instructed that:
...every superstition shall be removed ... all lasciviousness be avoided; in such wise that figures shall not be painted or adorned with a beauty exciting to lust... there be nothing seen that is disorderly, or that is unbecomingly or confusedly arranged, nothing that is profane, nothing indecorous, seeing that holiness becometh the house of God. And that these things may be the more faithfully observed, the holy Synod ordains, that no one be allowed to place, or cause to be placed, any unusual image, in any place, or church, howsoever exempted, except that image have been approved of by the bishop ...
Ten years after the decree Paolo Veronese was summoned by the Holy Office to explain why his Last Supper, a huge canvas for the refectory of a monastery, contained, in the words of the Holy Office: "buffoons, drunken Germans, dwarfs and other such scurrilities" as well as extravagant costumes and settings, in what is indeed a fantasy version of a Venetian patrician feast. Veronese was told that he must change his painting within a three month period – in fact he just changed the title to The Feast in the House of Levi, still an episode from the Gospels, but a less doctrinally central one, and no more was said. But the number of such decorative treatments of religious subjects declined sharply, as did "unbecomingly or confusedly arranged" Mannerist pieces, as a number of books, notably by the Flemish theologian Molanus, Saint Charles Borromeo and Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti, and instructions by local bishops, amplified the decrees, often going into minute detail on what was acceptable. Much traditional iconography considered without adequate scriptural foundation was in effect prohibited, as was any inclusion of classical pagan elements in religious art, and almost all nudity, including that of the infant Jesus. According to the great medievalist Émile Mâle, this was "the death of medieval art", but it paled in contrast to the Iconclasm present in some Protestant circles & did not apply to secular paintings. Some Counter Reformation painters and sculptors include Pieter Paul Rubens, Guido Reni, Anthony van Dyck and Bartolome Esteban Murillo.

Church music

Reforms before the Council of Trent

The Council of Trent is believed to be the apex of the Counter-Reformation’s influence on church music in the 16th century. However, the council’s pronouncements on music were not the first attempt at reform. The Catholic Church had spoken out against a perceived abuse of music used in the mass before the Council of Trent ever convened to discuss music in 1562. The manipulation of the Credo and using non-liturgical songs was addressed in 1503, and secular singing and the intelligibility of the text in the delivery of psalmody in 1492. The delegates at the Council were just a link in the long chain of church clergy who had pushed for a reform of the musical liturgy reaching back as far as 1322. Probably the most extreme move at reform came late in 1562 when, instructed by the legates, Egidio Foscarari bishop of Modena and Gabriele Paleotti began work on reforming cloisters of nuns and their practices involving the liturgy. In fact, the reforms proscribed to the cloisters, which included omitting the use of an organ, prohibiting professional musicians, and banishing polyphonic singing, were much more strict than any of the Council’s edicts or even those to be found in the Palestrina legend.

Fueling the cry for reform from many ecclesial figures was the compositional technique popular in the 15th and 16th centuries of using musical material and even the accompanying texts from other compositions such as motets, madrigals, and chansons. Several voices singing different texts in different languages made any of the text difficult to distinguish from the mixture of words and notes. The parody mass would then contain melodies (usually the tenor line) and words from songs that could have been, and often were, on sensual subjects. The musical liturgy of the church was being more and more influenced by secular tunes and styles. The Council of Paris, which met in 1528, as well as the Council of Trent were making attempts to restore the sense of sacredness to the church setting and what was appropriate for the mass. The councils were simply responding to issues of their day.

Reforms during the 22nd session

The Council of Trent met sporadically from December 13, 1545 to December 4, 1563 to reform many parts of the Catholic Church. The 22nd session of the council, which met in 1562, dealt with church music in Canon 8 in the section of “Abuses in the Sacrifice of the Mass” during a meeting of the council on September 10, 1562.

