Saturday, September 29, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Austere, Psalms 144, Luke 9:18-22, St. Lorenzo Ruiz, Roman Catholicism in the Philippines, The Last Crusade Fall of Ruad, Historiography of Crusades

Friday, September 28, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: 
Austere, Psalms 144, Luke 9:18-22, St. Lorenzo Ruiz, Roman Catholicism in the Philippines, The Last Crusade Fall of Ruad, Historiography of Crusades

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity 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'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


Today's Word:  austere  aus·tere  [aw-steer]

Origin:  1300–50; Middle English  (< Anglo-French ) < Latin austērus  < Greek austērós  harsh, rough, bitter

1. severe in manner or appearance; uncompromising; strict; forbidding: an austere teacher.
2. rigorously self-disciplined and severely moral; ascetic; abstinent: the austere quality of life in the convent.
3. grave; sober; solemn; serious: an austere manner.
4. without excess, luxury, or ease; simple; limited; severe: an austere life.
5. severely simple; without ornament: austere writing.


Today's Old Testament Reading - Psalms 144:1-2, 3-4

1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle,
2 my faithful love, my bastion, my citadel, my Saviour; I shelter behind him, my shield, he makes the peoples submit to me.
3 Yahweh, what is a human being for you to notice, a child of Adam for you to think about?
4 Human life, a mere puff of wind, days as fleeting as a shadow.


Today's Gospel Reading - Luke 9:18-22

Now it happened that Jesus was praying alone, and his disciples came to him and he put this question to them, ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’ And they answered, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others Elijah; others again one of the ancient prophets come back to life.’ ‘But you,’ he said to them, ‘who do you say I am?’ It was Peter who spoke up. ‘The Christ of God,’ he said. But he gave them strict orders and charged them not to say this to anyone. He said, ‘The Son of man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’

• The Gospel today follows the same theme as that of Yesterday: the opinion of the people on Jesus. Yesterday, beginning with Herod, today it is Jesus who asks what do people think, the public opinion and the Apostles respond giving the same opinion which was given yesterday. Immediately follows the first announcement of the Passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus.

• Luke 9, 18: The question of Jesus after his prayer. “One day, while Jesus was praying alone, his disciples came to him and he put this question to them: “Who do the crowds say I am?” In Luke’s Gospel, on several important and decisive occasions, Jesus is presented in prayer: in his Baptism when he assumes his mission (Lk 3, 21); in the 40 days in the desert, when, he overcame the temptations presented by the devil Lk 4, 1-13); the night before choosing the twelve apostles (Lk 6, 12); in the Transfiguration, when, with Moses and Elijah he spoke about his passion in Jerusalem (Lc 9, 29); in the Garden when he suffers his agony (Lk 22, 39-46); on the Cross, when he asks pardon for the soldier (Lk 23, 34) and when he commits his spirit to God (Lk 23, 46).

• Luke 9, 19: The opinion of the people on Jesus. “They answered: “For some John the Baptist; others Elijah, but others think that you are one of the ancient prophets who has risen from the dead”. Like Herod, many thought that John the Baptist had risen in Jesus. It was a common belief that the prophet Elijah had to return (Mt 17, 10-13; Mk 9, 11-12; Ml 3, 23-24; Eclo 48, 10). And all nourished the hope of the coming of the Prophet promised by Moses (Dt 18,15). This was an insufficient response.

• Luke 9, 20: The question of Jesus to the disciples. After having heard the opinion of others, Jesus asks: “And you, who do you say I am?” Peter answers: “The Messiah of God!” Peter recognizes that Jesus is the one whom the people are waiting for and that he comes to fulfil the promise. Luke omits the reaction of Peter who tries to dissuade Jesus to follow the way of the cross and omits also the harsh criticism of Jesus to Peter (Mk 8, 32-33; Mt 16, 22-23).

• Luke 9, 21: The prohibition to reveal that Jesus is the Messiah of God. “Then Jesus gave them strict orders and charged them not to say this to anyone”. It was forbidden to them to reveal to the people that Jesus is the Messiah of God. Why does Jesus prohibit this? At that time, as we have already seen, everybody was expecting the coming of the Messiah, but, each one in his own way: some expected a king, others a priest, others a doctor, a warrior, a judge or a prophet! Nobody seemed to expect the Messiah Servant, announced by Isaiah (Is 42, 1-9). Anyone who insists in maintaining Peter’s idea, that is, of a glorious Messiah, without the cross, understands nothing and will never be able to assume the attitude of a true disciple. He will continue to be blind, exchanging people for trees (cf. Mk 8, 24). Because without the cross it is impossible to understand who Jesus is and what it means to follow Jesus. Because of this, Jesus insists again on the Cross and makes the second announcement of his passion, death and resurrection.

• Luke 9, 22: The second announcement of the Passion. And Jesus adds: “The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and Scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day”. The full understanding of the following of Jesus is not obtained through theoretical instruction, but through practical commitment, walking together with him along the road of service, from Galilee up to Jerusalem. The road of the following is the road of the gift of self, of abandonment, of service, of availability, of acceptance of conflict, knowing that there will be a resurrection. The cross is not an accident on the way; it forms part of our way. This because in the organized world starting from egoism, love and service can exist only if they are crucified! Anyone who makes of his life a service to others disturbs those who live attached to privileges, and suffers.

Personal questions
• We all believe in Jesus. But there are some who understand him in one way and others in another way. Today, which is the more common Jesus in the way of thinking of people?
• How does propaganda interfere in my way of seeing Jesus? What do I do so as not to allow myself to be drawn by the propaganda? What prevents us today from recognizing and assuming the project of Jesus?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St. Lorenzo Ruiz

Feast Day: September 28
Patron Saint:

The Philippines, the poor, Overseas Filipino Workers, Filipinos, Filipino youth, Chinese-Filipinos, Filipino altar servers, Tagalogs, Archdiocese of Manila, Philippines

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz or Saint Lawrence Ruiz of Manila (ca. 1600 – 29 September 1637), also known as Laurentius Ruiz de Manila or San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila, is the first Filipino saint (protomartyr) venerated in the Roman Catholic Church. He was killed for refusing to leave Japan and renounce his Roman Catholic beliefs during the persecution of Japanese Christians under the Tokugawa Shogunate in the 17th century.

Early life

Lorenzo Ruiz was born in Binondo, Manila to a Chinese father and a Filipino mother who were both Catholic. His father taught him Chinese while his mother taught him Tagalog.[2][3][4][5]

Ruiz served as an altar boy at the convent of Binondo church. After being educated by the Dominican friars for a few years, Ruiz earned the title of escribano (calligrapher) because of his skillful penmanship. He became a member of the Cofradia del Santissimo Rosario (Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary). He married Rosario, a native, and they had two sons and a daughter. The Ruiz family lead a generally peaceful, religious and content life.

In 1636, whilst working as a clerk for Binondo Church, Ruiz was falsely accused of killing a Spaniard. Ruiz sought asylum on board a ship with three Dominican priests: Saint Antonio Gonzalez; Saint Guillermo Courtet; Saint Miguel de Aozaraza, a Japanese priest; Saint Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz; and a lay leper Saint Lazaro of Kyoto. Ruiz and his companions left for Okinawa on 10 June 1636, with the aid of the Dominican fathers and Fr Giovanni Yago.[2][3][4][5]


The Tokugawa shogunate was persecuting Christians by the time Ruiz had arrived in Japan. The missionaries were arrested and thrown into prison, and after two years, they were transferred to Nagasaki to face trial by torture. He and his companions faced different types of torture. One of these was the insertion of needles inside their fingernails.

On 27 September 1637, Ruiz and his companions were taken to the Nishizaka Hill, where they were tortured by being hung upside down a pit. This form of torture was known as tsurushi (釣殺し) in Japanese or horca y hoya in Spanish. The method was supposed to be extremely painful: though the victim was bound, one hand is always left free so that victims may be able to signal that they recanted, and they would be freed. Ruiz refused to renounce Christianity and died from blood loss and suffocation. His body was cremated and his ashes thrown into the sea.[2][3][4][5]

According to early records on Filipino Catechism, Lorenzo declared these words upon his death:
Tagalog: "Isa akóng Katoliko at buong-pusóng tinátanggáp ang kamatayan para sa Panginoón. Kung ako man ay may 'sanlibong buhay, lahát ng iyón ay iaálay ko sa Kaniyá."
English: "I am a Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for the Lord; If I had a thousand lives, all these I shall offer to Him."