Canon 8 states that "Since the sacred mysteries should be celebrated with utmost reverence, with both deepest feeling toward God alone, and with external worship that is truly suitable and becoming, so that others may be filled with devotion and called to religion: . . . Everything should be regulated so that the Masses, whether they be celebrated with the plain voice or in song, with everything clearly and quickly executed, may reach the ears of the hearers and quietly penetrate their hearts. In those Masses where measured music and organ are customary, nothing profane should be intermingled, but only hymns and divine praises. If something from the divine service is sung with the organ while the service proceeds, let if first be recited in a simple, clear voice, lest the reading of the sacred words be imperceptible. But the entire manner of singing in musical modes should be calculated not to afford vain delight to the ear, but so that the words may be comprehensible to all; and thus may the hearts of the listeners be caught up into the desire for celestial harmonies and contemplation of the joys of the blessed."

Canon 8 is often quoted as the Council of Trent’s decree on church music but that is a glaring misunderstanding of the canon; it was only a proposed decree. In fact, the delegates at the Council never officially accepted canon 8 in its popular form but bishops of Granada, Coimbra, and Segovia pushed for the long statement about music to be attenuated and many other prelates of the Council joined enthusiastically. The only restrictions actually given by the 22nd session was to keep secular elements out of the music making polyphony implicitly allowed. The issue of textual intelligibility did not make its way into the final edicts of the 22nd session but were only featured in preliminary debates. The 22nd session only prohibited “lascivious” and “profane” things to be intermingled with the music but Paleotti, in his Acts, brings to equal importance the issues of intelligibility.

The idea that the Council called to remove all polyphony from the church is widespread but there is no documentary evidence to support that claim. It is possible, however, that some of the Fathers had proposed such a measure. The emperor Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor has been attributed to be the “saviour of church music” because he said polyphony ought not to be driven out of the church. But Ferdinand was most likely an alarmist and read into the Council the possibility of a total ban on polyphony. The Council of Trent did not focus on the style of music but on attitudes of worship and reverence during the mass.

The Saviour-Legend

The crises regarding polyphony and intelligibility of the text and the threat that polyphony was to be removed completely, which was assumed to be coming from the Council, has a very dramatic legend of resolution. The legend goes that Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (ca. 1525/26–1594), a church musician and choirmaster in Rome, wrote a mass for the Council delegates in order to demonstrate that a polyphonic composition could set the text in such a way that the words could be clearly understood and that was still pleasing to the ear. Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli (Mass for Pope Marcellus) was performed before the Council and received such a welcoming reception among the delegates that they completely changed their minds and allowed polyphony to stay in use in the musical liturgy. Therefore Palestrina came to be named the "saviour of church polyphony". This legend, though unfounded, has long been a mainstay of histories of music. The saviour-myth was first spread by an account by Aggazzari and Banchieri in 1609 who said that Pope Marcellus was trying to replace all polyphony with plainsong. Palestrina’s “Missa Papae Marcelli” was, though, in 1564, after the 22nd session, performed for the Pope while reforms were being considered for the Sistine Choir. On another occasion in 1565, as recorded by the secretary of the Sistine Chapel, Cardinal Vitelli invited two Eminences to his house where two masses were performed and compared for textual intelligibility. However, what masses were performed, who composed them, and how the Eminences reacted has been swallowed up by history. The Pope Marcellus Mass, in short, was not important in its own day and did not help save church polyphony. What is undeniable is that despite any solid evidence of his influence during or after the Council of Trent, no figure is more qualified to represent the cause of polyphony in the Mass than Palestrina. Pope Pius IV upon hearing Palestrina’s music would make Palestrina, by Papal Brief, the model for future generation of Catholic composers of sacred music.

Reforms following the Council of Trent

Like his contemporary Palestrina, the Flemish composer Jacobus de Kerle (1531/32–1591) was also credited with giving a model of composition for the Council of Trent. His composition in four-parts, Preces, marks the "official turning point of the Counter Reformation's a cappella ideal.” Kerle was the only ranking composer of the Netherlands to have acted in conformity with the Council. Another musical giant on equal standing with Palestrina, Orlando di Lasso (1530/32–1594) was an important figure in music history though less of a purist than Palestrina. He expressed sympathy for the Council’s concerns but still showed favor for the “Parady chanson Masses.”

Despite the dearth of edicts from the Council regarding polyphony and textual clarity, the reforms that followed from the 22nd session filled in the gaps left by the Council in stylistic areas. In the 24th session the Council gave authority to “Provincial Synods” to discern provisions for church music. The decision to leave practical application and stylistic matters to local ecclesiastical leaders was important in shaping the future of Catholic church music. It was left then, up to the local church leaders and church musicians to find proper application for the Council’s decrees. Though originally theological and directed towards the attitudes of the musicians, the Council’s decrees came to be thought of by church musicians as a pronouncement on proper musical styles. This understanding was most likely spread through musicians who sought to implement the Council's declarations but did not read the official Tridentine pronouncements. Church musicians were probably influenced by order from their ecclesiastical patrons. Composers who reference the Council’s reforms in prefaces to their compositions do not adequately claim a musical basis from the Council but a spiritual and religious basis of their art.

The Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, Charles Borromeo, was a very important figure in reforming church music after the Council of Trent. Through Borromeo was an aide to the pope in Rome and was unable to be in Milan, he eagerly pushed for the decrees of the Council to be quickly put into practice in Milan. Borromeo kept in contact with his church in Milian through letters and eagerly encouraged the leaders there to implement the reforms coming from the Council of Trent. In one of his letters to his vicar in the Milan diocese, Nicolo Ormaneto of Verona, Borromeo commissioned the master of the chapel, Vincenzo Ruffo (1508–1587), to write a mass that would make the words as easy to understand as possible. Borromeo also suggested that if Don Nicola, a composer of a more chromatic style, was in Milan he too could compose a mass and the two be compared for textural clarity. Borromeo was likely involved or heard of the questions regarding textual clarity because of his request to Ruffo.

Ruffo took Borromeo’s commission seriously and set out to compose in a style that presented the text so that all words would be intelligible and the textual meaning be the most important part of the composition. His approach was to move all the voices in a homorhythmic manner with no complicated rhythms, and to use dissonance very conservatively. Ruffo’s approach was certainly a success for textual clarity and simplicity, but if his music was very theoretically pure it was not an artistic success despite Ruffo’s attempts to bring interest to the monotonous four-part texture. Ruffo’s compositional style which favored the text was well in line with the Council’s perceived concern with intelligibility. Thus the belief in the Council’s strong edicts regarding textual intelligibility became to characterize the development of sacred church music. The Council of Trent brought about other changes in music: most notably developing the Missa brevis, Lauda and "Spiritual Madrigal" (Madrigali Spirituali).

Unintentional start of the Scientific Revolution

James Burke argued that some of the directives initiated in the Counter-Reformation had consequences that created challenges to the Catholic Church's authority. Specifically, efforts to reform the Julian calendar may have led to the Scientific Revolution, and the Church's confrontation with Galileo Galilei.

More celebrations of holidays and similar events raised a need to have these events followed closely throughout the dioceses. But there was a problem with the accuracy of the calendar: by the sixteenth century the Julian calendar was almost ten days out of step with the seasons and the heavenly bodies. Among the astronomers who were asked to work on the problem of how the calendar could be reformed was Nicolaus Copernicus, a canon at Frombork (Frauenburg). In the dedication to De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (1543), Copernicus mentioned the reform of the calendar proposed by the Fifth Council of the Lateran (1512–1517). As he explains, a proper measurement of the length of the year was a necessary foundation to calendar reform. By implication, his work replacing the Ptolemaic system with a heliocentric model was prompted in part by the need for calendar reform.

An actual new calendar had to wait until the Gregorian calendar in 1582. At the time of its publication, De revolutionibus passed with relatively little comment: little more than a mathematical convenience that simplified astronomical references for a more accurate calendar. Physical evidence suggesting Copernicus's theory regarding the Earth's motion was literally true promoted the apparent heresy against the religious thought of the time. As a result, Galileo Galilei was placed under house arrest for publishing heretical writings and the Pope condemned heliocentric theory and temporarily banned its teaching in 1633.