Path to sainthood

Image of San Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions, by Lourdes Santos (1981).
The Positio Super Introductione Causae or the cause of beatification of St. Lorenzo Ruiz was authored by respected historian, Fr. Fidel Villarroel, O.P., which led to his beatification during Pope John Paul II's papal visit to the Philippines.[6][7][8] It was the first beatification ceremony to be held outside the Vatican in history. San Lorenzo Ruiz was canonized by the same pope in Vatican City on 18 October 1987, making him the first Filipino saint.[2][3][4][5]

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

St. Lorenzo Ruiz's image is included among the images by John Nava of 135 saints and blessed from around the world in the Communion of Saints Tapestries which hangs inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.[9]

20th anniversary

On 28 September 2007, the Catholic Church celebrated the 20th anniversary of Ruiz’ canonization in 1987. Manila Cardinal Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales said: “Kahit saan nandoon ang mga Pilipino, ang katapatan sa Diyos ay dala-dala ng Pinoy (Wherever the Filipinos may be, they bring with them their loyalty to God).”[10]


These are the Films commemoration to the Filipino Saint
  • Lorenzo Ruiz... The Saint... A Filipino! A Philippine film (1988)
  • Ang Buhay ni Lorenzo Ruiz A Philippine film (1970)
  • Rorentsu o Ruisu no shōgai ロレンツォ·ルイスの生涯 a 1962 film by Toho

Books about San Lorenzo Ruiz

  • Carunungan, Celso Al. To Die a Thousand Deaths: A Novel on the Life and Times of Lorenzo Ruiz, Social Studies Publications, Metro Manila, Philippines, 1980, 198 pages and
  • Delgado, Antonio C. The Making of The First Filipino Saint, The Ala-Ala Foundation, 1982


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d "Visit of Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to Participate in the 2005 World Summit - High Level plenary session of the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, United States of America, 12–15 September 2005", Press Kit, Office of the President, Government Mass Media Group, Bureau of Communications Services, Manila, September, 2005.
  3. ^ a b c d Filipino Apostolate/Archdiocese of New York, Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz,, retrieved on: 9 June 2007
  4. ^ a b c d Saint Lorenzo Ruiz at Patron Saints Index, retrieved on: 10 June 2007
  5. ^ a b c d Dominguez, J, M.D., September 28: Saints of the Day, Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions, 1600-1637,, retrieved on: 10 June 2007
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ image of St. Lorenzo Ruiz in the Communion of Saints Tapestries
  10. ^, Church marks 20th anniversary of Lorenzo Ruiz sainthood


Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


Today's Snippet I: Roman Catholicism of Phillipines

Malaueg Catholic Church,  Rizal, Cagayan  oldest in Philippines.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila or Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM) is a particular church or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines. It is also considered as the primatial see of the country, currently held by the Archbishop of Manila as de facto primate over all other dioceses. The Archbishop is customarily elevated to the status of Cardinal some time after his enthronement.

The current Archbishop is Luis Antonio Tagle, formerly bishop of the Diocese of Imus, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI on 13 October 2011. Its titular church is the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Immaculate Conception as the principal patroness of the Republic of the Philippines and Filipino people.


The original Diocese of Manila was canonically erected on 6 February 1579 encompassing all of the Spanish colonies in Asia and originally was a suffragan of Mexico. Over the course of Philippine history and the growth of Catholicism in the region, the Archdiocese of Manila had carved new dioceses from its territory.
On 14 August 1595, Pope Clement VIII raised the diocese to the status of an archdiocese and created three new dioceses as suffragan to Manila: Nueva Caceres, Nueva Segovia, and Cebu. With the creation of these new dioceses, the territory of the Archdiocese was reduced to the city of Manila and the ten civil provinces in proximity to it, namely: Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Bataan, Zambales, and Mindoro.

The province of Mindoro was established as an independent diocese on 10 April 1910 by virtue of a Decretum Consistoriale executed by Pope Pius X, implementing the Bull “Quae Mari Sinico” of Pope Leo XIII. Also on that date saw the creation of the Diocese of Lipa (now known as the Archdiocese of Lipa) which had jurisdiction over the provinces of Batangas, Quezon Province, Marinduque and some parts of Masbate.

Eighteen years later, on 19 May 1928, Pope Pius XI established the Diocese of Lingayen, dividing Manila and Nueva Segovia. In this division 26 parishes were separated from Manila. He also named Our Lady of Guadalupe a patroness of the Filipino people in 1938.

In September 1942, Pope Pius XII declared on a Papal Bull Impositi Nobis the Immaculate Conception as the Principal Patroness of the Philippines, along with SS Pudentiana and Rose of Lima as secondary patrons.

On 11 December 1948, the Apostolic Constitution, “Probe noscitur” further divided the Archdiocese of Manila by separating the northern part of the Archdiocese and establishing it as the Diocese of San Fernando. On 25 November 1961, the Archdiocese of Manila was again partitioned. The civil provinces of Bulacan in the north and Cavite in the south were separated from the Archdiocese, the northern part becoming the Diocese of Malolos and towards the south the Diocese of Imus.

Blessed Pope John Paul II declared the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception a Minor Basilica in 1982 through a Motu Proprio. Fifteen towns and two barangay from eastern Rizal were excised on 24 January 1983 to form the Diocese of Antipolo. In 2002, two more dioceses were carved out of the Archdiocese: the Diocese of Novaliches in the north and the Diocese of Parañaque in the south, which also comprised the cities of Las Piñas and Muntinlupa. In 2003, by the recommendation of Cardinal Jaime Sin and by papal decree, the Archdiocese was further partitioned to form three new dioceses: the Dioceses of Cubao, Caloocan and Pasig.

Archbishop of Manila

The see of the Archbishop of Manila is the Manila Cathedral, under the patronage of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. The Archbishop of Manila is also the metropolitan bishop of several suffragan archdioceses and dioceses as well as the Primate of the Philippines.

After having been served by a single residential bishop, nineteen Archbishops were appointed from Spain. In 1903, the Archdiocese of Manila received its first American archbishop as appointed by the Holy See. Following the tenure of Archbishop Jeremiah James Harty from St. Louis, Missouri, the Irishman Michael J. O'Doherty was appointed, and received on 6 September 1916,.

Archbishop O'Doherty would lead the Philippine Church in its most difficult times, when Filipinos were petitioning for sovereignty from the United States, followed by the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines during World War 2.

When Archbishop O'Doherty died after Philippine independence, the Vatican chose the first Filipino to become Archbishop. Fr. Gabriel Reyes was already serving as Coadjutor Archbishop of Manila before being raised to the position. His successor, Archbishop (later Cardinal) Rufino Jiao Santos, became the first Filipino to become a cardinal in-consistory.

Jaime Sin became the most recognised Archbishop worldwide when he challenged the authoritarian regime of Ferdinand Marcos. Having becoming only the third Filipino cardinal, Cardinal Sin was credited as one of the architects of the 1986 People Power movement that deposed Marcos and dismantled his government. In 2003, Pope John Paul II appointed Gaudencio Rosales as the new Archbishop, succeeding Cardinal Sin; he was later elevated by Pope Benedict XVI to the cardinalate on 24 March 2006.

The current Archbishop of Manila and Primate of the Philippines is The Most Reverend Luis Antonio Tagle. On 13 October 2011, the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila announced the appointment of Tagle, the then-Bishop of Imus as the new Archbishop, replacing Cardinal Rosales, whose resigned upon having reached the compulsory age of retirement. Tagle is currently assisted by two auxiliary bishops, while his predecessor Cardinal Rosales has retired from public ministry and now enjoys the honorary title of Archbishop-Emeritus.

Formation of priests

The archdiocese operates San Carlos Seminary, which is responsible for the formation of future priests for the archdiocese and for its suffragan dioceses. Located in Makati City, it has collegiate- and theologate-level formation houses as well as formation houses for Chinese Filipino future priests (which is the Lorenzo Ruiz Mission Society) and a center for adult vocations (Holy Apostles Senior Seminary). The seminary offers civil and ecclesiastical degrees in philosophy, theology and pastoral ministry.

The archdiocese also operates Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary, a seminary for young men in the secondary school level. It is located a few blocks away from San Carlos Seminary. Other major seminaries that serve the spiritual and pastoral needs of the archdiocese include the San Jose Seminary (under the administration of the Jesuits, located within the Ateneo de Manila University complex) and the UST Central Seminary, the Royal and Pontifical Interdiocesan Seminary of the Philippines, (under the administration of the Dominicans, located within the University of Santo Tomas campus).

Roman Catholicism in the Philippines

The Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, with its head being the Pope. With 75.5 million members in 2011, it is the predominant religion, making the Philippines the country with the fourth largest number of Catholic citizens in the world after Brazil, Mexico and the United States. It is also one of the two predominantly Catholic countries in Asia, the other being East Timor.

National demographics

As of 2004, the Archdiocese of Manila has registered a total of 2,719,781 baptized Catholics. The faithful are served by the archdiocese's 475 diocesan and religious priests – with a ratio of 5,725 Catholics per priests, under 85 parishes. The archdiocese also houses 369 male religious and 1,730 female religious engaged in various social, pastoral and missionary works in various areas of the archdiocese.


Spanish Era (1521-1898)

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Spain had three major goals for the occupation of the Philippine Islands. One was to colonise the Philippines and participate in the spice trade dominated by Portugal. Second, Spain wanted to use the islands' geographical location to trade with China and Japan and to spread their religious belief to those advanced civilisations. Third was for Spain to spread Catholicism in the archipelago itself.

While many history books claim that the first Mass in the archipelago was held on Easter Sunday of 1521, others present evidence that it was elsewhere. Some books claim that this was done on the same day in a little island near the present day Bukidnon Province. There is only one recorded Christian Mass in the Philippines that is provable, and it was that held at the island-port named Mazaua on Easter Sunday, 31 March 1521. This incident was recorded by the Vicentine diarist Antonio Pigafetta.

The Legazpi expedition of 1565 marked the beginning of the Hispanisation of the Philippines. This expedition was an effort to occupy the islands with as little bloodshed and conflict as possible, ordered by Phillip II. Lieutenant Legazpi was in charge of making peace with the natives and through swift military conquest. To do so, he set up colonies.

Under the encomienda system, Filipinos had to pay tribute to the encomendero of the area and in return the encomendero taught them the Christian faith and also protected them from enemies. Although Spain had used this system before, it did not working quite as effectively for the Filipinos as it did in America. The missionaries were not as successful in converting the natives as they had hoped. In 1579, Bishop Salazar and other clergymen were outraged because the encomenderos had abused their powers. Although the natives were resistant, they could not organise into a unified resistance towards the Spaniards due to geography, ethno-linguistic differences, and overall mutual indifference.

Cultural Impact

The Spaniards had observed the natives’ lifestyle and disagreed with it wholeheartedly. They saw the influence of the Devil and felt the need to "liberate the natives from their evil ways". Over time, geographical limitations have shifted the natives into what are called barangays, which are small kinship units consisting of about 30 to 100 families.

Each barangay had a mutable class system, with any subclasses varying from one barangay to the next. The patriarchal chieftains were called datus, while the mahárlika were the nobility and the timawa were freedmen. The alipin or servile class were dependent, an arrangement misconstrued as slavery by the Spaniards. Intermarriage between the timawa and the alipin was permitted, which created a more complex, but flexible system of land privileges and labor services. The Spaniards attempted to suppress this class system with their reason being that the dependent class were an oppressed group. Although they failed at completely abolishing the system, they instead worked to use it to their own advantage.

Religion and marriage were also issues that the missionaries of Spain wanted to transform. Polygamy was not uncommon, but only wealthy chieftains had this privilege. Divorce and remarriage were also common as long as reasons were justified. Illness, infertility, or a finding better potential to take as a spouse was justified reasons for divorce. Along with those practices, missionaries also disagreed with the practices of paying dowries, and payment of “bride price” and “bride-service,” in which the groom paid his future father-in-law gold or offered labor services before the marriage. Missionaries had disapproved of these because they felt bride-price was an act of selling one’s daughter and labor services in the household of the father allowed for premarital relations between bride and groom, which contradicted Christian beliefs.

Pre-conquest religion of the natives consisted of monotheistic and polytheistic cults. Bathala (Tagalog – central Luzon) or Laon (Bisayan – central islands) was the ultimate creator above other inferior gods and goddesses. Natives also worshipped nature and prayed to the spirits of their ancestors to whom they also made sacrifices. Mostly men practiced ritualistic drinking and many rituals performed aimed at cure for a certain illness. Magic and superstition also existed among the natives. The Spaniards claimed to liberate the natives from their wicked practices and show them the right path to God.

In 1599, negotiation began between a number of chieftains and their freemen and the Spaniards. The natives agreed to submit to the rule of a Castilian king and in return, the natives were indoctrinated into Christianity and were protected from their enemies, mostly Japanese, Chinese, and Muslim pirates. However, the missionaries continued to face many difficulties in Christianizing the region.


Several factors hindered the Spaniards' efforts to spread Christianity throughout the archipelago. An inadequate number of missionaries on the island made it difficult to reach all the people and harder to convert them. This is also due to the fact that the route to the Philippines was in itself a rigorous task and some clergy never had the opportunity to set foot on the islands. Some clergy fell ill or waited years for their chance to take the journey. For others, the climate difference once they arrived proved to be unbearable. Other missionaries desired to go to Japan or China instead and spread their faith there, or those who remained were more interested in mercantilism. The Spaniards also quarreled with the Chinese population in the Philippines. The Chinese had set up shops in what was called the Parian or bazaar during the 1580s to trade silk and other goods for Mexican silver. The Spaniards anticipated revolts from the Chinese and therefore, were under constant suspicion of the latter. The Spanish government was highly dependent on the influx of silver and gold since it supported the necessities to run the government in Manila, the main city, and to continue the Christianization of the rest of the archipelago. The most difficult obstacles facing the missionaries were the dispersion of the Filipinos and their seemingly endless varieties of languages and dialects. The geographical isolation forced them into numerous small villages and every other province supported a different dialect.

Religious Orders

The Philippines is home to many of the world's major religious congregations, and today these include the Augustinians, Recollects, Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, Salesians, and the indigenous Religious of the Virgin Mary.

The five regular orders who were assigned to Christianize the natives were the Augustinians, who came with Legazpi, the Discalced Franciscans (1578), the Jesuits (1581), the Dominican friars (1587) and the Augustinian Recollects (simply called the Recoletos 1606). In 1594, all had agreed to cover a specific area of the archipelago to deal with the vast dispersion of the natives. The Augustinians and Franciscans mainly covered the Tagalog country while the Jesuits had a small area. The Dominicans encompassed the Parian. The provinces of Pampanga and Ilokos were assigned to the Augustinians. The province of Camarines went to the Franciscans. The Augustinians and Jesuits were also assigned the Visayan islands. The Christian conquest had not reached the Mindanao province due to a highly resistant Muslim community that existed pre-conquest.

The task of the Spanish missionaries, however, was far from complete. By the seventeenth century, the Spaniards had created about 20 large villages and almost completely transformed the native lifestyle. For their Christian efforts, the Spaniards justified their actions by claiming that the small villages were a sign of barbarism and only bigger, more compact communities allowed for a richer understanding for Christianity. The Filipinos did not face much coercion; the Spaniards knew that rituals were inviting for the natives. The layout of these villages was in gridiron form that allowed for easier navigation and more order. They were also spread far enough to allow for one cabecera or capital parish and small visita chapels located throughout the villages in which clergy only stayed temporarily for mass, rituals, or nuptials.

Filipino Resistance

The Filipinos, to an extent, resisted because they felt an agricultural obligation and connection with their rice fields. They felt that the large villages took away their resources and they feared the compact environment. This also took away from the encomienda system that depended on land, therefore, the encomenderos lost tributes. However, the missionaries continued their efforts to convert the natives to the Christian faith. Their strategy was to take children of the chieftains and put them under intense education in religious doctrines and the Spanish language so that they in turn could convert their fathers and eventually native followers would emulate their leader. Between 1578 and 1609, missionaries saw an optimistic and enthusiastic attitude from the natives there were more converts than ever.