References

  •  Counter Reformation, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online, latest edition, full-article.
  •  David Rostand, Painting in Sixteenth-Century Venice: Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, 2nd ed 1997, Cambridge UP ISBN 0-521-56568-5
  •  Blunt Anthony, Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450–1660, chapter VIII, especially pp. 107–128, 1940 (refs to 1985 edn), OUP, ISBN 0-19-881050-4
  •  The death of Medieval Art Extract from book by Émile Mâle
  •  K. G. Fellerer and Moses Hadas. "Church Music and the Council of Trent". The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 4 (1953):. http://www.jstor.org/stable/739857. (accessed 7 November 2009): 576.
 

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Today's Snippet II :  Battle of Lepanto  1571


The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece. The Ottoman forces sailing westwards from their naval station in Lepanto (Turkish: İnebahtı; Greek: Ναύπακτος or Έπαχτος Naupaktos or Épahtos) met the Holy League forces, which had come from Messina.

The victory of the Holy League prevented the Mediterranean Sea from becoming an uncontested highway for Muslim forces and helped to prevent the Ottomans from advancing further along the Mediterranean flank of Europe. Lepanto was the last major naval battle in the Mediterranean fought entirely between galleys, and has been assigned great symbolic importance.

Forces

The members of the Holy League were the Republic of Venice, the Papacy, the Republic of Genoa, the Duchy of Savoy, the Knights Hospitaller, the Spanish Empire (including Kingdom of Naples, Kingdom of Sicily and Kingdom of Sardinia) and others. Its fleet consisted of 206 galleys and 6 galleasses (large new galleys, invented by the Venetians, which carried substantial artillery) and was commanded by John of Austria, the illegitimate son of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

Vessels had been contributed by the various Christian states: 109 galleys and 6 galleasses from the Republic of Venice, 32 galleys from the Kingdom of Naples, 10 galleys from Spain, 7 galleys each from the Kingdom of Sicily and the Pope, 5 galleys from the Republic of Genoa, 3 galleys of the Order of Saint Stephen from the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, 3 galleys each from the Duchy of Savoy and the Knights of Malta, and some privately owned galleys. All members of the alliance viewed the Ottoman navy as a significant threat, both to the security of maritime trade in the Mediterranean Sea and to the security of continental Europe itself. Notwithstanding, Spain preferred to preserve its galleys for its own wars against the nearby sultanates of the Barbary Coast rather than expend its naval strength for Venetian benefit. The various Christian contingents met the main force, that of Venice (under Venier), in July and August 1571 at Messina, Sicily. John of Austria arrived on 23 August.

This fleet of the Christian alliance was manned by 40,000 sailors and oarsmen. In addition, it carried almost 28,000 fighting troops: 10,000 Spanish regular infantry of excellent quality, 7,000 Germans and Croatians in Spanish pay, 5,000 Italian mercenaries and 5,000 Venetian soldiers, including Greeks from Crete and the Ionian Islands. Also, Venetian oarsmen were mainly free citizens and were able to bear arms adding to the fighting power of their ship, whereas convicts were used to row many of the galleys in other Holy League squadrons.

Many of the galleys in the Ottoman fleet were also rowed by slaves, often Christians who had been captured in previous conquests and engagements. Free oarsmen were generally acknowledged to be superior by all combatants, but were gradually replaced in all galley fleets (including those of Venice from 1549) during the 16th century by cheaper slaves, convicts and prisoners-of-war owing to rapidly rising costs.

The Ottoman galleys were manned by 13,000 experienced sailors—generally drawn from the maritime nations of the Ottoman Empire, namely Berbers, Greeks, Syrians, and Egyptians—and 34,000 soldiers. Ali Pasha, the Ottoman admiral (Kapudan-i Derya ), supported by the corsairs Chulouk Bey of Alexandria and Uluç Ali, commanded an Ottoman force of 222 war galleys, 56 galliots, and some smaller vessels. The Turks had skilled and experienced crews of sailors but were significantly deficient in their elite corps of Janissaries. The number of oarsmen was about 37,000, virtually all of them slaves.