Despite the progress of the Spaniards, it took many years for the natives to truly grasp key concepts of Christianity. In Catholicism, four main sacraments attracted the natives but only for ritualistic reasons, and they did not fully alter their lifestyle as the Spaniards had hoped. Baptism was believed to simply cure ailments, while Holy Matrimony was a concept many natives could not understand and thus had violated the sanctity of monogamy. They were however, allowed to keep the tradition of dowry which was accepted into law. “Bride-price” and “bride-service” were not observed by the Spaniards, but were performed by natives despite labels of heresy. Confession, or Penance, was required of everyone once a year, and the clergy used a bilingual text aid called confessionario to help natives understand the rite's meaning and what they had to confess. They were initially apprehensive to the concept but they gradually used Penance as a way to excuse excessive actions throughout the year. Communion was given out selectively for this was one of the most important sacraments that the missionaries did not want to risk having the natives violate. To help their cause, evangelism was done in the native language. Doctrina Christiana is a book of prayers in Tagalog published in the 16th century.

American period (1898–1946)

During the sovereignty of the United States, the American government implemented the separation of church and state. It reduced the significant political power exerted by the Church and lead to the establishment of other religions (particularly Protestantism) within the country.

After American colonisation of the country, American jurisprudence reintroduced separation of church and state relying on the First Amendment and the metaphor of Thomas Jefferson on the "wall of separation... between church and state", but the Philippine experience has shown that this theoretical wall of separation has been crossed several times by secular authorities. Schumacher states that in 1906, the Philippine Supreme Court intervened in the issue of parish ownership by returning assets seized by the Philippine Independent Church, while certain charitable organizations managed or influenced by the Roman Catholic Church were either returned or sequestered.

The provision of the 1935 Philippine Constitution on religion mimicked the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, but the sentences "The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall be forever allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights" were appended and this section became the basis for the non-establishment of religion and freedom of religion in the Philippines.


When the Philippines was placed under Martial Law by dictator Ferdinand Marcos, relations between Church and State changed dramatically, as some bishops expressly and openly opposed Martial Law. The turning point came in 1986 when then-Archbishop of Manila Jaimé Cardinal Sin broadcast over Church-run Radio Veritas an appeal for people to support anti-regime rebels. The people's response became what is now known as the People Power Revolution, which ousted Marcos.

Church and State today maintain generally cordial relations despite differing opinions over specific issues. With the guarantee of religious freedom in the Philippines, the Roman Catholic clergy subsequently remained in the political background as a source of moral influence especially during elections. Political candidates still generally court the clergy and other religious leaders for additional support, although this does not guarantee victory.

Marian Devotion

Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag, a classic version of Spanish influence on native icons.
The Philippines has shown a strong devotion to Mary, evidenced by her patronage of various towns and locales nationwide. Particularly, there are pilgrimage sites where each town has created their own versions of Mary. With Spanish regalia, indigenous stories of belief and faith, and facial features unique to the local area, the Catholics have created images that are uniquely Filipino. With the devotion of the regional populace, these images have been recognized by various popes. Various popes have recognized the cultural and religious impacts of these images. They have generally bestowed blessings through a Canonical Coronation, and Basilica status of the local church. Below are some pilgrimage sites and the year they received a canonical blessing:

  • Our Lady of the Abandoned (Nuestra Señora de los Desamparadós) Marikina, Metro Manila
  • Our Lady of Bigláng Awâ (Nuestra Señora del Prónto Socorro) Boac, Marinduque - May 1978
  • Our Lady of Caysasay (Nuestra Señora de Caysásay) Taal, Batangas - 1954
  • Our Lady of Charity (Nuestra Señora de Caridád)
    • Agoo, La Union - 1971
    • Bantay, Ilocos Sur - 1956
  • Our Lady of Consolation (Nuestra Señora de Consolacion y Correa) San Agustin Church, Intramuros, Manila
  • Our Lady of Divine Leadership (Nuestra Señora Divina Pastora) Gapan, Nueva Ecija - 1964
  • Our Lady of the Food Giver (Nuestra Señora de Namacpacan) Luna, La Union - 1959
  • Our Lady of Good Success (Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso) Parañaque, Metro Manila - 2005
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe (Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe) Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu (Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe of Cebu) Cebu City - 2006
  • Our Lady of Guidance (Nuestra Señora de Guia) Ermita, Manila - 1955
  • Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of Pasig (Nuestra Señora de la Immaculada Concepción de Pasig) Pasig City, Metro Manila - 2008
  • Our Lady of Immaculate Conception (Nuestra Señora de La Inmaculada Concepcion de Malabon") 1986 Malabon City
  • Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila (Nuestra Señora del Santíssimo Rosario de la Navál de Manila) Quezon City, Metro Manila - 1907
  • Our Lady of Lourdes (Nuestra Señora del Lourdes) Quezon City, Metro Manila - 1951
  • Our Lady of Manaoag (Nuestra Señora del Santíssimo Rosario de Manáoag) Manaoag, Pangasinan - 1925
  • Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Queen of the Caracol (Nuestra Señora Virgen del Santissimo Rosario, Reina de Caracol) Rosario "Salinas", Cavite - May 1995
  • Our Lady of Orani (Nuestra Señora del Santo Rosario de Orani) Orani, Bataan
  • Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje) Antipolo, Rizal - 1926
  • Our Lady of Peñafráncia of Naga (Nuestra Señora de Penafrancia de Naga) Naga, Camarines Sur - 1925
  • Our Lady of Peñafráncia of Manila (Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Río Pasig) Paco, Manila - 1985
  • Our Lady of Piat (Nuestra Señora de Visitación de Píat) Piat, Cagayan - 1954
  • Our Lady of the Pillar (Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilár) Chartered and Independent City of Zamboanga 1635
  • Our Lady of the Rule (Nuestra Señora de la Reglá) Opon, Cebu - 1954
  • Our Lady of Solitude of Vaga Gate (Nuestra Señora de la Soledád de Porta Vaga) in the Diocese of Imus, Cavite
  • Our Lady of Sorrows of Turúmba (Nuestra Señora delos Dolorés de Turúmba) Pakil, Laguna
  • Our Lady of Candles (Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria) Jaro, Iloilo City

Filipino Diaspora

Overseas Filipinos have spread Filipino culture worldwide, and have brought Filipino Catholicism with them. Filipinos have established two shrines in the Chicago Metropolitan Area: one at St. Wenceslaus dedicated to Santo Niño de Cebú, as well as another at St. Hedwig's with its statue to Our Lady of Manaoag. The Filipino community in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York has the San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel (New York City) for its apostolate

Binondo ChurchMinor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz 

Binondo Church, also known as Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz , is located in the District of Binondo, Manila, in the Philippines. This church was founded by Dominican priests in 1596 to serve their Chinese converts to Christianity. The original building was destroyed in 1762 by British bombardment. A new granite church was completed on the same site in 1852 however it was greatly damaged during the Second World War, with only the western facade and the octagonal bell tower surviving.

San Lorenzo Ruiz, who was born of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, trained in this church and afterwards went as a missionary to Japan and was executed there for refusing to renounce his religion. San Lorenzo Ruiz was to be the Philippines' first saint and he was canonized in 1987. A large statue of the martyr stands in front of the church.
Masses are held in Filipino, in Chinese dialects (Mandarin, Hokkien), and in English.

Historical background

Statue East Side
Even before the arrival of the Spanish to the Philippines there was already a community of Chinese traders living in Manila. The population of Chinese traders increased with the advent of Spanish colonization of the Philippines, due to increased trade between the islands.The upsurge in their population prompted the catholic missionaries to manage the conversion of the Chinese population to the Christian faith.

In 1596, Dominican priests founded Binondo church to serve their Chinese converts to Christianity as well as to the native Filipinos. The original structure has sustained damages during wars and various natural disasters. The current granite church was completed on the same site in 1852 and features an octagonal bell tower which suggests the Chinese culture of the parishioners. The church was burned during the British invasion of 1872. Another one was quickly built following the occupation. Improvements were made in the 18th century but the edifice was again destroyed in the 1863 earthquake. It was rebuilt in the grandeur the remains on which we see today. Before the war, it was considered as one of the most beautiful churches in the country. Its bell tower was composed of five stories, octagonal in shape. At its top was a mirador (viewing window). This roof was destroyed during the 1863 earthquake.

American bombing on September 22, 1944 destroyed the structure. Everything including the archives of the parish were burned. Nothing was left behind except the stone walls of the church and the fire-tiered octagonal belltower. After the war, Binondo parishioners had to make do with a roofless church for several years until it was rebuilt in the 1950's.