An advantage for the Christians was their numbers superiority in guns and cannon aboard their ships. It is estimated the Christians had 1,815 guns, while the Turks had only 750 with insufficient ammunition. The Christians embarked with their much improved arquebusier and musketeer forces, while the Ottomans trusted in their greatly feared composite bowmen.



Background

The Christian coalition had been promoted by Pope Pius V to rescue the Venetian colony of Famagusta, on the island of Cyprus, which was being besieged by the Turks in early 1571 subsequent to the fall of Nicosia and other Venetian possessions in Cyprus in the course of 1570.

The banner for the fleet, blessed by the pope, reached the Kingdom of Naples (then ruled by the King of Spain) on August 14, 1571. There in the Basilica of Santa Chiara it was solemnly consigned to John of Austria, who had been named leader of the coalition after long discussions between the allies. The fleet moved to Sicily, leaving Messina and reaching the port of Viscando, where news arrived of the fall of Famagusta and of the torture inflicted by the Turks on the Venetian commander of the fortress, Marco Antonio Bragadin.
 
On August 1 the Venetians had surrendered after being reassured that they could leave Cyprus freely. However, the Ottoman commander, Lala Kara Mustafa Pasha, who had lost some 52,000 men in the siege (including his son), broke his word, imprisoning the Venetians. On 17 August Bragadin was flayed alive and his corpse hung on Mustafa's galley together with the heads of the Venetian commanders, Astorre Baglioni, Alvise Martinengo and Gianantonio Querini.

Despite bad weather, the Christian ships sailed to Kefalonia, where they remained for a while. On 6 October they reached the Gulf of Patras. On 7 October they encountered the Ottoman fleet. While neither fleet had immediate strategic resources or objectives in the gulf, both chose to engage. The Ottoman fleet had an express order from the Sultan to fight, and John of Austria found it necessary to attack in order to maintain the integrity of the expedition in the face of personal and political disagreements within the Holy League.


Deployment


Formation of the fleets just before contact.
The Christian fleet formed up in four divisions in a North-South line. At the northern end, closest to the coast, was the Left Division of 53 galleys, mainly Venetian, led by Agostino Barbarigo (admiral), with Marco Querini and Antonio da Canale in support. The Centre Division consisted of 62 galleys under John of Austria himself in his Real, along with Sebastiano Venier, later Doge of Venice, Mathurin Romegas and Marcantonio Colonna.

The Right Division to the south consisted of another 53 galleys under the Genoese Giovanni Andrea Doria , great-nephew of admiral Andrea Doria. Two galleasses, which had side-mounted cannon, were positioned in front of each main division, for the purpose, according to Miguel de Cervantes (who served on the galley Marquesa during the battle), of preventing the Turks from sneaking in small boats and sapping, sabotaging or boarding the Christian vessels. A Reserve Division was stationed behind (that is, to the west of) the main fleet, to lend support wherever it might be needed.

This reserve division consisted of 38 galleys - 30 behind the Centre Division commanded by Álvaro de Bazán, and four behind each wing. A scouting group was formed, from two Right Wing and six Reserve Division galleys. As the Christian fleet was slowly turning around Point Scropha, Doria's Right Division, at the off-shore side, was delayed at the start of the battle and the Right's galleasses did not get into position.
The Ottoman fleet consisted of 57 galleys and 2 galliots on its Right under Chulouk Bey, 61 galleys and 32 galliots in the Centre under Ali Pasha in the Sultana, and about 63 galleys and 30 galliots in the South off-shore under Uluç Ali. A small reserve existed of 8 galleys, 22 galliots and 64 fustas, behind the Centre body. Ali Pasha is supposed to have told his Christian galley-slaves: "If I win the battle, I promise you your liberty. If the day is yours, then God has given it to you." John of Austria, more laconically, warned his crew: "There is no paradise for cowards."


The Battle


Detailed positions of both forces during the battle.
The left and centre galleasses had been towed half a mile ahead of the Christian line. When the battle started, the Turks mistook the galleasses to be merchant supply vessels and set out to attack them. This proved to be disastrous; the galleasses, with their many guns, alone were said to have sunk up to 70 Ottoman galleys, before the Ottoman fleet left them behind. Their attacks also disrupted the Ottoman formations.

As the battle started, Doria found that Uluç Ali's galleys extended further to the south than his own, and so headed south to avoid being outflanked, instead of holding the Christian line. After the battle Doria was accused of having maneuvered his fleet away from the bulk of the battle to avoid taking damage and casualties. Regardless, he ended up being outmaneuvered by Uluç Ali, who turned back and attacked the southern end of the Centre Division, taking advantage of the big gap that Doria had left.

In the north, Chulouk Bey had managed to get between the shore and the Christian North Division, with six galleys in an outflanking move, and initially the Christian fleet suffered. Commander Barbarigo was killed by an arrow, but the Venetians, turning to face the threat, held their line. The return of a galleass saved the Christian North Division. The Christian Centre also held the line with the help of the Reserve, after taking a great deal of damage, and caused great damage to the Muslim Centre. In the south, off-shore side, Doria was engaged in a melee with Uluç Ali's ships, taking the worse part. Meanwhile Uluç Ali himself commanded 16 galleys in a fast attack on the Christian Centre, taking six galleys—amongst them the Maltese Capitana, killing all but three men on board. Its commander, Pietro Giustiniani, Prior to the Order of St. John, was severely wounded by five arrows, but was found alive in his cabin. The intervention of the Spaniards Álvaro de Bazán and Juan de Cardona with the reserve turned the battle, both in the Centre and in Doria's South Wing.

Uluç Ali was forced to flee with 16 galleys and 24 galliots, abandoning all but one of his captures. During the course of the battle, the Ottoman Commander's ship was boarded and the Spanish tercios from 3 galleys and the Ottoman Janissaries from seven galleys fought on the deck of the Sultana. Twice the Spanish were repelled with heavy casualties, but at the third attempt, with reinforcements from Álvaro de Bazán's galley, they took the ship. Müezzinzade Ali Pasha was killed and beheaded, against the wishes of Don Juan. However, when his severed head was displayed on a pike from the Spanish flagship, it contributed greatly to the destruction of Turkish morale. Even after the battle had clearly turned against the Turks, groups of Janissaries still kept fighting with all they had. It is said that at some point the Janissaries ran out of weapons and started throwing oranges and lemons at their Christian adversaries, leading to awkward scenes of laughter among the general misery of battle.

The battle concluded around 4 pm. The Ottoman fleet suffered the loss of about 210 ships—of which 117 galleys, 10 galliots and three fustas were captured and in good enough condition for the Christians to keep. On the Christian side 20 galleys were destroyed and 30 were damaged so seriously that they had to be scuttled. One Venetian galley was the only prize kept by the Turks; all others were abandoned by them and recaptured.

Uluç Ali, who had captured the flagship of the Maltese Knights, succeeded in extricating most of his ships from the battle when defeat was certain. Although he had cut the tow on the Maltese flagship in order to get away, he sailed to Constantinople, gathering up other Ottoman ships along the way and finally arriving there with 87 vessels. He presented the huge Maltese flag to Sultan Selim II who thereupon bestowed upon him the honorary title of "kιlιç" (Sword); Uluç thus became known as Kılıç Ali Pasha. The Holy League had suffered around 7,500 soldiers, sailors and rowers dead, but freed about as many Christian prisoners. Ottoman casualties were around 15,000, and at least 3,500 were captured.


Aftermath

The engagement was a significant defeat for the Ottomans, who had not lost a major naval battle since the fifteenth century. The defeat was mourned by them as an act of Divine Will, contemporary chronicles recording that "the Imperial Fleet encountered the fleet of the wretched infidels and the will of God turned another way." To half of Christendom, this event encouraged hope for the downfall of "the Turk", the Satan-like personification of the Ottoman Empire, who was regarded as the "Sempiternal Enemy of the Christian". Indeed, the Empire lost all but 30 of its ships and as many as 30,000 men, and some Western historians have held it to be the most decisive naval battle anywhere on the globe since the Battle of Actium of 31 BC.