The present church and convent was renovated between 1946 and 1971.


Today's Snippet II :  The Last Crusade - The Fall of Ruad

The Ninth Crusade, which is sometimes grouped with the Eighth Crusade, is commonly considered to be the last major medieval Crusade to the Holy Land. It took place in 1271–1272. The last remaining foothold on the Holy Land, Ruad Island, was lost in 1302/1303. The period of the Crusades to the Holy Land was over, 208 years after Pope Urban II called for the first of these holy wars.

The Fall of Ruad

Then Last Crusader
The Fall of Ruad in 1302/3 was one of the culminating events of the Crusades in the Eastern Mediterranean. When the garrison on the tiny Isle of Ruad fell, it marked the loss of the last Crusader outpost on the coast of the Levant. Ten years earlier, in 1291, the Crusaders had lost their main power base at the coastal city of Acre, and the Muslim Mamluks had been systematically destroying any remaining Crusader ports and fortresses since then, forcing the Crusaders to relocate their dwindling Kingdom of Jerusalem to the island of Cyprus. In 1299/1300, the Cypriots sought to re-take the Syrian port city of Tortosa, by setting up a staging area on Ruad, two miles (3 km) off the coast of Tortosa. The plans were to coordinate an offensive between the forces of the Crusaders, and those of the Ilkhanate (Mongol Persia). However, though the Crusaders successfully established a bridgehead on the island, the Mongols did not arrive, and the Crusaders were forced to retreat the bulk of their forces to Cyprus. The Knights Templar set up a permanent garrison on the island in 1300, but the Mamluks besieged and captured Ruad in 1302 or 1303. With the loss of the island, the Crusaders lost their last foothold in the Holy Land. Attempts at other Crusades continued for centuries, but the Europeans were never again to occupy any territory in the Holy Land until the 20th century during the events of World War I.


Mongol advances, 1299–1303. They had a major success near Homs in 1300 at the Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar (also called the Third Battle of Homs), and were able to launch some raids southwards into Palestine for a few months before retreating. In 1303, they suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Marj al-Saffar, which marked the end of their incursions into Syria.
When Jerusalem was lost in 1187, the Crusaders moved their headquarters to the coastal city of Acre, which they held for the next hundred years, until the Fall of Acre in 1291. They then moved their headquarters north to Tortosa on the coast of Syria, but lost that too on August 4, as well as the stronghold of Atlit (south of Acre) on August 14. The remaining elements of the dwindling Kingdom of Jerusalem relocated their headquarters offshore to the island of Cyprus.

In 1298–99 the Mamluks attacked Syria, capturing Servantikar and Roche-Guillaume (in what had previously been Antioch). This marked the capture of the last Templar stronghold in the Levant. The Grand Master of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, and the leader of the Hospitallers, Guillaume de Villaret, apparently participated in the ineffective defense of these fortresses, the losses of which prompted the Armenian king Hethum II to request the intervention of the Mongol ruler of Persia, Ghazan.

In 1299, as he prepared an offensive against Syria, Ghazan had sent embassies to Henry II of Jerusalem (now located on Cyprus) and to Pope Boniface VIII, inviting them to participate in combined operations against the Mamluks. Henry made some attempts to combine with the Mongols, and in the autumn of 1299 sent a small fleet of two galleys, led by Guy of Ibelin and John of Giblet, to join Ghazan. The fleet successfully reoccupied Botrun on the mainland (in modern times this would be along the coast of Lebanon), and for a few months, until February 1300, began rebuilding the fortress of Nephin.

Ghazan inflicted a crushing defeat on the Mamluks on 22 December 1299 at the Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar near Homs in Syria. He was assisted by his vassal Hethum II, whose forces included a contingent of Templars and Hospitallers from Little Armenia. But Ghazan then had to retreat the bulk of his forces in February, due to a revolt in the East during the Mongol civil war, as he was being attacked by one of his cousins, Qutlugh-Khoja, the son of the Jagataid ruler of Turkestan Before leaving, Ghazan announced that he would return by November 1300, and sent letters and ambassadors to the West so that they could prepare themselves. Ghazan's remaining forces in the area launched some Mongol raids into Palestine from December 1299 until May 1300, raiding the Jordan River Valley, reaching as far as Gaza and entering multiple towns, probably including Jerusalem. The Mongols' success in Syria inspired enthusiastic rumours in the West, that the Holy Land had been conquered and that Jerusalem was to be returned to the West. In May however, when the Egyptians again advanced from Cairo, the remaining Mongols retreated with little resistance.

In July 1300, King Henry II of Jerusalem and the other Cypriots set up a naval raiding operation. Sixteen galleys combining the forces of Cyprus with those of the Templars and Hospitallers, and accompanied by Ghazan's ambassador Isol the Pisan, were able to raid Rosetta, Alexandria, Acre, Tortosa and Maraclea.

Ruad as bridgehead

Though they were not able to satisfactorily combine their activities, the Europeans (green arrows) and Mongols (red arrows) did attempt to coordinate an offensive near Tortosa and the Isle of Ruad
The citadel of Atlit having been dismantled by the Mamluks in 1291, Tortosa remained the most likely stronghold on the mainland which had the potential to be recaptured. From Cyprus, King Henry and members of the three military orders (Knights Templar, Knights Hospitaller and Teutonic Knights), attempted to retake Tortosa in 1300. The plan was to establish a bridghead on the tiny waterless island of Ruad, just two miles (3 km) off the coast, from which they could launch raids on the city.

On the eve of the Ruad expedition, relations between the Templars and the King of Cyprus, Henry II, were stressed, as the former Grand Master Guillaume de Beaujeu had supported a rival claimant to the Cypriot throne. Pope Boniface VIII had since ordered Jacques de Molay to resolve the disputes with Henry II.

In November 1300, Jacques de Molay and the king's brother, Amaury of Lusignan, launched an expedition to reoccupy Tortosa. Six hundred troops, including about 150 Templars, were ferried to Ruad in preparation for a seaborne assault on the city. The hopes were that in synchronization with the naval assault, there would also be a land-based attack by the Mongols of the Ilkhanate, as Ghazan had promised that his own forces would arrive in late 1300. While the Templar Grand Master had high hopes for the operation, the attempt to reoccupy Tortosa lasted only twenty-five days, and the Crusaders acted more like plunderers, destroying property and taking captives. They did not stay permanently in the city, but set up base on Ruad. However, Ghazan's Mongols did not show up as planned, being delayed by the rigorous winter, and the planned junction did not happen.

In February 1301 the Mongols, accompanied by the Armenian king Hethum II, finally made their promised advance into Syria. General Kutlushka went to Little Armenia to fetch troops and from there moved south past Antioch. The Armenians were also accompanied by Guy of Ibelin, Count of Jaffa, and John of Giblet. While Kutlushka had a force of 60,000, he could do little else than engage in some perfunctory raiding as far as the environs of Aleppo. When Ghazan announced that he had canceled his operations for the year, the Crusaders, after some deliberations, decided to return to Cyprus, leaving only a garrison on Ruad.

Reinforcement of Ruad

Crusader troops at Ruad

November 1300
–January 1301
May 1301
–April 1302
Cypriots 300 500
Templars 150 120
Hospitallers 150 0
From his stronghold of Limassol, in Cyprus, Jacques de Molay continued to send appeals to the West to organize the sending of troops and supplies.  In November 1301, Pope Boniface VIII officially granted Ruad to the Knights Templar. They strengthened its fortifications, and installed a force of 120 knights, 500 archers and 400 servants as a permanent garrison. This represented a considerable commitment: "close to half the size of the normal complement [of Templars] for the twelfth-century Kingdom of Jerusalem". They were under the command of the Templar marshal Barthélemy de Quincy.
Plans for combined operations between the Europeans and the Mongols were made for the following winters (1301, 1302). A surviving letter from Jacques de Molay to Edward I of England, dated 8 April 1301, informed the king of the troubles encountered by Ghazan, but announcing his planned arrival in autumn:
"And our convent, with all our galleys and tarides (light galleys) [lacuna] has been transported to the isle of Tortosa to await Ghazan's army and his Tartars."
—Jacques de Molay, letter to Edward I, April 8, 1301
In a letter to the king of Aragon a few months later, Jacques wrote:
"The king of Armenia had sent his messengers to the king of Cyprus to tell him . . . that Ghazan was now on the point of coming to the sultan's lands with a multitude of Tartars. Knowing this, we now intend to go to the isle of Tortosa, where our convent has remained all this year with horses and arms, causing much damage to the casaux along the coast and capturing many Saracens. We intend to go there and settle in to await the Tartars."
—Jacques de Molay, letter to the king of Aragon, 1301.


Ruad was to be the last Crusader base in the Levant. In 1302, the Mamluks sent a fleet of 16 ships from Egypt, to Tripoli, from which they besieged the island of Ruad. They disembarked at two points and set up their own encampment. The Templars fought the invaders, but were eventually starved out. The Cypriots had been assembling a fleet to rescue Ruad, which set out from Famagusta, but did not arrive in time.

On Ruad, Brother Hugh of Dampierre negotiated a surrender to the Mamluks on September 26, under the condition that they could safely escape to a Christian land of their choice. However when the Templars began to emerge, the Mamluks did not respect the agreement, and combat ensued. Barthélemy de Quincy was killed in the conflict, all the bowmen and Syrian Christians were executed, and dozens of the surviving Templar knights were taken as prisoners to Cairo. About forty of the Templars were still in prison in Cairo several years later, refusing to apostatize. They eventually died of starvation after years of ill-treatment.


The Franks from Cyprus did continue to engage in some naval attacks along the Syrian coast, destroying Damour, south of Beyrout. Ghazan made a last attack on the Mamluks in Spring 1303, with 80,000 troops in combination with the Armenians, but the expedition ended in disaster. His generals Mulay and Qutlugh Shah were defeated near Damascus at the Battle of Marj al-Saffar on 20 April. It is considered to be the last major Mongol invasion of Syria. When Ghazan died in 1304, Jacques de Molay's dream of a rapid reconquest of the Holy Land was doused.

Subsequently the Grand Master opposed small-scale attacks in anticipation of larger forces as a strategy to recapture the Holy Land. In 1305 Pope Clement V made new plans for a Crusade, and in 1307 received new ambassadors from the Mongol leader Oljeitu, which cheered him "like spiritual sustenance" and encouraged him to evoke the restitution of the Holy Land by the Mongols as a strong possibility.[6] In 1306, Pope Clement V had asked the leaders of the military orders, Jacques de Molay and Fulk de Villaret, to present their proposals for how the crusades should proceed, but neither of them factored in any kind of a Mongol alliance. A few later proposals talked briefly about the Mongols as being a force that could invade Syria and keep the Mamluks distracted, but not as a force that could be counted on for cooperation.


Historiography of the Crusades

The historiography of the Crusades is how historians and the popular culture have dealt with the Crusades. There are many viewpoints, since Western and Eastern judgments differ sharply. The dichotomy is "crusade" as a valiant struggle for a supreme cause, and "crusade" as a byword for barbarism and aggression. This contrasting view is a millennium old and the crusades were controversial even among contemporaries.

Western sources speak of both heroism, faith and honour (emphasized in chivalric romance), but also of acts of brutality. Orthodox Christian and Islamic chroniclers tell stories of barbarian savagery and brutality, although it was not until 1899 that the first Islamic history of the Crusades was written. Prior to the growth of Arab nationalism in the 20th century, the Crusades were virtually unknown in the Islamic world.

Popular Reputation in Western Europe

Legend and literature surrounded the Crusades with an aura of romance and grandeur, of chivalry and courage.The myth is only remotely related to reality. The countless tales of the gallant knights of the Cross glitter in hyperbole. Many stories are true about the crusaders' feats of valor. However the crusaders occupied the Holy Land only temporarily. In their major mission, the crusaders lost in the very long run.

In Western Europe, the Crusades have traditionally been regarded by laypeople as heroic adventures, though the mass enthusiasm of common people was largely expended in the First Crusade, from which so few of their class returned. Today, the "Saracen" adversary is personified in the lone figure of Saladin; his adversary Richard the Lionheart is, in the English-speaking world, the archetypical crusader king, while Frederick Barbarossa and Louis IX fill the same symbolic niche in German and French culture. Even in contemporary areas, the crusades and their leaders were romanticized in popular literature; the Chanson d'Antioche was a chanson de geste dealing with the First Crusade, and the Song of Roland, dealing with the era of the similarly romanticized Charlemagne, was directly influenced by the experience of the crusades, going so far as to replace Charlemagne's historic Basque opponents with Muslims. A popular theme for troubadours was the knight winning the love of his lady by going on crusade in the east.

The ever-living Frederick Barbarossa, in his mountain cave: a late 19th century German woodcut
In the 14th century, Godfrey of Bouillon was united with the Trojan War and the adventures of Alexander the Great against a backdrop for military and courtly heroics of the Nine Worthies who stood as popular secular culture heroes into the 16th century, when more critical literary tastes ran instead to Torquato Tasso and Rinaldo and Armida, Roger and Angelica. Later, the rise of a more authentic sense of history among literate people brought the Crusades into a new focus for the Romantic generation in the romances of Sir Walter Scott in the early 19th century. Crusading imagery could be found even in the Crimean War, in which the United Kingdom and France were allied with the Muslim Ottoman Empire, and in World War I, especially Allenby's capture of Jerusalem in 1917.

In Spain, the popular reputation of the Crusades is outshone by the particularly Spanish history of the Reconquista. El Cid is the central figure. In a broader sense, crusade was used, in a rhetorical and metaphorical sense, to identify as righteous any war that was given a religious or moral justification.

Catholic Church

Linder (2001) examines 15th-century Catholic Church liturgy designed to generate support for the war effort against the Turks and to legitimize its aims. Two types of Contra Turcos Masses were used: masses converted to this function through the addition of appropriate three core prayers and complete dedicated masses. The most popular example of the first type was the triple prayer set originally established by Clement V as a Holy Land crusade liturgy and subsequently mobilized against the Turks. The second type is represented by nine different mass formularies that were introduced after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Most surviving liturgies are of German or French provenance, indicating extensive use not only among the front-line populations but also in areas far removed from any threat. The liturgy displays an its intense crisis rhetoric. Its predominant stance of vulnerability and defensiveness entailed aggressive mobilization and the conceptualization of the Turk as the actual, specific manifestation of the generic infidel, the competing religious Other; and the remarkable continuity - in form and in content - that linked this liturgy with its parent liturgies (mainly those of the campaigns against the pagans and the Holy Land Crusades) further accentuated these traits. The communicative function and value of this liturgy is highlighted by the concentration of the direct, unmediated communicative elements in that part of the mass that was the most accessible to the laity.

Modern Western historians

The historical memory of the crusades has been sharply divided. The Catholic tradition in Europe looked upon them favorably, but the Protestant historians were more negative. Martin Luther once suggested that the Turks were God's instrument for punishing Christians. In recent decades a sense of western guilt is apparent, as in the 1995 BBC television series, presented by Terry Jones, which portrayed the crusades as a long, misguided war of intolerance, ignorance and barbarism against a peaceful and sophisticated Muslim world.

Knobler (2006) examines the use of the crusades as a national symbol from the 19th century to the 1910s in France, Spain, the Ottoman Empire, Ethiopia, Britain, Russia, and Bulgaria. The Enlightenment and its secular ideological successors held the crusades as an example of medieval barbarity. Enlightenment thinkers like historian-philosophers Voltaire and David Hume denounced the crusades, as did the historian of Byzantium Edward Gibbon, who wrote:
"The principle of the crusades was a savage fanaticism; and the most important effects were analogous to the cause…. The belief of the Catholics was corrupted by new legends…. The active spirit of the Latins preyed on the vitals of their reason and religion…. The lives and labours of millions, which were buried in the East, would have been more profitably employed in the improvement of their native country."
In the 19th century, however, romantic writers like novelist Sir Walter Scott created heroic images of the crusaders. The romantics and conservative adherents of the European ancien régimes appropriated crusading imagery for their own 19th century political goals, downplaying religion to fit within a modern, secular context and presenting crusades as a counterpoint to liberal ideas of nationalism.

Knobler (2006) explores three primary themes: memory of the crusades as it relates to debates over the generation and use of national symbols; the crusader as a romantic hero; and the Muslim recollection of the crusades as a shameful blot on the past of Christian nations. The crusades appealed to many Europeans because they reflected a morally unambiguous time, sparked romanticized images of warfare in a time of imperialist expansion, and provided heroic templates for modern "crusading" imperialist heroes.