Despite the decisive defeat, the Ottoman Empire rebuilt its navy with a massive effort, by largely imitating the successful Venetian galeasses, in a very short time. By 1572, about six months after the defeat, more than 150 galleys and 8 galleasses, in total 250 ships had been built, including eight of the largest capital ships ever seen in the Mediterranean. With this new fleet the Ottoman Empire was able to reassert its supremacy in the Eastern Mediterranean. On 7 March 1573 the Venetians thus recognized by treaty the Ottoman possession of Cyprus, whose last Venetian possession, Famagosta, had fallen to the Turks under Piyale Pasha on 3 August 1571, just two months before Lepanto, and remained Turkish for the next three centuries, and that summer the Ottoman Navy attacked the geographically vulnerable coasts of Sicily and southern Italy. Sultan Selim II's Chief Minister, the Grand Vizier Mehmed Sokullu, argued to the Venetian emissary Marcantonio Barbaro that the Christian triumph at Lepanto made no lasting harm to the Ottoman Empire, while the capture of Cyprus by the Ottomans in the same year was a significant blow, saying that:
You come to see how we bear our misfortune. But I would have you know the difference between your loss and ours. In wresting Cyprus from you, we deprived you of an arm; in defeating our fleet, you have only shaved our beard. An arm when cut off cannot grow again; but a shorn beard will grow all the better for the razor.
Numerous historians pointed out the historical importance of the battle and how it served as a turning point in history. For instance, it is argued that while the ships were relatively easily replaced, it proved much harder to man them, since so many experienced sailors, oarsmen and soldiers had been lost. The loss of so many of its experienced sailors at Lepanto sapped the fighting effectiveness of the Ottoman Navy to an extent far surpassing the similar effect of the Battle of Djerba on the Habsburg fleet. This effect was amply emphasized in 1572, when the Ottoman fleet—constructed in haste of green wood and manned by inexperienced crews—avoided an engagement with the League fleet despite its numerical superiority. Naval historian John F. Guilmartin, Jr. also posits the question of what would have happened if the Ottomans had won: given the conditions of the engagement, a similarly crushing victory would have meant the effective disappearance of the Christian naval cadres and allowed the Ottoman fleet to roam the Mediterranean at will, with dire consequences for Malta, Crete and possibly even the Balearics or Venice itself. Other historians have suggested that the reason for the Turks being contained at the time had less to do with the battle of Lepanto but the fact that they had to contend with a series of wars with Persia a strong military power at the time.

However, in 1574, the Ottomans retook the strategic city of Tunis from the Spanish-supported Hafsid dynasty, which had been re-installed after Don Juan's forces reconquered the city from the Ottomans the year before. Thanks to the long-standing Franco-Ottoman alliance, the Ottomans were able to resume naval activity in the western Mediterranean. In 1579 the capture of Fez completed Ottoman conquests in Morocco that had begun under Süleyman the Magnificent. The establishment of Ottoman suzerainty over the area placed the entire southern coast of the Mediterranean from the Straits of Gibraltar to Greece under Ottoman authority, with the exceptions of the Spanish-controlled trading city of Oran and strategic settlements such as Melilla and Ceuta.

After 1580, the discouraged Ottomans left the fleet to rot in the waters of the Horn. Especially critical was the loss of most of the Ottomans' composite bowmen, which, far beyond ship rams and early firearms, were the Ottomans' main embarked weapon. British historian John Keegan noted that the losses in this highly specialised class of warrior were irreplaceable in a generation, and in fact represented "the death of a living tradition" for the Ottomans. Historian Paul K. Davis has argued that:
This Turkish defeat stopped Turkey's expansion into the Mediterranean, thus maintaining western dominance, and confidence grew in the west that Turks, previously unstoppable, could be beaten.