Legend and literature in the West

Popular legend and much popular literature surrounded the Crusades with an aura of romance and grandeur, of chivalry and courage. The myth is only remotely related to reality. The countless tales of the gallant knights of the Cross glitter in hyperbole. Many stories are true about the crusaders' feats of valor. However the crusaders occupied the Holy Land only temporarily. In their major mission, the crusaders lost in the very long run.

The historical memory of the crusades has been sharply divided. The Catholic tradition in Europe looked upon them favorably, but the Protestant historians were more negative. Martin Luther once suggested that the Turks were God's instrument for punishing Christians. In recent decades a sense of western guilt is apparent, as in the 1995 BBC television series, presented by Terry Jones, which portrayed the crusades as a long, misguided war of intolerance, ignorance and barbarism against a peaceful and sophisticated Muslim world.

National symbol

Knobler (2006) examines the use of the crusades as a national symbol from the 19th century to the 1910s in France, Spain, the Ottoman Empire, Ethiopia, Britain, Russia, and Bulgaria. Though the Enlightenment and its secular ideological successors held the crusades as an example of medieval barbarity. Enlightenment thinkers like historian-philosophers Voltaire and David Hume denounced the crusades, as did the historian of Byzantium Edward Gibbon, who wrote:
"The principle of the crusades was a savage fanaticism; and the most important effects were analogous to the cause…. The belief of the Catholics was corrupted by new legends…. The active spirit of the Latins preyed on the vitals of their reason and religion…. The lives and labours of millions, which were buried in the East, would have been more profitably employed in the improvement of their native country."
In the 19th century, however, romantic writers like novelist Sir Walter Scott created heroic images of the crusaders. The romantics and conservative adherents of the European ancien régimes appropriated crusading imagery for their own 19th century political goals, downplaying religion to fit within a modern, secular context and presenting crusades as a counterpoint to liberal ideas of nationalism.

Knobler (2006) explores three primary themes: memory of the crusades as it relates to debates over the generation and use of national symbols; the crusader as a romantic hero; and the Muslim recollection of the crusades as a shameful blot on the past of Christian nations. The crusades appealed to many Europeans because they reflected a morally unambiguous time, sparked romanticized images of warfare in a time of imperialist expansion, and provided heroic templates for modern "crusading" imperialist heroes.

Christian Jihad

A crucial recent development is the recognition, variously interpreted, of the parallel between crusades and the Islamic concept of jihad Secular critics of the crusades see both jihad and crusade as providing a religious justification for war and intolerance. Supporters present the crusades as defensive responses to Islamic jihad and, in some cases, advocate a renewal of the crusades a view that may be linked, by both critics and supporters, to current US policy in the Middle East.

A June 2, 1944 message to Allied troops before the Normandy landings, began with General Eisenhower stating, "Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months." His later bestselling memoir was entitled Crusade in Europe.

Ardent activists for specific reforms often christen their program as crusades, as in the "Crusade against Adult Illiteracy," or a "Crusade against Littering." The term may also be used to pejoratively characterize the zealotry of agenda promoters, causing it to take on different connotations depending on the audience: for example, with the moniker "Public Crusader" or the campaigns "Crusade against abortion," and the "Crusade for prayer in public schools."

George W. Bush in 2002 described his anti-terrorism campaign as a crusade but was compelled to repudiate the term when it was pointed out that the word, because of the historical events to which it referred in the Middle East, was regarded as offensive by some Muslims and Jews.

Islamic perspective

Muslim historiography does not cover the crusades with the same intensity as the West. One modern reason could be that Turks were primarily responsible for the defeat of the crusaders, and Arab historians (who have written much of modern Islamic history) may have underplayed this, due to the Turks role in establishing the Ottoman Empire - a period that suppressed Arab nationalism for seven centuries into the era of World War I.

Thomas Patrick Murphy has proposed that this view has caused Muslims to set up intellectual barriers and become very isolationist in their policies, causing them to be left behind in the "world scene." The most devastating long term consequence of the crusades, according to historian Peter Mansfield, was the creation of an Islamic mentality that sought a retreat into isolation. He says "Assaulted from all quarters, the Muslim world turned in on itself. It became oversensitive [and] defensive… attitudes that grew steadily worse as worldwide evolution, a process from which the Muslim world felt excluded, continued."


Saladin and Guy de Lusignan after Battle of Hattin in 1187
Muslims traditionally celebrate Saladin as a hero against the Crusaders. Crusaders are now portrayed to feel little to no remorse for what they did and when the Muslims, compared that to Saladin’s perception of being a man of honor.

The great Muslim hero was Saladin--but he was a Kurd and not an Arab or a Turk. Having defeated the crusaders in 1187, and become sovereign and founder of the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt and Syria, Salah al-Din (Saladin) has been for a century the object of an intense glorification in the Arab world. Farah Antun's play Sultan Saladin and the Kingdom of Jerusalem (1914) illustrates how the historical figure of Saladin came to be presented as a prophet of Arab nationalism. Antun (1874-1922) was an Arab-speaking Syrian Christian who presents Saladin as the champion of a just jihad against the Crusaders and as a faithful upholder of the virtues of wisdom, determination, and frankness; Antun was calling on the peoples of all Arab countries to unite against Western imperialists. The refusal of Antun's Saladin to become embroiled in quarrels within Europe had obvious echoes in World War I and caused the play to be censored by the British authorities in Egypt. In Palestine, the glorification also took the form of pilgrimages to Nabi Musa and became an occasion to celebrate the memory of the great hero of Muslim history. A recent myth proclaims him the initiator of Palestinian pilgrimages. The figure of the past has become the modern hero of Arab nationalism, giving hope to a society prey to war and dispersion. At the same time, however, the pilgrimage ritual highlights the limits of the hero: constantly appealed to and put to the test, he has begun to show signs of fragility.

Current views

Today, most Muslims see the Crusades as "something they won but just another invasion among many in their history," according to Dr Jonathan Phillips. It wasn't until recently that the Muslim world started to take a renewed interest in the Crusades. "There is a straight line for propagandists to draw," says Dr Phillips.In the 21st century, some in the Arab world, such as the Arab independence movement and Pan-Islamism movement, continue to call Western involvement in the Middle East a "crusade". Today many Muslims consider the Crusades to be a symbol of Western hostility toward Islam. In the minds of contemporary Muslims the Crusades were Western invasions motivated by the West’s greed and hatred for Islam, while the Christian West thought they were reclaiming the Holy Land and stopping the spread of Islam. For the West these wars were known as the ‘crusades’ which comes from the Latin word for cross. The Muslims, on the other hand, referred to the wars as “Frankish Invasions” using the Arabic word al-ifranj, which is the term for "French", although it was applied to Westerners in general.

Eastern Orthodoxy

Like Muslims, Eastern Orthodox Christians also see the Crusades as attacks by "the barbarian West", but centered on the sack of Constantinople in 1204. Among vast quantities of gold, which was accumulated for more than 1300 years by the Roman Empire, many relics and artifacts taken from Constantinople are still to be found in the West, in the Vatican and elsewhere, like the Greek Horses on the façade of St. Mark's in Venice. Both the cultural and the economic capital gained after of the sack of Constantinople played a significant part in the rise of the Italian cities that gave birth to renaissance.

The eventual fall of the Christian Byzantine Empire was mostly caused by Fourth Crusade's attack against the Eastern Orthodox, largely at the instigation of the infamous Enrico Dandolo, the Doge of Venice and financial backer of the Fourth Crusade (1202–1204). The Byzantine lands had been a stable Christian state since the 4th century, though had been in a crisis immediately before the Fourth Crusade. After the Crusaders took Constantinople in 1204, the Byzantines never again had as large or strong a state, and finally fell in 1453 to the Muslim Ottoman Empire under the command of Sultan Mehmed II.

For the Eastern Orthodox, the Fourth Crusade could be presented as an anomaly, though this does not explain the Northern Crusades which also targeted Orthodox Christians. In this context, the Fourth Crusade's crusaders could have felt compelled to abandon the secondary aim in order to retain Dandolo's logistical support in achieving the primary aim. Even so, the Fourth Crusade was condemned by the Pope of the time (Pope Innocent III) and is now generally remembered throughout Europe as a disgraceful failure.

Jewish community

Though the Muslims in power at the time tried to protect the Jews in The Holy Land, the Crusaders' atrocities against them in the German and Hungarian towns, later also in those of France, England, and in the massacres of Jews in Palestine and Syria have become a significant part of the history of anti-Semitism, although no Crusade was ever declared against Jews.

These attacks left behind for centuries strong feelings of ill will on both sides. The social position of the Jews in western Europe was distinctly worsened, and legal restrictions increased during and after the Crusades. They prepared the way for the anti-Jewish legislation of Pope Innocent III and formed the turning-point in medieval anti-Semitism.

It must also be noted that Pope Innocent III reiterated papal injunctions against forcible conversions of Jews, and added: "No Christian shall do the Jews any personal injury...or deprive them of their possessions...or disturb them during the celebration of their festivals...or extort money from them by threatening to exhume their dead.".

The crusading period brought with it many narratives from Jewish sources. Among the better-known Jewish narratives are the Solomon bar Simson Chronicle, the chronicle of Rabbi Eliezer bar Nathan, The Narrative of the Old Persecutions or Mainz Anonymous, and Sefer Zekhirah and The Book of Remembrance by Rabbi Ephraim of Bonn.

Documenting the Effects of the Crusades

Over the course of 200 years, historians now estimate, some 2 million Europeans died in the Middle East crusades. The Northern Crusades caused great loss of life among the pagan Polabian Slavs, and they consequently offered little opposition to German colonization (Ostsiedlung) of the Elbe-Oder region and were gradually assimilated by the Germans, with the exception of Sorbs.

The conquest of Prussia was accomplished with much bloodshed over more than 50 years, during which native Prussians who remained unbaptised were subjugated, killed, or exiled. To replace the partially exterminated native population, the Teutonic Order encouraged the immigration of German settlers. The Albigensian Crusade killed an estimated 1 million people, not only Cathars but much of the population of southern France.

One turning point in the historiography of the Crusades was the analysis of the effects in which the Fourth Crusade had on Constantinople, leading up to the subsequent fall of the Byzantine Empire, which the First Crusade (prior to the Great Schism) had nominally been intended to protect from Muslim encroachment on the Holy Land. The Byzantine Empire had from the start maintained that the Crusades were an inappropriate response, claiming they had asked for reinforcements to defend the empire itself, rather than to establish Western city states in the Levant.

Legacy of the Crusades

Politics and culture

The Crusades had an enormous influence on the European Middle Ages. At times, much of the continent was united under a powerful Papacy, but by the 14th century, the development of centralized bureaucracies (the foundation of the modern nation state) was well on its way in France, England, Spain, Burgundy, and Portugal, and partly because of the dominance of the church at the beginning of the crusading era.

Although Europe had been exposed to Islamic culture for centuries through contacts in Iberian Peninsula and Sicily, much knowledge in areas such as science, medicine, and architecture was transferred from the Islamic to the western world during the crusade era.

The military experiences of the crusades also had a limited degree of influence on European castle design; for example, Caernarfon Castle, in Wales, begun in 1283, directly reflects the style of fortresses Edward I had observed while fighting in the Crusades.

Crusader society in the Kingdom of Jerusalem was also characterized by a culture of innovation, including in economic and social structures, governance and taxation, social mobility, and agricultural technology.

Catholic historians have long argued that the Crusades opened up European culture to the world, especially Asia, and gave Christian Europe a more cosmopolitan world view that led to its world-wide empires. The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1911 stated:

The Crusades brought about results of which the popes had never dreamed, and which were perhaps the most, important of all. They re-established traffic between the East and West, which, after having been suspended for several centuries, was then resumed with even greater energy; they were the means of bringing from the depths of their respective provinces and introducing into the most civilized Asiatic countries Western knights, to whom a new world was thus revealed, and who returned to their native land filled with novel ideas... If, indeed, the Christian civilization of Europe has become universal culture, in the highest sense, the glory redounds, in no small measure, to the Crusades."

Along with trade, new scientific discoveries and inventions made their way east or west. Arab and classical Greek advances (including the development of algebra, optics, and refinement of engineering) made their way west and sped the course of advancement in European universities that led to the Renaissance in later centuries

The invasions of German crusaders prevented formation of the large Lithuanian state incorporating all Baltic nations and tribes. Lithuania was destined to become a small country and forced to expand to the East looking for resources to combat the crusaders.

The Northern Crusades caused great loss of life among the pagan Polabian Slavs, and they consequently offered little opposition to German colonization (known as Ostsiedlung) of the Elbe-Oder region and were gradually assimilated by the Germans, with the exception of Sorbs.

The First Crusade ignited a long tradition of organized violence against Jews in European culture. The Albigensian Crusade was initiated by the Catholic Church to eliminate the Cathar heresy in Languedoc. The violence led to France's acquisition of lands with closer cultural and linguistic ties to Catalonia. The Albigensian Crusade also had a role in the creation and institutionalization of both the Dominican Order and the Medieval Inquisition.

Contribution of Crusades to Trade

The need to raise, transport and supply large armies led to a flourishing of trade throughout Europe. Roads largely unused since the days of Rome saw significant increases in traffic as local merchants began to expand their horizons. This was not only because the Crusades prepared Europe for travel, but also because many wanted to travel after being reacquainted with the products of the Middle East. This also aided in the beginning of the Renaissance in Italy, as various Italian city-states from the very beginning had important and profitable trading colonies in the crusader states, both in the Holy Land and later in captured Byzantine territory.

Increased trade brought many things to Europeans that were once unknown or extremely rare and costly. These goods included a variety of spices, ivory, jade, diamonds, improved glass-manufacturing techniques, early forms of gun powder, oranges, apples, and other Asian crops, and many other products.

From a larger perspective, and certainly from that of noted naval/maritime historian Archibald Ross Lewis, the Crusades must be viewed as part of a massive macrohistorical event during which Western Europe, primarily by its ability in naval warfare, amphibious siege, and maritime trade, was able to advance in all spheres of civilization. Recovering from the Dark Ages of AD 700–1000, throughout the 11th century Western Europe began to push the boundaries of its civilization. Prior to the First Crusade the Italian city-state of Venice, along with the Byzantine Empire, had cleared the Adriatic Sea of Islamic pirates, and loosened the Islamic hold on the Mediterranean Sea (Byzantine-Muslim War of 1030–1035). The Normans, with the assistance of the Italian city-states of Genoa and Pisa, had retaken Sicily from the Muslims from 1061–1091. These conflicts prior to the First Crusade had both retaken Western European territory and weakened the Islamic hold on the Mediterranean, allowing for the rise of Western European Mediterranean trading and naval powers such as the Sicilian Normans and the Italian city-states of Venice, Genoa, and Pisa.

Model of a Crusader market in David's Citadel museum, Jerusalem
During the Middle Ages, the key trading region of Western Europe was the Black Sea-Mediterranean Sea-Red Sea. It was the aforementioned pre-First Crusade actions, along with the Crusades themselves, which allowed Western Europe to contest the trade of the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea, for a period which began in the 11th century and would only be ended by the Turkish Ottoman Empire beginning in the mid-to-late 15th century. This Western European contestation of vital sea lanes allowed the economy of Western Europe to advance to previously unknown degrees, most obviously as regards the Maritime Republics of Venice, Genoa, and Pisa. Indeed, it is no coincidence that the Renaissance began in Italy, as the Maritime Republics, through their control of the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Seas, were able to return to Italy the ancient knowledge of the Greeks and Romans, as well as the products of distant East Asia.

Combined with the Mongol Empire, Western Europe traded extensively with East Asia, the security of the Mongol Empire allowing the products of Asia to be brought to such Western European controlled ports as Acre, Antioch, Kaffa (on the Black Sea) and even, for a time, Constantinople itself. The Fifth Crusade of 1217–1221 and the Seventh Crusade of 1248–1254 were largely attempts to secure Western European control of the Red Sea trade region, as both Crusades were directed against Egypt, the power base of the Ayyubid, and then Mameluke, Sultanates. It was only in the 14th century, as the stability of trade with Asia collapsed with the Mongol Empire, the Mamelukes destroyed the Middle Eastern Crusader States, and the rising Ottoman Empire impeded further Western European trade with Asia, that Western Europeans sought alternate trade routes to Asia, ultimately leading to Columbus's voyage of 1492.


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