 

Religious significance

The Holy League credited the victory to the Virgin Mary, whose intercession with God they had implored for victory through the use of the Rosary. Andrea Doria had kept a copy of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe given to him by King Philip II of Spain in his ship's state room. Pope Pius V instituted a new Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Victory to commemorate the battle, which is now celebrated by the Catholic Church as the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.


Depictions in art and culture

The Battle of Lepanto by Paolo Veronese
The only known commemorative music composed after the victory is the motet Canticum Moysis (Song of Moses Exodus 15) Pro victoria navali contra Turcas by the Spanish composer based in Rome Fernando de las Infantas

There are many pictorial representations of the battle, including one in the Doge's Palace in Venice, by Andrea Vicentino on the walls of the Sala dello Scrutinio, which replaced Tintoretto's Victory of Lepanto, destroyed by fire in 1577. A painting by Paolo Veronese is in the collection of the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice and Titian's Allegory of the Battle of Lepanto, using the battle as a background, hangs in the Prado in Madrid. A painting by Filipino painter Juan Luna depicting the Battle of Lepanto is also displayed at the Spanish Senate in Madrid.

The battle has also appeared in literature and poetry. Spanish poet Fernando de Herrera wrote the poem "Canción en alabanza de la divina majestad por la victoria del Señor Don Juan" in 1572. The English author G. K. Chesterton wrote a poem Lepanto, first published in 1911 and republished many times since. It provides a series of poetic visions of the major characters in the battle, particularly the leader of the Christian forces, Don Juan of Austria (John of Austria). It closes with verses linking Miguel de Cervantes, who fought in the battle, with the "lean and foolish knight" he would later immortalize in Don Quixote. Miguel de Cervantes lost the use of an arm in this battle and therefore he is known as el manco de Lepanto in the Hispanic world.

The battle also features prominently in "Scenes from an Execution" by British playwright Howard Barker, in which a fictional artist is commissioned to create a painting of the battle.

References

  • Anderson, R. C. Naval Wars in the Levant 1559-1853 (2006), ISBN 1-57898-538-2
  • Beecher, Jack The Galleys at Lepanto Hutchinson, London, 1982; ISBN 0-09-147920-7
  • Bicheno, Hugh. Crescent and Cross: The Battle of Lepanto 1571, pbk., Phoenix, London, 2004, ISBN 1-84212-753-5
  • Capponi, Niccolò (2006). Victory of the West:The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81544-3.
  • Chesterton, G. K. Lepanto with Explanatory Notes and Commentary, Dale Ahlquist, ed. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2003). ISBN 1-58617-030-9
  • Clissold, Von Stephen (1966). A short history of the Yugoslav peoples. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-04676-9.
  • Cakir, İbrahim Etem, "Lepanto War and Some Informatıon on the Reconstructıon of The Ottoman Fleet", Turkish Studies -International Periodical For The Language Literature and History of Turkish or Turkic, Volume 4/3 Spring 2009, pp. 512–531
  • Cook, M.A. (ed.), "A History of the Ottoman Empire to 1730", Cambridge University Press, 1976; ISBN 0-521-20891-2
  • Crowley, Roger Empires of the Sea: The siege of Malta, the battle of Lepanto and the contest for the center of the world, Random House, 2008. ISBN 978-1-4000-6624-7
  • Hanson, Victor D. Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power, Anchor Books, 2001. Published in the UK as Why the West has Won, Faber and Faber, 2001. ISBN 0-571-21640-4. Includes a chapter about the battle of Lepanto
  • Hess, Andrew C. "The Battle of Lepanto and Its Place in Mediterranean History", Past and Present, No. 57. (Nov., 1972), pp. 53–73
  • Konstam, Angus, Lepanto 1571: The Greatest Naval Battle of the Renaissance. Osprey Publishing, Oxford. 2003. ISBN 1-84176-409-4
  • Stevens, William Oliver and Allan Westcott (1942). A History of Sea Power. Doubleday.
  • Harbottle's Dictionary of Battles, third revision by George Bruce, 1979


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